For seven years, Joanna Kerns stood by Alan Thicke’s side as his TV wife on Growing Pains. The actors played Maggie and Jason Seaver respectively, and on Wednesday, Kerns released an official statement regarded the untimely death of her beloved co-star.
“Alan was a true and loyal friend,” she wrote. “As Maggie and Jason Seaver, we experienced more than a life-changing success together. When you pretend to love someone day after day, year after year, you see all their faults and foibles and learn to accept them as they are, separate from you, and there is a connection that happens that is hard to explain. I had that with Alan. Maybe that’s what marriage should be, the ability to love without judgement and the strength to remain separate.”
Kerns reflected on her special nickname for the actor, saying, “I loved Al. I called him Al because it really bugged him. He thought it sounded like an old man’s name. He hated it, but the cast loved it and unfortunately for him, it stuck.”
She also reflected on Thicke, the man, adding, “Alan loved everything youthful: women, sports, music, and above all, his beautiful and talented sons, Brennan, Robin, and Carter… There was a sweetness and kindness to his humor. No one could make fun of Alan better than Alan. As an actor, that is a gift, and I truly believe he was underrated.”
Both stars appeared in all seven seasons of the hit sitcom, alongside Kirk Cameron, Tracey Gold, Jeremy Miller, and even Leonardo DiCaprio. Kerns still looks back on the experience fondly.
“I am devastated by Alan’s passing and will be for some time,” she wrote. “I used to joke, before I met my real husband, Marc, that Alan was my favorite daytime husband. At work we laughed all day, everyday at things Alan would come up with, usually at my expense. It was fun. Alan was fun and we all loved teasing each other. Alan kept me calm and when I’d start to get upset about something silly, he would set things straight, give me a big hug and very gently say, ‘Maggie… don’t be an a**hole.’”
Thicke passed away on Tuesday at the age of 69 after suffering a heart attack. For more on his passing, watch the clip below.