Whenever John Stamos begins telling a story, he writes in his new memoir, he often begins with a familiar turn of phrase: If You Would Have Told Me.
Based on his new book, which hits stores Tuesday, Stamos’ use of that little introductory flourish reflects his broader personality. The memoir unfurls almost entirely in present tense—as if Uncle Jesse himself has leaned himself up against a wall to tell you some wild story from his youth. The 60-year-old actor looks back on his teen years in Cypress, California, his first brush with fame on General Hospital, and, of course, his ongoing love affair with the Beach Boys.
Over the decades, Stamos has rubbed elbows with a number of Hollywood A-listers, many of whom show up in his memoir. (No, he did not get a quote from either of the Olsen twins.) Jamie Lee Curtis writes the foreword and compliments her Scream Queens co-star’s “comic energy, captivating flair, sharp humor, keen intelligence,” and “childlike passion.” In the pages that follow, Stamos reveals hookups (and near hookups) with the likes of Demi Moore and Heather Locklear, and yes, he remembers when Dave Coulier called him after hearing his ex Alanis Morissette sing “You Oughta Know” for the first time.
Of course, Stamos also pays tribute to his Full House co-star Bob Saget, who died last year at the age of 65. As he recalls, their relationship started out competitively as they vied for the good scenes with Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen on Full House. By the end, however, they became like family.
Below, see some of the best and most shocking takeaways from If You Would Have Told Me.
Stamos and Saget’s brotherly bond
Stamos and Saget did not initially get along when they started on Full House; Stamos’ actorly instincts apparently clashed with Saget’s “comedy Tourette’s.” While Stamos would obsess over small details in the script, he recalls, Saget would sabotage his efforts with jokes. Whenever the time came for another promotional photo, the two would jockey over who got to hold Michelle.
“Bob is the humblest egomaniac I’ve ever met,” Stamos writes, “but he undercuts his narcissism by being so damn lovable… One day he thinks he is the least desirable person on earth, the next day he insists that every woman guest starring on Full House is in love with him.”
Over time, however, the two learned how to get along. At one point, Coulier, Saget, and Stamos’ sisters all got sick at the same time—further strengthening the chemistry they’d built on set. (Saget’s sister Gay had been diagnosed with scleroderma, Coulier’s sister Sharon with cervical, ovarian, and uterine cancer, and Stamos’ sister Janeen had been diagnosed with a brain tumor.) Years later, Stamos and Saget bonded even further amid their respective divorces. It was then, Stamos writes, that the freshly minted bachelors went from good friends to being like family.
Stamos recalls falling to his knees in a parking lot when he heard about Saget’s death in 2022. He felt lost, just like he had after losing his mother in 2014. Still, the outpouring of love for Saget struck him deeply.
“Bob had this idea that there would be a magical event making him the biggest star in the world,” Stamos writes, “and at the same time, something that would solve all the other problems he was dealing with in life.”
While Saget craved validation, Stamos observes, “The irony is, he already had it. … I’m heartbroken he didn’t think he was good enough. He was and always will be to me and the rest of the world.”
Uncle Jesse wanted off Full House before it was a hit
Stamos writes that Full House creator Jeff Franklin “has always been my kind of guy.” (He does not mention Franklin’s dismissal from Fuller House in 2018 following toxic workplace allegations, or that he backed Franklin in his now-dismissed lawsuit against Bryan Behar, who stepped in to replace him as showrunner.)
During their initial 90-minute meeting, Stamos writes that he and Franklin didn’t discuss Full House much; instead, they spent “too much time trying to figure out if we’ve dated the same women or not.” In the end, he still said “yes” to the role of Uncle Jesse. Given the gimmick his team had described to him, the show’s concept seemed fine, as long as the kid stuff wasn’t too prominent.
“I don’t wanna play second fiddle to some rugrats,” Stamos recalls thinking. Cue the Olsen twins, whom Stamos initially tried to get fired for screaming and crying too much. (When the replacement toddlers didn’t work out, Mary-Kate and Ashley were back in the game.)
Stamos grew despondent once he realized that the kids were getting an outsized share of the laughs on Full House. He called his team after feeling upstaged by Jodie Sweetin during the show’s first table read: “Get me the fuck off this show,” he begged.
Weeks later, however, when he got the call that the show might be coming to an end, he’d seen how viewers had connected with it and had a change of heart. But the idea that wound up saving Full House was also a little ironic…
“Hold Me Closer, Tony Danza”
Apparently, Stamos has a very complicated relationship with Tony Danza. On one hand, Danza was an accessory to a low point in Stamos’ life—the other guy in a love triangle with his past girlfriend Teri Copley. On the other, Danza might just be the reason Full House shot to success.
When Copley stopped returning his calls seemingly out of nowhere, Stamos writes that he drove to her house in the Valley while listening to “Tiny Dancer” and found Copley in the guesthouse with another man he didn’t recognize. “Do I pull him out of bed by his hair, kick him in the nuts, and beat his ass? She’s my girlfriend. Who is this piece of shit?”
Stamos recalls fleeing the house and running down the driveway, where an unfamiliar Porsche had been parked. Inside, he saw a poster of Copley signed with love to a man named “Tony.” It was only when he returned to his own car and heard Elton John’s tune, Stamos claims, that he realized who it was—“Hold me closer, Tony Danza.”
Years later, Who’s the Boss? would become ABC’s lead-in program for an ailing Full House, which later rocketed to success. “Well, what can I say?” Stamos writes. “Thanks, Tony Danza.”
“Negotiate my balls!”
