Chances are, you recognize Virginia Williams. Most recently, the prolific actress played Steve’s new girlfriend, C.J., in Season 2 of the Netflix hit “Fuller House.” Williams, who was cast in part because of her striking resemblance to D.J. (Candace Cameron Bure), appeared on the scene just as D.J. was deciding between Steve, her high school sweetheart, and Matt, her charming co-worker. (If the Season 2 finale is any indication, she’ll be back for Season 3, at least we hope.) She’s also held roles on many other TV shows, including the starring role of Lauren Reed on USA’s “Fairly Legal” and the recurring role of Claudia on CBS’ “How I Met Your Mother” for four seasons.
And here’s the thing: Life off-camera is just as sweet these days, thanks to 14-month-old Bradford (“Ford”) Powell, her first child with husband Bradford Bricken. “I’m just so grateful that he’s part of my life,” she shared with Momtastic. “He’s such a gift.” Recently, we caught up with Williams to chat about her role on “Fuller House,” the joy she feels about finally being a mother after suffering multiple miscarriages, why she’s thankful that she had a nanny growing up, and more.
MT: Did you watch “Full House” growing up?
VW: Yes—I had pretty darn strict parents so it was one of the only shows I was allowed to watch. I loved it. Candace and I are roughly the same age, so I could relate to a lot of things that she was going through on the show.
MT: So, what was it like to audition for D.J.’s “twin” on “Fuller House”?
VW: My husband and I had seen a couple of episodes of ‘Fuller House’ before I auditioned, and we really liked the show. He was a huge fan of ‘Full House’ growing up, and had a crush on Candace. When I got the call to audition he was like, ‘Don’t ruin this for me! Start prepping for your audition!’ I remember thinking, ‘Oh gosh, of all the blonde actresses in LA to play Candace’s twin I am not the most obvious choice. She’s 5’2” and I’m 5’7.’ But, I decided to go and have fun. Even though Candace is from Orange County, she has this kind of North Dakota accent, so I just did that.
MT: What was it like once you finally met her on set?
VW: I kept wondering, ‘Is she going to think, ‘Oh, great! People think we look alike!’ Or ‘Oh…they think we look alike.’ But she was gracious and lovely.
MT: OK, let’s talk about your adorable son Ford. Did you have a hard time going back to work after he was born?
VW: I went back to work about two months after Ford was born, and it was really wonderful for me. I love my work and I always get a jolt of adrenaline anytime I’m on set. As crazy as I am about being with him, going to work felt like a vacation, especially in those early days. I felt like, ‘Oh, my gosh! I can just sit here in the quiet, pumping, and look at Facebook!’ It was very clear to me early on that balancing work and family was going to be very important.
MT: Did your mom work when you were growing up?
VW: Yes, she worked from home and my brother and I had a nanny. She always said that having the help gave her the space to be a better mom. I understand that so much now. I just found out yesterday that the nanny I loved so much passed away at the age of 93. The news hit me really hard. I loved her so much. She loved my brother and me very much, too.
MT: Did your childhood experiences make you more comfortable with having a nanny for your own baby?
VW: Yes. I think a lot of moms get really scared that if they have a nanny that somehow the child is going to love them less and attach more to the nanny. But, I haven’t had that fear. I loved my nanny very much but she was never a replacement for my mom in any way. Jo just helped my mom out. She could cook dinner while my mom helped me with my homework. She could help clean up while my mom read me a bedtime story. Ford had terrible reflux as a newborn, so either my husband or I would be holding him upright between feedings around the clock. So, in the beginning, our nanny was able to hold him a bit—even just so I could brush my teeth!
MT: What has been one of the most stressful times for you as a mom so far?
VW: The first trimester of pregnancy! I could not remember things 10 seconds after they happened. I had the hardest time memorizing my lines. I felt horrible. I had multiple miscarriages before Ford was born, so I felt anxious. For years I was pregnant then not pregnant, pregnant then not pregnant. It was devastating.
MT: What’s it like to finally have your son after all of that heartbreak?
VW: I have such an appreciation for him. I have so much gratitude. I feel like had I not been through what I went through my gratitude wouldn’t be as deep as it is. All of the nuisances of motherhood seem, I think, smaller than they would have. I think I would have complained more. I just feel like, ‘This is hard but, man, this is what I’ve been working toward and praying for for years.’
MT: Do you have any reservations about raising him in LA, as a southern girl from Memphis?
VW: Yes! I want Ford and any future children we have, God willing, to feel very connected to our southern roots. My husband and I are both from Tennessee. We are both very southern and our families are extremely southern. We’re the crazy black sheep who moved out to California. We’ve been back to Tennessee with Ford at least five times already.
MT: Is Ford a good traveler?
VW: He was until he was about 10-months-old. I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, we have the best baby in the world!’ He is all boy, so active. Having to sit still in a lap and not be able to climb and crawl and pull everyone’s hair on a plane is his worst nightmare.
MT: Has anyone ever recognized you at the airport during a tough parenting moment?
VW: Yes—for some weird reason I get recognized at airports more than anywhere else. I can be dressed up looking hot going out for a date night — okay, that never happens anymore, but let’s pretend it does — not one person will say a word. It’s only when it’s 5 a.m. at the airport and I have spit-up on me and no makeup on and my hair in a bun that people come up and are like, ‘Are you Virginia Williams?’ I’ve actually said no. It’s like, ‘No, I am not going to be on your Instagram right now with spit-up in my hair.’
MT: Last Q before we let you go: Ford has a fur-baby sibling, Elvis. Who is more difficult to parent?
VW: Ford. Elvis was a real challenge when he was brand new. He is now 5 months older than Ford and he is the most amazing dog in the world. He is crazy great with Ford. Even though he’s still a puppy he understands how to play gentle. I know everyone loves their dog, but I’ve been around other dogs and we hit the jackpot with this one.
Photos: Ashley Burns Photography (top); Virginia Williams/Instagram