For over a decade, we have grown to love every single character on the hit sitcom The Big Bang Theory. Airing from 2007 to 2019, the show has consistently topped the charts as one of the most widely watched comedy series on TV, and for good reason. The hilarious show has become a cult classic in practically no time. It graced our screens for 12 whole seasons, and will forever be a part of the repertoire for best TV shows of all time! Read on to find out more about each cast member, including what they’ve been up to outside of the popular show.
Leonard has been an original cast member on the Big Bang Theory since the tremendously successful series first aired in 2007. The lovable nerdy genius works as an experimental physicist at Caltech, along with quirky colleague and roommate Sheldon Cooper.
Leonard commonly finds himself in situations where he has to mediate and interpret the actions of his outlandish roommate Sheldon, who frequently gets on Leonard’s nerves. He falls in love with his next-door neighbor, Penny, played by actress Kaley Cuoco, and the two have an on-again-off-again relationship until they eventually marry. Leonard is the butt of many jokes about how Penny is way out of his league, but what is he like in real life?
Off set, Johnny Galecki is an accomplished actor best known, apart from The Big Bang Theory, for his role as David Healy on the TV sitcom Roseanne. Interestingly, Galecki was initially asked to play the role of Sheldon Cooper on Big Bang. Imagine how different the show would have been!
Galecki has won numerous awards for his acting, including an Emmy, and reportedly makes almost a million dollars per episode! As mentioned earlier, Leonard and Penny are love interests on the show, but did you know they actually dated for a brief period in real life? Unfortunately, things didn’t work out for the pair but the two remained friends and worked well together on set post-breakup.
Wil Wheaton plays a fictionalized role of himself on the show. He becomes somewhat of an icon among the group for his role on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Well, an icon for everyone except Sheldon, who considers Wheaton his “mortal enemy.”
Wheaton earned his “mortal enemy” status by not showing up to a fan convention in 1995. The then-kid Sheldon took a bus for 10 hours to get to the convention to meet Wheaton, whom he idolized. Sheldon eventually revokes the status after Wheaton gives him a signed action figurine of himself.
Real-life Wil Wheaton began acting at the ripe young age of seven! He grew into stardom for his role as Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Much like his character on the show he has a passion for games and comic books.
Apart from acting, Wil Wheaton does a lot of voice acting for animated series and video games, as well as writing and running his own personal blog. He is also the co-creator and host of the popular YouTube show TableTop.
Dr. Emily Sweeney, M.D. is a dermatologist who makes her first appearance in the seventh season of the show. She contacts Raj through a dating app and he starts replying to her via Amy due to his fear of social interaction with unfamiliar women.
Sweeney is known for her dark sense of humor and love of horror films. Both of which scare Raj. She even stated that she loves her job because she gets to cut things. As Raj would say, “She’s scary, but it’s a cute scary.”
Outside of her role as the quirky Dr. Emily Sweeney, actress Laura Spencer is also known for playing Jane Bennet on the web series The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. The series is an adaptation of the Jane Austin classic Pride and Prejudice.
Spencer also had a reoccurring role as Jessica Warren on the crime drama series Bones (seasons 9-12). During the season nine production of The Big Bang Theory, Spencer was promoted to a series regular, guaranteeing her availability on an as-needed basis.
Amy didn’t make her first appearance until the third season of the show but she’s become such an integral part of Big Bang that we couldn’t imagine the show without her. She meets Sheldon after Howard and Raj set them up through a dating app.
Amy is the perfect match Sheldon’s quirky antics! She works as a neurobiologist and their relationship progresses painfully slow. After a brief breakup, the two get back together and get engaged by season ten. Aww! Just goes to show there is someone out there for everyone.
Mayim Bialik has had a very successful acting career, even before landing the role of Amy on The Big Bang Theory. Her younger years included a lot of voice acting for animated shows such as Hey Arnold!, Aaahh!!! Real Monsters, The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest and Johnny Bravo. She also played the memorable title role in NBC’s Blossom as a teen.
