"My eyes aren’t special, my nose isn’t special, my mouth isn’t special. The only things I really love about myself physically are my ankles and my hair," she said.
"I see the imperfections. I'm not Kim Basinger. I'm not Jaclyn Smith. Those women are knock-down gorgeous. That's what I'd love to be but I'm not."
Produced by Norman Lear, “One Day at a Time” tackled controversial and serious topics mixed with comedy. The series starred divorced mom Ann Romano (Bonnie Franklin), who attempted to survive financially and emotionally in a man's world. Ann was only the second divorced mom featured on a TV series at that time.
Barbara was the easy-going, accommodating younger sister willing to please to make everybody else happy. Phillips played Barbara's older sister Julie.
Although “One Day at a Time” never ranked higher than 10th in the Nielsen ratings, the show consistently stayed in the Top 20 for its first eight seasons.
Valerie said in 1976 for the book “TV Talk 2” that she couldn't relate to her TV family “because I've not been through a divorce. It's hard for me to imagine, but I do the best I can. The show must be doing a good job, though. The letters we receive all say how real the show is, and how real the family is.”
In real life, Phillips struggled with cocaine addiction and was twice fired from the show. Valerie later admitted doing cocaine with Phillips, and using more drugs after she married rock guitarist Eddie Van Halen.
Born in Wilmington, Delaware, Valerie and her family moved a lot when she was young, following her dad's job as a General Motors executive. She never considered becoming an actress until the family moved to Los Angeles.