Candace Cameron Bure grew up before our eyes. At the age of 11, she came onto television screens in 1987 as a part of the popular family comedy “Full House,” and she became America’s favorite teenager during the eight seasons the show was on the air. As D.J. Tanner, Bure went through all the teenage drama one might expect while displaying a refreshing blend of wholesomeness and realism. Since that ubiquitous role, Bure has remained in the spotlight appearing on “Dancing with the Stars,” “The View,” “The Aurora Teagarden Mysteries,” numerous Christmas movies on the Hallmark Channel, and the revival of “Fuller House” on Netflix which premiered its fifth and final season this summer. And throughout her career, Bure’s dedication to her Christian faith has shown through in everything she’s done. “A lot of people commend me for being bold in my faith, and while I appreciate that, I always say that’s the easiest part,” Bure said. “I love Jesus, and I love sharing my faith.”
Faith and Family. Bure’s faith story has many layers. While raised in a moral home, she said it wasn’t a Christian one until her family had a conversion experience when she was 12 years old. She accepted Christ and was baptized along with the rest of her family. Bure, a native Californian, was raised by her parents alongside brother Kirk (a fellow actor and star of the 1980s sitcom “Growing Pains” who is now known for his starring roles in Christian films), and sisters Melissa and Bridgette (also actors). “While I wasn’t raised in a Christian home, I had a very moral upbringing that placed a great emphasis on family,” she remembered. “When I was on ‘Full House,’ it was clear that things wouldn’t change. When we got home from work, it didn’t matter that we were on TV. And I had a wonderful experience on ‘Full House,’ which is why I’m still in the entertainment industry. It was a healthy environment and I loved the people I worked with.”
Bure said that her faith took another step in her mid-20s. She and her Russian-born husband, Val- a former professional hockey player whom she met at a hockey fundraiser in 1994-strengthened their faith through a more conscious commitment to prayer, Bible study, and other Christ-centered activities. “Val was raised in the Christian faith, but it was more like being a ‘holiday Christian.’ He’d go to church on high holy days,” she said. “So, we really came to our faith together.” The couple continued to grow together in faith as their lives changed throughout the years. Val moved from his hockey days with such NHL teams as the Montreal Canadiens to other professional endeavors, and Candace’s career also transitioned to new areas. Their growth has also come as a family, after welcoming daughter Natasha in1998 and sons Lev in 2000 and Maksim in 2002. Family, Bure said, will always be her highest priority.
Bure left the entertainment industry for a decade when her children were young. She and Val worked consciously to make their relationship and their children their primary concern. “We planned a long time ago what our priorities were in life and with our family. We set up boundaries and communicate, having an ongoing dialogue,” she said. “Even as a young couple, we knew family was going to be the highest priority.” They also understood that marriage would be a journey. “We knew that we would have to reassess, pull back, reprioritize if we had to,” she recalled. “We both travel a lot, and the biggest challenge was always to spend time at home. That’s why I took the 10-year break, so I could spend time with the kids.”
The recent coronavirus epidemic upended the Bure family- but also brought them together in unexpected ways. While Candace and Val had become empty nesters, the quarantine brought daughter Natasha back home; during this time, son Lev got engaged while Maksim sheltered in place at his hockey academy in Minnesota. The quarantine helped remind her how important it is to slow down and focus on her family and her relationship with Christ. “I know how hard I work and how busy I can get,” she said. “It’s made me reevaluate things, because I know I can be very driven. It’s helped me slow down and God has shown me some things that were affecting my family and marriage. That’s been eye opening.”
According to Bure, she always keeps faith and family in mind when choosing projects. She recently became the CSO (“Chief Spiritual Officer”) at Woman’s Day magazine, where she shares devotional thoughts in each month’s issue and has also introduced a new faith-based line of home decor and gifts through DaySpring (a division of Hallmark Company). Her new Love Overall line is based on the words of Colossians 3:14, “And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” The line includes paper goods, office supplies, casual wear, and home decor; a special Christmas collection will be released in November. “We developed this last year in 2019, but we couldn’t predict what would happen in 2020,” she said. “It’s so timely because it reminds us to give encouragement and hope, and to treat each other with love.” The goal with her products, she said, is to create inspirational items that are also modern and beautiful. “Inspirational items often tend to be more old-fashioned,” she said. “I want to create ones that are aesthetically pleasing and more stylish and contemporary.”
Love for the Holidays. Bure’s relationship with Hallmark has been one of the most important in her career and highlights her love of the holiday season Bure is often referred to as “Christmas queen,” due to her starring role in so many Hallmark Channel Christmas movies. It’s a title that she said is perfectly appropriate for her. “Christmas is my favorite holiday of the year because we’re celebrating the birth of Jesus. And I’m honored to be such a big part of the Christmas community at Hallmark,” she shared.
Her family treasures their time together during the holidays; they’ve celebrated each Christmas morning for the last 10 years by cooking, serving, visiting, and sharing the Gospel at a homeless shelter. Bure herself tries to keep the holidays uncomplicated, focusing on “family and friends and the simple things.”
Bure’s ninth Hallmark Channel Christmas movie, “If Only I Had Christmas,” premieres this season and is an homage to her favorite movie “The Wizard of Oz.” As with all of the films, Bure developed the script and produced the movie in addition to starring in it. She proudly calls it her favorite movie and adds, “they’re kinda like my children, so you love them all but can love them differently.”
Why do people love the Christmas movies so much? For Bure, it’s quite simple. “They’re comforting and heartwarming. You know what to expect and there’s always a happy ending. They help remove you from all of the world’s problems, even if it’s for a bit,” she said. “I just watched the newest one again a couple of times, and I squealed with delight. I just love it.” Ultimately, Bure’s projects with Hallmark are an extension of her faith and the Christian worldview she desires to share with others.
A Continuing Witness. While Bure said that a Christian witness isn’t always welcome in the entertainment industry, she’s never been hesitant about sharing hers- and she’s always felt encouraged by those around her. “God calls us to share the Gospel message, and that’s what I do. I’ve never been afraid to share it publicly or privately, and I know that God’s given me a unique platform to do so,” she said. “At the core of it all, I want to point people to Jesus.” She believes that her mission is to share her faith, but not be divisive. “I want to show love and kindness, and also show respect, realizing that not all of us are going to have the same viewpoints and not everyone will accept or believe what I’m saying,” she stressed. “In every different group, whether it’s political or social or religious, you have the people who represent it well and then there are those who are hypocritical and do the group a disservice. I don’t want to do my faith a disservice.”
Whether it’s starring in a Christmas movie, creating inspirational products, or reconnecting with her “Full House” family, Bure said that her life’s a gift and a blessing that points back to faith. “I can walk out on the street and have a 6-year-old light up when he sees me. He recognizes me as D.J.,” she said. “Or there will be a 60-year-old who recognizes me from the Hallmark Channel or watched me as D.J. years ago. It’s just a gift.”
-Cheryl Sloan Wray
Cheryl Sloan Wray is a freelance writer and author who lives in Hueytown. She has three daughters (who love Hallmark movies) and six grandchildren.
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