The Stunning Transformation Of John Stamos

John Stamos has been famous for most of his life. While many stars may deny enjoying the fact that they are rich and recognizable, not Stamos; he's proud to say that that's just the way he likes it. The "Scream Queens" star told CBS News, "I wanted to be famous so bad! And then once I got it, I loved it. I still do." 

However, that fame admittedly came with a darker side. It meant Stamos didn't need to grow up the way most people do. "I went into becoming an adult kicking and screaming," he reflected. His youthful good looks helped. "I didn't have any of those tent poles that say you're an adult," he explained. "I was just skatin' through."

In 2023, the 60-year-old Stamos released a memoir called "If You Would Have Told Me." In the book, Stamos reflects on the highs and lows of his journey through Hollywood, looking back at some truly momentous occasions. The book surprised its own author, according to an interview with People. "I did set out to write a hero story," he confessed, "but then as I was doing it I was like, 'No, I'm going to tell a human story.'"

After all, even though he's incredibly famous, John Stamos is as human as the rest of us. Even though he may have had it easier than many, his life has still been full of change. Learn about the stunning transformation of John Stamos, from childhood to fatherhood.

John Stamos was bullied as a child

John Stamos was born in 1963 in Cypress, California. Growing up in Orange County, just south of Los Angeles, helped shape him into the person he is, the actor told Orange Coast Magazine. "I wouldn't be a dreamer if it weren't for where I grew up," he said. "I wouldn't have moved forward with an anything-is-possible feeling." 

When he was younger, Stamos felt like he didn't fit in with other kids. "I really was the dorky kid," he recalled. "I was into magic and theme parks. I was very innocent." As a result, Stamos faced a lot of bullying. While on "The View," he related an anecdote where he was told that the prettiest girl in school had a crush on him. The girl's boyfriend found out and punched him right in the eye. "There was no talk of bullying then," he said, recalling how he was also made fun of for having a big nose. "There was no counselors. I was sort of really embarrassed about it." 

Instead of confiding in adults, Stamos came up with his own solution — an unusual one, but it wound up being prophetic. "I've got to do something," Stamos remembered thinking. "I've got to become famous."

He told the same story on "The Drew Barrymore Show," detailing how that interaction shaped his thinking for a long time. "Look, I've matured, I let go," he said. On "The View," though, Stamos confessed, "It still bothers me."

John Stamos was abused by a babysitter

Bullies weren't the only problem John Stamos faced as a child. In his 2023 memoir "If You Would Have Told Me," Stamos opened up for the first time about having been sexually abused by a babysitter when he was younger. Noting that the girl was in her late teens at the time, Stamos recalled that "a lot of the time, she's kind of fun. We play, watch sitcoms, and laze around on the couch" (via TODAY). However, sometimes her behavior took a turn. "Sometimes, she gets weird, and it makes me feel weird, too. Uncomfortable," he wrote. "She does strange stuff I don't understand."

Stamos told People that he had never really grappled with the abuse until he started to write the book. For most of his life, he explained, he "packed it away" until he was ready to deal with it. "I think I told myself, like, 'Ah, it's girls, man,'" he said. 

Writing the book, however, he couldn't avoid recalling the experience. "It was a page or something, but I felt I had to talk about it," he said, noting that he was only 10 or 11 when the abuse occurred. "I shouldn't have had to deal with those feelings," he concluded.

If you or someone you know may be the victim of child abuse, please contact the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child (1-800-422-4453) or contact its live chat services.

John Stamos' fan-favorite General Hospital character

After John Stamos left high school, he skipped college. Instead, he wanted to be an actor. Luckily for the budding young thespian, he almost immediately landed the role of Blackie Parrish on "General Hospital." The hunky star quickly won legions of fans as the rebellious character, and with those fans came a reputation. 

However, Stamos told CBS News that his off-screen life wasn't nearly what "General Hospital" viewers might've assumed. "There was a long time when I felt like, 'I need to be this Lothario,' because people were living vicariously through [me]," he said. "... I wasn't that guy." Instead, early in his career, Stamos concentrated on doing things right. That meant often being in bed by 8 p.m. so that he'd be fresh and ready to film the next day.

Stamos later said that being on "General Hospital" taught him how to be on television. Speaking with Pop Entertainment, Stamos explained, "First and foremost you learn discipline. You've got to be there every day and there's a lot of dialogue." As fans got hooked on Blackie, he was featured in more and more scenes, meaning sometimes, he was memorizing 30 script pages a day. "You'd have to go through every emotion in one hour; sad, mad, crying, up and down, all over," he recalled.

