Joey Lawence and Melissa Joan Hart Interview

Now in its 4th season, it’s evident that Joey Lawence and Melissa Joan Hart are having fun on the set of ABC Family’s Melissa & Joey.  I shared with you some of the fun I had when I spent time on the set and now here’s a little of what we talked about.



A little about the show and their roles –

Melissa & Joey is a half-hour comedy that follows Mel, the grown-up former wild child of a political family, who is now a local politician herself.  When her sister ends up in prison and her brother-in-law flees after a scandal hits, Mel must take responsibility for her teenage niece, Lennox, and nephew, Ryder.  Help comes in the unlikely form of Joe, who moves in and becomes the family’s manny.

Mel, a former wild child of a political family, is all grown up and now in city politics herself.  When her sister ends up in prison and her brother-in-law flees after a scandal hits his company, Mel must take responsibility for her teenage niece, Lennox, and her adolescent nephew, Ryder.  Spread too thin to manage by herself, help comes in the unlikely form of Joe.

Joe, an unemployed commodities trader, is desperate for work.  His life took a turn for the worse when his former employer, Mel’s brother-in-law, left the country in a hurry due to a company scandal.  Now his wife is leaving him and he has no place to live.  All he has left is his Porsche… oh yeah, he’s losing that too.  In a last ditch attempt to stay afloat, he’s able to convince Mel to give him a chance as her new family’s “manny.”

Joey Lawence and Melissa Joan Hart Interview

Sitting down with both of them separately, they were very open to discuss the show, a little about their private lives and what else is currently in the works for them.

Melissa –

ABC Family/Eric McCandless
ABC Family/Eric McCandless


Let’s talk about how much fun you are having.

We’re having a blast.  This is our, well I mean technically, our 6th or 7th season but I think we call it 4.  We have a really great crew, it’s been a pretty tight crew for all these years.

Melissa has been married for 12 plus years to Mark Wilkerson, lead singer and guitarist for rock band Course of Nature.  She spoke of how they have this fun sort of bickering type of flirty relationship.

Melissa Joan Hart "Melissa Explains It All: Tales From My Abnormally Normal Life" Book Launch Party

Do you see some of your real life relationship with your husband in the relationship of your TV marriage?

I think so.  In a lot of comedies where it’s a married couple, the female is the one that’s the sort of nagging, you know, bitter like stop it, like if you think about like–  I love the show so this is no– no reflection in that but like, you know, like Patricia Heaton in “Everybody Loves Raymond” or something, it’s the one that’s like rolling the eyes and really, really?  Or what was the Peg Bundy one?

Married With Children.

Other than that one.  Where the wife is the smart one or she, you know, and she’s the one that’s keeping the family together and like the husband gets to be total fruitcake.  Like in this one, I get to be the fruitcake so I love that.  Like that’s what I wanted.  I was so afraid when they were getting these characters together that I’d all of a sudden have to become the strong center pole that funny things happen around me but not to me, which is what happened on Sabrina.  But on this one, I get to be a complete lush.  Completely self centered for lack of a better word, B!tch.  I get to just be this really flawed fun girl and I like that even though the dynamic of the show has changed 3 times now.  I still get to play that character, that I still get to be.  Every once in a while, I’m the grounded, centered one but most of the time, I still get to be that kind of crazy, you know, just completely selfish girl.


Melissa is a mom to 3 boys, Tucker, Mason, and Braydon.


You’ve been doing this for a long time, are your kids interested in the business?

Did you see the Peter Pan commercials?  My family did 5 Walmart Peter Pan commercials.  And it was such a special opportunity, we couldn’t say no.  The script was written so beautifully I thought, and I really wanted my family (to do it), like I just thought it was so lovely and we’d have this footage forever for our family.  But some casting directors did notice, and some crew members here got called and were asked to be put in touch with me, and my kids and so my son is just got his first TV show.  So it makes me nervous but they were at the audition and it’s weird.  It’s like, you know, you’re competing with these other kids and you know, it’s Uh.  As Mom sitting there and you’re like, you want the best for your child but that means that these other children don’t get (the part)  You know, it was just weird.  I don’t know.  I really don’t want them in this business but I also don’t want to turn away great opportunities, like this show sounds like a really amazing opportunity.  He’s young and I don’t know that I’m ready for all that for them.  I think Ron Howard’s kids did it right?  I think Goldie Hawn’s kids did it right?  You know, when they’re older and they’re out of high school and they can make a decision that this is what they truly want to do, then I’m not gonna stop them.  And I will allow them to entertain some of these great opportunities but at the same time, I don’t want my kids growing up on red carpets and stuff, it just seems a little I don’t know.  It’s not how I grew up so I think that I don’t know what the recipe for that is, you know.  I grew up in New York shooting my first show in Orlando.  I was nowhere near any kind of big red carpet events or Hollywood stuff going on.  I  don’t feel like I was treated special.  I was just working.  I was a working girl.  And I loved that.  And if I could give it to my sons in the same way, and let them experience it the same way, that would be great.  But I don’t think you can do that these days, so I think it would be tough.

