Jodie Sweetin, who landed her fame-making role on “Full House” at age 5, says she can predict which child stars are going to crash and burn — by looking at their parents.
“When you see the kids that grew up in this business that turned out to be fairly normal, well-rounded people, they all have really normal parents, who didn’t want to be in the business themselves,” Sweetin, 41, tells TODAY.com.
The “Fuller House” alum says some Moms and Dads transfer their own unfulfilled ambitions onto their children — and that’s when things tend to go awry.
“They’re like, ‘I tried to be famous, but it didn’t work out, so now it’s your turn,’” Sweetin explains. She notes that people have even confessed to her, “I had a kid because I wanted them to be famous.”
Sweetin says she is grateful that was not her experience. Her parents, Sam and Janice, never had a desire to see their faces on billboards.
Of course, many factors can cause a celebrity to spiral, and even wonderful parents can't inocculate a child against addiction. Sweetin has been open about her own struggles with addiction. She started drinking at 14 after "Full House" went off the air, and would later battle an addiction to crystal meth, among other drugs.
"It was a huge shift in my life. Everything I had known from the time I was 5 years old suddenly ended and it was like saying goodbye to a family I had loved very, very much,” Sweetin said during an episode of "Dancing With the Stars" in 2016. “At such a young age it really was a huge loss for me, I didn’t know how to grieve. Drugs and alcohol just sort of numbed everything.”
Sweetin has been sober since 2011, and is even a certified drug and alcohol counselor. Now, she's got her life together and is a loving mom of two.
According to Sweetin, child actors need a strong support system now more than ever. She’s says social media has made things “a lot rougher” than they were when she was growing up.
“I can’t imagine being one of those kids on a big network show that gets all of the attention and all of the criticism. And people are worrying about who you’re dating, and what you look like,” Sweetin shares.
“When I was nine, I had teeth coming out of every direction,” she continues. “I was very self-conscious of it at the time, and if that had been the thing that was getting made fun of online? That would have destroyed me.”
Dealing with the tabloids was hard enough, Sweetin says. She’s still haunted by a story that was published about herself and her beloved co-star Bob Saget, who passed away in 2022.
“It said I was difficult child to work with and that Bob Saget was trying to get me fired. And I remember just being so confused because it was so far from the truth. I spent time with Bob and his family on the weekends,” she says. “Now (with social media) it’s not only more instantaneous, but it’s everywhere and omnipresent in every single corner of your life.”
Sweetin’s daughters Zoie, 15, and Beatrix, 12, understand that that their mom will not tolerate any online bullying.
“My one real, real, real, hard line is you do not make yourself feel better at the expense of someone else. You don’t know what that person is going though. You don’t know what their life is like at home,” Sweetin says. “Anytime there’s been online chatter amongst their friends, if I find any hint of bullying, I’m like, ‘Nope, your phone is gone. That’s it.”
Sweetin opened up to TODAY.com while promoting her partnership with Align Probiotic. The brand recently launched Bloating Relief + Food Digestion capsules to relieve digestive upsets.
Sweetin says she no longer feels “gross” and “bloated” after indulging in heavy on-set catering, and has been recommending the capsules to all of her friends.
“They were like, ‘Seriously?’ And I’m like, ‘It really, really works,” Sweetin says. “As much as we try to wear our stretchy eating pants this time of year, sometimes you got to dress up and you got to look cute, and you don’t want that ... bloated, gross gassy feeling to ruin your holiday plans.”