In the end, despite Blackie's popularity, Stamos stayed on "General Hospital" for only two years. "I was very fortunate to break out and do other things," he said.

John Stamos' nose jobs

In addition to helping him learn how to act, being on "General Hospital" taught John Stamos something else, too. Namely, it taught him that he didn't like his nose. He first became self-conscious about it when he was called "Big Nose Stamos" as a child, but seeing himself on screen led to him ultimately agreeing with his childhood bullies. "Fixating on my nose is beginning to detract from my performance. Plus, the early years of bullying ... have me ready to make a change," he wrote in his memoir "If You Would Have Told Me" (via E! News).

Stamos decided to go under the knife. Unfortunately, after getting the procedure done during a break from filming "General Hospital," he wasn't happy with the results. "My nose looks kind of pushed up like Peter Pan or something," he recalled. Instead of learning to like himself anyway, Stamos decided to undergo a second procedure the next time he had a hiatus from shooting the soap. "Who better to handle the delicate task of resculpting my nose than the man who created a whole new face for [Michael Jackson]?" he decided. Sure enough, the King of Pop's plastic surgeon was the one who ultimately made Stamos' nose the shape it is today.

In his book, Stamos fully admits the reason why he got it done. He wrote, "Everyone who gets a nose job tries to find some excuse other than vanity, but let's call it what it was — vanity."

He loves playing with The Beach Boys

While he was on "General Hospital," John Stamos ended up backstage at a Beach Boys concert. He'd been chased there by excited fans, and the band's security let him shelter there. Stamos told Kelly Clarkson that Beach Boys founding member Mike Love asked someone who he was. When Love was informed that Stamos was a soap star who had legions of screaming fans, he had an idea. "Mike Love, without missing a beat, goes, 'Get him on stage,'" Stamos recalled. He joined them onstage for the encore, "Barbara Ann," and an unlikely musical collaboration was born.

That was the start of a long relationship between Stamos and the band. He's even in the music video for "Kokomo," playing the drums in a pink tank top. He still tours with the band regularly, including setting sail on a Beach Boys-themed cruise. "It's over 34 years now or something like that," he told Clarkson. "What a treat in life."

In September 2023, Stamos joined the Beach Boys for a set at the Shore Music Festival in New Jersey. He told Howard Stern (via NJ Monthly) that he was initially apprehensive about taking part, but those fears melted away when he got onstage. "We only had an hour, so it was hit, hit, hit, hit, hit, and it was one of the greatest shows I've ever played with them," he said.

Stamos wanted to be the main star of Full House

Though John Stamos had his first brush with fame with "General Hospital," it was "Full House" that really rocketed him to superstardom. Stamos played mullet-sporting uncle Jesse Katsopolis, and though the series made him famous worldwide, he initially hated it. 

When he appeared on "Hot Ones," Stamos insisted that when the show was pitched to him, it was described as an update of "Bosom Buddies," a sitcom that paired Tom Hanks with Peter Scolari. The kids, he said, were supposed to be in the background. At the first table read, he noticed Jodi Sweetin getting all the laughs, while his own lines were nearly inaudible because everyone was still laughing at her. He called his agents and told them, "Get me the f*** off this show."

Over time, Stamos came to appreciate what was happening on screen. "I finally said, 'What am I doing? It's a beautiful show we built with sweetness and kindness,'" he said. Stamos realized that there was no one single star in the cast of "Full House," which he came to see as a good thing.

That all being said, Stamos did once get his co-stars fired. He was frustrated with Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen — the baby twins who got their own big break playing Michelle Tanner — after they began crying on set one day, and he insisted on having other kids brought in instead. He told "Live with Kelly and Mark" that the other kids were "semi-attractive at best." The Olsen twins were brought back, and the rest is television history — Stamos even revisited his "Full House" glory days by appearing in the revival, "Fuller House."

A girlfriend cheated on him with another TV star

Though he resisted the idea of being a "Lothario" while on "General Hospital," John Stamos did parlay his television fame into a relationship with model Teri Copley. The coupling, however, was not built to last. In "If You Would Have Told Me," Stamos recalled walking in on his girlfriend in bed with someone else: fellow television star Tony Danza. 

Stamos told People that he didn't recognize the "Who's the Boss?" actor at first. "I see his abs," he recalled, and instead of beating the other man up, he decided to run. "I remember running down the driveway with tears streaming down my face." He added, "Seeing him, realizing it was him and stuff, it was hard. I mean, it was awful."

