Kirstie Alley’s Fall From Grace: What Happened to the ‘90s Star?

There’s certainly no shortage of celebrities who find themselves blackballed from Hollywood for various reasons. Whether it’s legal issues, controversial opinions, or social media posts that haven’t aged well, we live in an unforgiving society. We are so quick to “cancel” celebrities without a second thought. Unfortunately, Kirstie Alley is one of them.

Kirstie Alley / Kirstie Alley / Kirstie Alley / Kirstie Alley, John Travolta.
Source: Getty Images

Although she’s not immune to “cancel culture” (for lack of a better word), Alley has definitely had more than her fair share of backlash thanks to the things she’s said and done. However, there is always more to the story than what the gossip tabloids feed us.

What Happened to Kirstie Alley?

Just to be clear, what really happened to Kirstie Alley is rather complicated. The starlet started off with a promising career, but after some legal issues, a controversial religion, and much more, she seems to have been blacklisted from Hollywood altogether. I mean, when was the last time you saw her on television?

A dated portrait of Kirstie Alley.
Source: Pinterest

Still, the actress hasn’t given up on her career and is planning on sticking around for a while. She may possibly be the most criticized celebrity of all time, but her career arc has been declining through the years. So, without further ado, let’s get into it.

Here’s what really happened to Kirstie Alley.

A Midwest Gal

Before embarking on her acting career, Kirstie Alley was just a small-town girl with huge dreams. She grew up in the Midwest, and Hollywood seemed like a glamourous but unrealistic career path. In 2015, Alley made a guest appearance on the ABC sitcom The Middle, which takes place in the Midwest. Indiana specifically.

Kirstie Alley poses for a portrait holding her cat at home.
Photos by Brad Elterman/FilmMagic/Getty Images

During an interview with Parade, the actress explained that she really loved and understood the essence of the show because of her Midwestern roots: “I’m from Wichita, Kansas,” she explained to the magazine.

Country Raised

“That’s where I was born and raised,” she added. “So that Midwest… Your dreams and aspirations can be so small.” Alley explained that because of where she grew up, even her dreams to one day open a mobile pet grooming salon seemed out of reach.

An urban photo of Kirstie Alley wearing a denim outfit.
Photo by Vinnie Zuffante/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

“I would always put the kibosh on any of my dreams,” she said. “That, to me, is sort of a Midwest thing.” Despite moving to Hollywood to pursue an acting career, deep down, Alley still feels like a Midwest girl at heart.

Started Off on Game Shows

Believe it or not, Kirstie Alley made her television debut way before she even started acting. She appeared on a few reality game shows back in the ‘70s, including The Match Game. You know, just like how today many influencers get their start on The Bachelor. Reality shows are a good way to get your name and face out there!

A photo of Kirstie Alley speaking at a microphone.
Source: YouTube

But after getting her start on a reality competition show, Alley confessed that it would be unlikely for her to ever become an actress with that kind of background. She has a point. People don’t usually take reality stars seriously when it comes to acting.

A Big Dreamer

But during an interview with Parade, the actress opened up about she landed in Hollywood in the first place, and she credited game shows for giving her a head start. She certainly seemed to appreciate the little push she got.

Alley and the cast of Cheers in a still from the show.
Photo by Aaron Rapoport/Corbis via Getty Images

“With reality shows, and things like that on TV now, people probably feel a little more hopeful that they could make something of themselves,” she said. “But at that time, 30 years ago, it was just like, ‘How could I possibly dare to think that I could go be a star? How could I possibly think that?’” Alley dared to dream and look at what happened; she became a star!

Her Big Break!

Kirstie Alley may have left her Midwestern home to pursue her Hollywood dreams, but after her stints on some game shows, she may not have made it as a successful actress if it weren’t for a role in this one sci-fi movie.

Kirstie Alley and Leonard Nimoy in a still from Star Trek II.
Source: Copyright: Paramount Pictures

Kirstie Alley landed a role in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, and after that, her career really skyrocketed. Alley explained that this wasn’t her first big role; it was her first role period. “I went from nothing to that,” she admitted. “Literally nothing.” Well, that’s a lucky break if I’ve ever seen one!

A Huge Deal

“That was a big leap because remember it was 1981, and that was a three-million-dollar film,” she added. Parade noted that the movie was actually an $11 million film, but the point remains the same: it was a huge deal for the aspiring actress.

A portrait of Kirstie Alley in Veronica’s Closet.
Source: Warner Bros.

After that, it didn’t take long for Alley to land more roles in shows like Cheers and Veronica’s Closet and movies like Look Who’s Talking Now. Alley’s role in Star Trek was an amazing launchpad for the rest of her career, and it seemingly came out of nowhere.

