There are few shows that have had the lasting appeal of The Big Bang Theory. The show is special because it can appeal to people of all walks of life, but there are tons of great references for the nerds among us, too. Let’s take a look at how the stars of The Big Bang Theory have changed over the years and what they look like when they’re off camera.
John Galecki Then
Anyone who has seen an episode of The Big Bang Theory will instantly recognize John Galecki, who plays lead character Leonard Hofstadter on the show. Leonard was introduced as an experimental physicist with a quirky best friend named Sheldon Cooper. Of course, Leonard also was established as having a very obvious crush on neighbor Penny.
John Galecki Now
Like most of the cast members, John Galecki has changed quite a bit over the years. While he was well-known from his role on the hugely popular ABC sitcom Roseanne during the 1990s, he’s never had a role quite like Leonard in The Big Bang Theory. Although he continues to act in other projects, the show keeps him pretty busy and well-paid at $900,000 per episode.
Jim Parsons Then
Sometimes, it’s hard to tell just who is the star of the show when it comes to The Big Bang Theory. Sure, the show seems to follow Leonard’s life, but it’s really Sheldon Cooper who has become synonymous with what The Big Bang Theory is all about. Jim Parsons plays the role perfectly and has seen his character grow to the point where Sheldon has gotten very serious with his girlfriend, Amy.
Jim Parsons Now
There’s no question that landing the role of a lifetime in The Big Bang Theory has been huge for Jim Parsons’ career. Of course, it may make it difficult for audiences to see him as anyone else, too. Still, he’s had time to take voice acting roles and seems to have found a good side gig in that respect. He’s also getting paid $900,000 per episode in the biggest sitcom in the world right now, which isn’t bad!
Sara Gilbert Then
Sara Gilbert plays experimental physicist Leslie Winkle, who was briefly explored as a love interest of Leonard’s early in the show, since Leonard thought he had no shot with Penny. What’s funny is that when Sara played the role of Darlene on Roseanne, her character dated John Galecki’s, too. Leslie is now mostly linked with Howard, as they have a very interesting relationship.
Sara Gilbert Now
As mentioned earlier, Sara Gilbert not only played opposite John Galecki on The Big Bang Theory, but on Roseanne, too. Here’s another blast from the past: Roseanne is set to come back, with Sara penciled in as not only the actress playing Darlene, but also as the executive producer of the show. Sara is married with three children in real life.
Simon Helberg Then
Owner of one of the most iconic bowl cuts of all time, Simon Helberg plays aerospace engineer and astronaut Howard Wolowitz on The Big Bang Theory. Howard was mostly a side character who riffed on the others’ jokes in Leonard’s apartment early on, but became more of a focus on the show when Bernadette was introduced in the cast in the third season.
Simon Helberg Now
It’s been a very nice development for Simon Helberg to see his role expand in each successive season of The Big Bang Theory. Aside from The Big Bang Theory, Helberg has been seen in Florence Foster Jenkins and had a long voice acting stint on Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness. He makes a cool $750,000 per episode on The Big Bang Theory.
Laura Spencer Then
Laura Spencer played dermatologist Emily Sweeney starting in season seven of The Big Bang Theory. She ended up hitting it off with Raj, although Raj somehow was able to date both Emily and Lucy at the same time for a few seasons. Unfortunately, Raj broke up with both Emily and Lucy in the tenth season of the show.
Laura Spencer Now
TV enthusiasts won’t recognize Laura Spencer just from her role as Emily in The Big Bang Theory. She also appeared on the hit series Bones, in which she appeared as the character of Jessica. She also has been seen in a recent short film, Vitality. There surely will be much more from Laura in the future, even if Emily and Raj don’t get back together.
Kunal Nayyar Then
Better known as just Raj than as Rajesh Koothrappali, Kunal Nayyar has been a part of the core cast from the beginning. Raj has been perhaps the character to show the most growth throughout the show. After all, he was afraid to even talk to women for the first several seasons of the show, but then was able to date two beautiful girls at once starting in the seventh season.
Kunal Nayyar Now
Real-life Kunal Nayyar is definitely not like the character he portrays on The Big Bang Theory. He has been very successful in his young acting career, starring in the recent film Dr. Cabbie and doing voice work in the animated film Trolls. Oh, and he earns $750,000 for each episode of The Big Bang Theory!
Kevin Sussman Then
Unlike most of the actors and actresses we’ve discussed so far, Kevin Sussman wasn’t a part of the first season of The Big Bang Theory. Instead, Kevin showed up as Stuart in the show’s second season. He owns a local comic shop and became particularly good friends with Raj in later seasons. We’ll have to see if Stuart’s role grows as the show goes on.
Kevin Sussman Now
Kevin Sussman has had his share of big roles outside of The Big Bang Theory. In fact, he starred in Steven Spielberg’s A.I.: Artificial Intelligence. He also landed key roles in films such as Hitch and Burn After Reading before he found his way to The Big Bang Theory in 2009. His salary is $50,000 per episode, which isn’t bad for a smaller role!
