The former Beverly Hills, 90210 star opens up about keeping her young adult daughters safe on the road, "giving back" to herself after years of putting her kids first, and what it's like to go back in time alongside BFF and fellow mom Tori Spelling.

By Maressa Brown
May 06, 2021
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An image of Jennie Garth.
Credit: Getty Images.

The transition from teen to young adult is a transition period that comes with a bevy of challenges. It's something that '90s teen drama Beverly Hills, 90210 covered extensively, and back then, Jennie Garth saw that journey through the lens of the ultimate Beverly Hills princess-turned-main protagonist Kelly Taylor. But fast-forward three decades later, and the actress and mom of three, Luca, 23, Lola, 18, and Fiona, 14, can't help but rewatch the show as a parent.

"I never thought I would be a parent when I was in those scenes in that environment," recalls Garth, who co-hosts the iHeartRadio podcast 9021OMG with costar and BFF Tori Spelling. "[I have] an overall appreciation for the parents' perspective that I never found before. I'm sometimes a little bit more interested in what Jim or Cindy [Walsh] are going through, because I can relate more now."

Parents.com recently caught up with Garth about the lessons she's learned now that she's in "Jim and Cindy's" shoes, what it's like to be able to keep working with Spelling, and the advice she has for all moms ahead of Mother's Day.

How She's Keeping Her Daughters Safe Behind the Wheel

From multiple cringeworthy incidents involving Brandon's car he nicknamed "Mondale" to Brenda's difficulty getting her driver's license, the show often nodded to the unnerving moments parents and teens face related to getting out on the road. And that's something Garth, who partnered with Kelley Blue Book to announce their Best Family Cars of 2021, feels intimately familiar with now as a mom of young adults.

"When your kids hit the road, that's a game-changer," notes Garth. "And you want to make sure that you're getting something that's reliable and safe. Finding the right car for them is a big undertaking."

What Being the Mom of Teens Has Taught Garth About 'Giving Back' to Herself

Another major undertaking for Garth has been the transition from raising kids who live at home to being on "the precipice of them all being independent." The experience has led her to have an epiphany about prioritizing her own needs.

"I'm a very hands-on mom," says Garth. "I have devoted my life to being a mom, and everything else is secondary. And I don't know that that's always been the best or the healthiest thing for me or for my relationships. But it's just the way I mother. It's just the way I want to be a mom. I want to be there for them 100 percent until they don't want me there anymore."

And as her daughters have become more self-reliant and started coming to her when they need her, it's been more of a transition for Garth than it has for them, she says. "For them, it's natural," she notes. "For me, it kind of feels like it's taking something away. But at the same time, they're also giving me such a beautiful gift—having these young women [who are] also my friends. And there's just another level of what we can share with one another and how we can relate to each other."

This phase also means Garth is now able to focus a "little bit more" on herself. "I can go do what I want to do and clear my head and give back to myself, which I think is super important," says the actress. "I never really got to do that, because I was so focused on them for so long. And I think a lot of moms do that, and then [what could happen is] you stop taking care of yourself, and you start to lose yourself."

For that reason, she encourages other moms to utilize any time they can to take care of themselves. "Don't feel bad about being away from your kids to enjoy being by yourself or with your friends or with your husband or whoever it is," emphasizes Garth, who has been enjoying golfing with friends or by herself as well as prioritizing her mental health.

"I'm really focusing on that not just for myself but for my girls and actually having it be a conversation on how it's just like physical health," says the mom of three.

How Garth Is Bonding With BFF Tori Spelling These Days

Garth looks forward to passing on these lessons she's currently learning as a mom of teens and a 23-year-old to mom of five Spelling. "We're kind of different planets, so I'm the person that's like, 'Here's what's coming!'" explains Garth. "I try to get her ready for having that many kids be teenagers at the same time. She usually doesn't want to hear what I have to say, and [I'll say,] 'I think you need to hear what I have to say because you need to be prepared.'"

At the root of Garth's advice-giving is a decades-long, cherished bond. "Tori and I are best friends, and we love working together," the actress says. "We love hanging out. So any excuse in any way, shape, or form we can figure out how to be together, we do."

That's why the pair got together to do the 9021OMG podcast, for which they rewatch every episode from the very beginning and offer commentary on all the juicy behind-the-scenes details. "It's a gift to be able to go back and look at a decade of your life on camera," says Garth. "Even though it wasn't my life, it was me living that life. Also, I never really watched the show. But now watching it, I get it. I'm a fan."

She's also noticed just how many topical issues the show covered back then from systemic racism to homelessness to addiction. "It's crazy how it stands up," she says. "In some instances, it's unfortunate that it's still something we're talking about. But it was pretty groundbreaking [what] the show did in that time, before anybody was talking about it, especially on prime time with a group of teenagers, so I'm very proud of that."

And as much as things change, Garth thinks they probably would have stayed the same as far as Kelly Taylor and Donna Martin are concerned. "I feel like, oddly enough, Kelly and Donna are up to the exact same things that Jennie and Tori are up to," she notes. "Trying to find time to go off and having that glass of wine together, go shopping maybe, and just trying to be together."