The Untold Truth Of John Stamos

John Stamos exploded onto the television landscape in the early 1980s, and has remained a consistent fixture on the small screen ever since. In 2021, Stamos received accolades for his portrayal of a hotheaded basketball coach in the Disney+ dramedy "Big Shot," while adjacent entries in his voluminous roster of IMDb credits include the sitcom "Grandfathered," Fox horror-comedy "Scream Queens," and the 2019 live-television presentation of Disney's "The Little Mermaid."

Born John Stamotopoulos, Stamos may have shortened his Greek surname, but has always proudly embraced his heritage. That was on display in his most famous role, "Uncle" Jesse Katsopolis in the beloved sitcom "Full House" — a name that Stamos reportedly asked to have changed from the character's original moniker, Jesse Cochran, to better represent his Greek roots. Decades later, that character still remains synonymous with Stamos, and became even more so when he and nearly all of the original cast reprised their roles for the series' revival on Netflix, "Fuller House."

Throughout a career spanning five decades, television viewers have quite literally watched him grow up on their screens, but how much do they really know about this talented actor who has proven equally adept at comedy and drama? To find out, read on and discover the untold truth of John Stamos.

John Stamos got his start on a soap opera

Like many actors, John Stamos got his start in soaps, still a teenager himself when he landed the role of troubled teen Blackie Parrish on "General Hospital." Blackie quickly became one of the show's more popular characters, propelling him to teen idol status via covers for Tiger Beat and its ilk. Interestingly, Stamos wasn't initially meant to stick around on "General Hospital" for as long as he did. "My character was supposed to die and my mom wrote all these letters to ABC and they kept me around," he told W magazine.

After two years on the show, Stamos' ambitions began expanding beyond daytime drama. "I always wanted to be on sitcoms. I wanted to be funny," he told the outlet. Unfortunately, he'd signed a bad contract, saying, "I think I was making $300 an episode or something, but the show got huge and I got in teen magazines and stuff," Stamos said. However, he was insistent he wanted to leave, which led the series' iconic creator, Gloria Monty, to threaten that he'd be blackballed if he left. He left anyway.

Despite his desire to exit, Stamos credits his experience on the soap for launching his career. "Without 'General Hospital' I'd still be flipping burgers at my dad's burger joint," Stamos proclaimed via Twitter. "I am eternally grateful to 'GH' and all the folks I learned so much from on that show."

He performs with The Beach Boys

John Stamos and The Beach Boys are pretty tight. Stamos has been performing with the band since the 1980s. "I never even dreamed of meeting The Beach Boys, let alone play with them," Stamos explained during an appearance on "The Kelly Clarkson Show." According to Stamos, he was attending a Beach Boys concert at the behest of a friend who played guitar for the band. 

"The show was over; they were still going to do the encore," Stamos recalled. "... and all these cheerleaders chased me [backstage]; [Beach Boys singer] Mike Love turns to my friend and says, 'Who's that?' 'That's John Stamos; he's on 'General Hospital' and always has girls chasing him.' And Mike Love, without missing a beat, goes, 'Get him onstage.'" So Stamos joined the band for their encore, "Barbara Ann." "It's over 34 years now, something like that," he marveled.

In addition to performing with the band, Stamos also appeared in the 1988 music video for "Kokomo," although that was a total fluke. "So we were doing this ABC special and it was this last minute thing: 'Hey can you guys just run 'Kokomo' real fast. We'll put up a couple cameras,”' he recalled in an in interview with The Birmingham News

He was the victim of an extortion scheme

In 2004, John Stamos had recently divorced first wife Rebecca Romijn, and had thrown himself back into the Hollywood party scene. It was during this period that he met 17-year-old Allison Coss, who wound up attending a party Stamos hosted in a hotel room. As Michigan Live reported, a few years later Coss and boyfriend Scott Sippola allegedly attempted to extort Stamos, threatening to release embarrassing photos of the actor taken at that party. They would, however, alter their plans and sell the photos to him, they said in an email (under a pseudonym), for the price of $680,000. 

Rather than pay up, Stamos went to the cops. The pair were subsequently arrested and placed on trial. During the trial, however, Coss doubled down, alleging that a naked Stamos made sexual advances toward her (she was underage at the time) in a hot tub, and also snorted cocaine. Stamos' recollection of events, however, was markedly different. "There was no hot tub, no drugs, no nudity and nothing sexual in nature involved in my friendship with this woman," Stamos said in his statement, adding, "They lied about everything." 

