Aunt Becky. DJ Tanner. Kimmy Gibbler. They are the women of “Full House,” and their names will live on TV sitcom history.
The kid-centric sitcom about an unconventional family premiered on ABC in 1987 and ended in 1995. But in the years since, actresses Lori Loughlin (Aunt Becky), Candace Cameron Bure (DJ Tanner) and Andrea Barber (Kimmy Gibbler) have remained close friends.
“We’re closer now than we even were on the set,” Barber said.
She, Loughlin and Bure sat down with ABC News’ Chris Connelly to talk about their friendship.
“We loved each other so much,” Loughlin, 49, said. “I really felt like, as an audience member, that came across”.
They all grew up and pursued their lives. Barber has two children, and earned a master’s degree in women’s studies. Bure, 38, has written several books and has three children. Loughlin has two children. She is starring in “When Calls the Heart” on the Hallmark Channel.
Even with families of their own and complicated schedules, they make time for each other. Barber, 37, loves to run marathons, and has gotten Bure to run some 10Ks with her.
Loughlin said her two daughters tweet support for Bure.
“I mean Candace has been killing it on ‘Dancing With the Stars’ and Andrea and I have been watching and voting and we’ve gone to visit her and, you know, you just — you get out there, you support the ones that you love,” she said.
Bure said the support means “everything” to her, and called Loughlin and Barber “family.”
“I mean these are two of my closest friends. I’ve known them virtually my entire life. So the fact that they’re there and they’re supporting me and tweeting and doing the social media and all that, it’s amazing,” she said. “You know, I know that I’m — because being on the show, on ‘Dancing With the Stars,’ the public votes mean so much. I mean that’s what’s really kept me in this competition. So know there are a ton of ‘Full House’ fans so the fact that these guys are tweeting extra for me going, vote for Candace, I’m like, I need that.”
The three women may be connected for life by their time on “Full House,” but their children aren’t all as connected, they said.
Loughlin said her children watch the show “once in a while. But they always say to me, ‘Oh, it’s weird.’ It’s weird to see anything I do, they say it’s weird.”
Barber’s children watch. She says they “turn it on every morning,” adding that they love the Joey character played by Dave Coulier.
Bure said her children watch more now than they did when they were younger.
“But my, my youngest, Maks, loves that I was on the show because — he switched schools this year and it instantly gave him a ton of friends once they found out who I — who his mom was,” she said, adding that her son had a DJ Tanner T-shirt that he wears to school.
Growing Up in Front of America
In her book “Balancing It All,” Bure recalled Loughlin’s support on the set of the show during her adolescence. She was considered a kind of big sister on the set.
“It can be a strange thing growing up in front of all of America. So whenever I had a question, even with my first kiss, I was like, ‘Lori, what do I do?’” Bure recalled.
“‘Do I, do I open my eyes, do I close my eyes?’” Loughlin chimed in, channeling Bure.
When Connelly asked Loughlin how she answered Bure’s question, she replied: “You close them.”
“I was like, ‘OK,’” Bure said.
And no discussion of the cast could be complete without the question of the relationship between Loughlin and co-star John Stamos, who played Uncle Jesse. Stamos famously described Loughlin as “the one that got away.”
Loughlin said she believed “poor John” may have been on the spot when he came up with that phrase, but she did say they were great friends.
“The truth is, when I was on the show, I was married to, to my first husband so — and then I was getting divorced at the same time he was meeting [model] Rebecca [Romijn] and we just — I don’t know, we just kind of missed,” she said.
“But we’re, I mean, I love John. We are great friends. We have great chemistry. I mean I’ve said all of this before, you know, he’s one of my favorite people and he’s always there for me and, you know, he will be, you know, my lifelong buddy.”
Barber and Bure have managed to lead quiet lives, avoiding the pitfalls that have trapped so many child stars.
Loughlin explained that her friends came from good families and had a solid foundation. She added that they were on a set with adults who came from similar backgrounds, and they were very grounded.
“We didn’t have any wild cards on the show. We didn’t have any drug issues. We didn’t, we just didn’t have anything like that,” she said.
Bure said she doesn’t even remember being offered drugs.
Added Barber: “That was not our crowd. Not on the set and not in our personal lives at home with the school. I hung with the yearbook crowd at my school, you know? It’s all about how you choose your friends and I think Lori’s right, it’s about good parenting and having good role models, too.”
On the final day of shooting, the cast linked arms and walked together off the set.
“I have chills,” Barber said, recalling the moment.
A ‘Full House’ Reunion?
Loughlin said the moment was “bittersweet.”
So will there ever be a “Full House” reunion?
“There’s always conversations going around,” Bure said, but adding that any such project would have to be done right and not tarnish the show’s legacy.
“I know for me, like growing up watching, whatever, ‘The Brady Bunch,’ and then the reunion show comes back and it’s always a little bit of a disappointment, in my opinion,” she said. “Sometimes I think things are better off just left the way they are.”