As if Alison Sweeney wasn’t busy enough, she decided to make her foray into fiction with her first novel, The Star Attraction, which published earlier this week. When telling the story of Sophie, a Hollywood publicist who risks her fabulous job and happy relationship when she hooks up with a sexy client, the actress drew from her nearly two decades as Samantha “Sami” Brady on NBC’s Day of Our Lives, explaining that her experience on daytime television was the basis for writing her own story. She adds, “My best friend is a publicist, so that was certainly the inspiration for writing about that perspective of the industry. Plus, I have a lot of personal stories that contributed to the red carpet scenes in the book.”
When it came to her main character, the author wanted to create someone who is based in reality, who behaves likes a real girl. She describes Sophie as “self-effacing, smart, funny, and most importantly, willing to grow and learn” and says, “I hope she reads like a best friend whose stories you never get tired of hearing. She makes mistakes along the way, but you love her more for them.” It’s no surprise, then, that there are pieces of Sophie that come from her closest friends and herself.
Since 2007, Sweeney has stolen the hearts of many viewers as the encouraging host of another hit show on NBC, The Biggest Loser. This experience has brought a renewed sense of passion for her personal health, as evidenced by her Shape cover this month. Like many of us, she’s struggled with her weight in the past but now believes that it’s most important to “want to make a change and commit to living a healthier lifestyle. It’s about making the best choices each and every day.”
For readers struggling to take control of their weight, she offers this tip: “I encourage you to schedule time in your calendar to workout and to plan your food ahead time so you’re not scrambling when you’re starving. Prepare healthy snacks and meals to get you through your day.”
As for her own exercise routine, although she has a trainer, she works out on her own quite often and really enjoys maintaining her fitness. “I run and ride my bike (both outside and at spin class). I try to complete a good cardio workout at least four times a week, and then, at least once a week, I do circuit training with weights.”
While we may know Sweeney as an author, actress and host, at home, she’s happy to be a wife to husband David Sanov and mom to son Ben and daughter Megan. Juggling her many different roles is never easy, but she has a simple trick that helps her stay on track: “I’ve found that the best way to transition from one project to another is to look at what I have to do in each moment and make sure that I give each task 100 percent before I move on to the next thing in my schedule.”
That means that when she’s home, she focuses completely on her family. To keep her marriage strong, she says, “Dave and I make a point to have time to ourselves, even if it’s only going for a hike or watching a movie. This time together enables us to keep our connection strong.” They even have date nights at home after the kids are in bed. “We cook dinner together and then watch Survivor or Breaking Bad and just hang out.”
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So how did she meet her special someone? Sweeney and her husband actually grew up together and have known each other since they were young. Perhaps she followed her own relationship advice when they re-met as adults: “Enjoy life, meet people and know that you’ll meet the right guy who will explain all the wrong ones along the way.”
She adds, “With Dave, there was definitely a spark that led to our relationship and two incredible kids.”
When it comes to parenting, she describes them as pretty traditional parents. “Manners and structure are really important to us. We’re the parents, and we’re in charge. We don’t take a lot of sass from our kids, but we love them so much, and they know that.”
Some of their favorite times together as a family are in the kitchen as they prepare dinner. Of their routine, she shares, “The kids set the table, and sometimes, they help mix the salad or something. If a song comes on the radio that we all love, we drop everything for a ‘dance break.’ It’s hilarious — Megan loves to mimic our dance moves. Classic family laughs.”
It sounds like Sweeney’s got the good life figured out, but that doesn’t mean she’s slowing down any time soon. “I’m in the process of writing my novel, which I’m very excited about. I’m also starting production on season 15 of The Biggest Loser, and the summer storyline on Days of Our Lives is heating up. Finally, Greg Vaughn and I star in Second Chances, premiering on the Hallmark Channel on July 22nd.” Mark your calendars!