It's finally here! After months of waiting, Gilmore Girls fans are reunited with Lorelai, Rory, and co., and quite frankly we couldn't be happier. After the show hit Netflix on Black Friday, the majority of Stars Hollow-obsessives have already binge-watched the four-part revival Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, and with the possibility of more episodes in the making (thanks to that cliffhanger), we're hoping we haven't seen the last of our favourite mother-daughter combo just yet.
Still, have you ever wondered what our beloved actors have been up to since the show ended? It's been seven years, and things haven't only changed in Stars Hollow, but also in the real world. After all, 2016 is very different to 2007, and the cast have had to have done something to keep themselves busy in the meantime. So, here are the Gilmore Girls gang, then and now. Some of their journeys may surprise you!
Before she had a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Melissa McCarthy played Stars Hollow’s very own Sookie St. James. An accident-prone gourmet chef and best pal to Lorelai, Sookie is bubbly and easy going; the perfect antidote to Lorelai’s hyperactive nature. The two eventually co-owned The Dragonfly Inn together, which Sookie balances with her family life and husband Jackson Belleville.
Since the Gilmore Girls ended, Melissa McCarthy’s career has really taken off! She won an Emmy for her role in TV comedy Mike and Molly, as well as being nominated for an Oscar for Bridesmaids. In 2016 she starred in the all-female reboot of Ghostbusters alongside Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones, and has now turned her hand to writing, penning her latest film The Boss with husband Ben Falcone. The comedy, which features Kristen Bell, Peter Dinklage, and Kathy Bates, was released back in June to mixed reviews. Her next project is The Life of the Party, for which she is acting as screenwriter and producer as well as starring.
Stars Hollow just wouldn’t have been Stars Hollow if it wasn’t for Kirk Gleason. Best-known for his eccentric and often child-like personality, Kirk is a life-long resident of the town. As well as his many quirks (such as naming his cat Kirk and suffering night terrors), a running gag in the show is Kirk’s ever-changing roster of jobs, which vary from episode to episode. Actor Sean Gunn, who played Kirk throughout the show’s seven season run, described the character as: “wearing a metaphorical hot dog suit." Kirk is still by far Gunn’s most memorable role.
After the Gilmore Girls ended, Gunn also appeared in Bunheads with his former cast mates, as well as popping up in Glee and H+. He recently starred in Guardians of the Galaxy as Kraglin, and will be reprising the role in the second instalment to be released in 2017. Fun fact: Sean is the younger brother of filmmaker James Gunn, who directed the 2002 live-action version of Scooby Doo and the 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead in addition to Guardians of the Galaxy.
Another divisive character, Vanessa Marano played April Nardini, Luke’s 12-year-old daughter. Conceived during a previous relationship, Luke was unaware of April’s existence until she tracked him down in season six as part of her science fair project – she collected hair samples from three men who could potentially be her father, and conducted a DNA test with the help of her scientist uncle. Luke’s blossoming relationship with April put a strain on his engagement with Lorelai, causing them to split and making April one of the most-hated characters in the Gilmore Girls canon.
Since taking on the role of April, Marano has starred in a range of TV shows including Without a Trace, Ghost Whisperer, Grey’s Anatomy, and soap opera The Young and the Restless. Since June 2011 she has played Bay Kennish on teen drama Switched at Birth, and in 2013 featured in the movie Restless Virgins, the true story of a sex tape scandal at a New England prep school.
Canadian actor Yanic Truesdale played Michel Gerard, the French-born concierge at the Independence Inn (which Lorelai ran in seasons 1-3), and later the manager of The Dragonfly. Lazy, sarcastic, and rude to guests, the fact that Lorelai never fired Michel is often cited as one of the series’ biggest plot holes. Despite his many flaws, Michel managed to remain one of the show’s most lovable characters, possibly because his grumpy disposition was a nice offset to Sookie and Lorelai’s generally cheerful temperaments. Fashionable, calorie-obsessed, and a huge fan of Celine Dion, Michel’s sexuality was one of the Gilmore Girl’s biggest mysteries (although it's finally addressed in the revival). Truesdale’s portrayal of the character earned him a place on Variety’s “10 Actors to Watch” list back in 2001.
After the show ended, Truesdale moved back to his hometown of Montreal, where he opened a spin studio called Spin Energie. Fluent in French, he has also starred in a range of French-Canadian TV shows.
Lisa Weil played Paris Geller, Rory’s arch-nemesis-turned-best-friend. Paris is an incredibly driven yet socially inept individual, and although she and Rory initially hate each other they bond over their desire to succeed, as well as Rory’s willingness to accept Paris for who she is, despite her often-grating personality. Believe it or not, Weil was originally considered for the role of Rory before the part went to Bledel-- Palladino created the role of Paris especially for her.
After the Gilmore Girls run was over, Weil was a regular guest star in a range of TV shows including the Eleventh Hour, CSI, In Plain Sight, Grey’s Anatomy, and Private Practice before being cast as Amanda Tanner in ABC’s Scandal in 2011. She has also starred in Palladino’s Bunheads alongside fellow Gilmore Girls alumni Kelly Bishop, before signing on to play Annalise Keating’s (Viola Davis) assistant Bonnie Winterbottom in How to Get Away with Murder.
Keiko Agena played Lane Kim, Rory’s pop culture savvy, music mad best friend. Raised in an uber-religious household, the Korean-American Lane spent most of her time on-screen secretly rebelling against her parent’s strict rules, eventually becoming the drummer for the band Hep Alien. Keiko landed the role despite the significant age difference between herself and the character – at the start of the series Lane is 15 but Agena was actually 27. While playing Lane, Agena was nominated for the Teen Choice Award for Best TV Sidekick three times, and won a Teen Artist Award in 2002 for Best Supporting Young Actress in a Drama Series.
Since her time on the Gilmore Girls, Agena has appeared in a number of big TV shows including House, Castle, Without a Trace, and Grimm as well as the movie Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon, as the assistant to Charlotte Mearing. Agena also provided the voice of Yori in seasons 2, 3 and 4 of animated series Kim Possible, but Lane is still the role she is best remembered for.
Before he was hunting demons for a living, Jared Padalecki played Dean Forester, Rory Gilmore’s original love interest. Described as the “perfect first boyfriend” by Lorelai, the couple dated for two years before they were broken up by Luke’s nephew Jess. However, they still retained their feelings for each other, and briefly reconciled for a period in the fifth season (despite the fact Dean was married at the time) before splitting for good.
Padalecki left the Gilmore Girls in the fifth series, after being offered the role of Dean Winchester in WB’s Supernatural alongside Jenson Ackles. The show is currently on its twelfth season, making it the longest running sci-fi series in North American television history. Since his time in Stars Hollow, Padalecki has also starred in the movie Christmas Cottage (2008) alongside acclaimed actor Peter O’Toole, as well as playing Clay Miller in the 2009 version of Friday the 13th. In 2010 Padalecki married Supernatural guest star Genevieve Cortese, who played demon Ruby in series four. The couple are currently expecting their third child together.
From season two onwards, Milo Ventimiglia starred as Jess Mariano, Luke’s teenage nephew and the troubled love interest of Rory Gilmore. Smart and literary, but not academically motivated, Jess noticed Rory almost immediately after arriving in Stars Hollow, and she eventually broke up with Dean to be with him. However, the relationship was rocky, and over time Jess’s issues led him to push Rory away, as well as his uncle Luke. After running away from Stars Hollow in season three, Jess showed up occasionally, and by his final appearance in season six he had turned his life around.
After Gilmore Girls, Ventimiglia played another teen bad boy in the third and final series of American Dreams. That same year, he acted in The Bedford Diaries, but it was cancelled after eight episodes. He has since starred in a range of horror movies such as Cursed (2005), Stay Alive (2006), and Pathology with Alyssa Milano (2008), as well as the son of Rocky in Rocky Balboa (2006). He also popped up in the video for Fergie’s 2007 hit single Big Girls Don’t Cry, and starred as Peter Petrelli in NBC’s Heroes.
Matt Czuchry played Logan, Rory’s third and final boyfriend in the original series. The heir to the Huntzberger Newspaper fortune, Logan was intelligent, charming, and witty. Unfortunately, he was also entitled and sometimes rude, and fans of the Gilmore Girls seem to either love or hate him, with no in-between. After meeting at Yale and dating on and off for two years, Rory declined Logan’s proposal in the season seven finale, choosing to start her post-college life as an independent woman.
Since portraying Logan, Czuchry has spent the majority of his time playing Harvard-educated lawyer Cary Agos on TV drama The Good Wife (2009-2016). However, he also made appearances in Veronica Mars and Friday Night Lights, as well as TV films Gravity and The 19th Wife. Czuchry has also dabbled in theatre since his time on the Gilmore Girls, starring in Third at the Geffen Playhouse back in 2007, as well as playing the lead in the film of adaption of I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell (2009).
David Sutcliffe played Christopher Hayden, Lorelai’s high school boyfriend and Rory’s father. Like Lorelai, Christopher grew up in a wealthy family and has a poor relationship with his parents. As well as dating as teenagers, Lorelai and Christopher had an on-off romance as adults, with bad timing preventing their relationship from getting off the ground several times throughout the show’s run. They eventually got together and spontaneously wed in season seven, but separated after a few months later when Lorelai realized they are not right for each other. Chris was absent for most of Rory’s life, but they still maintain a decent father-daughter relationship.
