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An earlier version of this story originally aired on October 2, 2022.


Correspondent Tracy Smith asked actor John Stamos, “Do you feel like you’re having a moment?”

“I hope I am,” he replied. “But then, if you have a moment, then that moment has to end, right? Or something. [Still], I’m happier than I’ve ever been.”

Truth is, Stamos has a lot to be happy about. In the past four decades, Stamos has become something of a fixture in our lives:  He’s the heartthrob who won’t ever break your heart … the friend who won’t ever let you down … and from here to Broadway, someone who’s been called one of the truly underrated actors in the game.

These days, he’s also a husband and a father. He married actor and model Caitlin McHugh in 2018, just before the birth of their son, Billy. It was the end of what he says was maybe one of the longest childhoods in history.

“I went into becoming an adult kicking and screaming,” he said. “And when you have the whole world going, ‘You look 20,’ I didn’t have any of those tent poles that say you’re an adult. I was just skatin’ through.”

“You didn’t have to grow up?”

“I didn’t have to. I had Peter Pan syndrome, which is dangerous, you know?”

The boy who didn’t want to grow up was born in Orange County, California in 1963. John was the first of Bill and Loretta Stamos’ three children, and even as a kid, little John seemed destined for the stage. 

“I wanted to be famous,” he said. “I wanted to be famous so bad! And then once I got it, I loved it. I still do. You know, these people go, ‘Oh, I hate being famous, taking pictures.’ If you see me somewhere, ask for a picture. I’m happy to do it, because it’s what I wanted my whole life.”

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Actor John Stamos.

CBS News


He skipped college to try his hand at acting, and landed a role as Blackie Parish on the long-running soap “General Hospital.” Stamos was a star, with a reputation as a ladies’ man. He said, “There was a long time when I felt like, ‘I need to be this Lothario,’ because people were living vicariously through [me]. … I wasn’t that guy. I mean, there were moments. But I think people thought I was out doing a lotta things with a lot of women that I wasn’t. First of all, the thing that saved me most was I would go to bed around 8:00 at night. I was always asleep!”

But his star really took off in 1987, when he was cast as Uncle Jesse Katsopolis in the TV series “Full House.”

“‘Full House’ comes along, I’m not gonna lie, it was very difficult, a lot of it. A lot of it was,” he said.

Why? “Because it just wasn’t where I saw myself. The reviews were like, ‘This show won’t last ’til Thanksgiving.’ And now, I’m so proud of it. Now I’m really happy that I did that show. I’m glad I did it, obviously.”

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John Stamos and Bob Saget in the sitcom “Full House.”

ABC


Whatever his feelings about “Full House,” it made John Stamos a next-level star, and gave him a best friend in co-star Bob Saget.

At Stamos’ 50th birthday bash in 2013, Saget toasted his friend: “You deserve so much happiness and you are so full of love and you are such a great person. And the talent and the looks everybody resents, but you’re just a heart, and I just love you very, very much.”

The two were practically inseparable, and when Saget died in January 2022 after a fall in a Florida hotel room, Stamos was shattered.

Stamos said, “I don’t know what else to say about it other than obviously … one of the biggest influences in my life was Bob. I wouldn’t be who I am without Bob. My parents, now that’s obvious. But him, you know, he was there for everything, all the good, all the bad. He was my brother, you know? He’s the brother that that I always wanted.”

At his house, Stamos showed Smith Saget’s guitar, which his wife gave to him. “You can only play dirty songs on here,” he said.

Stamos is a collector: his home is filled with photos of heroes who became friends.  He’s also collected a few screen credits, like a long-term part on the hit series “ER.”

With looks, charm, and a star on the Walk of Fame, it always seemed like Stamos had the perfect life. But his first marriage, to model-actress Rebecca Romijn, ended in divorce. And as he writes in a new memoir coming out later this fall, “If You Would Have Told Me,” he had other dark days as well. 

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Henry Holt & Co.


Smith asked, “Have you pretty much worked steadily since ‘General Hospital’? Has there ever really been a dry spell?”

“Yeah. I think there was a time. I think I’m in a dry spell right now. I haven’t worked in a couple days!” he replied. 

“That’s how you look at it?”

“That’s how actors look at it. There was, yes, of course, there was times,” Stamos said. “You know, I don’t wanna labor on it. But in my first marriage, I think I was consumed with her and not my own career. And I just kinda let things go and it was more I felt like, ‘I’ve done it,’ you know? That was my thing, too. For the longest time, when I was not sober, when I was fuzzy, I thought, ‘I’ve done it all.’ I didn’t wanna kill myself, but I didn’t care if I died.”

“You didn’t care if you died?”

“I said, ‘I’ve done it all. I’ve done … if I die tomorrow, it’s okay.’ What was I thinking? I hadn’t done it all; I still haven’t done it all, not even close.”

And he got something of a wake-up call in 2015 when he was arrested for driving under the influence.

He said, “You know, that fateful night of, I got in my car, I thought I could drive, and I couldn’t. I just have flashes in my mind about driving in circles. And people were driving near me and they would roll the window down, ‘Uncle Jesse, pull over!’ And I went to rehab, and it was the hardest thing ever.

“My friend said, ‘You know, your mom was really worried about you.’ He said my mom would call him and say, ‘I’m worried about Johnny.’ ‘Cause I thought I was fooling everybody. Anyway, that was that. So, when that happened, I said, I can’t screw this up now. I have to stay with this.”

And here’s something you might not know about Stamos: he’ s a hell of a drummer. He’s been playing with the Beach Boys and co-founder Mike Love since the 1980s. Love even officiated John and Cailtin’s wedding.

“You know how they say don’t meet your heroes?” Stamos said. “I’m glad that I met him, ’cause he’s  everything that you’d want Mike Love to be.”

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John Stamos at the drums. 

CBS News


And maybe, after a few decades of figuring it out, John Stamos is everything he wants to be, too.

Smith asked him, “What’s the future look like?”

“I don’t know, I don’t know,” he replied. “More kids, I hope. But I’m not looking too far in advance. I’m just thinking about now. ‘Cause the next moment might be someone, you know, gone, right?”

“And this moment’s pretty great?”

“This is a great moment. Winnie the Pooh said something like, ‘Today is my new favorite day.’ Making these new memories, and it’s, you know, my new favorite day. Today is my new favorite day.”

     
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Story produced by John D’Amelio. Editor: Mike Levine. 



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