Before The Hemsworth Brothers, There Was The Lawrence Brothers

Before the Hemsworths or even the Jonas Brothers, there were the Lawrence brothers. Joey, Matt, and Andy were household names throughout the nineties. Oldest brother Joey starred in Blossom, middle brother Matt had a recurring role on Boy Meets World, and the youngest Andy co-starred with his brothers in Brotherly Love. With each sibling having their own creative strengths, they’ve managed to avoid problems that plague child actors.

Their Last Name Isn’t Lawrence

Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage/Getty Images
Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage/Getty Images

The boys were born to Donna and Joseph Mignogna. Lawrence wasn’t just a name they family picked out of a hat. It was an ode to their father’s middle name. It was a smooth transition to drop the name Mignogna to become the Lawrences.

It’s not a bad thing to have a stage name. Another well-known family who changed their name are the Estevez clan. That’s Martin and Charlie Sheen, but Emilio stuck with the original last name.

They Grew Up In Philadelphia

Albert Ortega/Getty Images
Albert Ortega/Getty Images

The Lawrence brothers still consider the City of Brotherly Love as their home. Despite having careers in acting, the group spent weekends down the shore and enjoy Kohr’s Brothers ice cream.

Joey is a passionate Eagles fan too, discussing his dedication to the team in an interview. “I’m either with my brothers, because the three of us are huge fans, watching the game or I’m by myself at night, in my media room with my cordless headphones on watching my 80-inch flat-screen TV and it’s awesome to see my Birds play.”

Joey’s First Acting Role Was In A Cracker Jack Commercial

Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage/Getty Images
Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage/Getty Images

From a young age, the oldest Lawrence had a passion for acting. After appearing in a Cracker Jack commercial, Joey appeared on the The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson as a five-year-old. On the late night show, he performed the song “Give My Regards to Broadway.”

Afterward, he found himself in guest spots on Diff’rent Strokes and Silver Spoons. Lawrence would play the role of Joey Donovan on the hit NBC series Gimme a Break!

Matt Followed In Joey’s Footsteps

Matt began acting in the mid-eighties. In his first role, he played Danny Carrington in Dynasty. He would continue as a child actor in the early nineties too, where he appeared in many television and feature film roles.

In 1993, the middle child of the three hit it big when he appeared in the Robin Williams comedy, Mrs. Doubtfire. In addition, he was Sam Collins/Servo for the superhero fiction series Superhuman Samurai Syber-Squad.

Andy Wasn’t Far Behind

Despite being 12 years younger than Joey and eight years younger than Matthew, Andy was inspired by his older brothers. He started out in show business at the age of three, appearing in a variety of commercials.

However, Andy took a different path compared to his brothers, who started out in television. In 1995, the youngest Lawrence had minor roles in White Man’s Burden and Bean. Then in 1998, he played Tuck Gronic, Charlie’s friend in the drama Jack Frost.

Joey’s Big Break Came When He Was Show Alongside Rosie O’Donnell

As mentioned before, Joey had a breakthrough on Gimme A Break! and soon after, Matthew would join his older brother on the show. Coincidentally, the siblings played brothers on the series, with the middle playing Matthew Donovan, the young brother to Joey.

It’s funny how life can imitate art sometimes, but with both brothers acting on the same show, it opened another door. It began a pattern of the siblings working together.

Joey Was On Another Hit Series

After appearing on The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson, Joey got another big break. After appearing on Gimme A Break!, he was cast as Joey Russo on the hit series Blossom. The show ran from 1991-1995, and Lawrence emerged as a heartthrob.

With his less-than-intelligent jokes, it made him an endearing part of the nineties culture. People still shout his signature catchphrase, “Whoa!” A role on a popular sitcom would be the kickstart to his career.

All Three Brothers Had Their Own TV Show

Brotherly Love premiered on NBC in September of 1995. For the second season, the show was moved to WB, with the series finale airing in 1997. The show featured all three of the Lawrence brothers together on the screen for the first time.

In the series, the Romans are brought together following their father’s death. Joey ends up moving with his step-mother, and two half-brothers, Matt and Andy, all to help run the auto shop their father owned.

After Brotherly Love, The Youngest Lawrence Voiced A Very Successful Cartoon Series

Andy got his big break by acting with his two older brothers. While people are familiar with Brotherly Love, many people don’t realize that Andy voiced an iconic cartoon character of the nineties.

The youngest Lawrence would be the voice of troublemaker T.J. Detweiler on the cartoon show, Recess. But, he wasn’t the original voice of the character, it was Ross Malinger who provided the voice for the first season only. Malinger would go on to have a recurring role on Party of Five.

Matthew Was On Boy Meets World

Jack Hunter is Shawn’s paternal half-brother and very different from him too. He first appears in the season five episode “Brothers.” After reuniting with Shawn and his father, Chet, Jack eventually moves in with Shawn and Eric Matthews. In a way, he was like a big brother to Shawn.