Since his Gilmore days, Sutcliffe has appeared in a few TV movies, as well as playing LT. Aiden Black in seasons one and two of Cracked and Dr. Len Barliss in Proof. His latest project was starring as Bill Adams (the lead’s father) in the movie adaption of Milton’s Secret, which is based on the 2008 children’s novel by Eckehart Tolle.
Scott Patterson starred as Luke Danes, the grumpy diner owner with a heart of gold and Lorelai’s long-time love interest. Fans waited four seasons for the two of them to get it together. We then had to deal with their multiple break-ups and reconciliations (seriously guys, our hearts can’t take it), but luckily they pulled it together for a kiss in the season seven finale.
Since Gilmore Girls finished, Patterson has made TV appearances in 90210 and CSI: Miami, as well as featuring in the main cast of in Aliens in America (2007-2008) and The Event (2010), starring as Gary Tolchuk and Michael Buchanan, respectively. However, in the last year or so Patterson has spent more time focusing on his music career. His band SMITHRADIO released their first single HAHA SONG on November 23rd, and as of writing the track is number one in iTunes’ Indie Rock Song Top 100 Chart.
The role of Richard Gilmore was played by Edward Herrmann, father to Lorelai and Grandfather to Rory. In the show Richard is an old-fashioned man with traditional values who strictly adheres to the rules of high society. He is also a workaholic, which leads to a heart attack and a decline in health in the later seasons of the show. Although his relationship with Lorelai is strained, he adores Rory and dotes on her, as well as respecting her for her intelligence and their shared love of literature.
Pre-Gilmore Girls, Herrmann was a veteran actor of both the screen and stage. Post-Gilmore Girls, he made appearances in many popular series across a range of genres including Grey’s Anatomy, Law and Order, The Good Wife, and How I Met Your Mother. Sadly, Herrmann passed away after a battle with brain cancer in 2014. His character’s death has been written into the revival, but it just won’t be the same without him!
Kelly Bishop starred as Emily Gilmore, the stern, perfectionist, and often controlling mother of Lorelai and grandmother of Rory. She is the epitome of American high society and enjoys the finer things in life. Lorelai and Emily’s relationship is the opposite of Lorelai and Rory’s, and acted as a negative counterpoint in various scenarios throughout the series’ run. While Lorelai and Rory have a strong mother-daughter connection, Emily was always distant towards her only child and struggled to understand her life choices.
After the series ended, Bishop went on to star as Fanny Flowers in the short-lived ABC dramedy Bunheads, which was also co-written by Gilmore Girls creator Amy Sherman-Palladino. She also made a return to the stage, starring in Becky Shaw at the Second Stage Theatre in 2008 and in the 2011 revival of Anything Goes. Side note: Bishop also played Baby’s mom in Dirty Dancing, after Lynne Lipton – the actress originally offered the role – got sick during the first week of shooting and had to pull out!
In the early 2000s, Rory Gilmore was every introverted teen girl's role model. She was quiet and loved to read, but beneath her shy exterior Rory was intelligent and ambitious, and was vastly different from similarly aged characters on TV at the time. Despite having had no prior acting experience before auditioning for the show, Bledel won multiple awards for her time as Rory, including a Young Artist Award, A Family Television Award, and two Teen Choice Awards. She was also nominated for several others such as an ALMA award, a Satellite Award, and a Saturn Award.
Since Gilmore Girls ended, Bledel has starred in several films including Sin City (2005), The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants 1 and 2, and independent film Jenny’s Wedding alongside Katharine Heigl (2015). She also made an appearance in ER, and was cast as Stacey in the adaption of British sitcom Gavin and Stacey, which Fox ultimately decided not to air. Thanks to a brief, three-episode stint as Beth Dawes in Mad Men in 2012, Bledel met her now-husband Vincent Kartheiser, who played series regular Pete Campbell. They had a son together in 2015.
There’s a reason why Lorelai Gilmore is often included in lists of top TV moms. Smart, funny, and independent, PopMatters once referred to her as “the most fully developed female character on television.” As much as we're sure you love your own real-life mother, who at one point or another didn’t want a cool young mom like Lorelai? One with whom you could share not only clothes, but also your deepest secrets (although we're sure those who do will admit that having a younger mom also has its downsides). During the series’ run Graham was nominated for multiple awards for her portrayal of the character, including a Golden Globe in 2002 and several Teen Choice Awards.
Still, Lorelai isn’t the only iconic TV mom that Graham played. After the Gilmore Girls finished, she moved over to NBC to play Sarah Braverman in Parenthood. She has also starred in several movies including Evan Almighty, The Pacifier, Bad Santa, and Because I Said So. Impressively, in 2013 she penned The New York Times bestselling novel Someday, Someday, Maybe, which is in the process of being made into a TV series by Warner Bros and Ellen Degeneres’ production company A Very Good Production.
Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life is streaming now on Netflix.