A Day in the Life: Alyssa Milano Walks Us Through the Chaotic Start of Her Book Tour

"Probably the most stressful day of my life," Alyssa Milano admits of the Oct. 26 release of her new book, Sorry Not Sorry. She walks E! News through every last chapter.

By Sarah Grossbart Nov 11, 2021 5:00 PMTags
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Some people have jobs so cool we'd actually enjoy attending their marathon Zoom meetings. Even the ones that could totally have been an email. 

Not to say we don't cherish our all-important responsibility of bringing you every last piece of need-to-know information about the casts of Bridgerton and The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City, but we don't have our own glam squad or a Rolodex filled with famous names, now do we? 

But the impossibly cool people we'll be profiling in E! News' latest series totally do. Plus access to things like private drivers, designer garb and the type of professional titles we'd drop with wild abandon at parties, dinner dates or while chatting with the barista at Starbucks. Welcome to A Day in the Life...

The story of Alyssa Milano's book launch day actually began the night before when she received a phone call from her nanny saying "she couldn't come to work the first day of my book tour," says the actress. 

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So just hours before Sorry Not Sorry, her collection of intensely personal essays, was set to hit shelves Oct. 26, "I was not feeling relaxed," she describes, before correcting her extreme understatement. "I mean, as relaxed as you can be when you're releasing a book, I didn't even feel any of that."

Parents Lin and Thomas, who live just five minutes from the California home Alyssa shares with agent husband David Bugliari, their son Milo, 10, and daughter Elizabella, 7, and a few friends "all pitched in and, you know, got the kids to where they needed to go, to baseball practice, to gymnastics," she explains.

But her pre-dawn wake-up call for the day's first interview did little to assuage her nerves. 

E! Illustration; CAROLINE BREHMAN/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

After pouring her heart and years of her life into sharing thoughts on everything from the trauma of labor to her participation in the Me Too movement, Alyssa knew she had just a handful of appearances to sell it to readers.

"You have to really be your best self in every single interview," she notes. "And I worked on this book for two-and-a-half years. So for it to all come down to the importance of these three days—it was very stressful. It was so stressful that my next appointment today is just a check-in with my therapist."

But first, she had a heart-to-heart with E! News, describing the chaos of her all-virtual book tour and why now was the time to get "vulnerable and open" with readers. 

4 a.m. (PST) What's the opposite of rise and shine? Because that's what Alyssa experiences when she gets out of bed more than three hours before the sun comes up outside Los Angeles, being extra careful not to rouse a still-sleeping Elizabella.  

To prep for her virtual appearance on Today, "we had to rig some lights in the house," explains Alyssa, so makeup artist Edward Cruz could do his thing. "The funny thing is, if you look at that first interview with the Today Show, it looks like he put on my makeup in the dark, because he put on so much blush," she says with a laugh. "And he felt so bad and I'm like, 'Edward, it's okay. It's because we got ready in the dark. It's okay.'"

6:30 a.m. One down, a quadrillion to go. Despite literally growing up on television, the alum of series such as Who's the Boss?, Melrose Place, Charmed and Mistresses admits that "doing press has never been the most comfortable thing for me."

So she puts a ton of prep into each chat. "These interviews are so important to me because I'm given the opportunity to talk about such real issues, just by the nature of the work that I do," explains the actress and activist. "So I just put a lot of stress upon myself to make sure that I study, that all of the information is in my brain. But that is really hard to do when you're up at 4."

Having ripped off the bandaid with chat No. 1, she gets a touch-up to tone down the blush, an outfit change and, most importantly, a breakfast burrito. Then it's into the waiting town car for the hour-long ride to Studio City. 

E! Illustration; Instagram

10:15 a.m. Sitting down with the crew at The Talk to, you know, chat was a relief for a few reasons. "I got to see some of my old friends, like Jerry O'Connell, and that was really great and they gave me such a warm, warm welcome," Alyssa shares. "And we were able to give everyone copies of the book, which was really nice."

