Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen were cast on the ABC sitcom Full House when they were just babies, after their mother sent pictures of them to a friend who happened to be a casting director.
The two shared the role of Michelle, the youngest Tanner sister, who lived with her two older siblings, DJ (Candace Cameron Bure) and Stephanie (Jodie Sweetin), her recently widowed father Danny (the late Bob Saget) and uncles Joey (Dave Coulier) and Jesse (John Stamos). But while Michelle became a beloved TGIF character and the twin actors skyrocketed to stardom, not everyone was happy with their presence on set at first.
In fact, Stamos once admitted that he actually tried to get them fired from Full House. Read on to find out why and what he had to say about it in hindsight.
The cast was, for the most part, like a family for the Olsens.
The Olsen twins grew up on the Full House set; playing Michelle from when they were just babies to the age of nine. So it’s no surprise that they developed close relationships with their co-stars.
And those relationships continued on after the show, as they moved onto new projects, including their movies and later, their fashion lines. The sisters told David Letterman in 2004 that the cast was like their “family,” and that most of them came to the premiere of their movie New York Minute.
Despite the sitcom being an overall positive experience, the former actors have conflicted feelings about being child stars. Speaking to Marie Claire in 2010, Mary-Kate said they felt “‘little monkey performers,” but that she “wouldn’t take it back for the world.”
They remained close with one co-star in particular.
Of the cast, the Olsens were reportedly closest to the late Bob Saget, their onscreen dad. When he died in 2022, the two attended his memorial. A source told Entertainment Tonight, “Bob was very protective of them and texted them regularly over the years.”
“Bob was the most loving, compassionate and generous man,” the now-36-year-olds said in a statement to Today after his death. “We are deeply saddened that he is no longer with us but know that he will continue to be by our side to guide us as gracefully as he always has.”
Stamos wasn’t always a fan of the twins, however.
The twins told Letterman in the aforementioned interview that they got the part of Michelle because their mother and her friend brought them into an audition, and they didn’t cry when they were passed around the room.
Apparently, that sort of peace and quiet was short-lived. And one of their adult castmates was so distracted by their noisiness that he suggested they be replaced. The 2015 Lifetime movie The Unauthorized Full House Story shows Stamos trying to get the Olsens fired from the show, and the actor admitted during a press tour panel that there was some truth to the dramatized scene.
“It’s sort of true that the Olsen twins cried a lot,” Stamos said in 2015, as reported by Entertainment Weekly. “It was very difficult to get the shot. So I [gesturing], ‘Get them out…!’ That is actually 100 percent accurate. They brought in a couple of unattractive redheaded kids. We tried that for a while and that didn’t work. [Producers] were like, all right, get the Olsen twins back. And that’s the story.”
But he really wanted them to take part in the revival.
In 2016, a revival series called Fuller House premiered on Netflix, with every original main cast member returning except for the Olsen twins. The series wrote Michelle off by explaining that she was running clothing line in New York City—a parallel to Mary-Kate and Ashley leaving acting behind for careers in fashion. There was an attempt to have them make at least a cameo on the new show, but the former child stars declined.
Stamos was the most vocal about the Olsens’ absence, telling People (via Looper) that he was “heartbroken” they wouldn’t be taking part. Then, in a 2016 appearance on The Tonight Show, he joked about it, saying, “It was just like a family reunion where some of the family members didn’t show up,” as reported by E! News.
He confirmed to Howard Stern that he had actually made an appeal to them directly and spoke to Mary-Kate on the phone about the show. “They seemed very into it. They just were afraid of acting,” he said on the Sirius XM show. “They don’t consider themselves actresses. I said, ‘Maybe you guys will just be in New York and we’ll do a phone call or something,’ and they were like, ‘Let us think about it,’ and it just wasn’t for them, so…”