Even if you’ve spent your childhood sailing the world with the biggest legends in Hollywood, there’s still no place like home.

Jill Whelan, famous for playing teenager Vicki Stubing for nine seasons on The Love Boat (she joined the show as a regular cast member in 1979), is happily docked these days in California’s San Fernando Valley, where she continues to act, sing and create her own comedy podcasts.

“I’d moved to Pennsylvania with my husband to raise my sons, but I was unhappy and missed my family in LA terribly,” Jill, 48, reveals to Closer. “We’re all super close.”

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Jill (left) on The Love Boat in 1983. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

So three years ago, the soon-to-be-divorced star set a course for adventure and moved back to LA with her sons, Grant, 10, and Harrison, 20, who wanted to attend college on the West Coast. “It just all made sense,” says Jill, who was happy to have her family close by again, and turned to an inside connection to help her find the perfect home. “My mom, Carol, was one of the best Realtors in the San Fernando Valley,” she confides.

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The moment the two women walked into this three-bedroom, two-bath ranch house two years ago, “the energy was palpable,” Jill recalls. “It was a family home that was obviously very loved.”

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Jill with sons Harrison and Grant and her sister Nancy in 2015.

In hopes of persuading the owners, who had lived there since it was built in 1956, to sell it to her before their scheduled open house, Jill took pen to paper. “My mom said that I needed to write them a love letter about the house,” Jill confides. “I really poured my heart out, and they canceled the open house, saying they wanted me to have it!”

After a fresh coat of paint, Jill filled the cozy house with her favorite antique furniture. “I love antiquing at estate sales!” she shares. At a friend’s suggestion, she also repurposed a former sunroom into a dining room, where the actress, who is a passionate home chef, likes to hold dinner parties. “I entertain all the time, and people are always here,” she admits. “I much prefer having them over, so we can relax and I can cook.”

To read the full story on Jill, pick up the new issue of ‘Closer Weekly,’ on newsstands now!