updated 04/20/2012 AT 9:00 AM ET
•originally published 04/20/2012 AT 12:30 PM ET
Jennie Garth can talk about her divorce from Peter Facinelli, but weeks after turning 40, there’s one thing she says she won’t be sharing: her birthday wish.
However, now that she’s marked the milestone, she says she’s discovered a sense of certainty and confidence.
“What a great time in a woman’s life. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen or how I was going to feel about it,” the former Beverly Hills, 90210 star told reporters Thursday. “But now having turned the corner, it’s really empowering.”
That inner strength has come in handy. “I have been working toward that, pulling that strength up for a few years now, going through everything that I have been going through,” she added. “I really feel that I am in touch with it now.”
Just more than a month after the couple announced their split following 11 years of marriage (and 17 years together), Garth is making the rounds of the press circuit to promote her new CMT reality show, Jennie Garth: A Little Bit Country, which premieres Friday.
“It’s not something I’m dying to talk abut, but it’s something that’s going on in my life,” she says, speaking about her divorce on Friday’s The Ellen DeGeneres Show – and it’s a concept she has articulated before. “I think by being open and honest with what I’m going through, maybe it helps somebody else.
She adds: “I’m not afraid to talk about it.”
As for her relationship with Facinelli, 38, whom she has three daughters with – Luca, 14, Lola, 9, and Fiona, 5 – she mirrors the Twilight star’s sentiment about staying in each other’s lives.
“We’re still a family of some kind, and we’re still so committed for being there for our girls. That’s the most important thing for us,” she tells DeGeneres. “I think at first, I wasn’t sure how I was going to make it through, but I really learned that I am so much stronger than I thought I was.”