Tag Archives: Carnie Wilson

For Chynna Phillips, ‘DWTS’ Marks Reunion (With Chaz Bono) and Return to Show Biz

Chynna Phillips, Tony Dovolani ABC photo by Adam Taylor

“Dancing With the Stars” has marked a reunion for Chynna Phillips and Chaz Bono, who were thrown together as little kids due to their respective music super star parents.  “Interestingly enough, my mom and Cher used to be buddies,” recalls Chynna, daughter of Mamas and the Papas’ Michelle Phillips and the late John Phillips.  “I used to go over to Chaz’ house.  I have vivid memories of running around with Chaz as kids.  They had a huge, huge house.  I remember being taken a little aback by how grand the home was.  I remember Chaz always being kind and sweet,” she adds.  “We’ve been catching up, for sure.”

Of course, socializing is a side issue of “DWTS” for the beautiful blond Wilson Phillips singing star.  Chynna is making a declaration, via the competition, that she’s ready to turn her energies back to show business.

“I’ve been in Mommy mode the past 11 years, so to do this, I have had to literally retrain my mind.  It’s been sippy cups and drop-offs, and now it’s arm extensions and arabesques.  Oh, my gosh.  This is not where my head is at,” she says with a laugh. 

She also says, “I’m looking forward to resurrecing the Chynna Phillips brand, so to speak — singing, acting, maybe coming up with my own branding line of something in fashion.”  She notes that she and her Wilson Phillips band mates, Carnie and Wendy Wilson, have been doing some one-off dates of late.  Now she’s hoping they can put together a tour.  (“DWTS” viewers will soon see her dancing to Wilson Phillips’ first No. 1 hit, “Hold On.”)  Carnie and Wendy have been in the “DWTS” audience, cheering her on.

So has her family — husband William Baldwin, daughters Jameson and Brooke and son Vance.  Plus Michelle Phillips, and, soon, sister Bijou, she says.   

“I’m getting a ton of support from them.  Billy is Mr. Mom, doing the pickups and dropoffs, schlepping the kids to Los Angeles so I can see them a few times a week — which has really been helpful,” says Chynna, who is based in scenic Santa Barbara, about 90 miles away.  “They come on Friday and stay on the weekend, and I go up on Wednesdays.  It’s challenging, but you have to look at the whole picture.  It’s only 12 weeks.”

Chynna has another motive close to her heart in signing up for “DWTS.”  She wants to draw attention the plight of some 30,000 orphanis in Tijuana, Mexico.  “It’s super heartbreaking, how many are on the streets.  And then there are the ones that are in orphanages that are like baby jails, literally with cells.  They’re only let out an hour or two a day.”  She’s working with the Los Angelitos orphanage, raising money for a new 60-room dorm there.

Carnie Wilson’s Public Struggle

Carnie Wilson

Is it helpful – or harmful – to conduct one’s battle against obesity in the public eye? “It’s both,” to hear Carnie Wilson tell it. “It’s definitely both.

”There are days I feel inspired and in control. When I feel that way, I can look at people watching and say, ‘Yes, now I’m sending out a positive influence.’ When I’m not in control, not feeling the results, those days I hear people saying to me, ‘What’s wrong with you? You gained all your weight back.’ Those are the time’s I’m sick and tired, just tired of trying to make it more simple, you know?.”

Wilson, who has weighed over 300 lbs. in the past and publicly pioneered gastric bypass surgery with a procedure shown on the internet in 1999, is at least as famous for her efforts to regain a healthy form by now as she ever was for her Wilson Phillips pop music stardom. Her latest TV go-rounds in the diet realm included a visit to the Dr. Oz show – on which the MD told her that she was pre-diabetic and fell into the morbidly obese category at 65 lbs. overweight. She’s since been attempting to follow his diet plan for her, but Carnie admits it’s even harder to focus on working out and dieting now that she has two young daughters. Viewers of her “Carnie Wilson: Unstapled” reality show on GSN are certainly aware of her struggles in that area.

But Carnie manages an upbeat tone as she talks about her life in general. Her GSN “Newlywed Game” is in its third season. And she has “Unstapled.”

Carnie admits she had trepidations about opening up her life for the reality show cameras, but has found “it’s opened up my eyes to a few things – like just how precious my husband is. He was a little hesitant at first, but once that reserve was cracked open, now I think he’s gotten excited about it. It’s like a little time capsule we get to share of our family unit.”

She and hubby Rob Bonfiglio have been careful about their daughters’ time before the cameras, she says. Luciana – “Luci” — who is eight months old and “my little dunkin’ donut” is too young to know the difference, while four-year-old old Lola seems to be taking it all in stride, as she did the arrival of her simbling, to hear Mom tell is.