Like her character, Mayim is also incredibly smart, she holds a Ph.D. in neuroscience from UCLA. As if that isn’t impressive enough she and her husband, Michael Stone, have two children together. She has also written two books about parenting, a vegan recipe book and one about girls and body changes.
Former Cheesecake Factory waitress Bernadette, known for her high-pitched voice, earned a Ph.D. in microbiology. She worked alongside Penny as a waitress and started dating Howard by the beginning of season three. She then landed a lucrative job working at a pharmaceutical company. Also, her height is a very sensitive topic for her, so steer clear. Her character believes that her mother caused her short-stature by smoking during her pregnancy.
At first, Bernadette and Howard had little in common until they discovered a bond through their overbearing mothers. By season four, Howard already proposed and the pair got married in the fifth season. The couple had their first child named Halley and in the season 11 premier announced that they had another one on the way. This time a boy!
Actress and comedian Melissa Rauch only had a handful of acting gigs under her belt before she landed the role as Bernadette on The Big Bang Theory in 2009. Originally from New Jersey, she developed a passion for acting during her high school years.
She married screenwriter Winston Rauch (nee Beigel) and announced that she had given birth to a daughter named Sadie in 2017. She also stated that both the voices she does on the show, the high-pitched one and the one modeled after Howard’s mother’s voice, are very different from how she speaks in real life.
Stuart is the lovable comic book store owner who in many ways is the glue that keeps the whole gang together. He is frequently struggling with financial issues and depression making his inclusion in the group all the more heartwarming.
Stuart didn’t make an appearance until season two, although references were made to his store in season one, but was so well liked that he was added to the main cast by season six! He even appeared in more episodes than Mrs. Wolowitz (well, she never really appears but her iconic voice sure does).
Before he was so well known as Stuart on The Big Bang Theory, Kevin Sussman appeared in a surprising amount of other TV shows and films. One of his better-known roles was that of the character Supernerd in the Stephen Spielberg film, A.I. Artificial Intelligence.
Sussman also starred as a main character, Walter, on ABC’s Ugly Betty for 16 episodes. Unlike his character on The Big Bang Theory, Sussman seems to be doing pretty well for himself. He reportedly earned around $50,000 per episode. That’s probably a bit more than he would make from the comic book store.
Lovable and quirky Sheldon Cooper may drive his friends nuts with his antics but audiences world round just can’t get enough of him. He is a genius with an IQ of 187 and a laundry-list of different degrees but just doesn’t quite get social situations.
Sheldon works as a theoretical physicist at Caltech and has been in a relationship with Amy since season five. The couple finally got engaged in the tenth season. The show has grown so popular that DC Comics actually sponsored Sheldon to wear their Green Lantern T-shirts, and let’s not forget ABC’s spinoff, Young Sheldon, revolving around, well, young Sheldon Cooper.
Apart from some off-Broadway work and a few minor movie roles, Jim Parsons a relatively unknown actor prior to his role on The Big Bang Theory. But not anymore! Now he is known as one of the highest paid actors on TV.
Parsons is reportedly worth a whopping $70 million! Yowza. Who could have known that the series would be such an enormous hit? Parsons studied acting in university and in 2017, he married his longtime partner of 14 years Todd Spiewak.
Barry Kripke is an on-again-off-again friend/antagonist to Sheldon, Leonard, Howard, and Raj. He never misses an opportunity to one-up Sheldon and humiliate him at work. He also works at Caltech as a string theorist and plasma physicist, making him Sheldon’s rival.
Kripke is known for having a passion for robot fighting and being promiscuous (although not very successful at it). His character also has a speech impediment called rhoticism which causes difficulty pronouncing the sound r, replacing it with a w sound instead.
