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'Full House's' Andrea Barber Quit Acting at Peak of Career to Study & Raise 2 Kids — She Feels 'No Sadness'

Junie Sihlangu
Jul 14, 2022
04:30 P.M.
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Andrea Barber was at the peak of her acting career when she left Hollywood for an ordinary life. She had no regrets about her decision, and after becoming a mother and raising children, the star took on another significant role.

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In November 2018, the "Today" show interviewed actress Andrea Barber about her role in "Full House." The star began playing the role of Kimmy Gibbler in the series when she was ten years old.

Barber confessed how difficult it was to play Gibbler as a teenager because she was in her awkward formative years and had to spend them on camera. She also joked that she had to wear unfashionable clothes because of her character.

Andrea Barber, Candace Cameron, Mary-Kate/Ashley Olsen, and Jodie Sweetin on an episode of "Full House" on January 7, 1992. | Source: Getty Images

Andrea Barber, Candace Cameron, Mary-Kate/Ashley Olsen, and Jodie Sweetin on an episode of "Full House" on January 7, 1992. | Source: Getty Images

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Gibbler was a funny but strange little girl. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter (THR) in February 2016, Barber revealed how she began acting from age four until 18, describing it as her "extracurricular activity" for her whole childhood.

She started as a recurring character and became a full-time one during season five. When the show got to Gibbler's 16th birthday, her best friend, D.J. Tanner, forgot it and had to throw a party haphazardly.

An image of Andrea Barber as Kimmy Gibbler on an episode of "Full House" on the "Today" show on December 5, 2018. | Source: YouTube/TODAY

An image of Andrea Barber as Kimmy Gibbler on an episode of "Full House" on the "Today" show on December 5, 2018. | Source: YouTube/TODAY

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Barber knew her character had finally endeared into viewers' hearts when she finally got that critical storyline. The star played the role for eight years as a teenager, leaving Gibbler to hide "in there subconsciously."

The actress said it was learning a language as a child and then becoming fluent in it for life. She became fluent in being Gibbler, and she and the character became synonymous.

QUITTING HOLLYWOOD FOR AN AVERAGE LIFE

Andrea Barber at the "To Grandmother's House We Go" screening on December 5, 1992, in Beverly Hills, California. | Source: Getty Images

Andrea Barber at the "To Grandmother's House We Go" screening on December 5, 1992, in Beverly Hills, California. | Source: Getty Images

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In 2020, Barber revealed that she knew many people who played "outlandish characters" like Gibbler, who struggled with being typecast; however, she never struggled with that. At age 18, she left Hollywood because her heart wasn't into acting any longer.

She explained that her departure had nothing to do with her "Full House" character. All she wanted to do was go to college, learn new things, and do something other than acting.

Andrea Barber as Kimmy Barber on location in San Francisco for "Full House" on September 27, 1994. | Source: Getty Images

Andrea Barber as Kimmy Barber on location in San Francisco for "Full House" on September 27, 1994. | Source: Getty Images

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After the original show concluded in 1995, Barber quit acting and went to college. The star was ready to live an adult life and move on from the show but felt no bitterness over her character.

The actress found the change sad, but she was ready to move on with her life. However, the truth was that she had a little bit of Gibbler, but she wasn't as "outlandish" as the character and didn't wear the same crazy clothes.

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Barber was also shy and introverted compared to Gibbler and wasn't one to speak up in situations. So the character allowed the actress to let out her inner wild child, and it felt cathartic to play a character that was unlike her.

She loved being unapologetic and loud as Gibbler and also got to do crazy things. Speaking to THR, Barber said she quickly knew she wanted to leave Hollywood because she felt there was more out in the world for her.

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Over the years, she realized she loved acting, but the business side of it that she didn't like. The star didn't like the publicity and the challenging task of marketing yourself by going out to auditions, stating:

"It’s a really tough business, and it’s tougher now than it was 30 years ago, just because the competition is even more intense than it was back when I was four years old."

