Discouraged by Hollywood's "torturous" audition process, Andrea Barber tells PEOPLE she never thought she'd return to the business — until one call from Full House's creator changed her life
When Full House abruptly ended in 1995, Andrea Barber — who starred as the Tanners’ nosy neighbor Kimmy Gibbler — decided to pursue a college degree full-time instead of looking for other work in Hollywood.
“It was a pretty seamless transition for me. And I was ready,” the actress, 41, tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue. “I never looked back, and I know that sounds crazy, but I had a lot of success as a child actor, and it really doesn’t get better than Full House for me.”
Barber admits show business’ “torturous” audition process discouraged her from staying in the industry.
“I never thought I would go back to acting,” she reveals. “Maybe for a brief second I thought, ‘Do I want to do this?’ Then I thought about the audition process. The auditions were always the worst part for me as a child actor. So I thought, nope, ‘I’ve found new passions in college.’ “
The California native went on to graduate from Whittier College, intern at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, and receive a master’s degree in the United Kingdom. Barber worked in international education until she welcomed her first child, son Tate, now 13, and became a stay-at-home mom, later adding daughter Felicity, now 10, to the family.
But she couldn’t resist returning to work when Full House creator Jeff Franklin called in 2014. “He said, ‘Would you be interested in reprising your role as Kimmy Gibbler?’ ” Barber recalls. “I didn’t even hesitate. I said, ‘Yes!’ That was a no-brainer.”
RELATED VIDEO: Attention “Full House” Fans: Kimmy Gibbler Is Married!
With Fuller House now in its third season at Netflix, the mother of two has enjoyed reuniting with her original castmates, like Candace Cameron Bure and Jodie Sweetin. “Those are the only people who know what it’s like growing up on this particular sitcom,” says Barber.
“The only real barometer of time is when our kids come to the set,” Barber says. “Felicity’s the age I was when I started Full House. It’s a very full circle moment for me.”
All episodes of Fuller House season 3 are now streaming on Netflix.