Addiction Issues

Back in the ‘70s, Kirstie Allie wasn’t the accomplished starlet that she was destined to become. In fact, she was far from it and has been very open and honest about her issues with drugs. Alley confessed that the reason she ended up in Hollywood in the first place was because of drugs.

Kirstie Alley poses for the press.
Photo by Evan Agostini/Liaison/Getty Images

“The truth of how I escaped Kansas is being high,” she admitted. “I was drugged out of my mind on cocaine, and I got in the car, and I left to go to California.” Getting high and deciding to pursue an acting career doesn’t sound very promising, but it worked for Kirstie Alley.

Drugs Got Her Out of Kansas

However, although drugs may have inspired Alley to leave Kansas, she quickly realized she wouldn’t allow substances to control her. Shortly after arriving in California, she decided to get clean. In 2019, the actress said that all her drug problems were over.

Kirstie Alley poses for the press.
Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage/Getty Images

“For you who don’t know much about me, I used to be a coke head,” she confessed. “I quit drugs in 1979 and vowed to spend the same money weekly on flowers that I spent on drugs. I buy and arrange my own flowers as a gift to MYSELF.” That’s not a bad idea! Honestly, whatever works.

A Terrible Tragedy

In 1981, Kirstie Alley tragically lost her mother in a drunk driving accident, which occurred in the same year Alley’s career started to take off. Sadly, her mother never got to see the successful star her daughter would become, but the drama surrounding her passing haunted the actress for years.

Kirstie Alley walks the street.
Photo by Jim Smeal/Ron Galella Collection/Getty Images

The woman responsible for the heartbreaking accident discussed the situation with tabloids years later. Cherrie White expressed remorse for killing Alley’s mother: “That night is always on my mind,” she said. “I’m so sorry for what happened,” White said. “I wish I could go back and change everything, but I cannot.”

Sorry Won’t Bring Her Back

Those sentiments can’t bring back Alley’s mom, no matter how nice they are. I’m sure she truly is sorry, but unfortunately, some mistakes can never be fixed. But White asked to speak directly to Kirstie Alley, which made things a little strange.

A picture of Kirstie Alley on stage.
Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage/Getty Images

“I can understand why Kirstie doesn’t want to talk with me,” she said. “But if she changed her mind, I would tell Kirstie and her father how truly sorry I am for that night and the pain that I caused them.” Alley never responded to White, but the memory of that night continues to haunt the actress.

Only Lasted One Season

Kirstie Alley’s Hollywood career really took off in the ‘80s when she began landing plenty of notable roles. In 2014, the actress got her own show, named Kirstie, but it got canceled after just one season. Alley played a Broadway star whose biological son randomly shows up after his adoptive mother dies on the show.

Kirstie Alley walks the street.
Photo by GVK/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images/Getty Images

It looked like this new show, which aired on TV Land, might push Alley back into the spotlight after Veronica’s Closet ended. However, that wasn’t exactly what happened. As intriguing as the storyline was, it didn’t hit viewers the way it was intended to.

They Didn’t Give It a Real Chance

Alley was disappointed about the show being canceled. “I wish they’d given it more time,” the actress told Parade. “I just can’t even imagine that you have Rhea Perlman and Michael Richards, and you can’t make a show work.”

Michael Richards, Rhea Perlman and Kirstie Alley attend an event.
Photo by Robin Marchant/Getty Images

In the end, it simply wasn’t meant to be. Alley felt frustrated that her show didn’t work out, especially since it was her last big attempt at a television career. Personally, I think marketing was the issue. I haven’t even heard about this show, have you?

A Growing Family

Although Kirstie Alley enjoyed a widely successful career for many years, her personal life was not as simple. She was notably married to Parker Stevenson for almost 14 years, and before they split up, the couple adopted two children together: William and Lillie.

A dated portrait of Kirstie Alley and Parker Stevenson.
Photo by Paul Harris/Getty Images

Like many country-raised people, family was always important to Alley, but one instance made it even more so. In 2016, Alley’s family expanded even more as she became a proud grandmother. She couldn’t be more thrilled and grateful.

A Proud Grandma

The actress shared the exciting news that she was officially a grandma on Twitter: “When your son has a son… bliss,” she wrote above a black and white photo of her son holding his son. “Yes, this is my secret happy news as promised… Welcome, Waylon Tripp Parker.”

A picture of newborn Waylon Tripp Parker.
Source: Facebook

Since Alley’s career had already slowed down before her grandson was born, it only makes sense that Alley spends her time with her growing family. Waylon is now five years old and Kirstie’s only grandson. But she’s excited to see her family continue to grow.

