Donna Jo Margaret "D.J." Tanner (D.J. Tanner-Fuller on Fuller House) is a character on the television sitcom Full House. She is portrayed by Candace Cameron. She is the oldest daughter of Pam and Danny Tanner. And, in Fuller House, is the mother of Jackson, Max, and Tommy Fuller.
Born Donna Jo Tanner on February 9, 1977, she is the older sister of Stephanie and Michelle Tanner. D.J. is sometimes called "Deej" by her family and close friends (which is a one-syllable shortening of the sound of her initials).
Though she gets upset at times over her father whenever he would either pry into her affairs or embarrass her, she is always quick to apologize, especially when she snaps at him. D.J. is often irritated about the limits her father places on her, and usually breaks these limits by rebelling against him, usually by running off and/or isolating herself in her room. In the end, she does learn her lesson (usually the hard way). This structure of one of the "Tanner sisters" learning a life-important lesson is shown in many episodes.
In "Daddy's Home" (1.6), when she will not talk about how much she wishes Danny was not working so much because Stephanie would cry about Danny missing her recital, D.J. shows great sensitivity toward her younger siblings. In "A Pox in Our House" (1.15), she stays home from her first non-mother/daughter Honeybee slumber party to take care of baby Michelle when Jesse, Joey, and Stephanie have the chicken pox, so that Michelle would not get it too. Stephanie quite often gets on her nerves with her snooping, and this trend continues throughout the series.
In "Slumber Party" (4.4), after Stephanie's awful time at the mother/daughter Honeybee sleepover, Stephanie tearfully says that when D.J. was her age, she got to attend one with their mother. D.J. then explains that she misses her just as much. When Stephanie asks how she can make the feeling go away, D.J. explains that something that helps her cope with not having a mom is realizing that they have something the other girls don't; three people who love them, namely Danny, Joey, and Jesse, and they have each other. She then decides to accompany Stephanie on her return trip to the sleepover.
D.J. is shown handling many tough situations with general ease. Although she gets upset at times over her father prying into her affairs or otherwise embarrassing her, she is always quick to apologize when she has acted rudely. D.J. gets very mad about the limits her father places on her; usually, and in many episodes, she ignores these limits. These often lead to arguments, which lead to her rebelling against Danny by running off and/or isolating herself in her room. Nonetheless, she does eventually learn her lesson – usually the hard way. (This structure of one of the "Tanner sisters" learning a life-important lesson is shown in many episodes, accompanied with inspirational music that usually is played either at or towards the end of an episode.)
In episode six ("Daddy's Home"), when she will not talk about how much she wishes Danny was not working so much because Stephanie would cry about Danny missing her recital, D.J. shows great sensitivity toward her younger siblings. In "A Pox in Our House", she stays home from her first non-mother/daughter Honeybee slumber party to take care of Michelle when Jesse, Joey, and Stephanie all have chicken pox, so that Michelle would not get it – even though Danny is perfectly willing to miss a chance to sit court-side at a Golden State Warriors basketball game. Stephanie gets on her nerves quite often with her snooping, and this trend continues throughout the series. In "Slumber Party", after Stephanie's awful time at her Honeybee mother/daughter sleepover, she tearfully explains that when D.J. was 8 she got to attend one with Pam, their mother; D.J. then explains that does not mean she doesn't miss her as much as Stephanie does. Even after Stephanie confesses that the girls who do have mothers were happy and she wasn't and even wonders why she couldn't be happy like them (as she was the only girl in the troop to not have a mother), D.J. also explains that when she attended the sleepover with Pam, she looked at those girls who did have a mother at that time, and felt the same way Stephanie does for those who didn't. When Stephanie asks how she can make the feeling go away, D.J. explains that it's hard, but something that helps her cope with Pam's death is that she realizes that Stephanie is special in the same way she is, in that they have something the other girls don't have; namely Danny, Joey, and Jesse, and more importantly, each other. After their talk, they hug, and she decides to accompany Stephanie on the return trip to the sleepover.
Her ways of caring for others go beyond just safety. For example, in "My Left and Right Foot", when she and Stephanie discover Michelle soaking her shrink-wrapped feet in a bucket of ice water in an effort to shrink her feet, D.J. asks Michelle if she's "making a bunion Slurpee", and asks her to get out. Michelle insists she's not done soaking her feet, and D.J. says she is done, and, in total regards for their sister's safety and health, D.J. and Stephanie immediately get Michelle out of her frigid foot bath, keep an extremely tight grip on her to stop her from getting back into the tub, and insist if she continues, she'll freeze her feet off to the point where bunions will grow and cause possibly permanent damage.
For her sisters, she is usually easy-going, but in the first four seasons, when she has to share a room with Stephanie, she is very authoritative, reminding her about the two rules set in the series premiere: one, never touch her stuff, and two, never set foot on her side of the room. More often than not, Stephanie is seen breaking both rules at once, although she appears to break "rule #1" more often than "rule #2" (though usually, to break "rule #1", she would have to break "rule #2", as D.J. always keeps her stuff on her side of the room at all times). After D.J. gets her own room (in season 5), she implements a new "rule #2", which is to always knock before entering.
Even after the room switch, her role model behavior doesn't stop. In "Stephanie's Wild Ride", after Stephanie's first joyride and her attempt to go on a second, she's able to stop Stephanie when she threatens to tell Danny on her. She then has a chat about it later despite Stephanie not wanting to talk about it. While she understands her sister is also becoming a mature young woman herself and also thinks she's old enough to make her own decisions, she doesn't think Stephanie's mature enough to make the right decisions on her own (hence why she threatened her).
In the early years, she always taught Stephanie not to always mope around when things do not go her way. An example was "The Seven-Month Itch (Part 1)", where Stephanie was upset about the fog canceling their Disneyland trip; she immediately brings up the time when she wanted the Oat Boats commercial gig (in "Sisterly Love"), and says that she did not mope (although the events shown suggest otherwise), though all Stephanie remembers was her being chased by D.J. for the cereal box. In "The First Day of School", when Stephanie was worried she would not make any friends on the first day of kindergarten, D.J. told her that when she started kindergarten, she did not make any friends on her first day. When Stephanie mentions Kimmy, D.J. says that she and Kimmy were friends/classmates from kindergarten through 4th grade, but did not talk to each other for six months. She ends her heart-to-heart by telling Stephanie that she already has made one friend on the first day, and that's her. Another example is "Honey, I Broke the House" (season 3); as Stephanie waits on her pending punishment for driving Joey's car into the kitchen, D.J. teaches her that she must take responsibility for her actions and suffer the consequences that go with them.
Her interests include music (such as George Michael [in season 2], Milli Vanilli [season 3], and Bananarama and The Bangles [season 4]), movies, and hanging out with her friends. In early episodes, she was shown practicing karate and is mentioned that she is a green belt (purple in "Joey Gets Tough" and "Jingle Hell"). In a few episodes from season two, she was shown to love horseback riding, dreaming of having her own horse and practicing karate.
She tries out for the school cheerleading squad (in a PSA) but does not make it. When she comes home disappointed about this, she remarks, "I stink." Joey and Jesse cheer her up by telling her that it just is not for her, and that there are other things that she is good at – such as being a straight-A student, member of the soccer team, and purple belt in karate (at the time of the PSA, both airing and taping), and that she should be proud of all those accomplishments.
In the episode "Star Search" (3.6), as she and Stephanie surprise Michelle with a tiara and tutu (in the opening teaser), it is revealed that she did ballet dancing when she was younger. D.J. has a Pillow Person that she is attached to; unlike Mr. Bear, D.J.'s Pillow Person is still seen until the series ends. D.J. has a charm bracelet that Pam gave her when she and Danny brought Michelle home from the hospital.