Carol Ann Susi Then
You can be forgiven if you don’t recognize Carol Ann Susi, who played the role of Howard’s mother, Debbie Wolowitz, in The Big Bang Theory. Much like the babysitter in Muppet Babies, Debbie’s face was never shown. However, she made the most of her role by portraying an overbearing mom with an unmistakable New Jersey accent.
Carol Ann Susi Now
Carol Ann Susi made appearances on a lot of big shows over the years, including That ’70s Show, Ugly Betty, and Grey’s Anatomy, though none of her roles on those shows were as memorable as her role on The Big Bang Theory. Unfortunately, the veteran actress is no longer on the show, as she passed away after a bout with cancer at age 62 in 2014.
Alessandra Torresani Then
Alessandra Torresani played Claire on The Big Bang Theory, a character that was first seen at the comic book store. She met Raj and Howard there and though Raj liked her, she wasn’t falling for his advances. However, she eventually came around to the idea and dated him as part of a love triangle with Emily. Eventually, Raj decided to embrace the single life.
Alessandra Torresani Now
In addition to The Big Bang Theory, Alessandra Torresani has played smaller roles in many other TV shows, too. Her credits include hit shows such as American Horror Story and Two and a Half Men. We’ll have to wait and see whether more appearances in The Big Bang Theory are on the way, but for now, she has completed a role in the upcoming film Step Sisters.
Sara Rue Then
Sara Rue joined the cast of The Big Bang Theory when she appeared as Stephanie Barnett, a doctor and surgical resident at the local hospital. Howard made a pass on Stephanie way back in season two of the show, but she had eyes for Leonard, instead. She was seen in the apartment quite regularly and things seemed to be getting serious until he broke up with her – by text, no less!
Sara Rue Now
Sara Rue has continued to build upon her success since leaving The Big Bang Theory, playing roles in such shows as Malibu Country, Rules of Engagement, and Mom. Netflix subscribers will be able to reacquaint themselves with Sara when she appears on the Netflix original show A Series of Unfortunate Events.
Margo Harshman Then
The role of Alex Jensen was played by the talented Margo Harshman on The Big Bang Theory. On the show, Alex was a doctoral student and had the thankless job of being Sheldon’s assistant. Of course, Sheldon wasn’t fond of letting her do anything of important, choosing instead to occupy her with silly tasks. Her bad luck continued when she asked Leonard on a date, only to get turned down.
Margo Harshman Now
Before she ever joined the cast of The Big Bang Theory, Margo Harshman was fairly well known from the Disney channel series Even Stevens. Since she left the cast, she has been seen playing Alison Kidman in Bones and the recurring role of Delilah Fielding in NCIS. She was also seen in the 2015 film Toxin.
Brian Patrick Wade Then
Brian Patrick Wade is instantly recognizable as Penny’s former boyfriend, Kurt. Brian was a part of The Big Bang Theory from the beginning, providing a natural foil to Leonard’s hopes of getting Penny’s attention. Eventually, he went to the wayside as Leonard started to win Penny over and she began to see Kurt’s limitations.
Brian Patrick Wade Now
Brian Patrick Wade played a variety of roles before making his debut on The Big Bang Theory. He was in The Guardian and Bring It On Again as Mitch Lyons and Fatneck, respectively. He has also had roles in such shows as Arrested Development, Two and a Half Men, and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. He also works as a personal trainer.
Charlotte Newhouse Then
Charlotte Newhouse appeared on The Big Bang Theory as Joy, one of Bernadette’s friends. She was Leonard’s date on a double date with lovebirds Bernadette and Howard. Unfortunately, Joy was not on her best behavior, as she arrived late for the date in her sweaty workout clothes. Her loud, self-indulgent behavior kept any other dates from happening.
Charlotte Newhouse Now
Charlotte Newhouse had small roles in many different TV series and low-budget films until she gained some notoriety as Jules Hayes in Brainstorm. After appearing on The Big Bang Theory, she has gone on to do various acting, including the role of Billie on the TV series Idiotsitter, which she continues to play to this day.
Melissa Rauch Then
The quirky, pretty Melissa Rauch first graced our television screens on The Big Bang Theory in the show’s third season. Penny introduced Rauch, who played Bernadette Wolowitz, to Howard. The two bonded over their ridiculous mother troubles and hit it off. In the fourth season, they got engaged and were married in the fifth season. The couple has a daughter on the show, Hallie.
Melissa Rauch Now
A role on The Big Bang Theory is a dream come true for any actress. However, it’s not all that Melissa Rauch has done. She has also had smaller roles in hit shows such as The Office and True Blood. However, nothing has paid off quite like The Big Bang Theory – literally. Melissa now makes $500,000 per episode!
Aarti Mann Then
Actress Aarti Mann began playing Priya Koothrappali in the fourth season of The Big Bang Theory. Priya is Raj’s little sister on the show, but she also briefly had a secret dating relationship with Leonard for a time. However, Priya’s parents heard about the relationship and didn’t approve, and she eventually folded and moved back home.
Aarti Mann Now
Since her character was written out of The Big Bang Theory, Aarti Mann has moved on to play the role of Agent Laura Kenney in the hit show Scandal. She has also appeared as Maria Monroe in Suits and Dr. DaSilva in I’ll See You In My Dreams. She has certainly kept busy and will also appear in an upcoming film named Love Sonia.