Just one week before giving birth to her son, Liam Aaron McDermott, on March 13, Tori Spelling gave EW a ring to chat about another labor of love: her upcoming reality TV show. Tori & Dean: Inn Love (debuting March 20 on Oxygen) follows the 33-year-old 90210 alum and her husband, 40-year-old Dean McDermott, as they open a Fallbrook, Calif., bed and breakfast. Here’s what the one-time Donna Martin had to say about controlling her image, small-town chatter, and getting creeped out by teddy bears.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What do you hope viewers will learn about you and Dean from the reality show?
TORI SPELLING: People always say, ”Why did you want to do a reality show?” I say, ”Well, my life is basically a reality show anyway.” We can’t leave the house without cameras following us, yet we can’t control what people write because all they see are pictures or videos, then they write whatever they want about our relationship and about who we are. So why not let the cameras follow us and tell them exactly who we are and get that message across? I think what they’ll see is that we’re a regular couple. I hope it will be refreshing and people will see that we do regular stuff like regular people. We’re really in love. And I think it will be interesting for people to see me doing manual labor, to be honest.
Why did the two of you decide to open an inn?
This past summer we were filming a movie in Ottawa, Canada, together. Because of the shoot we were staying in the countryside, and they wanted to put us up at a B&B. Oddly enough neither of us had ever stayed at one, but everyone had an opinion about them. They were like, ”No, no — make sure they put you in hotel. B&Bs are so run-down… They’re filled by everybody’s collectibles and run by old people.” We were like, ”Oh, we’ll try it anyway.” Indeed, old people ran it, and there were old collectibles. We were in the ”Teddy Bear Suite,” and it was filled by old, dirty teddy bears with their eyes falling out. It was so beyond creepy — it was straight out of a horror film. I was like, I can’t believe I’m staying here. [But we thought] the whole idea of a bed and breakfast was cool. It’s on a more intimate property and it’s such a personal setting, [better] than getting lost at a hotel — but it would be so much better if it were modernized. So we decided to do a modern take of a B&B and bring it back for our generation.
You named it Chateau La Rue. Were there other names you were considering?
What happened was Oxygen had a sweepstakes — a ”name the inn” contest. We had thousands of names, but that was the only one that stood out to us. I like the idea of a chateau, because it’s really not an inn. It’s really high-end.
Can you give us a mental picture of what it looks like inside?
Our favorite color is a modern chocolate brown, and we love mixing it with color, like blue and lime — so the color scheme is very modern. We wanted each room to be individual. Our lounge, known normally as a common room, is silver with a red ceiling. Our dining room is yellow, white, and black, so it’s all really popping colors… There are four rooms: Three in the main house, and then we have what they call a carriage house, so you get like your own guesthouse out back. It is small, but for starting out, I don’t know personally if I can handle more than four rooms.
Are you guys staying on the premises?
Yeah, we stay at the carriage house unless we’re booked to capacity.
How’s business — have you been getting booked like crazy?
It’s getting kind of crazy. After the [opening] gala, the phones starting ringing off the hook in the house. There were two benefits, three weddings, and one tea party. We had 30 phone calls for the next weekend. So we’re pretty much booked for like the next two months.
What are you most nervous about?
Our first guests check in this weekend. I’m nervous about pulling it off right. I have so many big ideas, and I have so many dreams for it, but then you know that’s a different story than actually being able to give people exactly what they want. We’ve done a lot of research on B&Bs and gone to a lot of conferences with other owners. You have all these people that need your personal one-on-one attention, and people have different ideas of what they think you should been doing. So I guess that makes me nervous. I want to make sure it’s a good business venture and that it turns out well, because it looks great.
Have you adjusted well to small-town life?
It’s different. I’m very adventurous. I’ve never lived anywhere other than L.A., but I’m the type of person who’s always up for going anywhere and staying anywhere and trying new things. Because I grew up in a very grand lifestyle [as the daughter of legendary TV producer Aaron Spelling], I usually gravitate to smaller things… so moving into a small town kind of made me feel more at home. I think it was awkward for the people in town at first when they saw us coming to the market and going to the dry cleaners. Everyone’s so nice and they’re always offering advice about where to go and what to do. They have a better attitude than people in L.A. It’s funny to go into a little restaurant with, like, six tables, and I walk in and suddenly hear my name, and the conversation spreads from table to table. I’m like, Oh my God, I can hear you!