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Danica McKellar: ‘I Love[d] This Feeling That My Value Had Nothing to Do With Television’

Photo from Danica McKellar’s Instagram

Danica McKellar: ‘I Love[d] This Feeling That My Value Had Nothing to Do With Television’

By Movieguide® Contributor

Former child star Danica McKellar recently opened up about why she decided to step back from acting for awhile after her star-making turn on THE WONDER YEARS. 

“I went to UCLA, but when I got to school, everywhere I went, people all over campus would shout across campus, you know, ‘Hey Winnie!’ [or] ‘Hey, loved you on THE WONDER YEARS!’” McKellar said during an interview with her 11 year-old son. “I couldn’t get away from it.

“I needed to find out how I was valuable outside of Winnie Cooper, and math was challenging and I did well at it,” the actress explained. “And I love this feeling that my value, the important stuff, had nothing to do with how I looked or television.”

McKellar went on to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics, as well as a Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University of Chicago. 

She also returned to acting, appearing in tons of Hallmark and Great American Family movies. She has also authored 11 math books for middle schoolers over the years. 

Even though she took a break from acting, McKellar said she is fully supportive of her son Draco pursuing a career in the entertainment industry. 

“I will support you whatever you wanna do,” McKellar told her son during the interview. “I would put you in acting classes and I would help guide you through it. I’m not gonna ever push you in that direction [though], because it’s a tough life.”

Movieguide® previously reported on McKellar’s comments about time on THE WONDER YEARS:

Actress Danica McKellar recently reflected on her years as Winnie Cooper and her on-screen relationship with Kevin Arnold, played by Fred Savage, in THE WONDER YEARS.

THE WONDER YEARS debuted in 1988. In the first episode, Winnie and Kevin share a kiss that sparks the characters’ romance throughout the show.

However, McKellar said that the affection for her co-star was genuine off-screen.

“I had a total crush on Fred,” McKellar told EW. “It was that little-kid crush where it’s so innocent and so intense. It’s not a little thing — you’re like, ‘I’m in love!’”

However, McKellar said their on-set relationship turned into a “brother-sister” friendship.

“I kind of thought he might have a crush on me too, but I didn’t know,” the actress said. “Later on, he actually wrote me a love letter in real life, and we wrote each other a couple letters. But then that was kind of it. When we came back to do more of the show, things quickly devolved into this annoying brother-sister relationship. When you’re a 12-year-old girl and somebody says, ‘Pull my finger,’ and then you learn what that is for the first time, you’re not charmed.”

“We were always really connected,” McKellar added.

To the annoyance of some fans, THE WONDER YEARS ends with Kevin and Winnie as friends and not romantically involved.

“People blamed me for that!” McKellar said. “People felt really betrayed. But the show wasn’t trying to show a perfect ending. It was about real life and how you deal with things, and how it’s OK if things don’t work out the way you thought they were going to.”

Now more than ever we’re bombarded by darkness in media, movies, and TV. Movieguide® has fought back for almost 40 years, working within Hollywood to propel uplifting and positive content. We’re proud to say we’ve collaborated with some of the top industry players to influence and redeem entertainment for Jesus. Still, the most influential person in Hollywood is you. The viewer.

What you listen to, watch, and read has power. Movieguide® wants to give you the resources to empower the good and the beautiful. But we can’t do it alone. We need your support.

You can make a difference with as little as $7. It takes only a moment. If you can, consider supporting our ministry with a monthly gift. Thank you.

Movieguide® is a 501c3 and all donations are tax deductible.


Now more than ever we’re bombarded by darkness in media, movies, and TV. Movieguide® has fought back for almost 40 years, working within Hollywood to propel uplifting and positive content. We’re proud to say we’ve collaborated with some of the top industry players to influence and redeem entertainment for Jesus. Still, the most influential person in Hollywood is you. The viewer.

What you listen to, watch, and read has power. Movieguide® wants to give you the resources to empower the good and the beautiful. But we can’t do it alone. We need your support.

You can make a difference with as little as $7. It takes only a moment. If you can, consider supporting our ministry with a monthly gift. Thank you.

Movieguide® is a 501c3 and all donations are tax deductible.


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