updated 07/07/2014 AT 3:00 PM ET
•originally published 07/08/2014 AT 9:55 AM ET
Luckily, McCarthy – a Playboy model turned actress, activist and author – is no stranger to reinvention.
“When I first moved out to L.A. and I was a Playmate, I’d be asked, ‘What do you want to do?’ I’d reply, ‘Comedy.’ They’d say, ‘Honey, that’s funny. A Playmate in comedy? That’s never going to happen.’ But then I was on Singled Out,” she says in the fall issue of NEW YOU magazine, on newsstands July 29.
“Later, I said I wanted to write a book and they said, ‘That’s hilarious. No one would pick up your book,’ ” she continues. “Now, I have 10 books. I almost enjoy the challenge. You tell me I can’t do it? Guess what – I’m the rule-breaker.”
“He’s my mirror. Things were always unbalanced in my previous relationships – I’ve either been a teacher or a student,” says McCarthy, who has a son with ex-husband John Asher and dated Jim Carrey for five years. “With Donnie, we’re just equal. I have my own identity and goals and he has his, yet we’re so similar we work on them together.”
But McCarthy hasn’t always gotten love from viewers. Reflecting on the “Twitter hate” she’s weathered in the past for her statements connecting vaccines to autism (No scientific study has found such a link), she tells the magazine: “You have to be strong enough as a woman to voice your opinion, and sometimes you can get really beat up. People are either with you or against you, and if you take a position and people don’t agree with it, they can hate you for life. When really, it’s just a position you hold, that has nothing to do with your personal self.”