Full House Stars Reflect on Show's 35th Anniversary: 'They Said It Wouldn't Last Until Thanksgiving'

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Thursday marked 35 years since Full House premiered, and two of the beloved ABC sitcom's stars took the chance to reflect on its unexpected success and legacy in their lives.

"When when it first came out, the reviews said it wouldn't last until Thanksgiving," John Stamos told PEOPLE Wednesday night at the "Cool Comedy, Hot Cuisine" annual fundraiser for the Scleroderma Research Foundation — an organization with long-standing ties to Stamos' late costar Bob Saget.

Stamos, 59, admitted he still can't quite wrap his mind around the show's cultural impact, but he's grown to appreciate it more as the years have gone on.

"When it ended, it was time to move on. I was trying to keep my distance from it," he said. "And it just got bigger every year, bigger and bigger, and I realized, 'Why am I running from this?' I got to the point too where I'd done enough work that I felt I was able to do other things and prove myself as an actor. And so now I just absolutely love it. I just love it."

RELATED: Full House Premiered 35 Years Ago Today! See the Cast, Then and Now

jodie sweetin
jodie sweetin

John Salangsang/Shutterstock Jodie Sweetin

Jodie Sweetin also continues to be blown away by how fans' passion and devotion have kept the cast connected.

"I mean, look, if you would have told me that the 35, 36 years ago, I'd be standing in a ballroom with all of these people at 40 years old, still having relationships with them and being as close to them as I am and having them still be my family, I would have been shocked," said Sweetin, who was just 5 years old when the show debuted.

RELATED: The Full House Cast Could Not Be Closer: Some of Their Most Memorable Reunions Through the Years

"And, you know, it's been a legacy for the people that were involved, but it also has been this incredible legacy for everyone that got to grow up watching it," she continued. To that end, viewers' love for the series prompted her and costars Candace Cameron Bure and Andrea Barber to bring back their characters for Netflix's Fuller House, which also featured Saget, Stamos, Dave Coulier and Lori Loughlin.

"I've always been really honored to know that I was a part of something like that," affirmed Sweetin. "I mean, Full House holds a very dear place in a lot of people's lives."

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - OCTOBER 06: Actor John Stamos and actor/comedian and winner of the Rodney Respect Award, Bob Saget attend the Visionary Ball presented by UCLA Neurosurgery, held at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on October 6, 2011 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by John Shearer/WireImage)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - OCTOBER 06: Actor John Stamos and actor/comedian and winner of the Rodney Respect Award, Bob Saget attend the Visionary Ball presented by UCLA Neurosurgery, held at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on October 6, 2011 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by John Shearer/WireImage)

John Shearer/WireImage John Stamos and Bob Saget

Stamos and Sweetin joined Saget's widow Kelly Rizzo at Wednesday night's fundraiser in Beverly Hills, California.

Not only did the event fall almost 35 years to the day since the premiere of Full House, it was also the first SRF gala since Saget — who had been on the foundation's board of directors since 2003 — died unexpectedly on Jan. 9 at age 65.

RELATED: John Stamos Delivered a Heartbreaking Tribute to Bob Saget at His Memorial — Read His Full Eulogy

Looking back on the man who became a lifelong friend, Stamos admitted his first days working with Saget weren't necessarily smooth.

"The interesting thing was we didn't really like each other in the beginning," he recalled. "We were very different, we came from different approaches to acting and slowly our differences made us interesting to each other."

The two learned about each other throughout throughout the show's eight-season, which ended in May 1995. "And then we were best friends until the day he died," said Stamos. "We were there for everything with each other: the good times, the bad times, divorces, marriages, kids."

He continued, "I don't know how I'm gonna get through the rest of this world without him. You know, [my 4-year-old son] Billy does something funny and I'll go, 'I wish Bob could see this' or I wish I could call him and tell him. It's a tragedy."

Kelly Rizzo and John Stamos
Kelly Rizzo and John Stamos

Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Kelly Rizzo and John Stamos

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Rizzo, who married Saget in October 2018, spoke about how much her husband's costars had come to mean to him by the time she met him.

"I think it's like the only TV show ever where the cast was actually family," she told PEOPLE. "So it was a very, very special part of his life that meant so much to him."

Saget's onscreen daughter Bure, 46, marked the day with an Instagram post.

Sharing a carousel of throwback photos of herself with her costars, including Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, she wrote: "35 years ago my life changed for the better ❤️ #35yearsofFullHouse"