According to Copley, that's not how it happened. She admitted that Stamos walked in on her and Danza in flagrante, but speaking with People, Copley insisted they were already broken up at the time. "He just looked at me and shook his head, and walked away," Copley claimed.

Stamos responded to her response in an interview with Howard Stern. "She came out and said, 'We were broken up,'" he said, "and, uh, I don't think she told me that." There was a happy ending, though! The show "Who's the Boss?" was scheduled to air right before "Full House," helping boost the latter show's reputation. "He f***** me over here, but without Tony, I'm not sure [my] show would've made it past Season 1," Stamos said.

His ill-fated romance with Rebecca Romijn

In 1994, John Stamos was coming off a number of failed relationships with stars like Paula Abdul. That year, he met model and actor Rebecca Romijn backstage at a Victoria's Secret show. "I fell stone head over heels in love," he told People

After he proposed while nude in bed at the end of 1997, they married in 1998 at a lavish ceremony attended by many of their famous friends. "He had tears coming down his cheeks. You could tell he was really ready to get married," "Full House" castmate Candace Cameron Bure told People.

Stamos — sometimes rocking a beard — and Romijn settled into married life, and she even started going professionally by "Rebecca Romijn-Stamos." The "Party Monster" star told People that his new wife made him a better man, explaining, "Rebecca's challenging to me. When I'm around her I want to be a better person."

Unfortunately, the relationship went south, and their divorce was finalized in 2005. Romijn-Stamos became Romijn once more. Stamos reflected on their divorce in a 2023 interview with Howard Stern, reminiscing, "I hated her after we split up, and I blamed her, but ... it was just as much my fault." Toward the end of their relationship, her career started to rise, while his career had languished after "Full House." "I felt that I became emasculated ... It wasn't her fault," he confessed.

John Stamos' character Tony brought laughs to ER

"Full House" went off the air in 1995. Stamos spent the next decade bouncing around television, acting in a number of made-for-TV movies and starring on shows like "Jake in Progress" and "Thieves," neither of which lasted long. In 2005, he joined the cast of the long-running NBC medical drama "ER" as Tony Gates. Though he initially only appeared on two episodes of Season 12, he was a regular cast member starting in Season 13.

Stamos recalled having auditioned for the show a decade earlier than when he was cast. "It was right after 'Full House,'" he said on a panel at the Paley Center for Media (via YouTube). "I was so off ... I mean, literally, I threw up, and I bled, and I think I peed my pants." Producers weren't impressed, and it took a while before they found the right role for him.

It seems that Tony Gates was, indeed, the right role. Stamos told Pop Entertainment that the part was fitting because it was a somewhat comedic role, even though most of the show was considerably darker than "Full House."

"The Tony Gates character has a sense of humor which I really like," Stamos said. "I think one of my jobs on 'ER' is to add a little levity to the show." Stamos stuck with the character through the end of the series, playing Tony until "ER" went off the air after Season 15 in 2009.

He leaned into aging in Grandfathered

In 2015, John Stamos returned to the sitcom world in "Grandfathered." The single-season show was about a restaurateur named Jimmy who discovers that he has a son he never knew about, played by "Drake & Josh" star Josh Peck. Surprise! His son also has a child, meaning Jimmy's suddenly a grandfather. 

In other words, the show's concept is: What if grandfathers could be hot? 

In a video explaining the show's concept in 30 seconds for Entertainment Weekly, Stamos seemed to trip over the revelation that he's playing grandfathers now. "I'm a grandfather," he said a bit mournfully.

"Grandfathered" made Stamos take stock of his own life, according to a longer interview with the same outlet. He hadn't had any children while he was married to Rebecca Romijn, and now that he was in his 50s, he started to wonder if he ever would. "It's a little too close to home," Stamos said. "It's this bachelor guy who's got it all, but he's missing something in life. What about a family, and what about a relationship?" He elaborated, "I think I really should be a dad at some point. I've gotta do something about this soon."

After a DUI, John Stamos got sober

In 2014, John Stamos announced on Instagram that his mother Loretta had died. "The love of my life passed away yesterday in her home surrounded by her children and grandchildren," he wrote, sharing a photo of himself as a baby alongside his mom. He added, "My mother had enough love to fuel a small country." The following summer, shortly before the premiere of "Grandfathered," Stamos was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol after he was spotted driving erratically in Beverly Hills.