A search of the couple's home turned up no incriminating photos, and in 2010 they were convicted. Both Coss and Sippola were sentenced to four years in prison, while Stamos' reputation remained intact. Coss and Sippola launched an appeal; as Reuters reported, the court upheld their convictions. 

He's dated a LOT of famous women

During his 20s, John Stamos topped the list of Hollywood's most eligible young bachelors. Stamos dated numerous women during those years, many of whom were celebrities. Among Stamos' rumored exes were actor Julia Ronnie, TV personality Teri Copley, singer Vanity, Oscar winner Marlee Matlin, pop star and future "American Idol" judge Paula Abdul, and supermodel Julie Anderson. Other famous women he's believed to have dated include "Melrose Place" star Heather Locklear and spokesmodel Dian Parkinson of "The Price is Right."

Stamos ended his reign when he married model-actor Rebecca Romijn in 1998, but wasted little time in reclaiming the bachelor title when they split in 2004. Following his divorce, Stamos dove back into the dating pool, and women he dated during his post-divorce years include Pilates instructor Leah Marsh (with whom he reportedly lived), Denise Richards, Renée Zellweger, and Amy Poehler (although she admitted to Howard Stern that she messed things up by not realizing the one dinner they shared was an official date).

Stamos' second run of dating came to an end when he married Caitlin McHugh in 2018. Stamos then embraced life as a family man when the couple welcomed their first child, son Billy, later that same year. As Stamos explained to People, he credits McHugh for getting his life together.

He once starred in a cult comedy with Gene Simmons

John Stamos has numerous screen credits under his belt, but among those many projects, one stands atop all the rest when it comes to sheer absurdity: the 1986 movie "Never Too Young to Die." The film has gone on to become a cult classic, not only for its sheer awfulness but for a must-be-seen-to-be-believed performance by KISS rocker Gene Simmons as Velvet Von Ragnar, a "psychopathic hermaphroditic gang leader" (IMDb writes) planning a terrorist attack that Stamos' character must foil.

At the time, Stamos felt he'd landed the lucky break that would catapult him from soap actor to bona fide movie stardom. "I just thought, 'This is my shot! A young James Bond!' I thought it was going to be the biggest breakthrough. 'I'm done with TV — I'm going to be a movie star!' And then I did that piece of s***," he told The Hollywood Reporter.

Over the years, Stamos has come to have a fonder appreciation of "Never Too Young to Die" and its schlocky charms. "I think it should be like a Friday night 'Rocky Horror' thing," Stamos told Collider. "I certainly show it to all my friends. I was having a birthday party last August and we set up a screen in the backyard and I wanted to show that, but I thought it would be too egotistical. But I'm gonna do it this year."

He is a Disney fanatic

John Stamos has made no secret of his utter love and devotion for all things Disney, particularly its theme parks. In fact, he's even celebrated some major milestones in his life with a Disney twist: not only did he announce his engagement to future wife Caitlin McHugh via a Disneyland-themed Instagram post, but a rep for Stamos confirmed to People that he also popped the question at the Magic Kingdom, and that the pair enjoyed their honeymoon at Florida's Walt Disney World resort. 

Stamos grew up in California's Orange County, home to Disneyland, and told Orange Coast Magazine that he's a hardcore collector of Disneyland memorabilia. "I have a Dumbo [vehicle from the ride] and, you remember Mr. Toad? It's a weird, dark ride. He gets hit by a train and goes to hell. And these devils are laughing. And I have one of the devils," he said, revealing that he also owns a previous Disneyland entrance sign. 

Stamos set the record straight about an apocryphal urban legend claiming he has a lifetime pass to Disneyland. "I don't have a lifetime pass. That's a rumor," Stamos insisted to Orange Coast Magazine. "But, they're always happy to accommodate me. I don't have to stand in the lines. Which is kind of ... well ... I wear a hat."

He's starred on Broadway

John Stamos has made his mark not only on television and film, but also on Broadway. He made his debut on the Great White Way in 1996, when he replaced Matthew Broderick in the revival of "How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying." Stamos returned to Broadway in 2002, again as a replacement when he subbed for Alan Cumming as the bawdy emcee in "Cabaret." The following year, Stamos substituted for Antonio Banderas in "Nine." It wasn't until 2009 that Stamos opened a show on his own, co-starring with Gina Gershon in a revival of "Bye Bye Birdie." 