Her Controversial Religion

For some reason, Scientology appeals to many celebrities, and Alley is certainly not the most famous star to join the controversial religion. We have Elizabeth Moss, John Travolta, and Tom Cruise as proud Hollywood Scientologists. But Kirstie Alley has been part of the Church of Scientology since 1979.

A portrait of Kirstie Alley.
Photo by Jim Smeal/Ron Galella Collection/Getty Images

As an active follower of the religion, Kirstie Alley doesn’t think her religious choices should be as controversial as they are. At a certain point, Cruise was getting a lot of criticism for his involvement in Scientology, and Kirstie Alley stood up for him – which ultimately made her just as controversial.

Is Kirstie Alley Still a Scientologist?

While talking to Entertainment Tonight, Alley explained why she chose to stand by Tom Cruise and to defend Scientology: “I think whenever you have articles written that are third and fourth parties’ opinions – it’s like the game Gossip, and you don’t get the truth,” she said referring to a Vanity Fair article that accused Tom Cruise and the Church of Scientology for auditioning women to be his wife.

Tom Cruise, Kelly Preston, John Travolta, and Kirstie Alley attend a Scientology event.
Photo by Randi Lynn Beach/Getty Images

Clearly, Alley has no time for these conspiracy theories and will continue to stand up for what she believes in. As controversial as Scientology is−(it’s even considered a cult by many)−Alley remains dedicated to her religion.

Body Image Issues

It’s no secret that people in Hollywood are under an extreme amount of pressure to look a certain way, and the biggest struggle many starlets deal with pertains to body image. Since the perfect body doesn’t exist, people continue to alter their bodies in unhealthy ways, like starving themselves or getting plastic surgery.

A dated portrait of Kirstie Alley.
Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images

Unfortunately, we all find flaws in ourselves no matter what, and Alley is no exception. As a ‘90s kid, I definitely remember those Kirstie Alley commercials promoting diets or weight loss programs.

Fluctuating Weight

Alley has struggled with her fluctuating weight throughout her life and career and always found it difficult to deal with. She told Parade that she was always confused about why she gained weight so easily. “I don’t know exactly, but it’s more unreal, to me, to gain 50 pounds than to lose 50 pounds,” she admitted.

A portrait of Alley.
Photo by D Dipasupil/Getty Images

Although she never had a full-blown eating disorder, she certainly dealt with body dysmorphia. As someone who gains weight from looking at a cookie, I can totally relate. But luckily, I’m not in the public eye dealing with strangers commenting on my weight.

Prioritizing Health

Alley revealed that she was able to gain and lose weight pretty quickly but also understood that it wasn’t healthy. She said she needed to learn to take better care of herself: “Just as it’s easier to lay [sic] on the couch and watch a movie than to go work out, but I’ve realized… I’ve gotten a little more responsible,” she said.

Kirstie Alley walks the street.
Photo by Raymond Hall/GC Images/Getty Images

So, what was this important lesson Alley learned? “You can’t have your cake and eat it too, every second.” You know what they say; moderation is key. Taking responsibility for your own health comes with age and maturity. Alley certainly figured it out.

Twitter Attacked Her

One thing about Kirstie Allen is that she is not the type of person to shy away from sharing her opinions. She certainly has no fear of confrontation, and in 2017, she had no reservations about making her feelings about the #MeToo movement perfectly clear.

A photo of Kirstie Alley.
Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images

In November 2017, the actress let her frustrations out on Twitter: “What the hell is happening?” she wrote. “We now live in a country where people lose their jobs when accused of something without proof or trial or in some cases with anonymous accusers? Can’t confront your accuser? This is bullsh*t, and it hurts the real victims of abuse and innocent people.”

Don’t Mess With the #MeToo Movement

The #MeToo movement was especially agonizing in Hollywood when the truth about how actresses were treated came to light, and they revealed the horrific sexual assault they faced from the powerful men in the industry, so Alley’s words weren’t exactly well-received.

A picture of women from the #MeToo Movement during a press conference.
Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images

As someone who thinks we should believe all women, I also think Alley is entitled to her opinion. We can’t pretend that there aren’t women out there who lie and try to ruin the lives of innocent men and thus diminish the stories of real victims. Contrary to popular belief, she’s not wrong; you do need evidence before you ruin someone’s life and reputation.

A Short Comeback

If you look back at Kirstie Alley’s acting career, you probably think that she peaked in the ‘80s and ‘90s. She definitely excelled during that time, but it looked like things slowed down for the actress at the turn of the century. She made brief guest appearances and was on two shows that got canceled after one season.