He went as far as warning his half-brother to stop drinking when their mother left their father, again. Chet was an abusive drunk and that alcoholism runs strongly in their father’s side of the family.

One Of The Brothers Dated A Kardashian

Rich Fury/Getty Images
Rich Fury/Getty Images

In 1999, Joey and Kim Kardashian dated. It’s not clear how long the relationship lasted, but Joey dated other well-known celebrities as well. He has also dated future actress of Grey’s Anatomy, Katherine Heigl, with whom he’s still friends with.

In addition to that, he dated I Know What You Did Last Summer actress Jennifer Love-Hewitt. Even though the relationships weren’t successful, it’s no surprise that Joey was an attractive commodity back in the day.

The Brothers Would Appear In Disney Channel Movies

J. P. Aussenard/WireImage/Getty Images
J. P. Aussenard/WireImage/Getty Images

Brotherly Love wasn’t the only time the brothers shared the screen together. They would star in two made-for-tv movies as well. The first was Horse Sense, with Joey and Andrew.

On its premiere night, the film had approximately 3.2 million viewers and was the most watched program during its timeslot. Jumping Ship was the sequel to Horse Sense, and Matthew was in it too. Ultimately, this would be the last time the Lawrence’s were together.

Traditional Sitcoms Aren’t The Norm

Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic/Getty Images
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic/Getty Images

The nineties seems like a distant memory, and TV has evolved in different ways since. Despite the brothers excelling in network and cable sitcoms, we’re living in a different age. Services such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime are catering to audiences who favor binge-watching shows rather than waiting for a particular show once a week.

Heck, even HBO became dominant thanks to Sex and the City and The Sopranos. Maybe the brothers could have benefitted with a streaming service sitcom.

Like All Child Actors, They Grow Up

Barry King/Getty Images
Barry King/Getty Images

The brothers were no-doubt adorable youngsters and teenage heartthrobs. Perhaps now, after they’ve grown up into men, it’s harder for them to find work in Hollywood. After all, they did have roles in Blossom, Boy Meets World and Recess.

While they’re still a trio of siblings, they’ve grown out of the adorable, cute roles that people admired them for. However, that doesn’t mean they can’t branch out and do what’s best for themselves, and that’s what they did.

One Of Them Turned Their Attention To Music

Andy has dabbled in TV with appearances from time-to-time. But, it appears that the voice of T.J. Detweiler may not be on the big or small screen. The youngest Lawrence has his sights set on the music industry.

He had his own band, The Andy Lawrence Band, where Lawrence decided to showcase another side of his creative talent—that of singer/songwriter—with the release of his hook-laden EP, Kings. Maybe he will get a big music break, just like he got in acting.

Meanwhile, Matthew Rekindled A Relationship

From 2004 to 2006, Matthew was engaged to Heidi Mueller. In 2006, Joey was a contestant on Dancing With The Stars. Cheryl Burke was one of the dancers on the show. The dancer met the middle Lawrence brother thanks to Joey.

Eventually, Matthew and Cheryl fell for each other, but only dated for a year after meeting. However, the lovebirds would reunite in 2017, and they got engaged on May 3, 2018.

Don’t Expect A Mrs. Doubtfire Sequel To Happen

The Robin Williams classic is one of the most beloved movies of all-time. The actor was hoping for a sequel that made him famous in his youth, and a TMZ article reported in 2014 that a sequel was in the works.

Unfortunately, Williams died four months later. Variety later reported news about the sequel. To some fans disappointment, the sequel is most likely to be scrapped following the tragic passing of Williams.

Joey’s Music Career Didn’t Work Out

Harmony Gerber/Getty Images
Harmony Gerber/Getty Images

Lawrence has said that music was always his passion. Joey was only sixteen when he released his debut album, titled Joey Lawrence. He even scored an international hit with the single “Nothing’ My Love Can’t Fix.”

The song was used as the end-title theme for Cop and a Half, and he hasn’t had a bonafide hit since then. In 2011, he released a new single called “Rolled” which did not hit the charts. Other non-charting singles include “Our Time”, “Imagine”, and “Christmas Time.”

Joey Is Busy Being A Father

Michael Buckner/WireImage/Getty Images
Michael Buckner/WireImage/Getty Images

Lawrence tied the knot to Michelle Vella in 2002, but the couple divorced in 2005. He and his second wife, Chandie Yawn-Nelson, got married that summer. Together, they have two children, Charleston and Liberty Grace.

In 2012, he told People that many believe his daughters take after him. “They’re very passionate; they talk a lot. They talk real loud, which is sort of my M.O. I guess.” He’s since instilled a love of Disney into his children too.

Joey Filed For Bankruptcy

According to documents filed in 2017, Lawrence and Yawn-Nelson only had $8,000 in the bank at the time of their filing. While Lawrence made $534,000 in 2015, he earned significantly less in 2016, taking home only $58,000.

Meanwhile, his wife was listed as unemployed. The couple’s monthly expenses were far from modest, coming in at just over $25,000, per the documents, leaving them nearly $20,000 a month in the red.

