Joey Lawrence On His Marriage, Love, Going Shirtless & More

joey lawrence

Once a heartthrob, always a heartthrob. Joey Lawrence, who stars in ABC Family's Melissa & Joey, has been making women swoon since playing Joey Russo on the 90s sitcom Blossom. Don't deny it: The sight of a plaid shirt and ripped jeans still gets your heart racing.

But no TV gig compared to his guest spot on the Chippendales stage in Las Vegas in 2012. Unfortunately—Christmas miracles aside—you'll have to Google Lawrence's performance if you want to relive the magic because he isn't planning an encore.

"That was a bucket list, once in a lifetime thing for me," Lawrence tells YourTango. "It was cool to do that. Believe it or not, my network asks me to take off my shirt plenty, so I don't need to go to Vegas for that."

YourTango: You're a huge fan of The Bachelor; what hooked you?
Joey Lawrence: My wife is a big fan, and I've gotten sucked into it. I am actually a fan of just how ridiculous it is. I love it, and to me, it is one of the funniest shows on television, especially The Bachelor. The Bachelorette—when the guys are kind of lying and fighting and crying—it's kind of weird. But for some reason, when the women are vying over the guy ... the cat fighting is fantastic, it's brilliant.

YourTango: Will you be watching Juan Pablo Galavis' search for love this season?
Joey Lawrence: Of course! Are you kidding? That's going to be the fun for me: 'The most important thing is my daughter ... that's why I've chosen to do the dating show and leave my daughter for months.' I love it; I love that.

YourTango: As a happily married man, what relationship advice would you give Juan Pablo?
Joey Lawrence: If you're blessed to have found your soulmate, that's one thing, and that's fantastic. But that doesn't mean that it doesn't take a lot of work and constant tinkering and constant compromise as new pressures come and other ones go. There's really a constant evolution to it, a constant ebb and flow to it, and I think if you go into it knowing you're going to be ever evolving—the relationship today isn't necessarily the relationship you'll be having days from now—then you'd be cool. If you're trying to freeze this moment and hope it never changes, then you're in for a world of disappointment. Relationships constantly change. And when you throw kids in the mix, oh my god. Kids are brilliant—we have two beautiful, healthy ones—but ... it changes everything. If the foundation is good, the communication is open, it's built on truth and honesty, and really being genuine with each other ... then I think you've got a recipe for hopefully being happy years and years and years from now. But certainly it takes a lot of work from both people all the time.

YourTango: Speaking of your wife, Chandie Yawn-Nelson, how did you propose?
Joey Lawrence: Basically, the proposal was after I found her again and we got back together. We were driving in a car. We hadn't seen each other in four and a half years and I flew into San Antonio to meet her, to see if the feelings were still there, and they were. When we were sitting in the car, literally, I didn't even plan it, so it's not some magical moment but to us it was. We looked at each other in the car, and she started crying. I said, 'Let's just do this,' and she said, 'OK.' We set a date, and a year later we got married. 

YourTango: We're all very excited Melissa & Joey's Christmas special. What's the premise of the episode?
Joey Lawrence: It's sort of our first foray into holiday world with Mel and Joe. Some things almost happen. Someone's in a Santa suit. There may be a little romance in there. And as we do, we sort of have a dysfunctional, functional holiday Christmas, which is sort of the relationship of Mel and Joe—it's this incredibly wonderful, functional yet dysfunctional relationship. You bring that, and you throw Christmas on top of it ... that's where the comedy ensues, and we have a lot of fun with it.

YourTango: Would you rather Melissa and Joe finally get together or Joe stay single?
Joey Lawrence: I don't know whether I'd be in favor of them hooking up or not. Eventually that's where it's going to go ... it sort of has to go there. Really what's going to be fun is when that happens, we will be able to set the criteria for how we proceed now that a romance has been recognized with Mel and Joe. We're looking forward to that. It kind of changes the show ... sometimes it can be a fade to complete, you jump that shark and the show's over and the comedy dies, but for us, we've got a great team of writers. I've come up with a couple of ideas of how to proceed and make that fresh. We sort of had a couple of brainstorming sessions about a month and a half, two months ago ... moving forward I think we're going to have a lot of success with it, so it'll be nice to sort of see that happen.