Sitcom Parents Who Aren’t So Wholesome in Real Life


Bob Saget is trying to destroy our childhood. Over the weekend, video circulated of the one-time Full House super-dad accompanying Ben Folds on a cover of the Dr. Dre classic “Bitches Ain’t Shit,” reminding us once again that Danny Tanner is dead. Since we’ve followed Saget’s antics over the past few years, the incident wasn’t a surprise. It did, however, get us thinking about all the actors who have played apparently wholesome parents on our favorite TV shows, but who turned out to be a bit more complicated in real life. From raunchy comedians and crazy people to drug dealers and sex criminals, our list of badly behaved sitcom parents is after the jump.

Bob Saget, Full House

It didn’t take his and Folds’ rendition of “Bitches Ain’t Shit” to prove that that Bob Saget is nothing like sweet, neat-freak Danny Tanner. Ever since the show wrapped, he’s been intentionally exploding his wholesome image with raunchy humor. His appearance in The Aristocrats is positively filthy — and Saget’s potty mouth is hardly limited to his telling of the infamous dirty joke.

Florence Henderson, The Brady Bunch

Who could be more wholesome than Carol Brady? A lot of people, it turns out! There was some standard sleeping around — in the ’60s, Henderson cheated on her husband with New York City mayor John Lindsay, and famously came away from the affair with crabs. But, in his 1992 memoir Growing Up Brady, Barry Williams (aka Greg Brady) revealed that he went on a date with his TV stepmom.

Bill Cosby, The Cosby Show

He may have been America’s favorite dad in the ’80s, but Cosby’s real-life family values may leave something to be desired, to put it mildly. In 2006, he settled a civil suit with a 32-year-old woman who said that he drugged and sexually assaulted her, after no fewer than 13 other women came forward with similar stories.

Tim Allen, Home Improvement

You probably know Tim Allen as power tool-obsessed father of three Tim Taylor. But did you realize that, 13 years before he set foot on the Home Improvement set, Allen was arrested for dealing cocaine? Although he began with a small-time operation in college, he slowly rose in the ranks — until he was nailed in 1978 at the Kalamazoo airport with 1.4 pounds of coke. Because he plead guilty and helped police identify other dealers, he served only 28 months. Sadly, Allen’s substance troubles didn’t end there; in 1997, he was arrested for driving drunk and sentenced to probation.

Janet Hubert, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

The official story is that Hubert, who played Aunt Viv for the show’s first three seasons before she was famously replaced, left the show after a contract dispute. But her co-stars tell a different story: Will Smith once claimed that she “wanted the show to be The Aunt Viv of Bel-Air show.” And at a SUNY Oneonta talk a few years ago, Alfonso Ribeiro told his own version.”She went nuts!” he recalled. “She would literally go off on people, and it got to the point by the time the second season came around that we were like, ‘This is unacceptable.'”

Max Wright, ALF

Wright’s Willie Tanner was a strict, nerdy social worker who really cared about his family — and, of course, their very own extraterrestrial, ALF. In real life, the actor seemed to have a major drinking problem. He was arrested for drunk driving in 2000 and apparently hadn’t cleaned up his act three years later, when an intoxicated Wright drove his car off the road, hit two mailboxes, and was slapped with a DWI charge.

Image via The Smoking Gun

Suzanne Somers, Step by Step

Best known for playing the bubbly Chrissy Snow on Three’s Company, Suzanne Somers is most recognizable to children of the ’90s as Step by Step mom Carol Lambert. But way back in 1970, before she was a household name but after her acting career had already kicked off, she was arrested for passing off bad checks and let off the hook when she paid the money she owed. These days, she mostly sticks to ripping off fans by hawking books filled with medical advice so bad Somers wouldn’t dream of following it herself.