Ex-Fox NFL Sports Sunday and Good Day LA host Jillian Barberie is looking back on her past.
The 56-year-old star seemed to have it all – fame, work, a loving husband – but then she hit several roadblocks.
Now sober with help from good friend Heather Locklear, she tells DailyMail.com how her depression and breast cancer battle led her into an addiction that turned her life upside down.
‘I really don’t feel like I’ve had a lot of trauma in my life, which is hysterical because I always ask my girlfriends, “Have I’ve been through a lot?”’ began the star who has also spoken on Addiction Talk, an online talk show hosted by American Addiction Centers.
‘They will look at me, and they will seriously say to me, “Yes Jillian, you’ve been through a lot.” But I think everything’s relative,’ she added.
Jillian – who also appeared on Melrose Place and in Sharknado- added that she is so amazed at where she is today. ‘Life is a crazy, crazy place I’ve had so much fun,’ said Jillian.
But she had some help along the way. Her close friend Heather Locklear from Melrose Place was there to get Barberie back on track.
‘Heather is one of my very dear friends and she helped me a lot through chemo, Jillian tells DailyMail.com.
‘She says I helped her through, you know, her sobriety and, you know, now we talk every day. And I see her most days of the week.’
Locklear has been to rehab several times but has been much healthier in the past few years.
Jillian added, ‘We are very fortunate. We always say we’re the same person. We have the same sense of humor, and we cover in the same crazy business so we kind of get it and she doesn’t take herself too seriously at all.
‘She’s one of the funniest women I’ve ever met. And we’re raunchy,’ said Jillian.
And she also said that she is very blessed to be sober right now.
‘It’s been 14 months. I can’t Imagine going through the things that I’ve gone through being drunk in the past year. I’ve been through enough. I mean, I think that drinking, you know, for me, will be the death of me, cancer won’t.’
As far as her cancer, she says doesn’t look back.
‘I did have the double mastectomy, the chemo, the radiation,’ she shared.
‘I wasn’t one of those women that looked at my body as this big sacred thing. I didn’t treat my body horribly, but I didn’t think of breast cancer. I just never really had mammograms. It just never occurred to me.
‘And I took I took my body for granted. I wish I would have done playboy. Playboy offered four times, and I turned them down every time and I wish I had done it. But, you know, God had different plans for me.
‘I just wish I would have done it. For Prosperity. I had beautiful natural breasts and now I have implants and I’m not as fond of them.
‘And people said, “Oh my gosh, you know, the steroids make you gain weight, and you go bald.” But I’m not a vain person. My kids were number one. I told my oncologist to bring me to the brink of death and take me back again. I have a 9 and an 11-year-old at home. Cancer rearview mirror.
‘I always tell people, you know, for me that taking that sip of alcohol is far more dangerous than my cancer coming back.
‘For me, I am far more afraid of taking a sip of Chardonnay than I am, of hearing that my cancer comes back. And the reason for that is very simple. If cancer does come back, you have doctors, they’re the professionals, the experts that, you know, surgical oncologists take it out of you. And then chemo oncologists tell you exactly how much chemo they must put in your body. When you’re drinking, you’re the doctor, right?
‘So yeah, I don’t ever want to go back to that dark place. To think of everything I achieved, while drinking by drinking really got bad.
‘After my diagnosis, I’ll be honest, it wasn’t because of the cancer. It was because of other traumatic things that happened.
‘And, you know, I got through it all and I’m on hopefully the other side every day, you know, I’ve been a single mom for 10 years, doing it on my own. And it’s been hard at times, but it’s the most fulfilling job I’ve ever had.
From 1995 to 2012, she was a co-host on the Los Angeles television morning news and entertainment program Good Day L.A. on Fox owned-and-operated station KTTV.
‘I was fortunate enough to work in Hollywood,’ shared Barberie.
‘We won four Emmys, it’s one of those things that kind of grew like a fungus. Nobody really paid attention to us. So, we really got away with a lot on that show.