Actor and comedian John Ross Bowie is well-known for his roles on What The Bleep Do We Know?, and guest roles on Reno 911!, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Glee and Good Luck Charlie. He created two television shows with Big Bang co-star Kevin Sussman.
Having been a cast regular, Bowie only appeared in one episode of season ten of The Big Bang Theory because he started work on another TV show at the time, Speechless, where he played main character Jimmy DeMeo opposite Minnie Driver. The series has received overwhelmingly positive ratings.
Raj is an astrophysicist and Howard’s best friend throughout the series. He can most often be found sitting around one of his friend’s apartments. Never his own. For the first six seasons, Raj is unable to speak to women, apart from those in his own family.
His selective mutism is derived from a social anxiety disorder and Raj later learns that he can suppress the fear through alcohol or experimental social anxiety medications. His drinking commonly leads to his saying the wrong things to women., though he eventually overcomes the affliction.
The actor behind the character of Raj is British-Indian actor Kunal Nayyar. He was largely unknown prior to being on The Big Bang Theory. Born in London, Nayyar grew up in New Delhi and later moved to Oregon to peruse his BA.
Nayyar reportedly brought in a massive $750,000 per episode of The Big Bang Theory. He even wrote a book about his journey as an actor called “Yes, My Accent is Real.” So, just in case you were wondering, seems like that accent is indeed real.
Dr. Leslie Winkle works in the same laboratory as Leonard, also an experimental physicist, and is in many ways Leonard’s female counterpart. She is known for her black-framed glasses, sweaters and hatred of Sheldon Cooper. Also, for doing strange experiments in the lab.
Not scientific experiments though, Leslie is usually using the expensive lab equipment to make food, like freezing a banana for her cereal or using a neon-helium laser to heat up her noodles. She dates Leonard on-and-off and then later dates Howard.
Sara Gilbert rose into the spotlight for her role as Darlene Conner on ABC’s Roseanne. The sitcom ran from 1988 to 1997. She returned to her role in the show’s 2018 revival, and continued to portray the sarcastic Darlene in the spinoff of the series, The Conners, which she also produces.
Apart from her Roseanne-related roles, Sara is creator and co-host of The Talk, a CBS daytime talk show. The sow has been on the air for ten seasons, producing over 2,000 episodes. Moreover, Sara has been married to her partner, Linda Perry, since 2014.
Claire is one screenwriter/bartender who is not shy about telling you how she feels. She rocks Raj’s world by asking him to collaborate on a science fiction movie script. While she just wanted some help, Raj was already hearing wedding bells in the near future.
Claire quickly sets the record straight but eventually ends up dating Raj anyway, but he decides to see multiple women at the same time. She wasn’t having any of that and drama obviously ensued. Raj admits in a later episode that he broke up with her and she makes a reappearance in “The Emotional Detection Automation” where she confirms she actually broke up with him because he was extremely vain and needy. But what is she like in real life?
In real life, Alessandra Torresani is neither a screenwriter nor bartender. The actress is best known for her work on the SF series Caprica portraying the character Zoe Graystone. When she was only eight years old she started doing interviews on The WB network in between shows.
Alessandra appeared in an impressive about of TV shows and films prior to her role as Claire on The Big Bang Theory such as, ER, Malcolm in the Middle, Arrested Development, CSI, RuPaul’s Drag Race, American Horror Story and Two and a Half Men.
Stephanie makes her way into the gang’s inner circle through Howard. Trying to show off, Howard let her drive the Mars Rover and caused a huge incident. Stephanie and Leonard end up kissing and their relationship takes off at the speed of light, literally.
The relationship starts moving so quickly that not even Leonard realized that suddenly Stephanie had appeared to have moved in with him. Penny points out that all of his things are missing or have been hidden in his room and he decides that enough is enough. So he breaks up with her the only way he knows how… via text message.
New York City native Sara Rue has had a very successful acting career. She was cast in main role on the show Popular portraying the character Carmen Ferrara that ran from 1999 to 2001 and also played Claude Casey on the ABC sitcom Less than Perfect.
