Copley denies cheating and says she and Stamos had already broken up
John Stamos claims he caught his ex-girlfriend in bed with Tony Danza.
In his upcoming memoir, If You Would Have Told Me, Stamos, 60, claims he encountered girlfriend Teri Copley in bed with Danza, now 72, while dating the model actress in the 1980s.
The Full House alum described the incident to PEOPLE as “physically painful” and “worse than anything.”
“I can’t explain it, but I would have preferred to get punched in the nose again or something because the pain is so overwhelming,” he said, according to Entertainment Weekly. “Looking back, it seems like she probably wasn’t the right girl for me. So seeing him, realizing it was him and all that, was hard. I mean, it was horrible.”
Stamos says he walked into Copley’s guesthouse and found the actress in bed with a man he didn’t immediately recognize who had “torn abs.”
Completely “breathless” at the sight, Stamos said he staggered backward out of the room.
“At first I thought, ‘I’m going to kick him…’ I didn’t know it was [Danza] yet. I see his abs. I’m like, ‘Maybe not. F… it.’ And I ran,” Stamos remembers. “But I remember running down the driveway with tears running down my face and I didn’t want anyone to see me.”
Copley, now 62, says her relationship with Stamos was already over at the time of the incident. “I wondered, ‘What was John doing there?’ because we were broken up,” she tells PEOPLE. “He just looked at me, shook his head, and walked away.”
In his memoir, de Stamos says he only identified the man as Danza after seeing a poster of Copley signed “My Dear Tony” on the front seat of an unknown car parked in front of her house.
“I jump in the El Co, start the car and Elton John is still singing, and that’s when it hits me,” Stamos writes. “I say the words of his most famous lyrics and realize the name of my rival: ‘Hold me closer, Tony Danza. . . .’”
“It took me a long time to get over that,” he tells PEOPLE.
Stamos describes Copley — who denies cheating and tells PEOPLE she and Stamos were no longer together at the time — as “just a nice person.”
“I mean, it wasn’t right to cheat on me, but I was too immature; I was not a man,” he tells PEOPLE. ‘I haven’t become a man for a long time and I think she… I don’t know. I was broken.”
Stamos says he included the alleged incident in his memoir because of its relatability.
“I really wanted to find relatable things that happened in my life,” he says. “Because I think everyone thinks, ‘Oh, this guy has no problems.’ I’m sure he’s never been cheated on.’”
When people are cheated, “they make a list,” Stamos says. “It’s like, ‘Oh, she left me because I don’t have enough money,’ or ‘I’m not good-looking,’ or this and that.”
“And then you look at me and I say, ‘Well, he had all those things,’” he says. “People are s—–. And it is life.”
The actor also points out that, at least in his eyes, everything has “evened out” in the end. Stamos credits Danza’s then-popular show Who’s the Boss? with much of Full House’s initial success as it starred. (The family sitcom would ultimately become the launching pad for Stamos’ career.)
“Then you say, ‘Life isn’t fair.’ And then, ‘Oh, wait a minute. It was leveled,” Stamos tells PEOPLE. “I really believe that if we hadn’t followed his show in the summer, it would have been done for that show, Full House.”
Stamos adds, “That’s a big part of everything, too. Sometimes the hardest thing is to go with the flow. Because if you are a good person, and you treat people well and [lovingly], and you do good things in the world, then you will usually be fine.”