Candace Cameron Bure is a woman of many talents.
"You know, people forget that—yes, I'm a celebrity—but I'm a real person," Candace explained on a January episode of E!'s Daily Pop. Which is why the actress went on the offensive when social media users dragged every aspect of a holiday photo she posted of her full house: Husband Valeri Bure, daughter Natasha, 22, and sons Lev, 21, and Maksim, 19.
"I was simply sharing a family Christmas card," she continued. "And it's so strange to me that people have the audacity to write horrible and negative comments. Like, you would never say that to someone's face."
So her clap backs were "more about a reminder," she explained, "like, I'm sharing the best of what I believe my family is on a Christmas card, so keep your mouth shut."
Because let's be clear: They worked hard for that holiday cheer this past season.
Like pretty much every person everywhere, the Fuller House alum found the past year-and-a-half or so to be more than a bit challenging. And the relationship between her and her husband of 25 years "got really hairy after the first few months," she admitted in a March chat with Yahoo! Lifestyle. "Like, bad."
Suddenly locked in the same square footage for months on end, "All the things that we have avoided for years talking about, they all surfaced and they were in our face," she continued, "and it was unavoidable to actually have these discussions with one another and work through the real deal crap."
Feeling the watchful eyes of their adult children kept her and retired hockey pro Valeri from shattering. "My children were the biggest influence in helping my husband and me work through it," she explained. "And since then, the relationship has grown even closer and tighter. There's always hills and valleys, no matter what. But when you come out of the valley, it is like, hallelujah. You feel like you can accomplish anything."
Their love story spanning three decades, they've navigating more than a few of these bumps in the road but they've never been tempted to cut it out.
"Marriage is a wonderful, beautiful thing but there's always going to be tough times," she reasoned to Us Weekly in 2018. "There's no one that has this amazingly perfect marriage....You just hang in there and stick with it."
Because so much about their union feels meant to be, starting with their 1994 meet-cute, that was set into motion by Candace's Full House costar Dave Coulier.
The Michigan native and huge hockey fan "was at a celebrity charity game playing, and he invited the cast down," Candace detailed on Today in 2007. "He pulled me over to the side and said, 'I met this really cute Russian hockey player and I want to introduce you.'" (What an assist from Uncle Joey!)
Sitting in the stands with Lori Loughlin, the then-teen had already made note of the striking blonde and his brother. So when they actually faced off, it was game over. "Val had just come from Moscow, Russia," Candace continued, "and it turned out he would watch Full House to learn English."
They went on their first date the next day. Within a year, the actress—having recently wrapped her eight-year stint on the TGIF favorite—was engaged (following a whirlwind summer of travel across France, Switzerland and Italy) and living with her future husband in Montreal where the 5-foot-10 right winger played for the Canadiens.
Wed on June 22, 1996, when Candace was just 20 and Val 22, they welcomed Natasha a few months after celebrating their second anniversary. Little brother Lev arrived 18 months later and then his little brother Maksim was born two years after that.
Through it all, Candace and Val continued to navigate the roller coaster that is decades with the same person.
"I couldn't be more proud to be here and love my man the way I do. But let me assure you it hasn't been all roses the whole journey," she shared while marking their 20th anniversary in 2016 with a getaway to California's Pebble Beach Resort. "There have been several tough years, in a row, ups and downs, bad attitudes and bad decisions, but we've persevered. We rode them out. We loved each other through them. We kept the focus; God's glory. We are both better for it."
Through job changes (back and hip injuries led the now-47-year-old to hang up his skates in 2005, turning his focus to their Bure Family Wines), parenting struggles and the myriad other challenges life presents, the couple's shared faith remained a touchstone.
"The reality is the glue for us is Jesus," she noted to People in 2018. "It's the Bible. You know, when there are arguments or we're compromising and in ways, it's always like, 'Well, let's just go back to the Bible.' It's the foundation for us."
Though the New Testament is always guiding them, together they've developed a few commandments of their own.
For instance, thou shall not be afraid to cop a feel. Because that's just what Valeri did this past September, spicing up a snap they took after lunch with son Lev. "It was so pretty out and I said, 'Honey, let's take a few pictures together,'" Candace recalled while discussing the incident on an episode of Confessions Of A Crappy Christian Podcast in November. "Then the very last picture he grabbed my boob, like put his hand over and it was super funny and cute. So I was like, 'Oh my gosh, this is so funny, can I please post this?' And he was like, 'That one? Yeah okay.'"
What she thought would garner some double-taps, maybe a few cheeky comments, instead set off a firestorm, fellow Christians taking issue with their ever-so-racy flirtations. "I was like, 'You know what guys? I've been married for 24 years. I'm a Christian, my husband's a Christian, and I'm really proud that we've managed to stay married for 24 years,'" she continued.
And part of that success has been finding their stride in the bedroom, something that wasn't openly encouraged during her religious upbringing. "Sometimes there's a skew about sex within the Christian community that I get really sad about," she noted, recalling how as a child there was so much shame around intimacy. "I lived in such a fear of 'Oh my gosh, I'm not supposed to be a sexual person, because I have to save myself. God is going to think negatively of me if I'm having sex.'"
As a result, even after she and Val wed, she admitted, "For a few years, I would have sex with my husband thinking like, 'Oh my gosh, is God looking at me and like is this bad? Is he mad?'"
So now she's open about sex to the point of embarrassing her children. "My kids are like, 'Mom, please stop talking about sex. Please stop,'" she shared. "But I've always been super open."
And she makes it a point to get date nights with her man on the books because "it's so easy" to "fall into patterns," as she put it to Closer. "It can get monotonous at home."
That's why one sure-fire rut-buster involves scheduling parents-only getaways "at least for a weekend," she told E! News in 2017, "because the time alone together is far and few."
It has been entirely in short supply this past year, COVID turning their empty nest into a bustling one, with Lev home from college and Maksim back from Minnesota where he plays hockey for NorthStar Christian Academy.
But as they worked through their roughest patch yet, they found the beauty in their fuller house. "We cooked almost every meal at home during the pandemic," she detailed to Yahoo! "We kind of went through the pages of a cookbook and cooked something new every day. And that was really fun, and fun to do together as a family. And then also playing board games and cards. They'll go down as some of the best and most fun memories with my family."
They're sure to make more, starting with their 25th anniversary June 22. Though, admittedly Val will have to fake his shock when opening his gift after Candace accidentally ruined the surprise in a recent interview she called an "epic anniversary fail."
Thankfully, their two-and-a-half-decade bond is as strong as the silver in the custom-made token she had commissioned.
This past year "totally tested us but in the best of ways," Candace told Us Weekly in November. "We both travel so much. So we were like, 'This might be the most amount of time we've actually spent together in years. This is either going to make us or break us.' And you know what? It's made us."
(Originally published Apr. 6, 2021 at 12 a.m. PT)