updated 06/08/2009 AT 3:00 PM ET
•originally published 06/08/2009 AT 3:55 PM ET
“She wanted to give Candy an opportunity to see her grandchildren,” a source close to Spelling tells PEOPLE. “It was her daughter’s first birthday and she wanted her own mom to be there.”
Despite RSVPing “yes” to the ladybug-themed luncheon, Candy Spelling never showed up, according to the source. “Tori didn’t know until after the fact that she wasn’t coming,” the source says. “She was waiting for her mom to arrive but she didn’t end up showing.”
But Candy says she declined the invitation because the party was being filmed for her daughter’s reality show, Tori & Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood – and she says she informed her daughter of her decision before the lunch on Saturday.
An Agonizing Decision
“Candy was so excited to be invited to the party,” says her spokesperson, “but then she found out it wasn’t to be at Tori’s home, but at a house rented by the production. So it was clear, it was for Tori’s show.” (The party took place at a private estate in Encino, Calif., and featured a tented tennis court with chandeliers, a gardening station, a cookie-decorating station, ladybug sprinklers, a ladybug insect zoo, face paintings and pony rides.)
Uncomfortable with the prospect of being part of the reality show – despite assurances from producers that she didn’t have to appear on camera – Candy’s rep says she “agonized over whether to go or not,” but ultimately e-mailed her daughter her decision on Saturday morning.
“Candy felt like she had to say ‘no,’ ” her spokesperson says. “She wrote to her daughter that she wanted to do something privately with Tori and her family.”
According to the source close to Tori, Candy Spelling’s office indeed called in advance and was aware that the party would be filmed for the Oxygen show. “She was told in advance she wouldn’t be filmed if she didn’t wish to be,” the source says. “That was never a problem.”
Adds the source: “Tori took a step to reach out. Tori is not preventing her mom from seeing her kids. People think she’s preventing her mother from seeing the kids, but she does invite her.”
Reporting by MAUREEN HARRINGTON and ULRICA WIHLBORG