 You have a great working dynamic with Joey and the rest of the cast and crew, you all seem like great friends.



She went on to share how they all have kids the same age and they all are really a tight knit group.  She chatted for a while with all of us as we took some photos.  Quite a pleasure to meet someone that has been in the business as long as she has, yet she’s so normal and seems really humble.

Melissa Joan Hart and Trippin with Tara


Then we had some time to chat with Joey.  He was high energy during the rehearsals, breaking out into song and even dancing around.  He was really entertaining to watch, but even more fun to talk with.

Joey –

ABC Family/Eric McCandless
ABC Family/Eric McCandless

So we got a sneak peek of the Winter Premiere episode.

A sneak peek okay.

Of  your honeymoon.

Oh yeah honeymoon!  Or not so honeymoon.  Yeah every week it’s been, it’s  been a honeymoon week.  I swear to God Melissa and I have been in bed every week. It’s been a dream come true for her.  I’m sure you’ve heard ABC Family is working on uh re-branding of such sorts.  They are lettin’ us get away with things this season that we’re so excited about.  I mean on broadcast networks I don’t think that we would get away with it you know.  I’ll just tell you that there’s one opening to a show that when we read it at the table we thought there’s no way that they’re gonna’ let us do this.  And the writers put things in that, that are just so salacious that you know just to push the buttons of S&P – standard’s practices.  And we not only shot it, but it’s actually made it to the cut.  And it’s unbelievable how the show begins.  People are gonna’ go, “What!” But it’s true.  You guys will have to watch to find out what that is, but it’s pretty amazing.  But it’s gonna’ be a fun season.  Lots of sex and arguing and make up sex. It’s called married life.

That sounds about right.

Joey is the father of two girls, Liberty and Charli and has been married to his wife Chandie for almost 10 years.

You know, “alright come on we got 12 seconds before one of the babies walks in here.”  Right?  That’s about it.  I swear at midnight, 12:04 the other night we’re like, “My we got 10 minutes” you know.  ‘Cause my 4 year old is a wandering– my, my 9 year old sleeps.  She’ll sleep through everything.  Earthquakes as a matter– my 4 year old sleeps till after the light cuts out.  And then all of a sudden it’s like “I, I tried dad, I tried.”   We get no time.  So we got like 12 secon– I swear, 12 seconds is when she decides that she needs to go to the bathroom in our potty.  I’m like we’re–  you know it’s unbelievable.  It’s amazing.  Anyway, so you know we have sex like  robbing a supermarket or something.  It’s like, “Quick hurry up, yeah quick!  Hurry up!”  You know with the eyes always looking and darting around you know quick!  I said, “Did you hear something?”  You know my wife was like, “That was me.”  I was like, “Okay good.”

Does being a parent influence your role on the show?

It doesn’t really.  I mean you know Joe Longo obviously found out that he was a parent, but he’s not really a parent you know.  Um and you know this show is definitely not for kids.  My 9 year old cannot watch this show.  I mean she watched like the Christmas episode but it’s not for the 9 years olds.  I mean it really is for teens and for young adults and for people that are our age you know in their middle to late 30’s.  So it doesn’t really affect it too, too much.  I mean honestly I keep my private life and my work life pretty separate.  I’m not one of those um actors that loves to bleed the two together.  I don’t think that one goes with the other.  That’s just me personally.  I don’t take my kids to premiers.  And you know I don’t post pictures on Instagram of myself with my kids.  It’s all about me, my work and my fans, and the relationship that I have with them you know.  I want my kids to live normal lives and I don’t know why they have to kinda’ go hand-in-hand you know.  I mean a lot of the idols that I look up to they don’t.  So the path that I sort of wanna’ emulate is you know like the George Clooneys and Bruce Willis’s and Harrison Fords.  And these guys you know they always have and they still to this day – you don’t hear a lot about their personal lives.

Joey Lawence Trippin With Tara

If you didn’t do acting what do you think you would be doing?

If I didn’t do acting– you know politics has always um intrigued me.  Because I think that a lot of it is about communication, a lot of it.  And a lot of it is about being open minded and you know being able to hear what other people have to say.  And then go with your gut you know, and you have to have one.  I love this country so much and you know even in my lifetime I’ve seen so much change and I think that even more now than ever we’re just going through such a crazy time I don’t really what to think about it, other than it just frightens me on so many levels.  My grandfather’s 90 and he’s seen a hell of a lot you know.  He fought in WWII.  Was submarine tender for 17 months.  Lost my great uncle in the South Pacific during Pearl Harbor.  He’s seen a lot and he said that he’s never seen it like this you know.  Just our whole backbone is being challenged right now.  Kinda’ what we stand for you know.  And we’ve always had our differences internally, but I think that externally people are really threatening the fabric of sorta’ what this country stands for.


Melissa and Joey Winter Premiere is on Wednesday, January 14th at 8/7c on ABC Family.

 Stay Social (#MelissaandJoey)

 *I was invited by Disney and ABC Family to be part of the #IntoTheWoodsEvent and #ABCFamilyEvent for promotional purposes.  All experiences and opinions are my own.  The interview has been edited for ease of reading.
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