Like her sisters after her, she was a member of a Honeybee troop, as addressed in the season one episodes "Sea Cruise" and "Danny's Very First Date". In the former, she retires from the organization and passes the "Queen Bee" crown – or rather, antenna – onto Stephanie. In the latter, the Honeybee legend, "Queen Bee", and alum was announced that she had sold a record 725 honey jars (a record which still holds to this day, as alluded to by honorary "Queen Bee" Joey). She told Stephanie's troop at their meeting at the Tanner house that selling raffle tickets for a new color TV is easy, but selling honey jars for any prize, including a brand new bike that immediately excites Stephanie, requires the girls to work a lot harder.
D.J. is an honor student (although she received an F and a C in science once, which never happened again). Her schools growing up are Frasier Street Elementary School, Van Atta Junior High School, and Bayview High School. Despite getting good grades, she was not admitted to her first college choice, Stanford University. She was, however, accepted into U.C. Berkeley.
D.J.'s best friend is Kimmy Gibbler. In the first episode of the show, D.J. is seen talking on the phone with Kimmy. The two have occasional fights in the show, but rarely anything major. In the episode "Michelle Rides Again (Part 2)", Kimmy arranges for D.J. and Steve to go to the prom together. From season seven to the end of the series, both work as waitresses at The Smash Club.
D.J. is also friends with Kathy Santoni (and sometimes competitive with her). In one episode, Kathy has the flu and is unable to fulfill the role of Juliet in the school play Romeo and Juliet, so D.J. takes the role of Juliet. In "A Little Romance" (2.11), D.J. dates a boy named Michael Montfort, who breaks up with her because he views Kathy to be prettier than her, which makes her heartbroken. In one of ABC's "One to One" PSAs (see Interests), it is revealed that Kathy makes the junior high cheerleading squad but D.J. does not (towards the end of season 2).
During the series, D.J. has also had several boyfriends. Her first boyfriend, Michael Montfort (played by Jonathan Brandis), appears in the season two episode "A Little Romance", while they are in 6th grade. Their "relationship" lasts only two days. He dumps her for Kathy Santoni because he said that D.J. is smart and funny, but Kathy is pretty.
In the season three episode "13 Candles", D.J. has her first kiss with Kevin Gwynn after her birthday party. Initially, Kimmy wanted to "force" the kiss to happen by playing "spin the bottle". Just when D.J. and Kevin are about to kiss, Danny, Jesse, and Joey storm in interrupting the moment. However, later at night, after the party ends, Kevin returns to bring D.J. her gift and they kiss alone in the backyard.
In "Just Say No Way", Kevin ends up getting D.J. in trouble as she tries to snatch a beer can out of his hand in an attempt to stop him and two other boys from drinking at the Backwards Dance; however, he and the other boys get suspended for their involvement, and he even comes clean with Jesse and Danny about it as well.
In season eight, she has a wealthy boyfriend, Nelson. In the episode "D.J.'s Choice", Nelson and another suitor (Viper) fight for her affection until D.J. stops them by saying she will date neither of them.
Her steadiest boyfriend is Steve Hale (played by Scott Weinger). Although he appears in Season Five (as Steve Peters), he officially joins the cast during Season Six. Steve is two years older than D.J. During season seven ("Love on the Rocks"), he and D.J. break up because of having grown apart. However, he returns in the series finale to take D.J. to her prom. The two of them kiss.
In season eight, D.J. dates Viper, a member from her uncle's band, Hot Daddy and the Monkey Puppets. Stephanie and Michelle originally thought that she was dating Mongo, another member from the band. Danny and Jesse both dislike the idea of D.J. dating Viper; Jesse kicks Viper out of the band for a brief time after hearing the news. Viper and D.J. eventually break up in the episode "D.J.'s Choice", where Nelson, one of D.J.'s previous boyfriends, and Viper force her to choose between the two of them. D.J. stops them by saying she will date neither of them.
