More: You are 44 and fab.
Courtney Thorne-Smith: I do feel fabulous.
More: You are also an advocate of Botox.
CTS: I am.
CTS: There was a time people didn’t talk about it. Then HealthyWomen.org did a study and discovered the one topic women kept inquiring about, which was Botox. I can tell you, I have had a great experience, and I am happy to share my story.
More: Most people deny using it. Why go public about Hollywood’s worst-kept secret to staying young?
CTS: People think I am coming out with my story for the first time, when the truth is, I never hid it to begin with. It never felt like a secret to me. I don’t use it in excess amounts. I only use a small amount, so people don’t think I look strange.
More: You’re not ashamed?
CTS: No. It’s the truth. I don’t get what the whole taboo is about. Look, I use great products, do facials and take great care of myself. I had a line or two that I wanted to get rid of, so I did it.
More: When did you begin using Botox?
CTS: I have been using Botox for 10 years; I started using it when it first came out. Obviously, I didn’t use it when I was pregnant or when I was breast-feeding. People think I do it because I want to compete with 20-year-olds when, in fact, I do it for me. I am proud of who I am and my age.
More: When you say you do Botox for you, does it give you more confidence?
CTS: No. I like where I am, and I feel confident with who I am. Look, if something bothers me, I like to take care of it. If I don't feel well, I call the doctor. Really, this isn’t a big deal.
More: How often do you use it?
CTS: Every four months.
More: You don’t feel the Hollywood pressure to look flawless?
CTS: No. I am a comedic actor so I have to have facial expressions. I would rather be an expressive 44-year-old than a person people don’t recognize. I have no desire to compete with 30-year-olds for their parts. I like where I am and who I am.
More: Do you believe in other forms of plastic surgery?
CTS: I haven’t done it yet, but if one day I decided I needed a face-lift, I would be totally fine with that. I feel like as women we have fought so hard to make the right choices. I think if you want to do it, it’s fine.
More: While we’re on the subject of appearances, you once went through extreme measures to be thin.
CTS: I did. Compulsive exercise was my thing.
More: Tell me about that.
CTS: It is something that is in you. I think it was my own inherent insecurity. I had been a working professional since I was 17, which I now say was too young. I don’t think I was quite formed back then. Anyway, a producer told me I put on weight, and when he said that I just panicked.
More: What did you do?
CTS: I did not respond well. I read every diet book there was. I went on crazy diets and exercised way too much. I was running, doing weights and yoga for, like, three hours. It was awful, and I am so grateful those times are behind me.
More: Were you a mad calorie counter?
CTS: For me, it was a series of diets. One diet said, only eat chicken, while another said, only eat vegetables. I had 17 diets in my head at once.
More: What was the solution?
CTS: I eat low carb and have been doing so for 10 years. That’s been the solution for me.
More: Was this during the time you were starring on Melrose Place?
CTS: I felt nervous on Melrose Place, but it didn’t really get hard until I was on Ally McBeal. I felt that show had so much pressure. That is what triggered me, and then it got really hard.
More: What did you do?
CTS: I left the show, and I got myself together. It was then I got healthy. When I did According to Jim, I wore nothing but khakis and shirts, and it was really great. It was also around the same time that I got married, got pregnant and had a baby.
More: Your onscreen romances include Andrew Shue, Jim Belushi and, most recently, Jon Cryer. Dish, who is the best kisser?
CTS: [Laughs.] I can’t answer that. I will say I got to kiss every guy on Melrose Place. I mean, the producers just kept bringing in all of these guys and telling me to just make out with them. Seriously, I have been blessed to work with great men in my career.
More: You play Lyndsey, the girlfriend of Dr. Alan Harper (Jon Cryer), on Two and a Half Men. Any chance we will be hearing wedding bells?
CTS: Hmm . . . Well, we break up every episode and then get back together. I don’t know. I can say that the show has been a complete blessing. It is the best part-time job I have ever had, and it allows me to work with great people.
More: Is the mood different on set now that Ashton Kutcher has replaced Charlie Sheen?
CTS: Ashton is a great, funny and smart guy; he is also very professional. I can say the same about Charlie. You basically just traded one great guy for another great guy. As for Jon, he is so crazy brilliant. I love working with him. This job has been such a thrill.
More: Would you let your son follow in your footsteps?
CTS: If he wanted to. But I don’t think I would let him start as young as I did. You know, people treat you differently and are extra nice to me, which is sweet. But I think if someone treated me like a normal person, I would feel rejected. [Laughs.]
More: You don’t strike me as the type who was ever left out of the crowd.
CTS: That couldn’t be farther from the truth. That's years of therapy right there.
More: I’m listening.
CTS: I had an incredibly long awkward phase, which was exacerbated by a home perm my sister gave me. I always thought during recess, Today is going to be the day no one talks to me. I was a shy kid and always wondered if I was going to fit in.
More: Is that why you found acting?
CTS: Yes. I found my voice onstage. That is where I felt confident enough to speak up.
More: You also wrote a book called Outside In, which sounds a lot like your life story.
CTS: I finally got to express my words the way I wanted to. Those thoughts came out of my mind, and for me, that was a lot of fun. For once I wasn’t speaking someone else’s words, which is what we do as actors. I was speaking my own.
More: In addition to being an award-winning actress and author, you are also a devoted mom. Tell us about this role.
CTS: It’s the greatest. I am having so much more fun than I ever thought possible. I knew it would be rewarding, but I really am having a ball. Would you believe I am actually doing LEGOs with my son right now while I am talking to you? How awesome is that?
Click here to read The Life of a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader.