"Dear Jonathan, I am seriously in love with you ..."
It's no exaggeration to say that Jonathan has received thousands of letters that begin with those words of devotion. Well, maybe not exactly those words but others that are awfully similar, such as "madly in love," "totally in love," "absolutely in love." The point is JTT is on the receiving end of tons of love letters.
While most correspondents have never met Jonathan face-to-face, there is something about that face, that voice, that smile, that heart, that inspires words of heartfelt love and adoration in his countless fans. Of course, the logical extension of those feelings leads to thoughts about the kind of girl Jonathan could feel the same way about.
In this chapter you'll find out all about JTT's "love history" and just how a fan like you might someday be part of it.
No, Jonathan Doesn't Have a Steady!>
When Jonathan reads over his mail, he has found the most-asked question is "Do you have a girlfriend?" The answer is a very simple, No, but there's a little bit more to the answer. Jonathan would very much like to have a girlfriend. It's just that he hasn't met the right person yet. In fact, he hasn't even come close.
The real deal is that at fourteen years old, Jonathan has yet to go on a one-on-one date or have a steady girlfriend. In truth, Jonathan has always been surprised that so many girls seem to find him attractive and that so many people want to know all that personal stuff about dating and kissing! When one reporter asked him if he had experienced his first reallife kiss, Jonathan sheepishly responded, "Ummm... no, actually." Of course there's plenty of time!
And then when another reporter for the L.A. Daily News brought up his legion of female fans, Jonathan suggested modestly, "I never really expected that. It's not something I even planned for. I guess people are fascinated by people on TV."
Girls He Notices
Still, Jonathan has no hesitation about describing his dream girl. She has to be "someone sweet and nice and fun - and most importantly easy to talk to!" Unlike many boys, looks are not on the top of his priority list. "I'm not so into that," he's confessed.
"A girl's personality is more important." Take for example the beautiful girls Jonathan has worked with on Home Improvement - Pamela Anderson and Debby Dunning. His TV brother, Zach, has publicly admired the Tool Time girls, but to Jonathan they are just colleagues with whom he likes to work.
And how does JTT handle that awkward moment when he finally sees a girl he would like to meet? Well, he let out the secret to Teen Beat magazine and said, "I just walk up and start talking. I just start a conversation." And in another interview, this time with Big Bopper, Jonathan revealed that he has a lot of gal pals because "girls are easier to talk to than guys. Sometimes they can be more fun, and it's easier to go to a movie and just hang out with a girl than it is with a guy.
Girls Who would Keep His Interest
Would JTT go for a girl who's ... taller than him? ... wore glasses? ... had braces? ... older than him? ... younger? ... a different race or religion? ... lived far away?
It seems everyone wants to know more details about JTT's type and if he has any preconceived ideas about the kind of girl for him. The answer to the second part of that question is an emphatic "NO!" Jonathan would never judge a person - girl or boy - by anything superficial. The answer to the first part is also pretty simple. Jonathan's "type" is a girl with whom he could carry on a conversation, share a laugh, confide in, a girl who is understanding, kind, and who cares as passionately as he does about helping others.
As for Jonathan's other interests such as sports, acting, and being a vegetarian, well, it's not necessary for a girl to share all his views. Even if the thought of baiting a hook with a squiggly worm makes a girl nauseous, Jonathan wouldn't hold that against her either! If she loves to be active and have fun, if she would rather go rollerblading than staying in and channel-surf the TV, if she loves to joke around, if she is understanding about all the pressures and time demands Jonathan has, she's definitely his "type."
One of the most important things to Jonathan is that a girl be open to new ideas and eager to learn. But just because he's smart in school doesn't mean his perfect girl has to by the class brainiac! Common sense and the ability to just talk-and listen - is more important. "I do want someone I could carry on a conversation with," Jonathan told Teen Beat, "but I'm not looking at her report card.... I like girls who are smart, ethical, intelligent, kind, and caring."
Hello, My Name Is Jonathan
And just where does a teen idol meet girls? Well, you can scratch out Hollywood parties and clubs. That's not Jonathan's scene. Actually, he meets girls in all the usual places. First of all, there's school, though it's not as easy for him as his classmates. "I'm only in my regular classroom one week out of every four," he told All Stars magazine. "That does allow me to meet people there. Still, it's difficult."
And then there's work. Of course, there are no young actresses who are regulars on Home Improvement, but every so often there are guests like Kimberly Cullum, who played Randy's girlfriend. No love match was made there offscreen though! However, the Home Improvement set isn't so lonely as you might think. It's right in the middle of the Disney Studios lot, where other shows also tape. And a lot of them do feature younger actresses, such as Boy Meets World's fourteen-year-old Danielle Fishel, who is a casual acquaintance of Jonathan's - nothing more. Thunder Alley also taped on the lot - until it was canceled - and JTT did develop more of a friendship with cute costar Kelly Vint, who played Claudine. But no way was it ever a romance.
It also makes sense that Jonathan would meet girls on movie sets, but that wasn't the case on The Lion King, where he worked alone, nor on Man of the House, where all his fellow Indian Guides were boys. It's safe to say Jonathan won't he meeting that dream girl on the set of his upcoming film, Pinocchio, since there are no actresses near his age in the cast. But what about Tom and Huck, the movie Jonathan filmed during his 1995 summer hiatus? Well, he did share an on-screen smooch with costar Rachael Leigh Cook - she played Becky - but the two did not share any unscripted kisses.
If Jonathan weren't a TV star, he might meet girls in the normal places like malls or friends' houses. But most of the time he's at a mall, it's for a special "Meet & Greet" for an event. He loves doing these because he does get to really meet his fans, but it still doesn't give Jonathan enough time to get to know someone. "We usually have an autograph session of fifteen to twenty minutes," he explains. "I talk to kids, answer their questions, and sign autographs." But he doesn't end up making many lasting relationships there.
Truth is, while there are opportunities to meet, establishing and maintaining a relationship - even a friendship - is close to impossible with Jonathan's hectic schedule. JTT accepts this sacrifice - for now. "I think that dating is not an easy thing," he told 16 magazine. "It's the type of thing where you have to be in this group, to go and meet these people. It's difficult when you're on the Home Improvement set nine and a half hours a day and then going off to make movies and things. It's difficult to keep up with any kind of relationship, even with a friend."
Of course, having a girlfriend is not impossible. "It's just not easy," he continued. "But if you're really into it and committed to this person that you want to go out with, you have to make time."
Does She Like Me for Who - or What I Am?
A universal problem when it comes to celebrities and relationships is sorting out the reasons why someone might show interest. Jonathan is no exception. He does worry that some girls might like him just because he's on TV. "Yes, it's a concern," he confided to a friendly interviewer. "I have to be very choosy about who I surround myself with. I don't want to have anyone around who's just there to say, 'Hey, I know this guy, he's on Home Improvement - he's a celebrity.' That's not what I want. I want a girl or any friend, really, to like me for me, not for what I do."
Of course, sometimes it's hard to be able to recognize a girl's motives when Jonathan first meets her. She could be showing interest for all those wrong reasons. But JTI' tries to rely on his natural instinct when it comes to meeting new people. "I can read people fairly well," he continued. "I think I'm a good judge of character. I mean, you can't judge a book by its cover, you can't just see the person and decide Oh, she's using me.' You have to get to know her first. I think eventually little signs show up. I've been lucky, though. I haven't really had that problem so far."
The Truth About Those Rumors
Since Jonathan is in such a spotlight, he faces that age-old celebrity problem: the rumor mill. Even though he's only fourteen, Jonathan has had rumors spring up about, of all things, his love life! Partly it goes with the territory of being famous. But there's another reason why there's so much speculation about his dating habits. Many fans find it hard to believe that he doesn't have a girlfriend. They argue, he's such a great catch, it's amazing that no one's hooked him yet!
And so the rumors run rampant. Most have never traveled beyond one or two schoolrooms, but there are four stories in particular that have taken to the information superhighway. First there's the one about JTT and Jodie Sweetin, the young actress who played the middle sister, Stephanie, on Full House. It's been reported that they are in Hollywood terms, "an item," that they are going together. This has never been true. Jonathan has met and even spent time with Jodie at some charity functions and Hollywood events in the past. Both Jodie and Jonathan were on the 1993 Sail with the Stars cruise, but so were hundreds of other people. They did not become boyfriend and girlfriend back then - or even really friends. They have never exchanged phone numbers or attempted to keep in touch. That's why the rumor is so surprising to both of them!
The second rumor that's making the circuit is that Jonathan and actress Kimberly Cullum are dating. It's easy to see how this one came about, since Kim, the real-life sister of Grace Under Fire's Caitlin Cullum, did play the girl Randy liked in the party episode of Home Improvement's fourth season. (It was the one where Tim overwaxed the recreation room floor where the kids were dancing.) But that episode was taped in under a week, and JTT and Kimberly's scenes were done in two days. That didn't leave a lot of time for sparks to fly - and they didn't.
