The night before Valerie Bertinelli prepared to step out in public wearing a bikini -- for the first time in nearly 30 years! -- she found herself unable to sleep. As her mind raced with insecurity ("I thought, Am I really going to do this? Can I pull this off?" the actress admits), Bertinelli tried to summon up a pep talk, telling herself, "What am I so afraid of? Come on -- it's just a bathing suit!"
And yet as any woman knows, those innocent-looking strips of Lycra can be a terrifying sight -- especially for someone just shy of her 49th birthday (April 23), who only two years ago tipped the scales at 172 lbs. -- more than 40 lbs. over her goal weight for her 5'4" frame. But after whittling herself down to 132 lbs. in about 9 months on Jenny Craig (for whom she serves as a company spokeswoman), Bertinelli, who had last worn a bikini when she was 20, was ready for a new challenge.