- Danny Tanner – father
- Pamela Tanner – mother (deceased)
- Stephanie Tanner – sister
- Michelle Tanner – sister
- Wendy Tanner – aunt
- Jesse Katsopolis – uncle
- Rebecca Donaldson-Katsopolis – aunt
- Nicky Katsopolis – cousin
- Alex Katsopolis – cousin
- Claire Tanner – grandmother
- Nick Katsopolis – grandfather
- Irene Katsopolis – grandmother
- Iorgos Katsopolis – great-grandfather (deaceased)
- Gina Katsopolis – great-grandmother
- Jackson Fuller – son
- Max Fuller – son
- Tommy Fuller, Jr. – son
- Tommy Fuller, Sr. – husband (deceased)
- "Whoa, baby!"
- "Oh, Mylanta!" (Mylanta is an over-the-counter antacid medicine, and she thought it was cooler to say that than "Oh, my Lord" or "Oh, my God")
- Private phone number: 555-8722 ("Misadventures in Babysitting" [3.14])
- Favorite food: Chicken Parmesan ("Shape Up" [4.8])
- Favorite color: purple
- The picture she places on the mantle in the season four opening (see Gallery) is actually that of Candace before the series began
- Danny revealed that when D.J. was younger, she had an imaginary friend named Norton the Duck ("Rock the Cradle" [4.26])
- On the NHK Japan broadcasts, her name is the only one with no Japanese translation
- considers her Pillow Person to be a "sophisticated companion" (now that she's 13) and not a "toy" ("Three Men and Another Baby" [3.22])
- was briefly married to Sylvio in the season four episode "Greek Week" (4.1)
- is friends with the cousin of Steve Urkel from Family Matters ("Stephanie Gets Framed" [4.16])
- is the only main character (who has been a main character since season 1) who was not in every episode (an example of this is the episode "Subterranean Graduation Blues" [6.20])
- is the only Tanner sister to not have a book series based on her (she does become part of the focus in the Sisters book No Rules' Weekend)
Sometime after the Full House finale, D.J. married firefighter Tommy Fuller, Sr., and the couple had three boys: Jackson Fuller, Max Fuller, and Tommy Fuller, Jr. In 2015, Tommy Sr. was tragically killed in the line of duty (echoing the plot setup for Full House, when Danny's wife Pam is killed by a drunk driver), which left D.J. a widow with three boys to raise on her own.
D.J. also studied veterinary medicine, and in 2009 began working as a veterinarian at Fred Harmon's animal clinic, "Harmon Pet Care."
In Fuller House, D.J. steps into a role similar to that which her father played in Full House. Having also lost her spouse in tragic fashion, and likewise been left to raise their three children as a single parent, D.J. becomes head of household in a patchwork family consisting of herself, her kids, a sibling (in-law in her father's case) and her best friend. Aside from genders being the reverse, the only other difference is that in this case, the best friend (Kimmy) has a child of her own (Ramona).
- In the episode "The Legend of El Explosivo" (1.6), D.J. is given the honorary luchador wrestling name "Mamasita Del Amor" – which translates roughly to "Mommy Love"
- Steve got her a replacement Pillow Person (after the original was lost at summer camp) in "New Kids in the House" (2.10) for her 39th birthday (Candace Cameron Bure kept the original Pillow Person after Full House ended, until her dog chewed it up)
- In "A Tommy Tale" (3.13), after Kimmy asks Max and Ramona to give up modern technology in preparation for a pioneer play, D.J. challenges Kimmy to do the same. After finding a bag of Doritos hidden under Max's cap, she reminds him that they didn't have Doritos in the pioneer era, confiscates those, and asks both kids to give up everything modern for the time being
- Goof (continuity): In season two, she stated that her birthday is in December between Thanksgiving and Christmas, but as the season three episode "13 Candles" states, her birthday is February 9