Actress and author Danica McKellar says her newfound faith has transformed her view on life and that her new home in Tennessee has given her the church-based community she needs, adding that “Christianity is not what I thought it was.”
McKellar is known among fans of rom-coms for her Great American Family and Hallmark Channel films and among the education community for her series of kid-friendly math books.
Her newest movie, A Royal Date for Christmas, debuts on Great American Family on Nov. 25 at 8 Eastern. It is part of the network’s annual Great American Christmas event.
“It’s such a beautiful story,” she said of the film.
Last year, McKellar was captivated by a different story -- Christ’s story -- while visiting church with fellow Great American Family actress Candace Cameron Bure, who had invited her.
“It was Palm Sunday of 2022. And it was a Passion Play. And it just hit me like a wave. It was immediate. It was, like, the Holy Spirit just flooded me,” McKellar told Christian Headlines.
Previously, McKellar said, she had been resistant to Christianity due to the way it had been used to champion evil throughout history.
“That was really my kind of awareness of Christianity before,” she said.
But visiting church with Bure changed her perspective.
“It's about your relationship with God, you get to have a personal relationship with God. And that was like such a revelation,” she said.
She no longer lets the historical abuses of Christianity impact her view of Jesus.
“Those aren't authentic Christians. And so just realizing that -- it just opened the whole thing up. And Candace has been wonderful. After we watched the play, I was like, ‘This is what I've been looking for my whole life and didn't realize it.’ … And it's been wonderful. It's been a wonderful gift. I've been reading the Bible all the way through this year. And I will be done by the end of the year. I'm on track.”
McKellar is using Tara Leigh Cobble’s Bible Recap as a guide as she reads through Scripture. She plans on reading through the Bible again next year, too, in order to “soak in more.”
“It's a lot of information,” she said.
Meanwhile, McKellar also is enjoying her new home in Tennessee.
“You can't go a block without hitting a church,” she said. “It's such a faith-based community here. … Christianity is not what I thought it was.”
McKellar’s new movie, A Royal Date for Christmas, follows the story of a boutique owner (portrayed by McKellar) who must help a royal Duke find a new wardrobe after his luggage goes lost. She also agrees to be his platonic plus one at an event.
She has appeared in some 20 romantic comedies during her career. She says they represent “everything that I love about acting and about what we put into the world.” Rom-coms, she said, promote hope and kindness and model “human behavior that hopefully will be aspirational.”
“I really believe in it -- I believe we can put out really positive things to help people live better lives,” she told Christian Headlines. “It's not just about an escape, it's about seeing what human nature can be. And hopefully, inspiring the audience to strive for that.
Photo Courtesy: Great American Family/used with permission.
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.