Sara Rue also had a main role on Reba McEntire’s TV show Malibu Country, which only ran for a single season. She is currently married to teacher Kevin Price and together the couple has two adorable children, Talulah and Adelaide.
Penny, also known as the hot girl next door who is way out of your league, has been stealing the show ever since she moved in next to Leonard and Sheldon on the first episode. She is the polar opposite of the rest of the gang in that she is outgoing, attractive, and isn’t a genius.
Throughout the series, she has an on-again-off-again relationship with Leonard until the two finally marry at the beginning of season nine. The two actors actually dated in real life, but unfortunately, life didn’t imitate art and the couple broke up. Imagine what filming their on-screen wedding felt like after that.
Kaley Cuoco certainly has one of those faces that you know you have seen before. And that is indeed the case. She has acted in a whole slew of different TV shows and films. Notably, Ladies Man, 8 Simple Rules, Charmed and even Prison Break.
The actress is so accomplished that she even received her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2014. Kaley divorced her husband, Ryan Sweeting, of three years in 2016 and recently opened her own production company called Yes, Norman Productions. The company is named after Kaley’s dog, Norman Cuoco. Interesting fact- Kaley Cuoco’s character, Penny is the only main character on the show whose last name has never been revealed.
Joy has only appeared on a single episode of The Big Bang Theory but she certainly left a memorable impression. She joined Howard, Bernadette and Leonard on what Leonard would come to refer to as the double date from hell.
Joy is Bernadette’s friend from spin class and shows up to the date in her gym clothes looking disheveled and sweaty. Not only that, she is loud, obnoxious and highly self-absorbed during the meal. Be that as it may, Leonard jumps at the opportunity for some possible action.
Apart from her role as Joy on the series, Charlotte Newhouse has had experience acting in other shows. She appeared in Idiotsitter, the hit comedy sitcom Community and Reno 911! She is best known, though, for her role as Billie on the sitcom Idiotsitter.
In the film, she portrayed a Harvard grad student who is hired to babysit the grown daughter of a wealthy family, for the reason that the daughter is under house arrest. Charlotte is also a writer and has done voice acting for animated series such as Adventure Time and Mike Tyson Mysteries.
Howard Wolowitz is an engineer at Caltech and even got to travel into space! But sadly, that just isn’t enough to earn the group’s respect, at least on a professional level. Being the only engineer in the group, Howard becomes the butt of many jokes and jabs about how physicists are better than engineers.
Howard starts dating Bernadette while she is a waitress at The Cheesecake Factory and after a few seasons of dating, the two eventually get married in the fifth season. They even had two children together, a daughter called Halley and a son called Neil.
Actor, comedian and musician Simon Helberg is best known for his role as Howard Wolowitz on the popular show. He even won a Critics’ Choice Television Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for it. It also earned him a Golden Globe nomination.
In 2016, Simon appeared alongside acting stars Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant in the film Florence Foster Jenkins. Simon is married to actress, producer and director Jocelyn Towne, and they have two adorable children together. The two married in 2007.
Raj’s younger sister Priya makes her first appearance on the show in the fourth season, when she comes to California for work. She has a law degree and is licensed to practice in three countries, the US, UK and India.
Priya ends up dating Leonard despite protests from her brother and family. She tries to hide their relationship from both parties but ultimately fails. Her character rejects Leonard multiple times before agreeing to date then becomes very controlling. She doesn’t even like video games! Guess it just wasn’t meant to be.
In real life, the actress who plays Priya is Aarti Mann who you may recognize from the sci-fi drama Heroes. She is a second-generation Indian American and her last name is actually a stage name. Her real last name is Majumdar.
She earned a degree in directing and film writing from NYU, and has also appeared on episodes of Suits, NCIS, and the ever-so-popular Grey’s Anatomy, just to name a few. She and her charming husband Purvesh have a daughter together.