”She is just the most beaming child, proud and fun and funny and just loving and – oh my God. She loves her sister. She’s funny because she’s really and she’ll say, ‘I love my sister and I want to kiss her and I want to hold her.’ And she’ll also say, ‘Mommy, I want you to pay attention to me now.’”

Sounds like she might have acquired Carnie’s gift for communication.

Julie Benz Proud of Michael C. Hall Candor

Julie Benz, Michael C. Hall

Julie Benz, Michael C. Hall

Julie Benz sounds delighted and very proud when talking about her former “Dexter” leading man, Michael C. Hall, and the way he’s handled his battle with Hodgkins Lymphoma.”He’s fantastic, doing just fantastic. His cancer is definitely in remission, and you know, they caught it very early,” she points out. And, Hall’s decision to go public, she feels, will inspire countless fans and others “to go and get checked out, because if you catch cancer early, you can kick its a–. Sorry to swear, but really, if you’re not feeling good or if you feel a lump in your gland, go to your doctor, no matter what. No matter how busy you are.”

Beautiful Benz debuted this past Sunday in her new recurring role on “Desperate Housewives” as Robin, the highly-educated stripper.

“It’s offered me the chance to do some comedy. It’s a very fun character, and very different from Rita,” she says, referring to her “Dexter” role. “I’m always looking for where I can go next and how I can do something different,” notes the actress. She plays a business executive who finds love among the vineyards in the Hallmark Channel romantic comedy, “Uncorked,” airing March 6.

Her schedule has been so grueling, between shooting the series, doing promotion and attending the Golden Globes and SAG Awards, she wound up getting sick with laryngitis last month. However, “I’m a workaholic and I thrive when I have to work hard,” she says.

And, it’s helped move her beyond the trauma of getting killed off “Dexter.” So did the fact, “I’m very close to a lot of the cast — Jennifer (Carpenter) and I are close friends, and Michael, James Remar and his wife, David Zayas and his wife — and I had the pleasure of going through awards season and being reunited with everyone.”

She doesn’t mind the fact that people are still approaching her and exclaiming about what happened to Rita. “I love that it was that impactful. It would really suck if they killed off Rita and nobody responded.”

ON THE PERSONAL SIDE: It’s not often that a celebrity begs to differ with Dr. Oz, but such is the case with Carnie Wilson, who turns up on Oz’s show today (2/4), ready to make a fresh start in her weight battle.

“He and I sort of have a conflicted diagnosis about something. He called me pre-diabetic, but that’s not right, according to my doctor and my numbers. I am in the very normal range. Maybe it was something he said for the show,” says the singer-cum-reality show star — “Carnie Wilson: Unstapled” on GSN — baker, and “Newlywed Game” host.

Carnie admits she was startled by some of what Dr. Oz told her, including that “at 65 pounds overweight, I fall into the morbidly obese category. When I weighed 300 pounds, I knew that I was in that category, but not now, at 218. I looked into that, and he’s right. My BMI is 39 and that’s too high,” adds Carnie, who has been trying to get rid of the weight she put on while pregnant with daughter Lucy, 7 1/2 months.

“The great thing about Dr. Oz is, he looked me in the eye and gave me big hugs and said, ‘I don’t see you as a celebrity. I see you as a wife and mom, and someone who has the opportunity to help millions of people.’ That’s the kind of man he is.”

She’s now going on the diet regime Dr. Oz lays out in his books, but admits that fitting in his prescribed daily workouts is a challenge for her. “When I’m filming and promoting the show, it’s not possible, but I’ll do as much as I can,” says Carnie.

STRUNG OUT: “CSI’s” Robert David Hall says he enjoys the occasional curve ball thrown his way by the show’s writers. For instance, a bit on the upcoming installment featuring Rascal Flatts required him to “autopsy a guitar that electrocuted some musician.

“I like it when odd things happen,” says Hall, who is a musician and singer himself. “I try to prepare for anything I do, so I went down to my guitar repairman, Norick Renson, and said, ‘I have to do an autopsy on a guitar,’ and he and his sidekick, Bret, told me exactly how to take apart a Fender bass guitar.” That’s going the extra mile for verisimilitude, all right.

COURSE OF DISCOURSE: Naomi Judd has a great gift of gab, but according to her, she had to sharpen her debate skills once she started appearing on TV all the time.

“Bill Bennett always calls me ‘the common sense’ celebrity,” notes the singer and talk show favorite, who’s exchanged words with hosts from Chris Matthews to Bill O’Reilly, in addition to having her own shows. “I’m pretty known for telling it straight.

“I learned to be more assertive on Bill Maher’s show. He said, ‘You are a Southern belle. You are too nice. If you’re going to be on this show, you can’t wait ’til Ann Coulter finishes saying something to jump in and try to negate her.'”

Still, Judd maintains a respectful attitude and fully intends to keep it that way.

With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster