Hoaxes & Rumors

Was Alanis Morissette’s “You Oughta Know” About Dave Coulier?

Was Alanis Morissette’s “You Oughta Know” About Dave Coulier?

Dave Coulier has said that Alanis Morissette’s “You Oughta Know” was not about him. Today we look at this long-standing rumor that the 1995 song was written about the Full House actor.

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Although both parties have acknowledged that they dated in the early 1990s, Alanis has never publicly stated who the song was about. Coulier has been asked about the song during several interviews, and his story has evolved over time.

What Alanis Says

1998 Biography

Author Paul Cantin’s book Alanis Morissette: A Biography from the late 1990s addresses the Coulier connection to “You Oughta Know.”

She does acknowledge that Dave Coulier’s name comes up most often in connection with You Oughta Know. “I’m not going to deny or say yes to that, because I think it is wrong. I sort of laugh at it. That was the most public relationship, and it is a predictable answer… The truth is I am never going to tell who it was about.”

She added that, “if it was written for the sake of revenge, Lord knows, I would be plastering his picture everywhere. And I would never do that, because I have respect for him.”

2004 Howard Stern Interview

In a 2004 interview with Howard Stern, Morissette was asked if the song was about Coulier. “You wrote that song about Dave Coulier from Full House?” Stern asked.

“People talk about who that song’s about, and they will continue to and I never confirmed or affirmed who it’s about and I never will.”

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Morissette did confirm that the two had dated, but noted that she was alone when she wrote the song.

The thing is, there was no one in the studio when I wrote that song, so no one actually knows. And not that I’m just doing it gratuitously for the sake of mystery, but I didn’t write it with the intention of recriminating him.

What Dave Has Said

For his part, Dave Coulier has responded to the rumor in different ways.

June 2014 Buzzfeed Interview

Coulier, in an interview with Buzzfeed, referred to the rumor as an “urban legend” which grew after he “admitted” that he was the subject of the song.

First of all, the guy in that song is a real a-hole, so I don’t want to be that guy. Secondly, I asked Alanis, “I’m getting calls by the media and they want to know who this guy is.” And she said, “Well, you know it could be a bunch of people. But you can say whatever you want.” So one time, I was doing a red carpet somewhere and [the press] just wore me down and everybody wanted to know so I said, “Yeah, all right, I’m the guy. There I said it.” So then it became a snowball effect of, “OH! So you are the guy!”

January 2014 “What Happens Live” Interview

At a reunion of the men from Full House on Bravo’s What Happens Live, Coulier was grilled by host Andy Cohen about the song. While Coulier and his former cast-mates joked with Cohen about the song, Bob Saget interjected that he thought the song was “supposedly about three guys…it was a composite.”

John Stamos stated that he asked Morissette, “That song wasn’t really about him was it?” to which Morissette allegedly affirmed with a nod and said, “Yeah it was.”

Do you think Coulier’s fellow Full House castmates were just joking?

2008 Calgary Herald Interview

Coulier gave a similar account six years earlier, but in that interview he did not deny the song was about him. Upon first hearing the song, Coulier stated:

I listened to the song over and over again, and I said, ‘I think I have really hurt this person.’ I tried to contact her and I finally got a hold of her. And at the same time, the press was calling and saying, ‘You want to comment on this song?’ I called her and I said, ‘Hi. Uh, what do you want me to say?’ And she said, ‘You can say whatever you want.’

2013 Huff Post Live Interview

Coulier was asked about the song in a September 2013 segment of HuffPost Live.

There was a lot of familiar stuff because she was writing a lot of material when we were dating, so there were some familiarities all throughout Jagged Little Pill, but the one that got me was “I hate to bug you in the middle of dinner.” And that was because we had already broken up and she had called – she was living in Canada at the time – and she called and I said, “Hey I’m right in the middle of dinner. Can I just call you right back?” And so I remembered that line when I heard You Oughta Know and I just went… it was more like, “Uh oh.”

Bottom Line

Alanis Morissette has never named the subject of You Oughta Know, and has repeatedly asserted that she has no intention of revealing the person’s identity. Dave Coulier has discussed the song many times over the years, giving varying responses.

Do you think You Oughta Know was about Dave Coulier?

Updated June 7, 2016
Originally published June 2014

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  • ithilien

    i heard it was about mick jagger

  • Dumbass

    I personally think it’s kind of weird that people think it actually makes any difference whatsoever who the subject of the song actually was.

    • Sutekh

      I flipped when I learned that Paul Simon’s song with the lyrics “mother and child reunion” was inspired by an entree name at a restaurant. Most of his songs make very little sense at all, like “You can be my bodyguard.” They are just pleasant combinations of rhythmic and rhyming phrases that appear to say something deep when heard on the radio, but look like discarded texts bu Dr. Seuss when the lyrics are looked at on paper.

      • ithilien

        thats what neil young said about his songs too. just rhymes people put deeper meaning onto

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