04/17/2012 at 01:25 PM EDT
Although she can't say she's happy to discuss her divorce
from Peter Facinelli
, Jennie Garth does find the topic is unavoidable
"That is probably the hardest part about [the split], actually, the timing of everything," the former Beverly Hills, 90210
star said on Today
Tuesday while promoting her new CMT reality show.
"When I started to take this show on, I wasn't headed down this road," Garth, 39, says about her marital split after the couple were together for 17 years in all, 11 of them as man and wife.
"It happened in the middle of filming the show, and now part of doing any kind of job as an actress is following through and doing the press circuit for the show, doing interviews, and people want to talk about it.
"And, I am okay talking about it, but it's certainly not ... something you want to talk about."
The rocky marriage, she says, "was something we were working through together. As anybody who's been through it, it's always kind of shocking when it ends up finally happening. But it was sad for our family unit. We're a really great family, and we always will be, because we have three beautiful daughters together."
"Peter is still really involved with them," she says, as she is herself. "We have a really great time together."
Her new show, Jennie Garth: A Little Bit Country
, debuts on CMT on Friday and costars her three daughters
– Luca, 14, Lola, 9, and Fiona, 5 – along with their many dogs.
"I really think there's some peeing going on," Garth says in a clip of puppies overrunning her living room furniture. "The sofa definitely gets wet."
Despite the canine complications, Garth was happy to get away from city life for something different. "Being in the country has allowed me a really great perspective, some clarity, some open space," Garth tells Today
's Savannah Guthrie.
But the show had nothing to do with the split, she says. "The two really did not go together at all" – just as she will have none of the rumors that she was jealous of her husband's acting success in the Twilight
"There was nothing like that going on," Garth insists. "I was very happy for him and so happy to be at home with the kids and enjoying my 'early retirement.' I didn't want to work at that time. I just wanted to be at home on the farm."