Tell someone you're going to interview Joey Lawrence and you're bound to get one of three reactions: "Omigod, I used to have the biggest crush on him!" "What's he been up to lately?" and "Why did he shave his head?" Fortunately, the former teen idol who plays a down-on-his-luck "manny" opposite Melissa Joan Hart in the new ABC Family comedy Melissa & Joey (premiering August 17 at 8 PM) is game to discussing all the above and more. Now 34, the married father of two talks to UsMagazine.com.
You and Melissa have pretty good chemistry. As two 90s sitcom stars, you guys must go way back, right?
We've known each other for awhile, but not known known, you know? We did the TV movie My Fake Fiance a few years ago and that's when I really got to be friends with her. It was such a hit and the network told us they wanted to develop something further with us. I'm very excited to do this, and I'm recording the theme song too.
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You're singing again? Um, whoa.
Yup, it's called "Stuck with Me." It reminds of me of the theme of Friends. And I'm making a brand new record that will drop early next year. It is right there with the first Justin Timberlake's first CD. I haven't done an album since 1997, but it sold six million copies and fans have always asked me for more. And I would not have waited this long and gone down this path again if I didn't think we had something.
What's your fondest memory of your Blossom teen idol heyday?
I have nothing specific, just the great memory of being the most popular 17-year-old on the planet. I didn't realize it at the time, but when you step back, you think "That's pretty freaking amazing!" This was before whole infrastructure of these Disney kids, when you have your own fragrance in 30 seconds and everything. I'm glad it wasn't like that for me because I was able to have that part of my career without being too overexposed. Then I went to college at USC and came back to my career as an adult.
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You competed on Dancing With The Stars back in 2006. If someone told you to do a Paso Doble right now, could you?
I could! We got all the way to the finals and then I went on three national tours. In fact, there's going to be a Dancing With the Stars episode on the show, and Mark Ballas is going to appear. But I don't get a chance to dance anymore. I'd like to spin my wife around the house, but we have two little ones running around. We bump into each other going to the bathroom in the middle of the night, and that's about the most we get.
Will you please let your hair grow?
You know, I have equally as many people who like it that don't like it. But I feel comfortable with it. There's nothing more annoying than dudes who had a lot of success at 17 and then continuously wear their hair the same way. My pop and my grandfather were in the Navy, and I always grew up just wanting a short haircut. I did it, and I tell you, I haven't stopped working since I shaved it off!
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And it does work for Howie Mandel.
He's bald! I'm not bald.
By Mara Reinstein for UsMagazine.com