Joey Lawrence was a child star of the 1980s, appearing in kid-friendly movies (Little Shots, Summer Rental), sitcoms (Silver Spoons, Gimme a Break), and after school specials. At the age of 14, he landed role as Joey Russo, brother of the unconventional Mayim Bialik in Blossom (1991-1995).
Gay boys were more interested in Joey and Blossom's older brother, Tony (Michael Stoyanov), or in their hunky Dad (Ted Wass), or in Blossom's hunky boyfriend (David Lascher), and lesbians watched for the buddy-bond between Blossom and her best friend, Six (Jenna Von Oy). Joey was mostly left on the sidelines, observing the action, uttering an occasional "Whoa!" to denote surprise, all but ignored by teen magazines. Then, in a 1992 episode, Joey's shirt was "accidentally" ripped off, revealing a tan, slightly hairy, muscular chest that for some reason the teenager had kept hidden. The studio audience gasped in amazement. Suddenly Joey -- and the producers realized that his chest was a bigger audience-draw than the catchphrase "Whoa!"
He initiated a teen idol career, filming music videos while shirtless. He appeared shirtless on the cover of his first album, Joey Lawrence, in 1993 (but not the more serious Soulmates in 1997).
After Blossom, his tv and movie appearances usually required his shirt to be off a lot. He became more and more buffed as the 1990s progressed.
Many of his movies involved buddy-bonding, most notably in the boys alone drama Jumping Ship (2001) with his brothers Matthew and Andrew. It appeared on the Disney Channel and then vanished, never to be released on DVD. He also played a gay character in Confessions of a Sociopathic Social Climber (2005).
Today Joey -- now Joseph -- mostly draws the crowds with his singing, dancing, and acting talent. Not that he ignores the power of his physique; in June 2012 he stripped with the Chippendales for a special 3-week engagement. Unfortunately, it was heterosexist, for "women only."
Otherwise Joseph is a staunch gay ally.