Tia Mowry-Hardrict Opens Up About Her Army Veteran Parents' 'Shotgun Wedding' at Age 18

"They ran away to be married at 18 years old," Tia Mowry-Hardrict says

Tia Mowry-Hardrict is thankful for her parents’ sacrificial love and service, which she’s witnessed them live out in more ways than one.

In July 1978, Mowry-Hardrict’s parents welcomed herself and her twin sister, Tamera Mowry-Housley, while they were serving abroad in the army in Germany.

“My parents, they were in the army. They ran away to be married at 18 years old. It was kind of like a little bit of a shotgun wedding, should I say,” Mowry-Hardrict, 40, explains in a PEOPLE exclusive clip of her new web series, Tia Mowry’s Quick Fix, which will be live Friday on her Facebook page. “They had myself and my sister at 21 years old.”

When she and her sister were 2, the family left Germany for Texas before relocating to Hawaii. After a few years in Hawaii, the family moved back to Texas, where Mowry-Hardrict was bit with the acting bug and her mom entered her into print modeling and commercial work.

Though Mowry-Hardrict was steadily booking work in Texas, the family realized a relocation to L.A. might be necessary to broaden the girls’ on-camera career.

“What my mom ended up doing, and a lot of people don’t know this, is during the summer, she had taken me to L.A. and she made a promise to me. She said, ‘If you book something, whether that’s a commercial, whether that’s a television show, a guest spot, then I would move the family to L.A.’ ” Mowry-Hardrict recalls. “I was like, ‘Okay, let’s do this!’ ”

And do it she did! After booking a commercial, Mowry-Hardrict looked at her mom and said: “I was like, ‘Okay mom.’ ”

But to take the full plunge of moving to Los Angeles from Texas, her mother had to say goodbye to another commitment: the army.

“My mom was in the army and you can’t just quit the army,” Mowry-Hardrict explains. “She had to present her case to the courts.”

Getting emotional, Mowry-Hardrict says, “If it weren’t for my mom, I wouldn’t be here. She worked so hard for us.”

“I remember the day when my mom said, ‘We did it!’ They let my mom go and she said, ‘Alright girls, we are going to Hollywood!’ They would only let one of my parents out of the army, so my dad actually had to stay in Texas for a while. He was later transferred back to Germany for another two years,” she explains. “Once you are no longer stationed or living on base, you’re part of the real world. You have to pay for everything. We had moved from a house to a really small apartment in L.A. We didn’t have any money.”

Eventually, Mowry-Hardrict and her sister were cast in Sister, Sister, which sparked their successful on-camera careers.

In honor of Memorial Day earlier this year, the mother of two — she shares 7-year-old son Cree Taylor and 3-month-old daughter Cairo Tiahna with husband Cory Hardrict — paid tribute to her parents on social media, sharing a photo of them during their time in the service.

“We honor those today who have fallen. Both my parents served in the #army. My dad, on the right trained many that went to war. The #gulfwar to be exact,” she wrote. “It’s important we never forget their strength and bravery and those who have died to protect our country. 🇺🇸 #memorial #day.“

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