What You Need To Know About Jodie Sweetin

Most children of the '80s and '90s no doubt know at least something about Jodie Sweetin, even if it's only that she played middle child Stephanie Tanner on "Full House" from 1987-1995. We watched as she grew up in front of our eyes, uttering her catchphrase — "How rude!" — at every turn. Then we were treated to another round of Stephanie Tanner when Sweetin appeared on the Netflix sequel series "Fuller House" from 2016-2020. With that much exposure to watching Jodie Sweetin play Stephanie Tanner, it can be easy to conflate the two. 

While it may feel like we are all familiar with the middle Tanner daughter, there is plenty we don't know about the person behind her. From her story before "Full House" and her struggles after the series ended, to her work in advocacy and activism (and everything in between), here's what you need to know about Jodie Sweetin.

Jodie Sweetin was adopted

When it comes to her real-life family, Jodie Sweetin revealed on "Steve-O's Wild Ride!" podcast that her biological father was killed in a prison riot and her biological mother was incarcerated when she gave birth to Sweetin and she never met her. As she shared on the "Conversations with Olivia Jade" podcast, shortly after her birth, Sweetin was adopted by a man who knew her family through his ex-wife, who was Sweetin's biological father's aunt. Sweetin explained that the man and his new wife were struggling to have their own children, so they adopted her as part of an intrafamily adoption of sorts before she was a year old. 

"I was really fortunate in that I didn't wind up in the system because family and friends showed up for me and took me home, but I was real close," Sweetin said on "Steve-O's Wild Ride" of her adoption. "I always look at my life as this series of incredibly fortunate events where I just happened to be in the right place at the right time, and my life took a really different journey."

Full House wasn't her first role

Even though Jodie Sweetin was just 5 years old when "Full House" premiered, it wasn't her first role. That title goes to the show "Valerie" (later renamed "The Hogan Family"). Sweetin appeared in just a single episode, but the role proved critical to her career. If not for that appearance, Sweetin might not be the face of Stephanie Tanner we all know and love today. 

In response to the 2019 death of her one-time "Valerie" costar Valerie Harper (per The New York Times), Sweetin wrote of the importance of her small role on the show on Instagram, saying, "I did one episode of that show and from that, wound up a part of my Full House family. I never auditioned, I was just incredibly fortunate." She went on to attribute the role of Stephanie Tanner directly to Harper, adding, "I just know, whenever I hear Valerie Harper mentioned, I think of her and what a lucky, lucky chance I got at life, thanks to that name."

Like Stephanie Tanner, Jodie Sweetin was bullied

Though Stephanie Tanner may have been bullied by Gia on "Full House" for refusing to cancel a date with a boy Gia liked, in real life, Jodie Sweetin faced bullying because of her role as Stephanie Tanner, she revealed on "Steve-O's Wild Ride!" podcast. The former child star talked about how she found it difficult to make genuine friends who weren't just around her because they were impressed by her. She also discussed being bullied by kids at school, including having things thrown at her — like an apple to the side of her head — and having her locker defaced. 

While Stephanie Tanner responded to being bullied on the show by becoming the bully herself, Sweetin said her own experience had an unexpected positive outcome, teaching her to shrug off bullies all through her life. "It gave me a real thick skin, so it prepared me well for the internet, that's for sure," she said.

After Full House ended, she struggled with addiction

Shortly after "Full House" was unexpectedly canceled in 1995, Sweetin started drinking in what would become the beginning of years of addiction. In 2017, she told students at her alma mater, Chapman University, that she was already in the throes of her addiction by the time she started college, as reported in the university newspaper The Panther. Alcohol wasn't the only addiction Sweetin was hiding. Just a year after graduating from Chapman, she revealed to People that she'd become addicted to crystal meth three years earlier.

Sweetin detailed the double life she'd been living, keeping her addiction a secret from her police officer husband at the time, Shaun Holguin. She told the publication, "The amount of lying and covering up was insane. I would be doing drugs in the bathroom and Shaun would knock on the door, asking me if everything was okay and I would just lie to him." Ultimately, she realized she needed help and entered rehab.

If you or anyone you know is struggling 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).

