November 9, 2023 - 11:40 am
Updated November 10, 2023 - 7:42 am
“If you would have told me, I’d write a memoir, I would have said no way,” John Stamos shares. “I said I’m never writing a book. I’m not articulate enough. I’m not smart enough. I had to discover my story as I discovered myself.”
The first step to discovery: Ask the really hard questions.
“I think there is a time in life where all of us have to look in the mirror and say, ‘Who is this person?’ ” the 60-year-old actor poses. “Ask yourself that question today. ‘Who am I?’ It’s a great lesson in humility and gratitude.”
Stamos found some inspiring answers, now contained in his bestselling memoir, “If You Would Have Told Me.” The beloved TV star grew up in Cypress, California, as the son of a restaurant owner. Stamos worked at his father’s place and flipped burgers before discovering acting.
He landed his first role on “General Hospital” and later became a household name as Uncle Jesse on “Full House.” His book covers the ups and downs: rehab, playing with the Beach Boys, the death of his friend Bob Saget in 2022.
“I never envisioned my name on the New York Times Best Seller list,” Stamos says. “I’m at a loss for words, which is rare.”
He lives in L.A. with his wife, Caitlin, 4-year-old son, Billy, and the couch from the “Full House” living room. His good life advice:
Find the good
Stamos says he inherited one of his favorite traits from his mom. “As a kid, I would tell her, ‘Mom, stop complimenting people!’ She had this wonderful way of finding the one good thing about someone, and that would define them to her,” he explains. “And now, that’s me. I look for the good. I love people and want to find the best in them.”
Stamos looks back fondly on his “Full House” days. “I finally figured out writing this book what the show means to people,” he says of the hit sitcom that ran from 1987 to 1995. “We made the show for the people who loved it and needed something light and fluffy. You pushed the brain out, and it made room for heart. The central character of that show was love. It became everyone’s family.”
Bad with the good
“As I looked back, I realized that you have to be grateful for even the bad moments. They get you to the good moments. I’ve learned life isn’t about regrets when you see how it all plays out,” says Stamos, who adds that his divorce from actress Rebecca Romijn led to his dream life now with his wife and son.
Take a wild swing
When he wrapped “Full House,” Stamos did a turn in the musical “Cabaret” at Studio 54 in New York. Risky? “You always tell yourself to take chances,” he says. “I saw the show before I did it. The actors were brilliant, and I said, ‘I can never do that.’ Then I thought, ‘OK, I better try.’ I dug in deep and let it all go, which was liberating. It was the best thing I ever did.”
Stamos has been playing with his favorite band, the Beach Boys, since 1985. “People need that music so badly,” he observes. “When you see the audience at a Beach Boys concert, it’s like comfort food. A home-cooked meal. ‘Wouldn’t It Be Nice.’ ‘Fun, Fun, Fun.’ It’s all positivity. You need to just listen and let music do what it does.”
‘Order the cake’
He learned to depend on his good friend. “Bob Saget was the guy,” Stamos shares. “If I was hanging off a cliff, holding onto just one branch and I had one phone call, it would be to Bob. I’d be like, ‘Come get me.’ ”
Saget also taught him how to live in the “now,” Stamos says. “He never left anything on the table. He always told you how much he cared about you and how much he loved you as family.
“One of his lines was to ‘order the cake.’ He knew what I know now: You never know when is the last time you will see someone. Enjoy. Order that piece of cake.”
“What I was missing in my life was family,” Stamos says. Ten years post-divorce, he met actress Caitlin McHugh while they were filming an episode of “Law &Order: Special Victims Unit.”
They saw each other again when her roommate appeared on an episode of “Fuller House” and McHugh was in the audience. “I went, ‘Hey, are you stalking me?’ She was like, ‘No. I haven’t thought about you twice.’ I loved that about her.” After dating for two years, Stamos popped the question at Disneyland.
Stamos always wanted to be a father. He was so good with kids that his nickname on “Fuller House” was “the baby whisperer.” “Billy is so beautiful and unpredictable,” he says. “I love being a father. … The best part of me is my wife and my son.”
Write it out
“My mom always wrote me all of these beautiful notes with life advice,” Stamos shares. “One thing that stuck: Don’t give the devil a ride. He will end up doing all of the driving.’ It’s good advice.
“We should all write our kids letters. My wife and I set up an email account for our son, and I write letters to him that he will get when he’s 18. It’s a way to document all the love.”