Like most of us, Stamos has had more than one brush with heartache. In the months leading up to his separation from Rebecca Romijn in 2004, Stamos says their communication had broken down. “I don’t talk openly about my feelings of emasculation,” he writes, “and she doesn’t share what’s in her heart.”
Although he’d initially thought they could work things out, the two wound up divorcing—an experience that exposed Stamos to a new side of himself. “I never knew I could be so angry and hate-filled toward another human being,” Stamos writes, “much less one I had been dedicated to for a decade.”
Things came to a head during a mediation session in which Stamos exploded when the conversation turned to how much Romijn should reimburse him for the joint taxes he’d paid.
When the couple’s business manager reminded him they were in a negotiation, Stamos recalls shouting, “Negotiate my balls!” Romijn told the manager, “Give him everything I owe him,” Stamos recalls, and she also agreed to let him be the one to file.
Stamos reveals he was sexually abused as a child
In 2018, as Stamos prepared to accept a Lifetime Achievement Award from the nonprofit Childhelp for his advocacy work on behalf of abused children, Stamos recalls that an unsettling childhood memory resurfaced in his mind.
“When I was little, I had a babysitter who was around eighteen or nineteen,” Stamos writes. “A lot of the time she’s kind of fun. We play, watch sitcoms, and laze around on the couch. But sometimes she gets weird, and it makes me feel weird, too. Uncomfortable.”
Stamos remembers pretending to be asleep while his babysitter moved his mouth and hands to be on or near her breasts—which he now recognizes as a “freeze response.”
Speaking with People recently, Stamos said that he was 10 or 11 years old when the incidents occurred, and that he dedicated less than half a page to the incident because he “didn’t want the headlines to be that, and I didn’t want the book to be over that.” At the same time, he acknowledged, “I felt I had to talk about it… I shouldn’t have had to deal with those feelings.”
Tiger Beat editor Doreen Lioy made Stamos a star—and then married the Night Stalker
Stamos has previously discussed his bizarre, tangential connection to the serial killer known as the Night Stalker, but here, he details it at length. As he describes Doreen Lioy, the former freelance editor was “a pasty, virginal, lonely soul” when they first met, and she eventually became “a close friend of the family”; Stamos claims she even spent holidays at their house.
In 1985, the actor writes, things took a turn for the weird when he and the family (and Lioy) were watching TV and saw a report about the Night Stalker. When she saw Richard Ramirez’s mugshot, Stamos recalls, Lioy was “mesmerized” by his face. “She leans over to my mom and whispers, ‘He has that little boy quality that Johnny has. Don’t you think there’s something… captivating about him?’” Although Stamos says Lioy assured his mother she was joking, Loretta Stamos was apparently not amused.
As previously reported, Lioy and Ramirez corresponded for years before they eventually got married in 1996. According to Stamos, Lioy described her beloved as “Rudolph Valentino, Mick Jagger, and the Boogeyman all rolled into one.” Stamos writes that Lioy also styled Ramirez ahead of his trial, and that ahead of their wedding, she asked his mother to be her matron of honor.
“It’s this phone call that makes my dad realize Doreen is still calling his house,” Stamos writes. “He grabs the phone from my mom and screams, ‘Listen, you desperate psychopath, you leave my wife and my family alone! And tell your boyfriend to save you a spot in hell!’”
Stamos’ misdemeanor DUI came during a low point in his life
After losing his mother in 2014, Stamos felt completely adrift. “She loved me so much that I didn’t have to learn how to love myself,” Stamos writes. After her death, he recalls “managing my emotions like a chemist.”
Stamos says he took the depressant drug GHB to stay slim, Ambien to sleep, and antidepressants to fight the anger, and used alcohol and sex to take care of the rest.
In 2015, Stamos received a misdemeanor DUI after police found him blacked out in his car, “slumped in my seat like a scarecrow.” When he woke up in the hospital, Saget (whom he’d been driving to meet at The Palm for drinks) was the first person he saw. “No judgment, just concern and love.” After that, he decided to straighten up.
Stamos told Lori Loughlin about the college admissions scandal
When Stamos received a text from a friend in March 2019 asking if his former Full House co-star was OK, the college admissions scandal had barely broken—as evidenced by the fact that when Stamos texted Loughlin to ask if she was all right, she didn’t know what he was talking about.
“I have seen some emails lately from lawyers to Moss, but I stay out of it,” he recalls her telling him, referencing her husband, Mossimo Giannulli. When the line began clicking, the two hung up, for fear that the phone had been bugged.
Stamos praises how Loughlin “fought to stay alive” in the face of a public meltdown, although he never quite explains what she actually did to stoke public ire. “No matter how hard she was hit,” he writes, “how desperate everyone was to cancel her and throw her in with the pile of brutal criminals, she stood fast, protecting her daughters from the mud hurled at them day after day after day.”
Garry Marshall wanted to introduce Stamos to Julia Roberts
Stamos met Marshall while working on a show called You Again with his mentor, Jack Klugman—who took Stamos under his wing when his father died. Stamos recalls that Klugman once brought him into the writers room during punch-up night, and it was there he met Marshall, whom he called a friend for years.
“For some reason,” Stamos writes, “Garry always wants me to meet Julia. ‘You’re both nice people, have good mothers, you should get to know Julia. She’s a good person, like you.’”
Although the two never met before Marshall’s death in 2016, Stamos recalls that fate stepped in. As he stood by Marshall’s bedside, telling the legendary director how much his mentorship had meant to him, Stamos heard sniffling coming from the other side of the room.
“Garry always wanted us to meet,” Roberts told him as she stepped out of the shadows. “And here we are.”