Andrew Shue on the set of his latest project. (CafeMom)
When we last saw the character of Billy Campbell on Fox's sudser "Melrose Place" in 1998, he was leaving the apartment complex for a life with Jennifer (Alyssa Milano) in Rome. But Andrew Shue, the actor who played Billy beginning in 1992, insists that today, the writer would be sharing a very different life with on-again, off-again love Alison, played by Courtney Thorne-Smith. "He definitely would have had a couple failed relationships, and then he would have realized that Alison was the love of his life, and he would have gone to Atlanta and found her," Shue told omg!. "She would also have still been available at the time, so I think Billy and Alison would have two kids and they would have moved from Atlanta to North Carolina. They'd be living in Raleigh." Sounds like someone's given this a lot of thought!
Shue on Melrose Place with Heather Locklear and Courtney Thorne-Smith. (Everett Collection)
Seriously, though, Billy's hypothetical life sounds filled with kids, almost as much as Shue's real life is now. He and "Today" show correspondent Amy Robach were married in 2010 and are raising five kids ages 5-15 (three boys from his previous marriage and two girls from hers). So was it tough blending two families into one? "The biggest thing we've dealt with — we actually watched some old episodes of 'The Brady Bunch,' and we saw that there were some similar issues — when you have kids that have already partly been raised, you have different parenting styles, so right away, that was something we dealt with," Shue noted. "My wife Amy had a very strict upbringing. I had a let's say less-than-strict [upbringing]. I had a single mom for most of it. We had four kids [in my family], so they just kind of let us do our thing. There were not a lot of rules, and there were no consequences. I've tried to take on her playbook more than she's taken on my playbook, put it that way." (Andrew's siblings include his sister, Elisabeth Shue, who starred in "Adventures in Babysitting" and was nominated for an Oscar for "Leaving Las Vegas.")
The Do Something co-founder with part of his fam. (Roger Wong/INFDaily.com)
Perhaps because Andrew often watched his mom struggle with taking care of the family, he's long been interested in helping women in a similar situation. In 2006, he launched the website CafeMom, an online community more than nine million moms visit each month to encourage one another and reveal the struggles they face daily, all anonymously. The craziest of these confessions have been collected for a web series called "Coffee Shop Confessions," part of a new slate of shows CafeMom Studios is releasing this year. Shue will host and be joined by a panel of moms that include former "Real Housewives of New York City" star Alex McCord, former daytime talk show host Timberly Whitfield, and newcomer Julia Knight, who's been described by McCord as a "hippie, granola-chick mom." Every Friday on a new 2-3 minute episode they'll talk about a single confession, whether it's funny or sad, shocking or infuriating. Some of the confessions that CafeMom.com's members have already shared are as scandalous as anything we would've seen on "Melrose Place" back in the day — well, almost! One mom who peeked at her husband's text messages wondered if she should confront him about cheating, while another shared her worries about going back to work after maternity leave. No matter what they're dealing with in their lives, Shue said all parents need somewhere to sound off.
Shue poses with his wife, Amy Robach. (Joe Corrigan/Getty Images)
"I think more and more moms and dads are up against it. They're working harder, have less time with their kids, and I think that sometimes you're just flying by the seat of your pants doing the best you can," he said. "And I think that any of the mistakes or flops we make as parents — not even as parents, but as spouses and as people — I think during this phase of your life you're in a constant learning and growing mode, so I think to be able to poke fun at ourselves and have a discussion either with your friends [or] family is important. I think [this show] is a good venue to spur conversation, have some fun, and learn a thing or two about ourselves and kinda where we are as a society. Are we being overindulgent with our kids? Are we putting too much pressure on them? I think it'll be provocative."
Catch new episodes of "Coffee Shop Confessions" every Friday beginning April 6.
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