Before the show even opened, Stamos found himself caught up in an onstage snafu that led to some unscripted hilarity, courtesy of some famous friends who happened to be in the audience. As Entertainment Weekly reported, the final preview performance before opening night halted for an uncomfortable 20 minutes due to some technical difficulties. While technicians worked to fix the problem, Stamos called out a couple of special guests in the audience: comedians Don Rickles and Bob Saget. "Are they gonna fix it or is this going to be a weekend?" Rickles quipped. 

Stamos was eventually joined by Gershon, who told the crowd she'd just seen "Full House" for the first time a few weeks earlier, and asked, "What was that about?" Quipped Saget, "Oh, it's basically just like 'Brokeback Mountain' — but as a sitcom."

He owns the iconic Full House couch

It's not uncommon for actors to keep memorabilia from their various film and TV projects as keepsakes — heck, Russell Crowe raised millions to fund his divorce by auctioning off stuff he kept from his various movies, with HBO comedy host John Oliver purchasing the leather jockstrap he wore in the film "Cinderella Man."

With that in mind, it's not surprising that John Stamos has hung onto a familiar piece of furniture from the set of "Full House," which he revealed in a 2020 Instagram post. "Baby safety gate or one of the most iconic couches in pop TV history? You, make the call," wrote Stamos in the caption to a photo of toddler son Billy blocked from accessing a staircase by the actual couch that was used on the set of "Full House."

Apparently, Stamos' "Full House" co-stars were unaware of his ownership of the couch; they responded in comments to his post (via Today). "I don't know what it is John, but it comforts me," wrote Bob Saget, who played Danny Tanner on the sitcom, while Candace Cameron Bure, aka DJ Tanner, replied, "You got it?! Not Bob?" Jodie Sweetin, who played Stephanie Tanner, expressed her shock by writing, "WHAAAAATTTT?!" Andrea Barber, known for her role as neighbor Kimmy Gibbler, put it even more succinctly with her one-word response: "Thief!"

His hilarious social media feud with a Jonas brother

In addition to offering evidence of his sitcom couch thievery, social media has also allowed John Stamos a platform on which to pursue a hilarious faux feud with Nick Jonas. It all started when Stamos was photographed wearing a Jonas Brothers t-shirt during the 2018 American Music Awards. While none of the JoBros responded immediately, Nick Jonas later shared a photo of himself on Instagram, wearing a hoodie adorned with Stamos' handsome mug. "It's your move," Jonas wrote in the caption. 

Stamos wasted little time in firing back, posting a photo to his Instagram feed in which he was sleeping, a contented smile on his face, next to a pillow featuring the photo of Jonas wearing that hoodie. "I had the craziest dream last night..." wrote Stamos in the caption. Jonas countered by posting another photo, this one of himself snuggled up in bed beneath a blanket on which had been printed Stamos' photo of himself with the pillow of Jonas wearing the Stamos t-shirt.

Just when their fans thought things couldn't get any more meta, Stamos upped the ante with yet another Instagram pic. In this one, Stamos is apparently getting a tattoo on his inner forearm — of Nick Jonas' face. In the caption, Stamos simply shared the hashtag #jobrosforlife.

Why John Stamos considers Full House to be a blessing and a curse

Even though "Full House" ended its eight-season television run more than two decades ago, the beloved sitcom still looms large for John Stamos. While Stamos has successfully managed to overcome the curse of typecasting that often dogs the stars of hit TV shows, it took a while. In fact, being so closely associated with the family comedy definitely impacted how he was viewed in Hollywood — along with how he sometimes viewed himself. "I think the 'Full House' thing has been a blessing and a curse," Stamos mused in an interview with GQ. "I think sometimes I don't conduct myself as a serious person. But I am. I mean, I can be."

As Stamos admitted, he certainly fueled that perception by dating a seemingly endless string of beautiful women while leading a charmed life. Looking back, however, he can see how his own reluctance to mature led him to become something of a Hollywood caricature. "I mean, you throw a stick in this town and you'll hit six guys with Peter Pan syndrome," he said, admitting, "I'm a poster boy for it ... I shoulda had six months as a free fall, but I dragged it out about 10 years." But he admitted, "Some of it was a lot of fun."

And as for "Full House" following him? Stamos told USA Today, "I've been through the gamut of not wanting to be part of that show, not wanting to be remembered for that character. Then, I realized what it meant to people, and I was okay with it."

