Many years ago, Juan Ponce de Leon foraged through Florida in search of the fountain of youth. Five centuries later, Suzanne Somers seems to have found it. This month, the vivacious TV personality and author—very likely the youngest-looking 66 year-old to have ever walked the planet—gives readers her latest slew of anti-aging secrets with “I’m Too Young for This!: The Natural Hormone Solution to Enjoy Perimenopause.” The book got us thinking about other TV and film stars who have taken time away from the set to hone their health expertise. From Jenny McCarthy to Jessica Alba, these tip-heavy books from screen stars who became gurus on parenting, weight loss and everything in between offer plenty of helpful advice.
Suzanne Somers: Age-defier
After star turns on “Three’s Company” and “Step by Step”–and as the spokesperson for ThighMaster–Suzanne Somers embarked on a second career as an author. Though her freshman effort was arguably more literary—”Touch Me: The Poems of Suzanne Somers”—by the early 2000’s, Somers had made a name for herself as am expert on dieting, weight loss and aging. In recent years, she’s become an outspoken advocate of anti-aging hormone therapy and her latest book, “I’m Too Young for This!”, offers information on a range on natural hormone remedies for menopausal and “perimenopausal” woes.
Ricki Lake: Empowering parents-to-be
Though Ricki Lake’s second daytime endeavor, “The Ricki Lake Show,” ended recently, she has a burgeoning career as a health and self-help author to fall back on. Lake has produced two films and written a book, “Your Best Birth,” on pregnancy and childbirth, offering her take on the conflicting views on C-sections, induced labor and epidurals and laying out natural alternatives for parents-to-be. More recently, she published “Never Say Never: Finding a Life that Fits,” a self-help book about how to maintain a stronghold on your dreams despite discouraging circumstances, with advice based on ups and downs from her own life.
Jenny McCarthy: Motherhood and medicine
Over the course of her career McCarthy has evolved from a Playboy model into a TV actress, film star and, most recently, co-host of “The View.” Along the way, she’s authored a number of health-oriented books, focusing on the joys and pitfalls of motherhood ( “Baby Laughs”), and her experience raising a child with autism (“Louder Than Words”). In “Healing and Preventing Autism” (along with co-author Dr. Jerry Kartzinel), the vocally anti-childhood-vaccination actress took to the page to assert her controversial view that early childhood vaccinations contribute to the development of autism.
Gwyneth Paltrow: Queen of kale
Gwyneth Paltrow may have started the blog “Goop” as a side project, but the Academy Award-winning actress’s dispatches from her charmed life and umpteen kale recipes have won her fans and haters in a way that no star turn in “Shakespeare in Love” could have. In her recent book, “It’s All Good,” she matches her food philosophy—local, organic, low-carb, high-plant—with recipes and photos.
Jessica Alba: Additive-free
In 2012, actress Jessica Alba (of “Sin City” and “Fantastic Four” fame) started The Honest Company to create healthy, organic baby and household products for families. In her book, “The Honest Life,” she lets readers in on her own experience raising a newborn, her frustration with companies that conceal information about what their products contain and how they’re made, and offers her advice on how cultivate an easy, down-to-earth lifestyle.
Al Roker: Weathering major weight loss
In 2002, Today Show weather forecaster Al Roker underwent gastric bypass surgery to address a host of health problems related to his weight (at the time, he weighed more than 300 pounds). Though the operation caused some uncomfortable side effects (he admitted in a 2013 interview that he pooped his pants at the White House), his life-changing weight loss has enlightened him on the perils of unhealthy eating habits and has turned him into a national symbol of the fight against obesity. In “Never Goin’ Back,” he describes his staggering drop to 190 pounds, his struggle to keep the weight off and shares lessons he learned about food and maintaining a healthy lifestyle along the way.
7. Prime Time
Jane Fonda: Beyond the Spandex
In addition to “The China Syndrome” and “On Golden Pond,” Jane Fonda’s early filmography includes a series of spirited exercise videos (see below). Not content to let her reign as fitness queen recede into obscurity, the actress has continued to provide insights on health, aging and weight loss in books, the most recent of which is “Prime Time: Love, Health, Sex, Fitness, Friendship, Spirit—Making the Most of Your Life.”