Bertinelli played Barbara Cooper on the original series from 1975 to 1984.
Credit: Everett Collection

One Day at a Time (2017)

Valerie Bertinelli has been watching the One Day at a Time reboot and she came really close to appearing on an episode!

Bertinelli, who played Barbara Cooper in the original One Day at a Time from 1975 to 1984, tells EW she really loves what Gloria Calderon Kellett and Mike Royce are doing with the latest iteration and that it's only a matter of time before she'll pop-up and surprise audiences.

"It's just been scheduling issues, that's really all it's been," Bertinelli tells EW exclusively about her almost cameo on Pop TV's One Day at a Time. "We were almost able to work something out. I had one day off and I was flying in the night before and I had to start my show the next day and I think it was just too much. I don't just want to go in and do just one day. I haven't acted in five years and I wanted to have the script for more than one day. And I want to be able to really be there with them and soak it all in. Maybe after this quarantine is all over, I'll still be able to do something with them. I really love all those great people behind the show. What they've done is really amazing. I want to do it so bad!"

The original series followed a divorced mom named Anne Romano (Bonnie Franklin) raising teen daughters Julie (Mackenzie Phillips) and Barbara (Bertinelli) Cooper. Ms. Romano was a dedicated and involved parent who patiently dealt with teenage angst and fluctuating hormones and the stress of climbing the corporate ladder as an advertising executive all while putting up with a building superintendent named Schneider (Pat Harrington) with absolutely no boundaries.

"I have such wonderful memories from those days," Bertinelli, who was 15 when the show debuted, remembers. "I was learning from the best. Bonnie was like a second mother to me, I absolutely adored her. And Pat Harrington just made me laugh so hard! Mackenzie really was like my sister. It was wonderful to grow up on that set. I learned so much."

She adds, "One of my favorite episodes on One Day at a Time was when Barbara breaks her nose. I don't know why that one really sticks in my mind but I really liked that one! And I really loved the pilot, it really changed my life forever. I knew at the time, before I made my entrance, as a young 15-year-old girl I was thinking, 'This is going to change my life. This is real.' It changed my whole life. I can still see the audience and remember the smells that were unique to the set and I can even feel my hand on the doorknob right before my queue to go on. I remember thinking that my children will be able to see this one day. Of course, I don't think my son has ever seen it! It's tough to find the whole series for some reason. People would love to watch these days! Not to take away from the new One Day at a Time, because it's so good."

Valerie's Home Cook
Credit: Adam Rose/Food Network

Bertinelli celebrated her 60th birthday in April while under quarantine during the coronavirus pandemic. It was a simple-yet-festive occasion with a birthday cake prepared by her husband Tom Vitale, followed by a virtual dinner party with her girlfriends. Instead of being on the receiving end of gifts this year, she really wanted to give back to those who need it the most. She donated $60,000 to the National Domestic Workers Alliance, Give DirectlyNo Kid Hungry, and Blessings in a Backpack.

And she has a special gift for fans too. On May 10, her Food Network series Valerie's Home Cooking will return for its eleventh season with special guest Angela Kinsey from The Office. A future episode will see Bertinelli reunite with her small-screen sibling Phillips for a special vegetarian-themed episode.

As she reflects on the past and how far she's come, Bertinelli can't help but see parallels between her life and that of the character that completely changed her life.

"I feel like Barbara would have an almost similar life to mine. She would most likely still be married to Mark, maybe with some grandkids…and maybe even her own cooking show on Food Network!"

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One Day at a Time (2017)
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