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'Growing Pains' star Ashley Johnson on working with Alan Thicke: 'I feel so lucky'

"Blindspot" actress Ashley Johnson looks back on her time playing little sister Chrissy Seaver on "Growing Pains."
/ Source: TODAY

Ashley Johnson can currently be seen as Patterson on the NBC crime drama "Blindspot" — but "Growing Pains" fans also know the actress as curly-haired tyke Chrissy Seaver, who joined the cast in 1990.

"That was the first show that I ever worked on," Johnson told TODAY. "I think at that time, I was so young, Chrissy wasn't that different from me because I didn't really know anything else at that time. So she was just kind of your annoying little sister. But I had fun with her and I had such a fun time on that set."

One of the highlights for Johnson was working with the late actor Alan Thicke, who played family patriarch Jason Seaver.

"That was my first TV dad," she said. "And I was just sort of figuring out what that relationship was and having a job as a 6-year-old. He was so wonderful with my family and helping me navigate that. That was a second family to me, for sure."

"He was an amazing guy, and I feel so lucky that I got to work with him and that I got to continue to get to know him as I got older," she added.

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The young actress also got to work with Leonardo DiCaprio, who joined the show in its final season as Luke Brower, a homeless teen taken in by the family.

"I do remember working with Leonardo," she said. "He came in and he brought new life to the show and it was such an interesting storyline. And I just adored him. I adored everybody on that show. But it is fun sometimes to be, like, 'Yeah, I worked with Leonardo DiCaprio.' I mean, I was 6 years old, but still fun."

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Johnson understands why the Seavers' storylines still resonate with fans three decades later.

"They felt like such a normal family," she said. "They were all relatable. They were in real situations as teenagers."

"I do think one of the special things about the show was that the family unit was really strong," she added. "And I think that was also in real life. And I think that sort of bled through the screen, and everybody was very close."

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Johnson, now 35, said she still gets recognized for "Growing Pains" a lot.

"It's funny," she said. "Most of the time, people don't know what they know me from, I think because I was so little. And they're, like, 'Did we go to school together, or how do I know you? I feel like I knew you when you were little,' which is such a weird thing to say to somebody, but it's true."