Alley's Curb Your Enthusiasm-esque series Fat Actress premieres on Showtime, with the actress poking fun at her ballooning figure. But the show's critics don't find the lighthearted treatment of bulimia funny. The controversy and Alley's self-deprecating humor only help her momentum, with the actress signing on as Jenny Craig's spokesperson and releasing her memoir How to Lose Your Ass and Regain Life.
Now 75 lbs. lighter, Alley makes good on a promise, doing something she said she would have never done at age 30: appearing in a bikini on The Oprah Winfrey Show. "I was so introverted about my body," she says of her younger, thinner self. "When I looked back on my movies and things (I thought), 'Wow, you had a really nice body.' But, at the time, I was (feeling) not good enough."
The one-time Jenny Craig spokesperson, who helped bring actress Valerie Bertinelli on board the weight-loss program in 2007, admits to putting on 83 lbs. while Bertinelli maintains in tip-top shape. "It’s like the student surpassed the teacher, who is now over there in the corner, fat!" Alley tells PEOPLE.
After her failed foray into reality TV with Kirstie Alley's Big Life, the actress – who lost more than 50 lbs. with her own plan called Organic Liaison – signs up for the 12th season of Dancing With the Stars. "HERE'S a tip for any weightloss plan ... DANCE 4 or 5 hours a day ... sorta starts melting off," Alley Tweets of rehearsals with pro partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy. In May, the actress places second behind NFL pro Hines Ward.
BIOGRAPHY (top to bottom): Randy Tepper/Showtime; Bob D'Amico