Kirstie Alley and Emma Roberts in a still from the show.
Source: Copyright: 20th Television

But when 2016 rolled around, it seemed like things were looking up for the actress again. She landed a role on Season 2 of the Ryan Murphy series Scream Queens. As Entertainment Weekly put it, Alley was cast as the “brilliant and devious administrator” at an institution “where some of the most fascinating and bizarre medical cases are under observation.”

Casting Kirstie Alley

The Fox network explained their choice in casting Kirstie Alley, praising her many accomplishments in showbiz. In their press release, it said that Alley is known as “one of the great actresses of her generation proving time and again that she is capable of great depth and range, as well as possessing a comedic timing second to none.”

A photo of Abigail Breslin, Brooke Shields, Jamie Lee Curtis, John Stamos, Kirstie Alley, and Emma Roberts in Scream Queens.
Photo by FOX Image Collection/Getty Images

We can’t argue with that. I mean, you can say a lot of things about Alley, but a bad actress is certainly not one of them. Unfortunately, after Alley’s first season, Scream Queens was canceled.

Trolled Over Politics

To say that Donald Trump is a controversial figure would be a total understatement. Hollywood, for the most part, rejected him. However, Kirstie Alley praised the former president and voted for him in both 2016 and 2020.

Kirstie Alley speaks at the microphone.
Photo by Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images

“I’m voting for @realDonaldTrump because he’s NOT a politician,” the actress unapologetically tweeted in October 2020. “I voted for him four years ago for this reason and shall vote for him again for this reason. He gets things done quickly, and he will turn the economy around quickly.”

Unpopular Opinions

I personally don’t believe anyone should be “canceled” or criticized for their political opinions, but that doesn’t stop the trolls. Some fellow Hollywood stars lashed out at her for her comments. Judd Apatow wrote: “Shelly Long was way funnier than you,” referring to her appearance on Cheers before Alley.

Kirstie Alley attends an event.
Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images

Others were confused, like Diedrich Bader: “Also, strange argument. Like ‘I want someone who’s NOT a pilot to land the plane,’” he tweeted in response. It looks like she isn’t necessarily beloved by most of her fellow actors. But is it fair? There was a time where you kept who you voted for a secret, and no one “canceled” you over your opinions.

Kirstie Alley vs. Leah Remini

As we’ve seen, Kirstie Alley doesn’t have the most loving relationships with some of her fellow Hollywood stars. More specifically, Alley has been involved in an ongoing feud with a former Scientologist that won’t just die. Apparently, this rivalry has been going on forever.

Leah Remini attends an event.
Photo by Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Alley doesn’t like Leah Remini or the things Remini has said about her former Church of Scientology. After leaving Scientology, Remini has been very outspoken about how harmful it is. As a current member of the Church, Alley understandably doesn’t like how Remini continues to bash the religion.

Enemies Forever

At one point, Alley even went so far as to call Remini a liar for claiming that the wife of a Scientology leader went missing: “This was done as a PR stunt to promote a book and show for LR,” Alley wrote, referring to Remini. “It was not done out of real concern.”

Kirstie Alley poses for the press.
Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage/Getty Images

Remini hasn’t said the nicest things about Alley either. “Hiding behind your interviews/social media while blocking me and those you attack means you have no balls on top of no integrity,” she tweeted in 2018. “You’re spreading false/defamatory info at the demand of your cult.” Yikes!

Feud With CNN

As a vocal supporter of Donald Trump, it should come as no surprise that Kirstie Alley is politically conservative. In 2020, the actress called out news channels for how they covered the global coronavirus pandemic. Alley was one of many people who accused CNN of fear-mongering in October 2020.

A headshot of Kirstie Alley.
Photo by Chris Polk/FilmMagic/Getty Images

“I now know why my personal friends who walk around in SHEER TERROR of contracting Covid are simply CNN viewers,” she tweeted. “I decided to watch CNN for myself to get their viewpoint, and oh my God, DID I EVER!!!! IF YOU TOO WANT TO LIVE IN TERROR WATCH CNN. FEAR OF DYING IS THEIR MANTRA! OMG!” I guess she wasn’t pleased with the news network.

A Scathing Response

Interestingly enough, it didn’t affect the network much. CNN simply responded with, “Kirstie, you are welcome to change the channel – just like countless viewers did every time Veronica’s Closet came on TV.” Ouch! That was a little harsh.

Kirstie Alley speaks to the media.
Photo by Tara Bricking/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald/Getty Images

I mean, I think everyone is entitled to their own opinion. With that said, I do think you need to be ready for some harsh reactions when you say something controversial. Kirstie certainly seems to be handling it well. Do you think Alley’s beliefs and opinions should get her exiled from Hollywood? Or is it time for cancel culture to end already?