Plus she was actually able to see people. Like, in real life. A year and a half of Zoom calls and satellite appearances has led to some hard truths about virtual interviews. "When you're in person, you can sense more when they're done speaking and that it is your turn," she explains. "And I feel like digitally, it feels like there's a lot more stepping over each other. Because you can't see the body language that they're done."

In fact during one recent appearance, Alyssa admits she and the anchor "were just staring at each other for a good four seconds, like, 'Who speaks next?'"

E! Illustration; Instagram

4:48 p.m. After another hour-long crawl through L.A. traffic and a third round of hair, makeup and wardrobe changes (this time into a Blazé Milano jacket, alice + olivia top and Cinq à Sept faux leather pants) she preps for a spot on CNN's Erin Burnett OutFront

"I wish your readers could see how chaotic it is right before it goes live on these live shows," Alyssa describes. "Because it's literally like me cramming—I have hair and makeup in my face and I'm trying to just prepare and be of the mindset because, you know, CNN's a big deal. It's chaos and then all of a sudden they're like, 'Coming up…' and I get real stoic and put on my serious author face."

5 p.m. From serious author, to supportive mom. In her brief window between appearances, Alyssa fits in a final round of touch-ups, a very necessary Kit Kat bar and a quick call to her husband. "I FaceTimed with David while he was at baseball practice with Milo, just so that Milo could hear me say, 'Go Milo! Go!' over the phone," she says. 

Then it's time to reunite with an old friend—virtually anyway. "I was given the option of doing a few events in person for book signings and I just felt like, my gosh, if anyone got sick because they came to see me, that guilt would be something that I just couldn't deal with," she explains. "So we've done all really special virtual events." 

This evening's 60-minute session was moderated by activist, writer and military veteran Charlotte Clymer. "She's an incredible trans activist that I've known for quite a few years," says Alyssa. So it feels very "full-circle being able to sit with her and talk about the book—something that I'd worked on for so long and been so inspired by her work and activism over the years."

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6:30 p.m. Alexa, play Rihanna's "Cheers (Drink to That)." Following a marathon 12 hours of interviews, "I had a cocktail," says Alyssa.

A well deserved one at that. When she first sat down to pen her latest book, part memoir, part call to action, "I didn't expect to write so personally about so many issues," she admits. But after battling the increased worry brought on by a global pandemic and her own case of long-haul COVID, "I was so sick that I felt like everything was personal at this point. So when I wrote it, I felt very vulnerable and open and I think it's really reflected in the writing."

In the past, she'd been asked to share her thoughts on being a child actor and "where we are socially and politically with the women's movement," she continues. "And it just didn't feel like it was the right time for any of that for me, personally."

Then coronavirus hit. "Having this very tumultuous time not only in our nation, but also globally, but also bringing it down to personally, to have the physical struggle, the mental struggle, to try to keep our kids safe, which is our sole purpose in life as parents, and not feeling that it was even in my power to keep them safe," she says, "it felt like that this was a moment that I had a lot to say."

Her goal, she explains, was to create a snapshot in time: "I'm hoping that 30 years from now, people can pick up this book and have it be a reflection of where we were historically. But then the other part is I want my kids to be able to pick up this book 30 years from now and know where we were as a family."

E! Illustration; Instagram

Which is perhaps why the highlight of her day didn't involve a glam squad, speaking on the importance of voting rights or even holding her creation in her hand. 

"The best part of my day was lying in bed and reflecting on the end of something," she shares. "Because this process has been so long and being able to say, ‘You know what? I'm putting everything into this and next week I'm going to wake up and it's going to be something else, something new that I can give my heart and soul to.'" 

Of course it didn't hurt that all that reflection took place while snuggling Milo and Elizabella. "I got into bed, got into my PJs, I took off my bra and my eyelashes," she explains of every woman's evening ritual, "and I got to cuddle with my babies. So it was, all in all, as stressful as it was, it was special." 

And it came with an early bedtime. Having woken up before the sun, she says, "I was asleep by 8."