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She was ready to leave it behind despite enjoying the craftsmanship of acting. The star said the show's finale was perfect because she'd just started her first year in college and left the series straight to her college dorm.

Barber spent four years in college and got her bachelor's and then her master's degrees. The actress worked in international education, studied abroad for some years at a university, and found a lot of fulfillment before saying:

"I left Hollywood, so no sadness about that whatsoever. I was very content to pursue other interests in my life."

During her "Today" show interview, the star revealed, "A lot of people are surprised to learn that I'm smarter than Kimmy Gibbler in real life." Later on, the actress started a new chapter in her life.

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GETTING MARRIED AND HAVING CHILDREN

Andrea Barber at the Rock 'n' Roll Los Angeles Halloween half-marathon benefiting the ASPCA on October 28, 2012, in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images

Andrea Barber at the Rock 'n' Roll Los Angeles Halloween half-marathon benefiting the ASPCA on October 28, 2012, in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images

For the next few years, Barber had a few acting roles but mainly focused on having a life outside of acting. She experienced some significant life changes personally after meeting Jeremy Rytky in 2000.

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Before meeting the actress, Jeremy served in the Marines before becoming an attorney. He and Barber married in 2002, and in the star's book, "Full Circle: From Hollywood to Real Life and Back Again," Barber revealed how she and her husband left three weeks after their wedding.

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The couple lived in England for a year, and Jeremy planned to study history at York while his wife was enrolled elsewhere. The pair enjoyed traveling to other countries and learning about British life with no other responsibilities except school.

Barber and Jeremy welcomed their first child and son, Tate, in 2004. According to the actress, her husband was a great father and didn't worry as she did, plus he could swaddle their son like a professional.

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Jeremy could also put Tate to sleep by rocking him on his side and shushing in his ear. The couple then welcomed their second child, a baby girl named Felicity, in 2007; Barber was content in being a stay-at-home mother for years when her children were babies and toddlers.

Coincidentally, the actress began running around the same time her marriage fell apart. The star said the sport was the best thing she did to help her get through her divorce because she needed to be alone.

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Barber got her frustrations out while pounding her feet on the pavement. Running became "a great mantra" for her life as it also symbolized moving forward, and she and Jeremy divorced after twelve years in 2014.

In 2016, she told People magazine how she met her new boyfriend, Michael, through running. The pair had a common interest in the sport that brought a lot of positivity and completion into the star's life.

REPRISING HER ROLE AS KIMMY GIBBLER

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Since the California native had said she wouldn't mind reprising her role as Gibbler, she got to do just that on the "Fuller House" reboot years later. Despite her feelings against the business side of acting, Barber gladly came back.

Being able to play [Kimmy] Gibbler felt like the star [Andrea Barber] was reliving her "childhood all over again."

In June 2016, the fifth and final season of the show came out. The actress explained that she only returned to play that character and wasn't trying to work her way back into Hollywood; she just loved playing the role.

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Barber said she probably wouldn't be acting if it wasn't for "Fuller House" and her love for Gibbler. The star put on her character's bright clothing and a scrunchie to reprise her role, with the sequel focusing on Gibbler, Tanner (played by Candace Cameron Bure), and Jodie Sweetin as Stephanie.

The actress was able to slide right back into her old role when the show premiered. Being Gibbler just came back to her even though it had been years, and she was pretty surprised because it was like she'd never left.

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When asked if it would be the last time she played Gibbler, Braber said she didn't want it to be because she loved the character. She felt the character was beloved, had grown out of her pest phase, and was now "quirky."

The star said the role didn't feel complete, and she wanted to continue wearing the crazy outfits and scarves and keep playing Gibbler. She was more than willing to reprise the role in a third installment, and she was sure her castmates were keen too.

Being able to play Gibbler felt like the star was reliving her "childhood all over again." She returned as a businesswoman and a single mother trying to help a newly widowed Tanner while figuring out her marital status.

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