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After years of Christmas movies, Danica McKellar moves family to Tennessee: ‘Life imitating art’

The "Wonder Years" star has embraced her new rural life.
/ Source: TODAY

Danica McKellar is taking a cue from her work.

The “Wonder Years” star, 47, says she and her family have moved to Tennessee, a decision that calls to mind her characters in the TV movies she makes.

“I’ve moved to the country. Many of my characters go from the big city life to the country, and my family and I just moved to rural Tennessee and we love it so much,” she told the 3rd hour of TODAY Nov. 15. “I’ve lived in Los Angeles my entire life, since I was 7 years old. San Diego before that. So, I’ve never had seasons.”

“We just love it so much,” she added. “It’s life imitating art in a way. I’ve done these Christmas movies for so many years and finally I’m like, ‘You know what? That sounds like a good idea.’”

Danica McKellar on the 3rd hour of TODAY on Nov. 15, 2022
Danica McKellar talks to the 3rd hour of TODAY's Jacob Soboroff, Sheinelle Jones and Craig Melvin about what prompted her to move to Tennessee. Nathan Congleton / TODAY

Tennessee is a long way from the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. So, why did McKellar set up shop there?

“So many reasons,” she said. “My husband and I have some history there, quite a few dates and holidays. A ton of friends (are) moving out there. It seems like a lot of people are moving to Tennessee and I see why.”

McKellar will return to the small screen in “Christmas at the Drive-In” on Great American Family, which premieres Nov. 25. She’s done scores of films for Lifetime and Hallmark and says she can’t get enough of these types of movies.

“Holiday movies are just so feel-good,” she said.

“I just love them. They put joy in people’s hearts,” she added. “A lot of people say, ‘Oh, well, it’s an escape.’ But I really think it’s more than that. It’s really about modeling good behavior, too, and good human beings and Christmas traditions and just making you feel connected to the holidays.”

McKellar, of course, may always be best remembered for playing Winnie Cooper on “The Wonder Years,” which signed off nearly 30 years ago. The show continues to live on in the hearts of its fans.

“There’s so much nostalgia in it, you know? And I think people just connected,” she said.

“It was universal, all the trials and tribulations of middle school. They don’t change from now to then. And now the adults watching the show see their own childhoods represented so beautifully, it just struck a chord. And it’s amazing today still, we’re talking about it right now.”