For nearly a decade, Candace Cameron Bure warmed the hearts of millennials and their parents playing D.J. Tanner on the hit series Full House, but in recent years, the actress and daytime TV host’s conservative viewpoints have drawn fire from audiences and colleagues. Let’s take a closer look at the controversial side of the former child star.
Her views on gender roles caused a stir
Bure ruffled a lot of feathers in 2014 when she published a memoir, Balancing It All: My Story of Juggling Priorities and Purpose, explaining that she prefers to play a "submissive role" in her marriage to former hockey player Valeri Bure. "I am not a passive person," she wrote, "but I chose to fall into a more submissive role in our relationship because I wanted to do everything in my power to make my marriage and family work."
Candace was quickly forced to defend her definition of the word "submissive," which she traced back to the Bible. "The definition I’m using with the word ‘submissive’ is the biblical definition of that," she told The Huffington Post in January 2014. "So, it is meekness, it is not weakness. It is strength under control, it is bridled strength. And that’s what I choose to have in my marriage." Candace did not back down from the ideas in her book. "I love that my man is a leader. I want him to lead and be the head of our family," she said. Though the actress added some nuance to her words, for many critics, her explanation did little to soften the blows to her reputation.
Her views on same-sex marriage are contentious
In July 2015, before she was officially named a permanent co-host on The View, Bure got into a pretty tense argument with fellow talk show host Raven-Symoné. The topic: a bakery in Oregon was sued for refusing to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.
Symoné argued the bakery had discriminated against the couple. "The Oregon law bars businesses from discriminating against sexual orientation, race, disability, age, or religion," she said. "To me, it’s the same exact thing that they did back in the day saying that black people couldn’t do certain things because it’s my ‘religious belief.’"
Bure, a devout Christian, played the "freedom of association" card. "[The bakery had] baked cakes for [the couple] previously," she said. "They had a problem with the actual ceremony because that—the ceremony—is what conflicted with their religious beliefs. They are saying that they stand for marriage between a man and a woman."
Naturally, Symoné threw a fit; "I refuse to associate with you right now," she erupted while Bure was mid-sentence.
Rifts make ratings, so The View soon hired Bure full-time.
Her opinions attracted death threats
Speaking to Entertainment Tonight in July 2015, Bure admitted that her handful of appearances guest co-hosting The View did not sit well with some viewers. She said her conservative positions riled segments of the audience; she even received some death threats.
"I just wish that we all could be respectful to one another regardless of our opinions, especially if they differ from one another," she said. "I just wish people would say, ‘Good! You have your opinion and I have mine, but let’s still be nice and kind." Later, she added: "[Co-hosting] can be tricky and difficult. I admit even a few of the days that I was on, there were a lot of hurtful comments."
She may have dodged debates
As Season 19 of The View began to ramp up in September 2015, the sly folks at Page Six noticed Bure was absent from a key panel discussion about Kim Davis, a Kentucky clerk who refused to administer marriage licenses to gay couples in her county. To be fair, Bure’s commitment to Netflix’s Fuller House had kept her from filming certain episodes altogether, but on the marriage license episode, she awkwardly joined the panel later in the show, leading some to wonder if ABC was trying to prevent Bure from expressing her opinions about same-sex marriage on air or if Bure was avoiding the conversation.
The show quickly refuted those rumors. "We had [Bure] on for ‘segment three’ because she’s not going to be on [regularly] for a couple of weeks," a rep for The View said. "We want to build consistency to let viewers know who would be on for tomorrow." Sure, okay.
She mysteriously disappeared mid-show
During a January 2016 episode, The View panel—mainly Whoopi Goldberg—got into a heated debate about actors boycotting the Academy Awards over the lack of diversity among its nominees. When Bure jokingly tried to steer the conversation toward another topic, Goldberg didn’t bite. "You know what," Goldberg said, "I talk about God, you gotta talk about these damn movies."
When the show returned from a commercial break, Bure was gone. Goldberg claimed she had taken ill, which Bure later confirmed on Twitter. "I left the show today b/c I didnt feel well, not because of the discussion," she tweeted. "Saw the Doctor- low blood sugar & tested positive for fluB." The diagnosis did little to dispel rumors that a feud had begun.
She publicly supported Chick-fil-A
In 2012, the President and COO of fast-food chain Chick-fil-A, stirred up a hornet’s nest of controversy after speaking out against same-sex marriage. The executive’s comments triggered a massive backlash; the students at New York University actually voted to remove the restaurant from its campus. Simultaneously, Chick-fil-A attracted a lot of support from members of the American right, including former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who declared August 1, 2012 to be "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day."
Among those who celebrated Chick-fil-A Appeciation Day: Bure, who tweeted a photo of herself and her son holding up food and drinks from the restaurant. The image drew fire from folks who felt she was expressing an anti-gay marriage stance.
Her brother attracts controversy too
Bure’s brother, Kirk Cameron, was also a popular child star on 1980s TV, best known for his role as Mike Seaver on Growing Pains. Like his sister, he’s now best known for voicing ultra-conservative opinions and filming evangelical straight-to-DVD movies.
Cameron was heavily criticized for referring to homosexuality as "unnatural" during a 2012 interview with CNN’s Piers Morgan. "I think that it’s detrimental, and ultimately destructive to so many of the foundations of civilization," Cameron said, adding that he does not support same-sex marriage. After the interview, he drew fire from some viewers and fellow celebrities, including George Clooney, Brad Pitt and—wait for it—Cameron’s TV dad, Alan Thicke.
Aside from the family connection, how does Bure fit into this picture? She told the Christian Post that she and Cameron "have a different style…he is much more in the world of ministry and does a lot of conferences…I think Kirk does his stuff great and does his stuff really well, and I think…what I do, I do well. And we’re a great brother and sister."
She can take the heat
Bure can’t seem to shake the naysayers and critics. Liberals blast her for her conservative views, but conservatives give her a hard time for not being staunch enough. In a February 2014 blog post, Bure said, "’I’m too religious. I’m not Godly enough. I’m too thin now. I’m not very humble. I’ve had too much plastic surgery. My brother Kirk is a better Christian than me. I’m too worldly. I’m too conservative. I’m not modest enough. I’m a show-off.’ Those are just a few of the types of comments I get no matter what I share, what photo I post or what I say,"
Bure proved that her shady side is clearly in the eye of the beholder. "I’m not trying to please everyone," she wrote. "I only have an audience of ONE. That’s God. And while I take the responsibility of role model seriously, I’m not perfect. I never will be. I’m a human being with faults and a sinful heart by nature. Although some people see me as a ‘celebrity’, I’m a woman- just like you, I’m a mom-just like you, I’m a wife-just like you, I’m a daughter-just like you, I’m a friend-just like you and I have a heart-just like you."