I Found Happiness Again
The comic on being a dad and discovering new love
With Full House, America’s Funniest Home Videos and now Fuller House, which is filming its third season, Bob Saget has made millions of Americans laugh for decades. But offscreen, the funnyman needed some cheering up after losing two sisters and divorcing the mom of his three beloved daughters. “I didn’t think I’d have a relationship again,” Bob, 61, reveals to Closer. But he recently found new love with his girlfriend, travel-dining web series host Kelly Rizzo, 38, who moved from Chicago to LA to be with him. “My daughters love her!” he says with a smile. She’ll be by his side on June 16 when he’s honored at the Cool
Comedy, Hot Cuisine benefit for the Scleroderma Research Foundation (srfcure.org), which he’s supported for decades to honor his late sister, Gay.
“To be busy and do things you’re passionate about is great,” he says. “I’m happier today, and I’m the youngest 61-year-old I know!” — Gregg Goldstein
Congrats on getting this tribute! You’ve been doing these benefits for a long time.
Sharon Monsky, who started the Scleroderma Research Foundation, asked me to perform at Cool Comedy, Hot Cuisine in 1992 — Full House was on the air for a few years already — and I have not missed an event since. In 2002, I started hosting the event. It’s been amazing.
Why is scleroderma research such an important cause for you?
My sister, Gay, came down with the disease — it’s a hardening of the skin — but she went to a million doctors and no one could figure out what it was. The loss of her drove me, the misdiagnosis and the ignorance of the doctors. I made an  ABC movie about it two years after she passed away, For Hope with Dana Delany.
Was it therapeutic to direct it?
It was a very special time to work through the pain, but when I went on Oprah, she said, “You know, this is going to change everything, because a person doesn’t just document something so heavy within [a few] years. It’s going to blow your life up.” And it did.
It was traumatic. I got divorced [from my wife of 15 years, Sherri Kramer] a couple years later. My sister’s son underwent surgery when he was 7, and I’d made a movie [the 1977 short Through Adam’s Eyes] about that. My joke was, “Somebody in the family better get sick, because Bob needs to direct!”
And I know you were close with Don Rickles, who was at last year’s benefit…
He was a big influence on me, and I feel like I lost a dad. His whole thing was to make people feel better. I just called [his wife] Barbie the other day because it was Don’s birthday; he would’ve been 91. But getting back to the benefit, a lot of love is what this is all about. It’s similar to all the pockets of my life: the love of my kids, the love of my girlfriend…
Wait, you have a new girlfriend?
Yes, which I’m excited about! Big, big news — and she’s a woman! [Laughs] Her name is Kelly Rizzo, and she’s remarkable. She’s got her own website and streaming series called Eat Travel Rock.
Did you think you’d ever find love again?
No. I was kind of in that “just work, make people happy and take care of your kids until they’re 90” mindset.
And how are Aubrey, 30, Lara, 27, and Jennifer, 24, doing these days?
They’re just adorable. My daughters are my greatest accomplishment, the thing I’m most proud of. I’m incredibly close with them.
Are you as funny with them as you are with everyone else?
I can be, but they can be really funny, too. They’re all artists, and Jennie is a great writer. They were fortunate, because their mom and I have been divorced for over 20 years and we have an amicable relationship. I love taking vacations with my kids, and this year I’m taking one with them and my girlfriend.
And how has it been reuniting with your on-screen daughters on Fuller House?
I was sick the week we filmed the pilot, but it didn’t take away from loving being there when I looked into the eyes of Candace [Cameron Bure] and Jodie [Sweetin], the same eyes I looked into when they were 10. I did miss having Mary-Kate and Ashley [Olsen] there, but that was because I love them, not because I felt our fans needed it… even though the fans would hate hearing that! [Laughs] They are friends. I see them when I’m in NYC.
So you’re still close with the Olsens?
They’re like family to me. I think of them as daughters more than any of the other cast, except for Jodie right now. Poor Jodie hurt her leg, so they had to shoot around her.
“I’m in a great relationship! She’s a remarkable person, and she’s really talented
— Bob (with Kelly)
Meanwhile, you and John Stamos have a serious bromance going on.
I’ve got a bromance with Stamos that’s ridiculous. We do a lot of our interviews together so we can be near each other.
Anything you wish could’ve been different on Full House’s original run?
We never got a good review, ever. The critics hated the show. But they were 50-yearold men and we were like, shouldn’t it be reviewed by 14-year-old girls? It won the People’s Choice Awards and Nickelodeon’s Kids Choice Awards. I think it’s because people voted and there weren’t electoral votes! [Laughs]
But nonetheless, you sound happy!
I am! My girls are doing well, and I’m surrounded by people I really care about. What more could I ask for?
Bob with his daughters (from left) Aubrey, Lara
and Jennifer With the Full House crew early in their 1987–’95 run
NICE LOOK In 2008, Bob was given a rare tribute — his portrait at the famed Broadway eatery Sardi’s. As for being honored by the SRF, he says, “I never dreamed I would end up in this position.”