Rumor three concerns Jonathan and Rachael Leigh Cook, who played Becky in the film Tom and Huck. Once again the "insider reports" were flying fast and furious that an on-set romance at the Alabama location had blossomed between the two. After all, they did share an on-screen kiss. What better way to start a romance? Except in their case it didn't, and once the cameras stopped rolling, Jonathan and Rachael went their separate ways. In fact, Rachael was really on the set only for a week or two - just enough time to shoot her scenes and then fly horde.
And finally, the fourth rumor making the rounds is about Jonathan and Thunder Alley's Kelly Vint. This one is a little tougher to refute because there is a glimmer of truth to it. But just a glimmer. You see Kelly, who's now thirteen, first met JTT during "Rec Time" on the Disney lot set. She was playing Claudine Turner, and JTT recognized her from the movie Stargate. They realized they had a lot in common and liked each other enough - as friends - to go out. But they went out with a group of kids, never as a twosome. The real scoop is that they went out to the movies twice, and - this is really hard to believe - Kelly called it quits before anything had really begun! When quizzed about her "dates" with JTT, Kelly candidly told a group of reporters, "Yes, I actually went out with Jonathan. I went out with him twice. But he's more of a friend to me than a boyfriend. He's very nice. He's very mature. He's very smart. He likes to go out. We went to the movies. We saw Junior, and I went to see My Girl II with him, and that time he talked all through the movie! I'm sitting there going, ummmm ..."
The Dating Game
Truth is with Jonathan's lifestyle and schedule, there isn't much time for dating right now. "I go to the movies with a group, but no one-on-one dating yet," Jonathan confirmed to the L.A. Daily News. "That's not something I really want to do now."
In the same vein, Jonathan told another reporter from the New York Daily News that his approach to dating isn't so unusual in the 1990s. "Kids my age don't actually go out on what adults would technically call dates," he explained.
But don't get Jonathan wrong - he's not antisocial; he's not a hermit or loner. He loves to socialize and go out with friends - girls included! Some of the things he enjoys most is playing basketball, football and tennis, or going Rollerblading or to the beach. Of course, there's always fishing!
If Jonathan is out on the town at night, he and his friends usually go to a restaurant first. Preferably it's Mexican, Italian, or one that specializes in health or vegetarian dishes. Next it's usually on to the movies. Not surprisingly Jonathan's movies of choice are comedies like Forrest Gump, but he also likes action films if they're not too violent. When he's with friends of his own age, he usually sticks to PG or PG-13 rated films. One thing is for sure, though, Jonathan does not like to go see his own movies with his friends. It makes him feel uncomfortable; it's as if he's back at work!
Another way Jonathan likes to spend time on his group dates is at home watching rented videos. Even though he's "in the business," Jonathan doesn't usually have time to catch all the films he'd like to see when they first hit the movie theaters, so stopping by a video store and renting one is just up his alley. And what else does this heartthrob like to do when he goes out? Well, if Boyz II Men are in concert anywhere near Jonathan, he'd like to be there. They are his all-time favorite group, and he knows all their songs by heart. He's yet to attend his first Boyz II Men concert, but he'd like to.
What to Do, What to Say If You Meet JTT
A lot of girls fantasize about meeting Jonathan, and the truth is it's not all that impossible. Even if you don't live in the Los Angles area, you have a chance. Jonathan travels so much doing personal appearances, making movies, doing charity events, he's stacked up frequent flyer miles winging all over the country. It's easier than you think to find out where he's going to be. Read the newspapers and magazines or listen to the radio to see if there are any upcoming visits. Call your local ABC-TV affiliate and find out if they are bringing him to your town for a Home Improvement event, as they will be in January 1996 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Check out any local charity events he might be appearing at. He does "Meet & Greets" all the time when he's traveling, and he definitely loves it when fans come up to him and introduce themselves. He's met fans all over the world during these chat stops, and he gets letters and calls from friends he's made in such places as Huntsville and Mooresville, Alabama, Vancouver, Canada, Miami, the Caribbean, Cincinnati, Atlanta, Phoenix, New York, London, England, and Prague.
If you live in or are visiting L.A., you can get free tickets for a taping of Home Improvement and Jonathan usually spends time chatting with the audience afterward. If that is out of the question, you can always write Jonathan via his fan club, ABC-TV, or even connect with him on-line through the ABC-TV forum on America Online.
Getting in touch with Jonathan is one thing, but the question is what do you say when you meet him? First and foremost, don't be shy. He doesn't like to be the center of attention and put on the spot, so don't ask a zillion questions about showbiz or tell him how cute he is. Do talk about yourself and tell him about the things you're interested in. If you like sports or fishing or traveling or are involved with charity projects, you definitely will have things in common. Just remember, treat Jonathan just like any other friend, because that's just what he wants to be, your friend!
Part of The Jonathan Taylor Thomas Archive - JTTArchive.Net
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