‘It was really, as you would say cheeky and fun, and we pushed boundaries. So much so that a lot of the celebrities would, you know, bypass the big entertainment tonight’s and the big extras and all those shows and come right to us like Brad Pitt and George Clooney simply because they watched the show.
‘They were you know, big fans of ours, and we were fans of theirs. Jen Aniston said to me, “Oh my god, we’re big fans of yours. We watch you in the morning.” And I was thinking, wow, I know who she’s talking about.’
From 2000 to 2005, she appeared on Fox Sports as the weather host for Fox NFL Sunday.
And she had an acting career too.
‘I’ve had a lot of fun acting roles. Sharknado four was probably one of the most memorable simply because my kids were ecstatic,’ she said.
She had two children with Grant Reynolds of Househusbands Of Hollywood fame whom she was wed to from 2006 to 2014: they are Ruby, age 15, and Rocco, 12.
Jillian was hand selected for Sharknado: ‘The producers picked me to be in it which was absolutely thrilling. They said look if you’re if you play a reporter, you’ll get more lines in the show or we can have you killed by a shark. So, I came home that night, and I told the kids and before I can even get it out there like you have to get my shark. So of course, I was attacked by a shark on the train.
‘The funniest thing is in in real life, I will not go in the ocean. I am absolutely terrified of great whites. I don’t know how surfers do it. You know what lurks beneath like, what? Oh my god, I did not live my life to be fish food. I don’t know how they do it.’
The star has also appeared on Clueless, V.I.P., and Melrose Place.
And Skating with Celebrities in 2006 was very hard.
‘I think it was 38 at the time, maybe probably in the best shape of my life because I really didn’t work out and it forced us.
‘I mean, we would take Epsom salt baths and you’d be forced to take for leave at just because your muscles would ache, and you your feet would swell or hurt. But I grew up in Canada on the ice and I loved every minute of it. We practiced. Gosh, I mean, I think 11 hours a week.
That’s how I met everyone in the Kardashian family and became very close with them. And yeah, Bruce was so much fun.
‘I remember one night he was skating very late as I skated late. And then sometimes I would just sleep on the couch at the ice show at the at the arena.
‘But one night, Bruce came off the ice when Caitlyn was Bruce and he had a split open cheek, because he wiped out and they said, “Oh, my God, call the ambulance.”
‘And I said “No, I’m calling Kris.” Which afforded me the opportunity to meet Kris who’s an incredible woman and she hosted my baby shower. They were such a fun family to hang out with. And I’ve been blessed. I’ve been blessed.’
She also talks about being adopted.
‘My mother was born and raised in Ireland and my father born and raised in London. So, when I did 23 and me, it was 100% Spot on. Although I’m Lithuanian on my dad’s side.’
It took work to find her family.
‘I hired a detective to find my mom and dad, birth mom and dad that is, and I found that they had me very young, when they immigrated to Canada separately, didn’t know each other, put me up for adoption,’ she added.
‘Got married three months later. And then my birth mom said she tried to get me back and couldn’t. They did go on to have two other girls. So yeah, I do have birth sisters.’
She also said the ‘craziest thing’ is that she received a letter from England a few years after, and they were doing a family tree.
She found out her cousin is Linda Lawrence, who is married to Donovan, and has two daughters with him.
And she has a son with Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones.
‘Growing up in Canada, The Rolling Stones are my favorite band. And as far as Donovan, he’s incredible. And I’ve interviewed him many times not knowing that my cousin was married to him.
‘So, when I say life is crazy, that’s what I’m talking about. So, I don’t really feel like I’ve been traumatized.
‘I feel like I have the greatest life.
‘Yes, I’ve gone through a lot. But you know, I am certainly not traumatized from these traumatic events I’ve grown, and I’ve learned, and I try to help people whether it’s addiction, anything else that I’ve been through. And that’s the greatest gift of all.’
If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. American Addiction Centers offers help for those struggling with addiction. You can call their support line at 866-244-1070.