Alex Jensen burst onto the set of The Big Bang Theory in season six as a doctoral student (in physics of course) and as Sheldon’s assistant. Sheldon doesn’t trust her to assist with his research, so he assigns her tedious and meaningless tasks to keep her busy.
As Sheldon’s assistant, she gets introduced to the whole geeky gang and even develops feelings for Leonard, who is completely oblivious. Penny takes issue with her advances and sets out against her. To this date, it is still unknown whether she quit the position as assistant or was fired.
Margo Harshman is a familiar face to anyone who watched the Disney Channel during the early 2000s. She appeared as the character Tawny Dean in 47 episodes of Even Stevens. Fun fact, that was her very first appearance on a TV series! Very impressive.
Margo Harshman is still acting today. She has appeared on series such as NCIS (as the character Delilah Fielding), CSI, Bones and Betas, as well as quite a few TV movies and films. Some of her better-known film appearances include Sorority Row and College Road Trip.
Penny’s ex-boyfriend Kurt is the main antagonist of season one. Leonard and Sheldon met the intimidating ex after Penny asks them to go over and get her TV. In the end they didn’t get the TV, and Kurt even stole their pants right off them.
Kurt consistently bullies Sheldon and Leonard in every episode he appears and becomes Leonard’s number one rival for Penny’s love. According to Penny, she used to live with Kurt after she moved to California from Nebraska and they broke up because he cheated on her.
Brian Patrick Wade is an actor and personal trainer. Apart from being Penny’s ex, he is also known for his role as Capt. Craig Schewetje on the mini-series Generation Kill, a series about the experience of an embedded reporter in the Marines during the invasion of Iraq in 2003.
Brian also played the role of the Alpha Werewolf Ennis on the MTV hit series Teen Wolf. Other roles include him as a hunky lap dancer on CSI: Miami, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, The Mentalist, The Guardian, Two and a Half Men, Bring It On Again and Sabrina, The Teenage Witch.
Alicia makes her grand appearance in the episode entitled The Dead Hooker Juxtaposition. She moves in upstairs and all the nerdy gang is immediately attracted to her. The only thing is… Alicia is pretty much a more successful Penny. And Penny is NOT going to let that happen.
Penny immediately tries to up her game and the two end up butting heads. Literally. They get into a physical fight after some name calling, leaving Penny with a black eye, busted lip and a chipped tooth. The episode gets its name from Alicia playing a dead prostitute on an episode of CSI and Penny’s famous line, “Dead whore on TV, live one in real life.”
Actress Valerie Azlynn is the person behind Alicia’s character. She is best known for her portrayal of Melanie Sutton, a main role in the comedy series Sullivan & Son, which ran for 33 episodes. In her early years, she also performed theater and opera in New York City.
Valerie has also appeared as guest characters on the TV shows Cold Case, CSI: NY, Two and a Half Men, Rules of Engagement, How I Met Your Mother, Joey, Carly, The Loop, Mr. Sunshine, Hot in Cleveland and many others.
Sebastian appeared in a flashback during the episode The Staircase Implementation, the famous episode that finally explained how the elevator broke. Sebastian’s part in the episode was very brief, a few seconds in fact, but very powerful indeed. Leonard stopped him on his way to a roommate interview and asked Sebastion where Dr. Sheldon Cooper’s apartment was.
Sebastian’s response was an epic and dramatic “Run fast, run far.” Sebastian also apparently left the message “Die Sheldon Die” in red paint on the wall of what would become Leonard’s room. Maybe he should have taken that advice…. Poor Sebastian.
You may not have noticed, but Steven made his brief appearance on The Big Bang Theory before the first episode of The Walking Dead even aired! Nowadays Steven Yeun is well known for his role as Glenn Rhee on the AMC horror drama.
