In 1987, the Tanner family burst onto the scene with the television hit series Full House. Candace Cameron Bure was welcomed into homes across the country as beloved big sister D.J. For eight seasons, she gave advice to her younger siblings, helped out her best friend Kimmy and made the cast family complete.

Growing up on set as the oldest sister in the house presented a great dynamic between her on- and off-screen lives. “I loved it because I was totally babied at home,” reveals Cameron Bure, the youngest sibling in the Cameron family of four children. “I was daddy’s little princess.”

When Full House wrapped, Cameron Bure was 18 years old and had spent a good portion of her teen years in front of the camera. “I was ready to be a normal teenager and have a boyfriend,” she recalls. “I wanted to embrace whatever life held.”

The same year the show ended, former Full House costar Dave Coulier introduced Cameron Bure to National Hockey League superstar Valeri Bure. And the starlet later married her first real-life boyfriend on June 22, 1996. Since that time, Cameron Bure has found her place in her new family.

When Cameron Bure became a mother to daughter Natasha, a new stage emerged. “I’ve always wanted to take time to be a stay-at-home mom,” she says. “That was very important to me.” Cameron Bure remained supportive of her husband’s career and enjoyed the “natural transition” of raising her children full time.

Two children followed the birth of Natasha, now 13: Lev, 11, and Maksim, 9. While she settled into her new role, religion became a focal point in the young mother’s life. “There were foundations laid, but I didn’t embrace it until I was 25 years old,” recalls Cameron Bure. “It became personal and important for me.”

Once her husband retired in 2004, Cameron Bure began working again. While she was active in the Christian community and continuing to take TV show roles, the actress joined the cast of the ABC Family channel’s Make It or Break It in 2009. In 2011, Cameron Bure penned Reshaping It All: Motivation for Physical and Spiritual Fitness (B&H Books).

In the book, Cameron Bure divulges details about her relationship with food and fitness. During her early life, she developed an emotional attachment to eating and sought comfort in food. But after personal exploration, Cameron Bure says she views herself from a religious perspective instead of a person concerned with vanity. This has given her freedom to “be the best person that I am— to be healthy and be happy.”

While Cameron Bure continues to be a recognizable name and face in American society, she recognizes that balancing a career and a family is a juggling game. “I love both aspects, but family is number one and will remain my first priority,” she says. “I love being a mother and to just be in charge of growing, training and loving three beautiful little people to be amazing adults who give back to the world.”

The star continues to thrive in her acting career that has spanned three decades. Of course, Cameron Bure acknowledges and embraces that she will likely always be associated with the character of D.J. Tanner. She doesn’t try or want to run away from that role. She says that she frequently throws out Full House references on her Twitter, and her followers love it. “It’s a wonderful memory in my heart and I feel super blessed to have been a part of it,” she says. “It’s part of pop culture history.”