At Home with the Lohans
updated 06/02/2008 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 06/02/2008 AT 01:00 AM EDT
On May 26, E! will debut the first of eight episodes of the reality series Living Lohan, starring Lindsay Lohan's manager-mom Dina, 45, and Lindsay's little sister Ali, 14, an aspiring singer-actress whom Dina also manages. "The show is about Ali's career and setting the record straight about our family," says Dina, curling up on a sofa in the Victorian-inspired living room of the family's home in suburban Merrick, N.Y.— a Colonial-style house stuffed with family photos, Lindsay's movie memorabilia and the occasional folksy plaque ("Diamonds may be precious but daughters are priceless"). Dina (who won't comment on her battles with ex-husband Michael Lohan) wants to debunk the perception that she's a hard-partying, overbearing stage mom. "You know, there's this saying: You throw enough pie on the ceiling, something's going to stick," says Dina, whose house also includes 11-year-old son Cody and a micro-mini Maltese named Buddy. (Lindsay, 21, and brother Michael, 20, have left the nest.) Dina and Ali answered PEOPLE's questions about the show, their image and celebrity life.
Dina Sounds Off ...
Will people be surprised by what they see on the show?
They'll see that I'm actually a real mother! We live in suburbia, we do our own chores and our own food shopping. I thought it was a good idea to just show our family and what we really do.
And Lindsay isn't in the show, right?
It wasn't even about wanting her or not. It wasn't about her, so it didn't make sense. It's about Ali and her music.
What's your reaction to people who label you a "stage mom"?
I don't see anything negative about a parent watching out for their child. I know how to do it, so I don't think it's a derogatory thing.
Did you ever pressure Lindsay or Ali into show business?
Oh my God, are you kidding? They pressure me! Trust me, they love what they do. Ali calls Lindsay if I don't take her to [auditions].
As Ali's career progresses, will you manage it differently from how you managed Lindsay's?
I don't think I would do anything differently. But I'm so much more educated now than I was then. I'm actually coming out with a book to help other moms manage. It's in the early stages.
As a mom, how do you feel now about Lindsay's past bouts with underage drinking?
Lindsay was young and went to clubs, like every other kid in Hollywood. Of course I don't condone underage drinking and driving. Lindsay made a mistake.
What about stories that you party —or used to party—with Lindsay in nightclubs?
I never partied with my daughter. A lot of events we have are at nightclubs. I'm her manager—I need to be there. It's completely taken out of context, and if you don't understand the business, you're going to think, "Oh my God, she's with her at a nightclub!"
How's your relationship with Lindsay now?
It's more of an adult relationship now, but she's still my child. She'll call me—"Mommy I need this, I need that. Mommy, if you go to Barneys next week, look for this." I get calls like that all the time! We talk about everything. So, whatever she wants to vent or talk to me about, I'm here.
Are you worried about Ali falling victim to Hollywood's vices?
You can only instill so much and you just have to pray [your children] do the right thing. I have faith in my children. I know no child is perfect, and they're going to make mistakes. I just hope they're not big ones.
When will Ali be ready to date?
I don't know if there's a certain time. She has [male] friends, but it's nothing serious. They kind of hang out in groups.
Are you psyched to one day be a grandmother?
I love kids, so when they're ready, bring it on. I'm ready!
Ali Sounds Off ...
Why did you want to do Living Lohan?
I wanted to show who I am, and change the minds of people who think, "Oh, she's this stuck-up girl who thinks she's all that." I'm not like that.
What's the weirdest story you've read about yourself?
That I got a nose job. I did not get a nose job! In school, a friend came up to me and said, "Ali, did you get a nose job?" That proves you can only trust your family.
You recently started getting home-schooled, but when you attended a traditional school, did your celebrity affect how kids treated you?
A couple of girls in school made up a video about me and put it on YouTube. It was disgusting what came out of their mouths. I got really aggravated. They got suspended.
Did your classmates ever make fun of Lindsay?
In seventh grade, I heard someone humming the song "Rehab." I don't know if it was directed toward me, but it was kind of ironic.
You've seen the pitfalls of the Hollywood club scene. Are you going to avoid that scene?
Yeah, I'm not going to be going [to clubs]. I'm not going to be doing anything illegal.
Are you dating anyone?
I'm 14! I'm good right now. My life is sort of hectic with all that's going on right now. I don't have time for that.