It’s no secret that Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, the designers behind high-end fashion brand The Row, are no huge fans of fame and have spent decades distancing themselves from their shared childhood role as Michelle Tanner on the smash hit sitcom Full House. But according to John Stamos, the distancing process could have taken place even sooner: he said this week that he tried to get his then-infant costars fired.
On Josh Peck’s “Good Guys” podcast, Stamos shared that while filming a now-iconic scene for the show with Dave Coulier, who played Joey Gladstone, where Stamos and Coulier change Michelle’s diaper, then-11-month-olds Mary-Kate and Ashley were both crying uncontrollably.
“We’re doing the scene,” Stamos told Peck, “Joey and I were changing the baby, right? And Danny’s gone and said, ‘Take care of the kids.’ ‘Yeah, we got it. We got it.’ So, we’re carrying the baby downstairs and we take her in the kitchen and we hose her down. And she was screaming. Both of them. They wanted to be anywhere else but there—and so did I.”
Watching the scene back, you can see why the babies got upset: Stamos hoists a bottomless infant in the air as Coulier sprays water towards her, while a studio audience howls with laughter in the background.
Stamos next swings one of the infant Olsens around the kitchen counter and holds her exposed bottom in front of an oscillating fan, then spins in a circle while Coulier wraps baby Michelle in paper towels. This would be a lot for an adult performer, let alone a baby!
“They were 11 months old, and god bless them. They kept switching: ‘This one’s not gonna cry.’ I couldn’t deal with it,” Stamos told Peck. “And I said, ‘This is not gonna work. So they got rid of them. They bring on these two redheaded kids… I’m sure their parents loved them and thought they were attractive… it was only a few days, and I said, ‘Bring the Olsens back! These kids are terrible.’”
Given how intentionally the Olsens have retreated from the spotlight after the total overexposure they received early in life, there’s something truly jarring about this anecdote from Stamos: If he had found the redhead infants attractive, perhaps they would have been subjected to traumatic Hollywood childhoods instead of Ashley and Mary-Kate?
“The studio teacher’s responsibility is just to sit back and make sure the baby isn’t put under any lights that may drop on their heads and make sure they have a clean area for resting,” Adria Later, Mary-Kate and Ashley’s Full House on-set teacher, told The Washington Post in 1991.
The twins’ father told the Post in the same article that his daughters “were almost like chimpanzees when they were little.” Maybe we should just ban child acting?