There Were More Financial Hardships

Chris Polk/FilmMagic for VH1 – Off Air Creative/Getty Images
Chris Polk/FilmMagic for VH1 – Off Air Creative/Getty Images

On top of their noticeable debt, they had $355,517.27 worth of liabilities. That’s including $132,000 in credit card bills, $100,000 owed for automobiles, $88,000 in back taxes, $54,000 in unpaid rent, and $32,000 for an unpaid loan.

Assets for the duo’s property were listed at over $43 million. To help their financial situations, Lawrence and Yawn-Nelson had sold some of their items second-hand. On April 6, 2018, the Chapter 7 bankruptcy case was reportedly settled. The docs reveal the trustee was able to collect $75,636.22 to pay back his many creditors.

Matthew Is Performing In Indie Films

His last mainstream movie was in 2002, playing the role of Billy in Rob Schnieder’s The Hot Chick. Now that he’s engaged to Cheryl Burke, the middle Lawrence brother has been working on independent films.

According to The Gazette Review, Matthew was in Kurt, a story that tackles the rise and fall of a model’s career through the eyes of a photographer. He also filmed another movie, Desperate Waters. In 2017, he did a TV movie called The Guest She Found Online.

Andy Was On Another Popular TV Show

Even though the youngest Lawrence shifted to music, it doesn’t mean he’s done with acting. Even if he doesn’t have a huge public profile, He’s still getting paid at the end of the day. Andy had guest roles on CSI: NY, Castle, and Bones.

In 2013, he landed another major role, but it wasn’t for animated series. This time, he landed the recurring role of Eric Russo on Hawaii Five-O. In 2018, he appeared in the movie Better Than Love, which he was the main character.

Joey Teamed Up With Another Popular Actress For A TV Show

Melissa & Joey followed the life a politician and a broke individual after a Ponzi scheme. Interestingly enough, the show starred two former teen idols from the nineties. One of them was the star of Blossom, while the other one was known for her role on Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Melissa Joan Hart.

Together, Hart and Lawrence are both listed as executive producers of the series and have each directed individual episodes.

Matthew And Cheryl Are Thrilled About Their Engagement

After dating for a year in 2006, then reuniting in 2017, don’t expect the couple to rush down the aisle anytime soon. After their engagement in the summer of 2018, Matthew and Cheryl don’t plan to tie the knot until late 2019. But, that doesn’t mean they haven’t thought about having kids.

The dancer told Closer Weekly about their plans, “We really want to do it right. We want to do the steps of being engaged, moving in together, getting married, and having kids.”

His Latest Break Was Canceled

Matthew was well-known for his portrayal of Jack Hunter on Boy Meets World. In fact, he guest-starred on the spinoff Girl Meets World. Other than finding love and getting engaged, it was one of his most famous roles since the height of his fame in the nineties.

While fans were hoping to see more of the actor, the sitcom was canceled after three seasons. But, that didn’t mean he had to pack it in.

The Trio Has Always Proven That There’s No Greater Bond Than Family

David Becker/WireImage/Getty Images
David Becker/WireImage/Getty Images

Between the three Lawrence brothers, they’ve done a lot since their youth. That’s why it’s no surprise that they created a band together called Still Three. AXS interviewed the brothers in 2017 and discussed the project.

“We’re actually working on quite a bit. We’ve written three songs already. I think when fans hear our music they can expect a good mix of Joe, Andy and myself.” said Matthew. That’s a fun way to collaborate with your brothers.

They Didn’t Think Music Would Lead To Anything

Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic/Getty Images
Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Joey told AXS, “The music thing is crazy. We were in the studio, we were just fooling around and we came up with this ‘Lose Myself’ song. And the response has been amazing. So we had to officially release it.”

“Now people are saying that we need to do something else, so, Andy and I are actually getting back in the studio. We just cracked a song we’re really excited about.” They also filmed a music video for the song.

The Brothers Are Ready To Reunite

Jesse Grant/Getty Images for iHeartMedia
Jesse Grant/Getty Images for iHeartMedia

There’s no doubt that the trio were the busiest child actors of the nineties. But, in addition to their own projects, Matt and Andy both appeared on Joey’s sitcom, Melissa and Joey, in different episodes. Now, the brothers are ready to reunite.

Joey revealed to Entertainment Weekly that the three brothers are working on a new show. After all, the brothers aren’t kids anymore, and their fans, well, they’ve grown up too.

Joey Revealed What The Plot Of The Sitcom Will Be

David Becker/WireImage/Getty Images
David Becker/WireImage/Getty Images

The oldest Lawrence revealed some details about what the show could be about and it’s pretty exciting.

“We’re actually working on a TV show together for the first time in 15 years,” Joey said “We wanted to find a way not to redo Brotherly Love, but to bring us back together as grown men. It’s edgy, which is different,” he said. “The dynamic and relationships that we have are not the late ’90s, sitcom-like relationships.”