By the time Lori Loughlin was attending Hauppauge High School back in the 1980s, her life was anything but typical, given her rather time-consuming day job -- playing Jody on the ABC daytime soap "The Edge of Night."
After graduation, Hollywood called, and after a few years she wound up with the role she's best known for -- Rebecca, on the popular sitcom "Full House," co-starring Bob Saget and John Stamos. Since then, she's starred in The WB's "Summerland," which she co-created, and The CW's "90210."
Her latest series, "When Calls the Heart," based on Janette Oke's bestselling books of the Canadian West, presents the loves and labors of a coal mining town in the 1800s. Loughlin plays Abigail Stanton, a wife and mother forced to work in the mine after an explosion kills her husband. The premiere airs on the Hallmark Channel tonight at 10.
Loughlin, 49, lives in L.A. with her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, and their three children. She spoke with Newsday contributor -- and former classmate -- Joseph V. Amodio.
Did you know anything about coal mining?
Not a thing, but I sure do now. It was hard living. The men would come from the mines, and the women used to scrub them down. Often, they couldn't get their hands clean again; coal would get in your skin. They didn't live long -- it was a dangerous job.
This series reminds me of "Little House on the Prairie."
Yes, or "The Waltons." There's really nothing like it on TV now. Sitcoms . . . they're racy, off-color. I watch "Two and a Half Men" and laugh, but I'm not gonna watch it with my kids. That's in part why competition shows are so successful. Not just the voting -- you can watch with the whole family.
The last time I interviewed you for the school paper, you were going off to auditions and modeling jobs.
Yeah. [She laughs.]
Any regrets, not having the so-called "normal" childhood?
No. Because . . . doing what I did afforded me a very different life. I love what I do. Having said that, when my kids say they wanna be actors, I say, "Go to college, a big school with a football team and school spirit, have a good time, be social." Because I didn't do that. I was working.
How often do you get back to Long Island?
All the time. My dad passed away, but my mom is still there, my brother, cousins, aunts. . . . I was there at Thanksgiving. Found a "Full House" baseball hat in mom's attic. I've lost everything the show gave us, but I go to her house, and it's all there. Everything!
She could open up her own Lori Loughlin Museum.
So John Stamos gave an interview recently saying you may be the "one who got away" . . . and the Internet went crazy!
I gather you're good friends. Why do you think your TV romance on "Full House" resonated with so many fans?
I don't know! I'm flattered. I love that people love those characters so much they want it to be a real romance. But even I was surprised when it went as viral as it did.
And real-life romance -- how did you meet your husband?
Years ago , he saw me across the room -- tried to meet me but couldn't. The next day . . . a friend called saying, "Do you know a designer named Mossimo? He'd like to meet you for a drink." I was going through a divorce, so I said, "Tell him thanks but no thanks." I went to the gym, and a woman walks in with a T-shirt with "Mossimo" on it. Well, I go about my life, and his name starts popping up everywhere. I'm at the movies, and Kevin Spacey is on-screen with a Mossimo hat on. I thought, "This is so weird, am I being 'Punk'd'?"
But it wasn't a stunt.
No. It just happened . . . for months. I'm at a restaurant with a friend and she says: "Oh, I have a great new client, his name is Mossimo." I say, "Emily! That's that guy! With the hats, the T-shirts." And she says, "Well, he's really nice." So at that moment, I go to the restroom, and as I walk though the bar, there's a guy screaming at the top of his lungs, "Moss! Hey, Moss!" And I stop. I think . . . Moss. That's gotta be short for . . . I turn to my left -- there's a guy standing next to me. "You're Mossimo, aren't you?" He looks at me and says, "Omigod -- it's you." And that's how we met.
So I think we were fated to be together. Forces kept pushing us in that direction.
Think that happens in life? Forces?
Sometimes. I hadn't thought about it before then. But I think maybe sometimes things are meant to be.