After getting clean, Jodie Sweetin spoke about her sobriety

After opening up about her methamphetamine addiction, Jodie Sweetin began touring colleges and universities talking about her addiction and getting clean. While visiting the University of Pittsburgh in 2007 (one of 16 college visits that year, according to the university paper The Pitt News), Sweetin told the crowd that the college tours were important to her. "I always think, 'Maybe there might be one person in the crowd that heard something I said,'" she revealed to the student audience.

Sweetin continued the tours and talks over the next several years. As she told People's Celebrity Baby Blog in 2008, "I was really fortunate to have family support to make it through to the other side of recovery. It was so hard to go through that publicly, but I turned it around." The star added, "Today, I speak at universities and talk to students about it. For me, it started in college, and I want to be able to talk to other kids and help them."

If you or anyone you know is struggling 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).

Her memoir revealed she had relapsed

In 2009, Jodie Sweetin published her book "unSweetined," which the publisher describes as a "deeply personal, utterly raw, and ultimately inspiring memoir." In it, she dropped the bombshell that while she'd been booking speaking engagements talking about addiction recovery, she'd been high. Sweetin wrote in her book of being high while speaking at Marquette University. She recounted how she started crying during her speech. "I know what they didn't think," she wrote of how the audience likely interpreted her tears. "They didn't think I was coming down from a two-day bender of coke, meth, and ecstasy, and they didn't think that I was lying to them with every sentence that came out of my mouth." 

If you or anyone you know is struggling 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).

Jodie Sweetin is now an advocate for addiction recovery

After Jodie Sweetin's final relapse, she knew she had to make a lasting change. She told an audience at Slippery Rock University in 2016 that she made recovery her priority, and then went back to school and got a degree in drug and alcohol counseling. Now, she's back on the talk circuit sharing her story and serving as an advocate for addiction recovery. 

"I think once you learn, sort of, the thing, then you are able to teach it," Sweetin said on the "Allison Interviews" podcast with Allison Kugel. "I had this really long journey of figuring out some things about myself, my own voice, my own strength, what it was I was passionate about, and how to use that voice, and now I feel I have that opportunity to share that voice with others."

If you or anyone you know is struggling 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).

Her career rebounded with Fuller House

Despite her addiction, Jodie Sweetin didn't entirely leave the public eye after "Full House" ended, though her roles were mostly limited to guest appearances on other television shows or in little-known movies. That all changed when the reboot "Fuller House" premiered in 2016, reuniting Sweetin with her costars from her "Full House" days in a Netflix series that followed their lives as adults.

As the buzz around the series put her back into the spotlight, Sweetin took on more roles, including several Hallmark Christmas movies. She also played an exaggerated version of herself in a series called "Hollywood Darlings" alongside Beverley Mitchell and Christine Lakin. Once "Fuller House" aired its series finale in 2020, the door opened for even more opportunities for Sweetin. In 2022, she appeared as a contestant on both "Worst Cooks in America Celebrity Edition: That's So '90s" on the Food Network and "Beyond the Edge" on CBS, where she competed in the jungle in Panama to raise money for the charity Girls Inc. After her departure from "Beyond the Edge," Sweetin shared on Instagram, "I was one person when I went into that jungle, and a different one when I came out. It shifted my priorities and perspectives in a way that only testing yourself to the maximum can."

She helped a costar get sober

With Jodie Sweetin's return to the role of Stephanie Tanner, her newfound sobriety impacted more than just herself. When costar John Stamos presented Sweetin with the Writers in Treatment's Experience, Strength and Hope Award in 2019 for both her advocacy work and her memoir, he revealed he'd hit rock bottom nearly four years earlier and had turned to Sweetin for help getting sober. According to Variety, Sweetin had organized 12-step meetings for Stamos both at his home and on the "Fuller House" set.

"Jodie lovingly allowed me to walk my own path, and when I finally humbled myself to ask for your help, I realized that the perky little blabbermouth had become the master of wisdom and was right by my side during some of the most difficult days of my life," Stamos said. "Thank God, my wife and my new son will only know me as a sober husband and father. This is Jodie's legacy in my life."

If you or anyone you know is struggling 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).

She was thrilled to be on Dancing with the Stars

Before Jodie Sweetin was cast on Season 22 of "Dancing with the Stars" in 2016, she'd made her love of the show known — as well as her pleading desire to be on it — six years earlier. "I really want to do the show," she told People in 2010. "I just want to dance, but the fact that it would be on camera, and I'd get to have my hair and makeup done and wear those costumes? Awesome!" Sweetin went on to vow that her dedication would be unstoppable if were she to join the show.