Apart from his on-screen acting career, Steven Yeun also does a lot of voice acting for video games and animated shows such as The Legend of Korra, Voltron: Legendary Defender, Trollhunters, and Stretch Armstrong and the Flex Fighters. Now that’s versatility!
Sheldon, you either love him or you hate him. This character, Ramona, is the former and not at all subtle about it. The former Caltech student pretty much stalks Sheldon in the cafeteria and arranges to have dinner with him, but at his apartment.
Sheldon, oblivious to the situation at hand, accepts the offer. After some rather odd behavior and optimizing Sheldon’s work schedule, she asks for credit on a theorem he was working on. Apparently, that was just one step too far, Sheldon threw her out of his apartment. Lesson learned, don’t mess with the work of a genius.
Riki Lindhome is a remarkably talented actress-comedian and musician who’s known for her appearances on Garfunkel and Oates, Gilmore Girls, House and United States of Tara. She began her quite successful acting career after graduating from Syracuse University in 2000.
As far as her movie roles go, she has appeared in hit movies such as The Last House on the Left and Million Dollar Baby, where she played the sister of the main character. Read on, you don’t want the miss this next cast member from The Big Bang Theory.
Dr. Beverly Hofstadter is Leonard’s mother. She is an accomplished neuroscientist and psychiatrist. If you think that is a great combination for an understanding mother, then think again. Beverly is known for her wildly inappropriate conversational skills and cold analytical responses.
She is mentioned throughout season one but we only meet her in person in season two. In the show she has also published a few books, one is entitled Needy Baby, Greedy Baby, which is presumably all about Leonard and embarrassing stories from his childhood.
Christine Jane Baranski is a wildly successful stage and screen actress. After graduating from Julliard in 1974 she went on to pursue an acting career. She performed in the Broadway shows The Real Thing and Rumors and throughout the years has been nominated for 15 Emmys.
Christine also enjoys musicals, having performed in both Mamma Mia! And Into The Woods. She also appeared in an astounding 156 episodes of The Good Wife as lawyer Diane Lockhart and is still currently acting in its spinoff show, The Good Fight. Keep going strong Christine.
Special Agent Angela works for the FBI and is tasked with doing a background check on Howard for his security clearance. While the check was about Howard, Raj was clearly thrown into paranoia about the presence of the FBI, believing they may actually be checking on himself.
Raj keeps trying to reassure her that he is indeed legal in the country and fears that she will have him deported back to his native India. Raj’s legal status in the United States became somewhat of a running joke throughout the series.
Eliza Dushku is an Albanian-Danish-American actress known for her role as Faith on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Also, she starred in the series spin-off, Angel. She started acting at the ripe young age of only ten years old! And not only was she acting, she was the star.
Since her Buffy days, Eliza has gone on to appear in a number of films such as True Lies, The New Guy, Wrong Turn, and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. She even gained a cult following for her role as Missy in the 2000 teen comedy Bring It On.
The geeky gang of The Big Bang Theory has a slightly unhealthy obsession with certain fandoms. One of them is Star Trek, with Sheldon even having a restraining order against Leonard Nimoy. Because of that, in season two, Penny gifts Leonard a napkin signed by his icon Leonard Nimoy himself.
Sheldon was so thrilled to receive some of Nimoy’s DNA on the napkin in hopes of one day cloning him. In response to the gift, Sheldon offers Penny the rarest gift of them all. A Sheldon hug! For those who watched the, show you know that NO ONE touches Sheldon and he will do everything not to touch you. Not even by accident.
Leonard Nimoy rocketed to stardom for his role as the half-human, half-Vulcan character Spock on Star Trek. He earned three Emmy nominations for the role and created a cult following along the way. Both for the series and for him personally.
Nimoy’s character was named as one of the 50 greatest TV characters of all time by TV Guide. He penned two autobiographies during his life, I Am Not Spock and I Am Spock. The actor tragically passed away in 2015 due to complications with chronic pulmonary disease.
Source: Eternal Lifestyle