When former child star Danica McKellar played Winnie Cooper on The Wonder Years from 1998 until 1993, many fans thought of the young actress as America’s Sweetheart. But, in an exclusive new interview with Closer Weekly, the 44-year-old admitted she never realized she was given that title until years later!

‘The Wonder Years’ At 30 — Inside The Greatest TV Show About The ‘60s Ever (EXCLUSIVE)

“It was a really great experience. It’s funny, I didn’t have any perspective on what my character was when I was doing it because I was so focused on school and my parents always emphasized education and health and family above Hollywood, which is why I never went to Hollywood parties or did any of that crazy stuff,” Danica — who is part of the 15th Annual Red Dress Collection Fashion Show Hosted By American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women Initiative taking place on Thursday, February 7 — told Closer.

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Hard to believe that exactly 31 years ago today, #TheWonderYears premiered for the very first time…! Yep, Jan 31st, 1988 – immediately following the #Superbowl 🏈 on @abcnetwork. 📺 And what a legacy! Thank you to all my fans who have followed me on my career's journey since those days to my @mckellarmath books, my @hallmarkchannel movies and more. I'm so grateful for the life I have today, and it all started with the premiere of this revolutionary little show, 31 years ago today… 😊 . . . I'm also very grateful that @starvista_timelife put the entire show on DVD with the original music – not an easy feat to get all that Motown music licensing (which is probably why it took over 20 years for it to happen!) – so the show is preserved for generations to come, no matter how the streaming services mess with the music. 😉 After all, in a couple years, I'll be showing the DVDs to my son, and I want him to get the full experience. 😊 . . . . So… Happy 31st Anniversary to The Wonder Years!! ❤ . . . . #TBT #TheWonderYears #TheWonderYearsDVD #WinnieCooper #memories #throwbackthursday #anniversary #happyanniversary #31years #AnosIncríveis #losañosmaravillosos ❤

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Danica then revealed that someone once told her she was known as America’s Sweetheart when she was just a teenager — and the actress had no idea! “I remember someone told me on set, ‘Did you know you’re America’s sweetheart?’ And I was like, ‘What? Huh? What are you talking about?’ No perspective at all. Years later, people say, ‘Oh my gosh, Winnie Cooper broke so many hearts.’ Today with this event, I am here to heal people’s hearts by promoting healthy habits. So there’s a full circle for you,” she said.

Tonight, Danica will walk in the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women Red Dress Collection Event and she couldn’t be more excited about having the opportunity to strut her stuff on the runway for such an important cause. “I don’t typically get to be a fashion model so this is going to be a lot of fun,” she told Closer.

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Which dress do you like more?? These @theolivertolentino gems were runners-up for the couture dress I'll be wearing for my walk down the runway this Thursday during Fashion Week. (I can't wait till you see what I'm wearing – it's so different for me! 🙃) . . . Be sure to tune in Feb. 7th to @GoRedforWomen's Facebook Live at 8pm EST – I'll be strutting down the runway for @american_heart's @goredforwomen #RedDressCollection in support of women's heart health. ❤ Cardiovascular disease is women's #1 health threat – so let's stand together and work on healthy habits to make it better! . . . #FashionWeek #NYFW #NYFW2019 #GoRedGetFit #strongwomen #womensupportwomen
#RedDressCollection #HeartMonth #February #HappyFebruary #WearRedandGive WearRedDay.org

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“This is a cause that’s really important to me. I’m all about supporting women. I’m a huge health nut myself so the idea of helping promote heart-healthy habits was very desirable to me,” Danica gushed.

Be sure to watch Danica and more stars in the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women Red Dress Collection fashion show tonight, Thursday, February 7, on Facebook Live at 8 p.m. EST!

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