People reported that the actor entered a rehab facility that July. Via Entertainment Weekly, a source told People that his mother's death was related. "He did his best to stay strong, but he absolutely fell apart," the source said. Ultimately, the actor was sentenced to three years of probation in the resulting court case, according to NBC News.

Stamos has been sober since. He told People that the experience was a wake-up call. In particular, he was alarmed by paparazzi photos of his own arrest. He uses those photos to remind himself not to drink anymore. "[Sobriety is] not that hard for me because it's still so fresh in my mind that all I have to do is look at that picture of me in handcuffs on that street," he explained. "It just makes me throw up right now just thinking [about it]. Never again."

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

He married fellow Disney fan Caitlin McHugh

In 2011, John Stamos guest-starred on an episode of "Law & Order: SVU." He played a fertility doctor who was abusing his patients, impregnating them with his own genetic material without their knowledge. An actor named Caitlin McHugh also starred in that episode. "Some couples meet at work. Some meet through friends. Some on dating apps. I met my wife on a TV show called SVU Law and Order," Stamos later wrote on Instagram.

Stamos announced on Instagram in 2017 that he'd proposed. Whereas he'd once popped the question to Rebecca Romijn in bed, this time he put some more thought into it. "He put together some of the most romantic moments from Disney and Pixar animation," Lara Spencer revealed on Good Morning America (via Us Weekly). "And then he ended it with Sebastian from 'The Little Mermaid' saying, 'Just ask the girl' to John."

Stamos and McHugh are both Disney super-fans, as evidenced by a massive collection of Disney memorabilia that includes the "D" from a Disney sign. It's just chilling in their backyard. Stamos showed it off in his Architectural Digest home tour, and he explained the acquisition to Orange Coast Magazine. The "D" turned up on eBay, he said, and he bought it for a mere $30,700. "Michael Jackson wanted it, too," Stamos claimed. "But he got distracted and missed bidding on it." As Us Weekly noted, during the backyard reception that followed their 2018 wedding, the sign was on full display.

John Stamos became a father

A few months after he proposed to Caitlin McHugh, but a few months before they married, John Stamos revealed in a People cover story that his wife-to-be was pregnant. "We have the same morals and the same values, that all clicked nicely," he explained. "So we said, 'Oh, well, maybe we should have a family.'" It was McHugh who decided that they should get right to it, even before the wedding. After all, she told Stamos, "You're old."

In April 2018, Stamos announced on Instagram that McHugh had given birth to a son. "From now on, the best part of me will always be my wife and my son. Welcome Billy Stamos," he wrote, noting that his son now bore his father's name. Furthermore, he ended the caption with the hashtag #NotJustAnUncleAnymore, referencing his infamous "Full House" character. The actor had talked about wanting to be a dad for years, and now the moment had arrived.

Stamos appears to have taken to the challenge quite nicely. He frequently shares snaps with his son online, letting his fans see what a good dad he is. In 2021, when his son turned 3, Stamos spoke with People about what it's like to raise a kid. "It's better than I imagined," he concluded. "I wanted kids my whole life. And I'm just so grateful."

John Stamos mourned his former co-star

John Stamos and Bob Saget were very good friends after "Full House," up until Saget died in early 2022. In his memoir "If You Would Have Told Me" (via Entertainment Weekly), Stamos wrote about that day. First, his publicist called him to say that TMZ was looking for confirmation Saget had died. Stamos assumed it was a hoax. Before he was able to get in touch with Saget's wife Kelly Rizzo, Candace Cameron Bure called to say she'd gotten an odd DM about Saget's death.

Rizzo called Stamos back. When he heard her crying, he knew. "I hit the ground in the parking lot and my knees slam down on the asphalt," he wrote. Reflecting on Saget's legacy to millions of fans, Stamos added, "It's impossible to capture the spirit of a guy who belongs to everyone. I don't have exclusive rights, but the loss is personal, painful, and beyond belief."

Stamos was a pallbearer at Saget's funeral. "Today will be the hardest day of my life," he wrote on Twitter

A few months later, Stamos and other friends of the late comedian organized a special for Netflix, titled "Dirty Daddy: The Bob Saget Tribute." Stars like Jim Carrey and Chris Rock participated because, as Stamos told CNN, Saget brought a lot of love into everyone's lives. "That's our lesson and that's for sure," he said. "I mean, a lot of people that were around him, they sure do say, 'I love you' a lot."