I Found Hap­pi­ness Again

The comic on be­ing a dad and dis­cov­er­ing new love

Closer Weekly - - Heart To Heart - — Re­port­ing by Ilyssa Panitz

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 [1996] 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.

How so?

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.”

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