Once on the show in 2016, Sweetin's elimination from "Dancing with the Stars" was a shock, as it happened on the same night that she and her partner, Keo Motsepe, received a perfect score on a dance. "We walk away from here on a high note with a perfect score doing an amazing dance," the star told E! News on the night of her elimination. "We worked so hard every week. We set goals for ourselves and we met them ... I came to the show and I didn't realize the amazing experience that I would have. Walking away from it, I just feel really blessed and grateful to have done it."

She started a parenting podcast

One of the driving forces behind Jodie Sweetin's sobriety is her kids, so it's no surprise that she and Celia Behar bonded in their mom group over their kids, who Sweetin said were around the same age and temperament. Together, they started the "Never Thought I'd Say This" podcast in 2019. "So this podcast really came about because we would find ourselves texting each other, like, 'Wow, I never thought I'd say this, but here's what my kids did today.' I was like, 'You know, I feel like people would actually enjoy these stories,'" she told Forbes of her friendship with her cohost. 

Sweetin also revealed that Behar is a licensed mental health counselor, sharing, "She's worked in school counseling situations, so she actually has some legitimacy when she talks about certain things — about working with kids and child psychology and stuff like that."

The podcast features special guests, such as their kids as well as fellow celebrities and other moms. Sweetin noted that the podcast is very real. "We're really inappropriate," she says. "It is not a podcast to listen to with your children."

The COVID pandemic was very hard on Jodie Sweetin

When she was asked by Allison Kugel on the "Allison Interviews" podcast what one historical event she would go back and change if she could, Jodie Sweetin was quick to point to the recent course of the COVID-19 pandemic, citing the lives lost, collective trauma, and the impact it's had on virtually everything, particularly mental health. "I know I was a mess during the pandemic. I was not a fully functioning person. I was awful," she revealed. "I lost like 37 pounds because I'm a stress starver ... I just stopped eating. I couldn't keep food down. I'll be real honest about it: The pandemic was not good for me."

Despite her struggles, Sweetin also acknowledged some unexpected positive outcomes of people being home so much during quarantine. "A big part of what we're seeing changing worldwide politically is [because] everyone was at home and saw some stuff and was like, 'Wait a minute, this doesn't feel right,'" she said, adding that a lot of the issues that came up as a result of the pandemic needed to come up, and she's grateful for the opportunities for people to get active in their communities.

She was pushed by the LAPD during a 2022 protest

One look at Jodie Sweetin's Instagram feed and it's clear how much she cares about social justice and political activism. Since her sobriety, the star has partnered with Impactree to streamline many of the causes she cares about, ranging from LGBTQIA+ equality and inclusion to the environment, climate, and more. As she told Impactree, "My goal in this life is to get as many people as possible involved in taking positive steps toward a more diverse, equitable, and sustainable way of living."

The star has also joined in protests about important causes. In 2022, Sweetin was speaking to a crowd through a megaphone at a pro-choice protest following the decision by the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade when the police were filmed shoving her to the ground. In a statement provided to People the day after the protest, Sweetin spoke of the injustices of the ruling rather than focusing on the protest incident. "I'm extremely proud of the hundreds of people who showed up yesterday to exercise their First Amendment rights and take immediate action to peacefully protest the giant injustices that have been delivered from our Supreme Court," she said.

Jodie Sweetin has finally found the one

Jodie Sweetin hasn't always been lucky in love. As Us Weekly notes, the actress has been divorced three times, and she once attributed her marriages to her addiction. These days, the star's sobriety has apparently done wonders for her love life. Two days before her birthday in early 2022, Sweetin revealed on Instagram that she and her boyfriend of four years, Mescal Wasilewski, were engaged after he popped the question while the two were on a hike. In an interview with ET shortly after her engagement, Sweetin revealed that her kids and parents love Wasilewski and that he's the one. "I have never been with someone who has accepted me so 100% completely as I am," she said, adding, "I'm just really at peace and really happy."

The couple quietly tied the knot in a backyard ceremony in Malibu, California in late July 2022. In a People exclusive about their intimate wedding, Sweetin said of her new husband, "We harmonize so well together in who we are. I couldn't be more grateful for who he is."

If you or anyone you know is struggling 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).