Actor and comedian Dave Coulier spoke of the immense grief he felt after losing close friends and family members, including Bob Saget, in a recent interview with The Christian Post.
Coulier is the star of "Live + Local," a new series on the Christian streaming service Pure Flix. He recently spoke to CP about his journey to sobriety and how that brought greater clarity during the grieving process. In part 1 of his interview with CP, Coulier shared how his dependence on alcohol was affecting his spirituality and other aspects of his life. For years, he hadn't noticed how much his drinking had increased.
On Jan. 1, 2020, Coulier, who's best known as Uncle Joey in the iconic TV series "Full House" and its spin-off "Fuller House," committed to a life of sobriety and has been sober ever since. Soon after he made that life-changing decision, Coulier experienced some of his greatest losses and said the journey was "very sobering."
"It was a wake-up call," he added. "I realized that I could no longer cover up life's journey of sorrow by applying these layers of alcohol on it. I realized that I really had to feel the rawness of it, the emotion of it.”
The losses began a year ago after Coulier's brother, Dan, died by suicide. Dan had struggled a lot throughout his life, but the entertainer had no idea how deep his brother's struggles with mental health were.
"For him, every day was such a struggle, and every day he would rather not be here than be here,” Coulier told CP. “That's how tough it was for him to make that final decision. I found my brother at my dad's house down in the basement. I was the one who found him.”
“You want to talk about a heart punch. That was a really stiff punch to my heart, to my soul. And believe me, being sober, I felt that more than I ever had because those layers of alcohol weren't there to mask it.”
Not only was the comedic actor thrust into taking care of his brother's affairs following his death, but his 90-year-old father also lost his son and primary caretaker.
"Being there every day for him, at his side visiting him and making sure he had everything he needed, using our spirituality to give to him,” Coulier said of how he cared for his father after moving him to an assisted-living center. “Then Bob Saget passed away. And you want to talk about another heart punch, it was just so sudden, like my brother.”
Saget, Coulier’s “Full House” co-star, was found dead in a Florida hotel room on Jan. 9 at the age of 65.
"John Stamos was the one who called me and said, 'Bob's gone.' And I said, 'What do you mean? I was texting him yesterday during the day.' He said, 'He's dead. They found him dead in his hotel room,' We all have those moments where it is a defining, emotional, spiritual, psychological moment. And that was it for me.
"That hit me so hard. I hadn't even had time to grieve my brother because I was helping my dad so much. And that really, really hit me, and I just exploded with emotion. It was just walls of water and sorrow,” he said.
Coulier met Saget when he was an 18-year-old "struggling stand-up" comedian in Detroit.
"We just became instant brothers. So to know someone for 40-plus years like that and suddenly have them ripped away when you're speaking to him the day before, I couldn't process that,” he continued. “It was just not humanly possible that I had the tools to deal with that.
"But thank goodness, again, I was sober. I was able to deal with it head-on and try to make sense of all of it. It was a full canvas that I was painting on emotionally. It wasn't like everything was already filled in, and I had to paint this one little section in. It was the full canvas of everything that a human can possibly go through.”
A couple of months after Saget's death, Coulier’s dad died.
The losses continued.
"In between there, we had Norm Macdonald pass away. Louie Anderson passed away. Gilbert Gottfried passes away. One of my best friends that I know from Michigan here passes away, [then] another one passes away. I just thought to myself, there was no way I was going to make it through this journey. I wouldn't have been able to feel my own spirituality because I was covering it up with alcohol. So there was no way that I was going to make it through all of this on crutches.
"It's been like walking on my own two feet emotionally for the past two-and-a-half years.
"We all have incredible loss. We all go through really tough times. I didn't think mine was all going to happen at once within a condensed year period. But if somebody can see themselves through me and the hardship, you know that the hardship and loss, which we all get and relate to, that sometimes it takes that to sober us up.”
When CP asked Coulier to comment on a photo taken at Saget's memoir service of him walking next to actress Candace Cameron Bure who was sporting a sweater she designed that read: "Love Like Jesus, Hug Like Bob Saget," he replied: "Love like Jesus and hug like Bob Saget. You can't get any simpler than that. That just says it all."
“It just says love. I've been talking with friends a lot lately about the state of where we are as a nation, where we are as a world. And I said the other night, 'I don't care what your politics are. I don't care if you're a Democrat or Republican or you believe in this or you believe in that. We need to get back, in this country, back to the most important word in the name of our country, which is United.
"We need to be the United States of America because we're all losing right now, with all of this hate and divisiveness. We need to really listen to each other. We need to support each other and we need to be united, and the only way you can do that is with love.”
Coulier, who was raised in the Catholic faith, said he's happy he sobered up because alcohol affected his spirituality and everything else in his life.
"It's been a real journey talking about all this stuff. I had to be honest with myself first before I can be honest with anybody else, so that's been the journey really peeling away all those layers and getting down to 'Who's Dave? Who am I really?" he told CP.
"There aren't many shows like 'Full House' and 'Fuller House' anymore. We tell each other on that show that we love each other. And I think for a lot of kids and parents, watching our show is kind of like video comfort food. It gives you a sense of love and a sense of family and a sense of togetherness. I think that's what we're most proud of.”
His new series “Live + Local” begins streaming on Pure Flix on July 7. Click here for more details.
Jeannie Ortega Law is a reporter for The Christian Post. Reach her at: email@example.com She's also the author of the book, What Is Happening to Me? How to Defeat Your Unseen Enemy Follow her on Twitter: @jlawcp Facebook: JeannieOMusic