He once dropped by the actual Full House house

While "Full House" was filmed within a soundstage in Los Angeles, the sitcom was set in San Francisco — which was established in the iconic opening theme song, featuring a quaint Victorian house that was purportedly the home of Danny Tanner (Bob Saget) and his family. That house actually exists, and thanks to the enduring popularity of "Full House," it's become something of a local tourist attraction over the years. 

One tourist who dropped by to take a gander was none other than John Stamos, who shared a photo on Instagram of himself standing in front of the place. Stamos wasn't the only sightseer on hand to gawk at the house. However, as he pointed out in his caption, none of the other people gathered at the abode realized that Uncle Jesse was in their midst, standing mere feet from them. "Boy, these youngsters have 0.0 idea what they're missing," he wrote in the caption, adding the hashtags #Fullhousehouse and #TURNAROUND.

In 2016, the home was purchased by "Full House" creator Jeff Franklin, with plans of renovating it to look exactly like it did in the exterior shots used in the show. However, neighbors complained about how this would increase the already steady flow of tourists, reported TMZ. Those complaints led to a kibosh placed on Franklin's renovation plans; as a result, he wound up selling the place in 2020. 

How John Stamos met wife Caitlin McHugh

John Stamos and wife Caitlin McHugh didn't meet through friends, but on the set of "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit." In a 2022 Instagram post, Stamos detailed the unusual way he first laid eyes on his future bride. "Some couples meet at work. Some meet through friends. Some on dating apps," he wrote. "I met my wife on a TV show called SVU Law and Order [sic], where I was playing a serial reproductive abuser, trying to secretly impregnate her by poking a hole in a condom — I already had 47 children, but wanted one more."

Stamos offered a bit more detail in an interview with People. "I played a guy who was so egotistical that he thought he should spread his progeny, so he had like 60 kids or something," Stamos recalled. "He was poking holes in condoms and stuff. And Caitlin, ironically, was one of the girls that I was trying to fool and have a baby with."

They didn't hook up then, however; as Stamos pointed out, she had a boyfriend at the time. They met subsequently by coincidence, when McHugh's roommate guest-starred in a "Fuller House" episode in which Stamos was also appearing. After spying McHugh in the audience, Stamos recalled, "I went, 'Hey, are you stalking me?' She says, 'No.' ... And that's why I love her. That's her in a nutshell. She's like, 'What? No. I haven't thought of you twice.'"

John Stamos' work ethic and impressive fortune

John Stamos has achieved an enviable status in Hollywood, and he's made a few dollars along the way while doing it. In fact, Celebrity Net Worth estimated that he's sitting on a not-too-shabby nest egg of $25 million. 

Earning all that money is the end result of the solid work ethic that Stamos has demonstrated consistently throughout his career, something he credits to his restaurateur father. "My dad owned fast-food restaurants," Stamos said in an interview with Orange Coast Magazine, revealing that he began working at one of those eateries when he was still a kid. "That was part of my childhood. I worked there from the time I was 13," he said. 

Stamos' life changed overnight when he was cast in "General Hospital" in 1982, except for one facet. "And the story there is, I was working [in Hollywood] during the week, but my dad wouldn't let me quit the restaurant," Stamos explained. "To my dad, it was about discipline and not knowing how long the acting would last ... So I would still go to work on Sundays and kids were coming to the restaurant for autographs and pictures. And I'm flipping burgers, working the counter, wearing an apron, and I eventually said, 'Dad, I gotta quit. I'm a teen idol.'"

He and Bob Saget clashed before becoming lifelong friends

John Stamos was devastated by the death of his longtime friend and "Full House" co-star Bob Saget in January 2022 at the age of 65. "He was there through divorces, deaths, despair, and dark days," said Stamos of Saget in a eulogy he delivered at his funeral, as reported by the Los Angeles Times. "He was there through love, marriage, a child and bright times. He was my lifeline."

That friendship may have been deep and enduring, but it did not have an auspicious start. As Stamos revealed in an interview with The New York Times, they had very different styles, leading to tension when they first began working together on "Full House." "He was a comic. If there was even one person on the set, he had to make them laugh," explained Stamos, who admitted he found Saget's anything-for-a-laugh tendency to be a distraction to his own process as an actor.

Eventually, they learned to adjust those clashing styles to better accommodate each other, "but we both went in kicking and screaming, not wanting to bend what we do." Yet that stage when they butted heads, Stamos recalled, was merely a short blip in their relationship. "It didn't take long for us to meet in the middle and to respect each other professionally and creatively as the years went by," Stamos said in his eulogy.