John Stamos is opening up about his and Rebecca Romijn’s early 2000s divorce ahead of the release of his memoir, If You Would Have Told Me. The memoir features a very candid recounting of the ups and downs of their marriage.
In an exclusive conversation with PEOPLE, he tells the outlet that writing the chapters about his marriage and divorce was “very difficult”, particularly the part of the process that involved having to revisit the emotions he felt all those years ago.
"My first marriage was shattering to me. I was shattered for way too long, too," he said. "I mean, a year, okay, good. But it went on for years and years."
He spoke frankly about how interconnected his journey to sobriety and his divorce were, saying:
"In my mind back then, she was the Devil, and I just hated her," he said. "I couldn't believe how much I hated her, and it ruined my life. Looking back, and I talk about it, because it's one of the steps in AA where the fourth step is you lay out all your grievances, everything that people did to you. I go like, 'None.'"
But according to John, as time passed, he accepted that he played some part in the dissolution of the marriage. He discussed the likelihood of both of them being equally responsible for their demise, and describes feeling frustrated about the optics of the pair’s divorce.
"It was very much the opinion that she dumped me because her career was going great and mine wasn't, and that's humiliating," he said. "I don't blame her for it. It was just the perception that people took, and maybe they weren't wrong. She was doing great at that time and I wasn't."
He described his healing process, saying it “was not healthy”, adding that his divorce pushed him to begin drinking a lot.
"That's when I really started to kind of drink a lot," he said. "But without that, I never would've known what a real love is, and I would've never straightened up to get someone like Caitlin in my life."
John is referring to his now-wife Caitlin McHugh Stamos, who he married in 2018 and now shares a five-year-old son with.
While it appears that everything worked out in the end, for both him and Rebecca, who went on to marry Jerry O’Connell in 2007, it’s interesting to hear the reflections and revelations that can come from a divorce from a man’s perspective. I’ve written extensively about how well women tend to fare after a split, but John’s insights are painting a clearer picture of the struggles men face.
The rumour at the time was that they were separating over disagreements about growing their family and having kids. And considering it took years for John to finally remarry and have kids, I imagine it was him that was on the fence. So the emotions he must have been feeling over Rebecca’s decision to quickly remarry Jerry (who she met the same year that her and John separated) must have been intense. And while she coped with the divorce by pursuing what she knew she wanted, he coped with the fallout from the divorce by turning to alcohol, instead. Add in the fact that the divorce was misrepresented in the media, with him being painted out to be some miserable, unsuccessful actor, while Rebecca’s career was at a high – it truly was the perfect storm.
Over the years, a slew of studies have concluded that men are more vulnerable to the adverse effects of divorce, which include larger health declines and lower subjective well-being after separation, a higher risk of adopting bad health habits, which we saw with John’s alcoholism, elevated mortality, disproportionate declines in satisfaction with family life and greater feelings of loneliness and social isolation.
But there’s one key thing in examining the quality of life post-divorce that can be the determining factor in how well any one person copes with a separation, and it’s the economic impact. Numerous studies have shown that the economic costs of divorce fall more heavily on women. After separation, women experience a sharper decline in household income and a greater poverty risk. Their ex-husbands, though, often improve their standard of living in postdivorce years. But in the case of John and Rebecca, and most celebrity divorces, these risks are a lot lower, which is what makes celebrity divorces so interesting to examine.
The concerns most people have in a divorce, particularly as it pertains to finances, are a lot less immediate for celebrities, who usually have iron-clad prenups put in place prior to marrying due to the sheer amount of wealth they’re trying to protect, like in the case of Sofia Vergara and Joe Manganiello and Maren Morris and Ryan Hurd. We know that money is important and can impact our overall life satisfaction as much as any other given factor.
Part of the reason I’m such a huge fan of memoirs is because of the honesty and reflection required to do it. Look at someone like Jada Pinkett-Smith, who recently published her memoir, Worthy. The revelations from her memoir are still dominating news headlines, largely because she was more honest in the process of writing that book than she was on her online show, Red Table Talk, which was literally a show about being open and honest. Look at someone like Britney Spears, who has also been dominating headlines as revelations from her upcoming memoir, The Woman In Me, have taken the entertainment world by storm.
Sure, John’s revelations are a lot less salacious, but I feel like his candid recounting of his marriage, divorce and substance abuse issues could be really valuable information for a lot of people, and especially men, who may experience a similar emotional journey at some point in their life.
So while it’s unfortunate that John’s experiences are being completely overshadowed by the bombshells coming out of Jada and Britney’s memoirs, I think it’s still a powerful book. And I hope that it falls into the hands of the women, and especially the men, who could benefit from hearing more about his experiences the most.