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8 Quick Questions for John Stamos

Actor pens candid memoir, ‘If You Would Have Told Me’

spinner image john stamos wearing black against blue ombre background
Photo Collage: MOA Staff; (Source: Nathan Congleton/NBC via Getty Images)

To some, actor John Stamos, 60, will always be fun, lovable Uncle Jesse from the hit sitcom Full House. But his life hasn’t been all laughs. He’s been through a public divorce from actress Rebecca Romijn and grieved the death of both of his parents. And last year, he suffered the loss of his Full House co-star and close friend, comedian Bob Saget. Saget’s death ultimately propelled Stamos to write his memoir, If You Would Have Told Me, and he hopes people will read the book and connect with “the human things that happened to me, that happen to everybody — the relatable things.”

spinner image book cover with john stamos on it and words john stamos, if you would have told me
Stamos’ memoir is a story about friendship, love, loss and the courage to embrace love once more.
Henry Holt and Co.

What made you decide to write a memoir?

I always just thought [writing a book] would be so daunting. I like writing scripts, but I just couldn't wrap my head around it. Agents started calling once they saw that L.A. Times obituary that I did for Bob [the newspaper printed the speech Stamos delivered at Saget’s memorial]. I thought about my mom, who kept every note, every calendar, every journal, every scrapbook. [Those items] have been a map for me. And I thought, Alright, well, let me try. But if it doesn't work, I'm out. It just started pouring out of me.

What do you miss most about Bob?

I miss being able to call. I'm sad that he doesn't get to see Billy [Stamos’ 5-year-old son with wife Caitlin McHugh Stamos] and how funny he is. Billy is great, and his humor is closer to Bob's than closer to mine. He likes poop jokes, this kid.

Has Billy watched Full House?

Yes, the nanny and him watch it all the time. He watches it only to make fun of me. The thing that really got me was one day I walked through [the room] and he was watching an episode where Jesse and Danny [Saget] were having this long conversation about each other's lives. And Jesse wanted Danny's life — you know, a wife and kids and a family. And Danny wanted my life — you know, the rock ’n’ roll guy. I stopped and watched it and I just lost it. Billy, he saw me, but he didn't [react]. He let me have that moment.

spinner image full house cast: dave coulier, ashley/mary-kate olsen, john stamos, candace cameron, bob saget and jodie sweetin
Stamos played the role of fun, loveable Uncle Jesse on ‘Full House.’
Warner Bros/Everett Collection

Having experienced show business at a young age, would you encourage or discourage Billy if he shows interest?

It's a hard life, and I had it the best because I had early success, and I had my parents there. My sisters would go, “Knock it off, go clean the dog poop in the backyard. You're not that cool.” But it's hard. I hope he doesn't. He can be anything he wants, except for an Instagram model.

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You turned 60 this year. How did that feel?

Who? What? What's the AARP age? I've passed that already, right? I was in Greece with my family and some celebrities — I won't name drop. Then my wife threw this really great ’60s [themed] party for me. The Beach Boys showed up. [Stamos often performs with the band as a guest musician.] And it was a great night of music and fun. What was emotional about it was that I played some speeches and videos from my 50th [birthday]. A lot of [the people who made them] are not here [including Don Rickles, Bob Saget, Garry Marshall and Stamos’s mother, Loretta Stamos] but I think it's so important to remember these people, talk about them.

Do you plan to continue touring with The Beach Boys? 

As long as they go, I’m with them. We were playing at this Asbury Park [N.J.] music festival. All these great younger groups [were scheduled to play], and when I saw it on the books for The Beach Boys, I was like, Uh-oh, that might be a little scary — an oldies act playing there. … We go out on stage — and it was 35,000 people — and they went absolutely batsh*t for us. It was people in their 30s or 40s, and they went nuts. … The [Beach Boys] music now, I feel [is stronger for people] than it was when they wrote it. [Songs like] “Wouldn't It Be Nice,” “Good Vibrations,” “Fun, Fun, Fun” — all optimistic, happy [and they bring back memories for people] of past times that meant something to them. So [I realized], Ah, that's sort of what Full House has become for people. If they turn it on, it's safe. It's like a good, warm, home-cooked meal.

Any bucket-list acting roles you still want to do?

I'm still waiting for my Breaking Bad moment. I think it's coming. You work so hard to change people's perception of you, and then you realize, I gotta stop. I did a [Broadway] play with James Earl Jones [The Best Man, 2012] — [it got] great reviews, [and I spent] three hours on stage with the best actor alive. And the last night we were walking across the stage, I said, “James, you did something for me that no one's done. You gave me a real sense of legitimacy. People will now look at me as a real actor, and it's because of you.” We walk outside, doors open to fans screaming, “Uncle Jesse!” I was mortified and I couldn't look out. I was like, I got to crawl under the legs. Run down the street. Just then someone holds their phone up to James and says, “James, could you say, ‘Luke, I am your father’ for my kid?” We both look at each other and go, OK, stop trying so hard. So that's where I just let loose and let go.

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Looking back on your life, do you have any regrets?

Writing [the book], I realized that every little bump in the road — and there were some big ones — landed me where I am here. If I didn't go through that divorce and some of the heartbreak that I did, I wouldn't have had the fairy tale wedding that I have now, and a child. It's like Indiana Jones [in Raiders of the Lost Ark], where he's running from the guys and they're shooting stuff at him and there's a wall coming down and he grabs his whip and rolls [to safety] just as the wall comes down. That was me with a wife and a kid. I desperately made it. So if I didn't have that, I would have a lot of regrets. But that's fallen into place, and now it's just time to celebrate the good stuff, celebrate my family, celebrate being a dad.

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