University Drop Out

After graduating from Wichita Southeast High School, being a Hollywood starlet was a distant dream for Kirstie Alley. Like us ordinary folk, she applied to college and got into Kansas State University to study drama. However, she really wasn’t interested.

A portrait of Kirstie Alley.
Photos by Brad Elterman/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Kirstie ended up dropping out, and she never returned to graduate. Instead, she decided to move to Los Angeles to pursue a career in interior design! That’s right; she didn’t initially arrive in Hollywood as a young dreamer hoping to get discovered. She had other ambitions.

She Has Aviophobia

We all have fears. Whether we want to admit it or not, everyone is scared of something. Kirstie Alley is no exception. She suffers from aviophobia, otherwise known as a fear of flying. It’s a pretty common phobia that many people, including myself, deal with.

Kirstie Alley attends an event.
Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection/Getty Images

Coincidentally, an episode of Cheers that Alley was on focused on the fear of flying. However, it was Carla, played by Rhea Perlman, who was displaying signs of aviophobia, not Alley’s character Rebecca. The actress is terrified to get on a plane which must be tough, given her career choice.

She Used to Be Roommates With Mimi Rogers

When she was first starting out in the industry, Kirstie Alley shared an apartment with Mimi Rogers, who went on to star in hits like Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, The X-Files, and NCIS. The roommates both ended up famous.

Mimi Rogers attends an event.
Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection/Getty Images

It’s interesting to see how many aspiring actors lived together to save money on rent before making it big in Hollywood. Did you know that Lindsay Lohan and Raven Symone used to be roommates? Ben Affleck and Matt Damon also lived together when both of them were still relatively unknown.

Television Game Show Winner!

As we discussed, Kirstie Alley appeared on a couple of game shows, but did we mention that she won? On her stint on Match Game PM, she won both rounds and took home an astonishing $6,000. Not bad. Then, on Password Plus, she won a whopping $800.

Kirstie Alley is in a still from a television game show.
Source: YouTube

On both shows, Alley described her career as interior design. Who would have thought she would end up being a famous actress? Maybe I should sign up for a reality game show. You never know; it might just launch me into stardom! Or, at the very least, I might win some extra cash.

She Wasn’t on Frasier

Out of all the surviving members of the Cheers cast, Kirstie Alley was the only one who didn’t go on to make a guest appearance on the spin-off show, Frasier. After her role in the iconic Boston sitcom was received poorly by fans and critics, Frasier’s guest spots typically sparked the nostalgia of the earlier Shelley Long-starring seasons.

A portrait of Alley on the set of Cheers.
Photo by Aaron Rapoport/Corbis/Getty Images

Frasier, starring Kelsey Grammar as Frasier Crane, had a long run since it premiered in 1993. The show lasted for a total of 11 seasons before coming to an end in 2004. Alley didn’t seem too bothered about not making an appearance, though.

Her Mom Never Saw Her Success

As we mentioned, Alley tragically lost her mom in a car accident in 1981. The driver was drunk, and the car crash was devastating. Her father was also seriously injured, but thankfully, he survived. It’s still hard for the actress to think about how her mom never saw her success. She died a year before Alley got her first big part in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn.

A photo of Alley during an awards ceremony.
Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc/Getty Images

She suffered a terrible loss, but that wasn’t the only time Alley encountered death. More recently, Alley’s daughter Lillie’s fiancé was killed in a motorcycle accident. Our prayers are with the family.

Besties With John Travolta

When you’re in Hollywood, you tend to interact with other people in the industry. Although many actors have shunned Alley for not agreeing with their opinions, one Hollywood stud remained her friend: John Travolta.

Kirstie Alley and John Travolta pose for the press.
Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

In fact, she is the closest female friend of her Look Who’s Talking co-star, John Travolta. Although she is often under fire in Hollywood for her controversial political stances, Travolta stayed by her side through it all. Oprah Winfrey is another one of Alley’s close friends.

It Doesn’t Get More Controversial Than Scientology

It’s no secret that Kirstie Alley is a member of the Church of Scientology. She is a huge supporter of the Scientology movement. In 2007, the actress donated an incredible $5 million to the Church of Scientology. She is proud of her religion, and if you bash it, Alley will come for you!

Kirstie Alley speaks during an event of the Church.
Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Part of the reason Alley moved to Los Angeles was to explore the religion further. Scientologists believe that humans are, in fact, ageless beings connected to an extraterrestrial overlord. But who am I to criticize anyone’s beliefs? I actually like when people stand up for what they believe in… no matter how controversial it may be.

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