Jenny McCarthy talks about her deeply religious past

Oct 6, 2012 at 4:00 p.m. ET

Few people would guess that Jenny McCarthy grew up in a strict Catholic household. In her new book, she talks about growing up both deeply religious and poor, and how it helped her become the woman she is today.

Jenny McCarthyJenny McCarthy came into the public eye in the 1990s as a Playboy pinup and on the MTV show Singled Out. She was then given her own show and has worked on multiple projects since then.

But surprisingly, given the course of her career, McCarthy says she and her family were deeply religious when she was growing up.

"[My sisters and I] used to lay with rosaries and statues all over our bodies because we thought that would protect us from Satan," McCarthy told ABC News. "I used to have a Jesus poster, the pope was over there, flaming heart of Jesus was over there. And then I had some 'I heart Jesus' T-shirts and bags hanging up."

She continued by saying, "Jesus was my Bieber."

McCarthy even wrote a book about her religion and how is shaped who she is. Bad Habits: Confessions of a Recovering Catholic is out now and talks about her upbringing, which included growing up in a poor household.

"We really were hungry a lot of nights," she said.

For a while after she got out of the house, she had a hard time making enough money, an experience that also shaped who she is.

"I really tried to figure out ways to survive," she said. "One of them was to flirt with boys in bars and go back to their place and tell them I'll meet them in their bedroom in a second, and they'd go in the bedroom. I would go in the refrigerator, I would steal their pizzas and I'd run home."

Ultimately, working in a store helped McCarthy realize the power of Playboy, the publication that would be her eventual path to fame.

"Guys would come in to buy them, they would ask for them and I would pick it up and throw it at them," she told ABC. "But I was like, 'If these chicks can do it, I'm sitting here in this store, why couldn't I do it?'"

Photo courtesy Michael Carpenter/