Americans were thrilled to see the Growing Pains cast reunite thirty-five years after the show originally aired. Growing Pains was a popular American sitcom that aired on September 24th, 1985, and aired on ABC until its eventual end on April 25th, 1992. Altogether, the show aired a total of 166 episodes over seven seasons.
Growing Pains followed the ever-growing Seaver family through comedic trials and tribulations. The original premise of the show revolves around the father of the family, a psychiatrist named Dr. Jason Seaver. The show reverses gender roles and subverts audience expectations when Dr. Jason Seaver has to work from home to support his wife, Maggie, who decides to return to her job as a reporter. Dr. Jason Seaver is then put in charge of caring for his children; Mike, Carol, and Ben. Each child had plenty of personality quirks which made them charming and lovable to audiences at home.
Later in the series, the show introduced a fourth child named Chrissy. In the seventh season, the Seaver family also took in a fifth child, a homeless teenager named Luke Brower.
The show was incredibly popular, and it was nominated for a total of thirty different awards, of which it won nine. Even though the show eventually ended after its seventh season in 1992, it did inspire a spin-off series, Just the Ten of Us, which followed the gym teacher of Mike and Carol. Furthermore, the cast reunited in 2000 and 2004 for two feature films; The Growing Pains Movie and Growing Pains: Return of the Seavers.
While the show is long over, it has remained in the hearts of many longtime fans, and children and adults alike can still enjoy reruns of this popular sitcom. Even those who have long forgotten about the show were pleasantly surprised to discover that the cast reunited in 2020. The reunion brought back waves of nostalgia for many fans, and it was bittersweet for cast and audience members alike to reflect on how much the world has changed since Growing Pains first aired.
The reunion brought back many memories for the cast members, who were kind of enough to reveal some behind the scenes secrets to their fans. In today’s video, we’re going to take a look at how different the cast of Growing Pains is today, as well as some of the secrets they revealed about the making of the show. Unfortunately, the reunion wasn’t entirely joyous, and the cast members acutely felt the loss of one of their fellow actors. Make sure you stick around to find out how they responded to the unexpected and tragic death of Alan Thicke, who played the father of the Seaver family.
The Cast Was Like a Family in Real Life
Oftentimes, when working in high-stress conditions on the set of filming a television show, tensions can boil over. It’s not uncommon for actors who get along onscreen to despise one another when the cameras are no longer rolling However, this simply wasn’t the case on the set of Growing Pains. Sure, just like any family, we’re sure the cast members had their disagreements and frustrations at times, but all of the cast members heartily agreed that they were incredibly close with one another.
Kirk Cameron, who played Mike Seaver, a ladies’ man who was a favorite among teenage girls in the audience, spoke fondly of the cast, saying, “It always felt like I was coming to my second family when we were on the set.”
It’s heartwarming to think that the cast members were so close with one another, and for many fans, it adds a whole new layer of authenticity to the show.
Tracey Gold Suffered from Anorexia
Tracey Gold played the daughter of the family, Carol. However, she eventually had to leave the show due to her struggle with anorexia. In 2000, she admitted to the Los Angeles Times in an interview, “The last season of Growing Pains is like a blur to me- I can’t even remember the episodes.” While the producers allowed her to come back for the final episode, they made her leave for much of the final season so she could focus on her health.
Tracey Gold also explained that Growing Pains was part of the reason why she developed an eating disorder in the first place. The writers wrote fat jokes at her expense, even though she was a perfectly healthy weight at the time. During one episode, the jokes got so bad that Tracey Gold had to beg the producers to not release the episode. However, they didn’t listen to her pleas, and they aired the episode, anyway.
As the writers continued to make fun of her weight, Tracey Gold’s body image became distorted, until she spiraled into a terrifying eating disorder. Thankfully, after some time, she was able to fully recover, and Gold is now very comfortable with her body.
The Cast Members Deeply Miss Alan Thicke
Alan Thicke played the father of the family, Dr. Jason Seaver. Even finding him to play the role was a miracle; the producers of the show had auditioned over 150 different actors, but they couldn’t find anyone who fit the role. Alan Thicke, however, brought a whole new layer of charisma to the character, and the producers all agreed he was perfect for the role. All of the cast members were very close with Alan Thicke, and many of the younger actors viewed him as a father figure. Kirk Cameron especially looked up to Thicke, who even gave him advice on speaking to girls.
Sadly, on December 13th, 2016, Alan Thicke died unexpectedly of an aortic dissection. His family was, of course, deeply affected by his death. However, his second family, the cast of Growing Pains, also took his passing quite hard.
In the 2020 cast reunion, the remaining cast members all reflected on the loss. They all agreed that the reunion just wasn’t the same without Alan’s presence. Jeremy Miller, who played the younger son of the family, Ben, summed up the whole cast’s emotions quite well, saying “He was a huge part of our lives.”
While all of the cast members were able to come together in memory of the loss of Alan Thicke, they didn’t always get along so perfectly. Make sure you stick around until the end of the video, where we’ll reveal Jeremy Miller’s secret beef with fellow cast member Leonardo DiCaprio. And, if you’re enjoying this story so far, please take a moment to like this video and subscribe to our channel for more!
The Cast Created a Gross Ritual
Every actor knows that, unless it’s part of your character, you can’t chew gum while you’re acting. Chewing gum makes it impossible for you to enunciate well, and it becomes distracting for audience members. However, for cast members who have to act in close quarters, gum chewing is also an essential way to ensure you have good breath before filming. Nobody wants to act closely with someone who has bad breath!
As a result, the cast members of Growing Pains created a silly, and gross, ritual. Before filming, they would all take out their gum and place it on a wad. Over time, the wad grew larger and larger, until it was so big that it weighed almost eleven pounds! You can’t help but feel bad for whoever had to clean up that mess after the show ended.
There Was Some Hidden Romance Off-Screen
Everybody knows that Kirk Cameron and his character’s love interest, Kate MacDonald, who was played by Chelsea Noble, ended up getting married in real life. The two had a real connection with one another, and having previously met on the show Full House, they had plenty of time to grow as a couple. However, there’s one other romance behind the scenes of Growing Pains that you probably didn’t know about.
When Jeremy Miller was eleven, he fell head over heels for Candace Cameron, who was Kirk Cameron’s younger sister. The two claimed they were “going out,” although, because they were both quite young, the term didn’t exactly mean anything. While their romance never evolved into something more, it’s cute to imagine such young actors holding hands off screen!
Jeremy Miller Was a Little Bitter Towards Leonardo DiCaprio
Being the youngest brother of the series, Jeremy Miller was often overshadowed by teenage heartthrob Kirk Cameron. Towards the end of the series, however, Jeremy Miller had matured considerably, and he was excited to become a more popular character on the show. However, his plan was foiled by the introduction of young Leonardo DiCaprio. Jeremy Miller explained in an interview with Oprah that he felt a bit of competition against Leo, and he was frustrated by being upstaged. However, he also explained that, even though he was a little upset while he was younger, he never held it against Leo personally. Still, he wishes that the producers of the show had allowed him to focus on his character a bit more, rather than bringing in someone new.
From a directing standpoint, however, Leo’s introduction made sense; ratings were dropping, and a new character was likely to increase intrigue. Sadly, it didn’t quite work, and the show ended up being cancelled shortly after.
The cast of Growing Pains went through many ups and downs together. Were you more surprised to learn that Jeremy Miller had a crush on Kirk Cameron’s younger sister, or by the gross gum wad monstrosity that the cast created over the years? Let us know in the comments below, and don’t forget to subscribe to Facts Verse for more!