Where you lead, I will follow – these words played during Gilmore Girls’ opening credits, and are truly the essence of the show. Set in the fictional town of Stars Hollow, Connecticut, the show followed the lives of mother and daughter, Lorelai and Rory Gilmore, as they navigate their separate paths through school, womanhood, romance, family, friends and community life, all while remaining each other’s best friend.
Both young ladies have many life stages and experiences to go through, as Lorelai gave birth to Rory when she was only 16 years old, and raised her on her own. With its witty, past-paced dialogues filled with cultural references, the show’s unique charm attracts audiences across generations and genders.
Debuting in 2000 on The WB, the comedy-drama show ran for seven seasons, and became a top rated show of the network’s, and a true cult series – backed with an incredibly passionate fan base that has kept growing.
Almost a decade after coming off the air, a revival show was made by Amy Sherman-Palladino, the show’s creator and main showrunner. The series was made up of four triple-length episodes, describing the lives of the lovable characters nine years past the show’s end.
The show not touches upon important subjects around family and relationships in a way that’s both deeply relatable and entertaining. The characters on the show are portrayed in a very honest way, which makes them all the easier to love.
We thought we’d take a look back at some of the show’s most beloved characters, and see what the actors who portrays them are doing these days.
Lauren Graham as Lorelai Gilmore
Lorelai is a fast-talking, witty single mother who had her daughter, Rory, when she was 16 years old. Lorelai raised Rory on her own, and so the two have an extremely close relationship. She has a more complex relationship with her wealthy parents – especially her overbearing mother, Emily. Lorelai had a silver-spoon upbringing, but always resented the country-club and debutante lifestyle, and rebelled against it. After getting pregnant, she refused to marry Rory’s father, and created an independent life of her own for her and her daughter. Romantically, Lorelai’s main love interests are diner owner Luke, and Rory’s father Christopher, who comes from a similar background as Lorelai’s. After much back and forth, Lorelai chooses Luke and marries him.
Lauren Graham – in real life
Lauren began acting in the mid-’90s, guest starring on the popular shows like sitcom Seinfeld, and procedural drama Law & Order. Since Gilmore Girls, she’s participated in film comedies Evan Almighty and Because I Said So, and drama Flash of Genius. She also published a bestselling memoir, Talking as Fast as I Can, in 2013. In 2010, she was cast as Sarah Braverman in Parenthood, and wound up with co-star, Peter Krause, who played her brother. She reprised her role as Lorelai in Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life.
Alexis Bledel as Rory Gilmore
Rory is Lorelai’s incredibly smart, well-read, and sweet daughter. She’s a model student, who’s always aspired to go to Harvard (although she ends up choosing Yale). After she graduates, she becomes a freelance journalist. On the romantic side, she initially dates boy next door Dean, but later chooses Luke’s rebellious nephew Jess, and then one of her privileged classmates, the privileged Logan. Although she doesn’t really end up with any of them, at the end she tells Lorelai (spoiler alert!) she’s pregnant, with the father’s identity left unknown.
Alexis Bledel – in real life
Alexis made her television debut as Rory on Gilmore Girls in 2000. She later starred in the drama film Tuck Everlasting, as well as the dramedy movies The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, and Jenny’s Wedding. The actress also had a lead role in Us & Them, a comedy series that was eventually not picked up. Most recently, Alexis landed the role of “Ofglen” in The Handmaid’s Tale, winning an Emmy for her portrayal of the role.
Scott Patterson as Luke Danes
Luke is the owner of the diner Luke’s, in which Lorelai and Rory frequently hang out (and get their coffee fix, of course). Luke is reliable and kind, but he’s usually grumpy. He’s always been in love with Lorelai, but she’s oblivious to it at first. After the two start dating, and make a wedding date, Luke finds out he has a daughter he never knew about, and wants to postpone the wedding – which puts a strain on their relationship. Thankfully, they manage to overcome their difficulties and end up together.
Scott Patterson – in real life
Other than playing Luke Danes on Gilmore Girls, Scott also took part in other television shows, starring in the mystery drama The Event (alongside Gilmore Girls alum Jason Ritter), and appearing in guest roles on comedies Seinfeld and Will & Grace, as well as the 2010 Beverly Hills reboot, 90210. Aside from his television roles, the actor has landed the role of Agent Peter Strahm in the Saw movie franchise, starring in two of the films. Scott is currently set to star in upcoming drama film The Sons of Summer.
Matt Czuchry as Logan Huntzberger
Logan is a charming and flirty guy, who attends Yale together with Rory. He comes from a wealthy family and has always been pressured by his parents’ expectations to enter the business empire. Because of this, he’s always set in living the moment and making the most of everything. He gets involved with Rory, though his immaturity initially makes it hard to commit to her. In the revival, they continue seeing each other, despite him being engaged to someone else – making him potentially the father of Rory’s baby.
Matt Czuchry – in real life
Matt’s started his television career playing in the teen-drama Young Americans, alongside Kate Bosworth and Ian Somerhalder. After his days on Gilmore Girls, he got a recurring role in football drama Friday Night Lights, and later landed a main role on legal drama The Good Wife, as ambitious lawyer Cary Agos. Matt’s career keeps moving forward, as he is currently starring in a Fox medical drama called The Resident, playing the brilliant Dr. Conrad Hawkins.
Kelly Bishop as Emily Gilmore
Emily is Lorelai’s mother and Richard’s wife (played by the late Edward Herrmann). She’s a high society woman in every way – she’s well educated and very appropriate, she does charity work, and is an active member of Daughters of the American Revolution. She expected her daughter to follow in the same path, but Lorelai never wanted to belong in her parents’ world and set out to be the complete opposite of her mother – which is a major cause for the tension in their relationship.
Kelly Bishop – in real life
Not many remember this, but before Kelly was Emily Gilmore, she played Baby’s mother in the beloved musical drama Dirty Dancing. Although the actress is still known mostly by her role in Gilmore Girls, she’s made other television appearances, on shows like the crime drama Law & Order, Army Wives, and The Good Wife – which stars Gilmore Girls co-star, Matt Czuchry. The actress also appeared in the star-studded romantic comedy Friends with Kids. In theater, she played in the musical A Chorus Line, winning a Tony Award for her performance.
Jared Padalecki as Dean Forester
Dean is Rory’s first boyfriend. Although he’s perfect on paper, Rory ultimately figures out she’s looking for someone more adventurous, and falls in love with Luke’s nephew, Jess. Dean then breaks up with her, knowing she has feelings for Jess and tired of being taken for granted. Some time after their breakup, Rory meets an unhappily married Dean, and the two rekindle their romance. When Dean’s wife finds out, she divorces him, and he begins dating Rory – until they eventually realize they’ve grown too different to be together.
Jared Padalecki – in real life
Jared began modeling when he was four, and only pursued acting a decade later, during the ’90s. In 2000 he was cast as Rory’s reliable boyfriend Dean Forester on Gilmore Girls, a breakthrough role for the actor, who became something of a heartthrob. The actor starred in horror flicks House of Wax, and Friday the 13th (the 2009 version). But his most major role yet is that of Sam Winchester on the sci-fi show Supernatural – a role he’s been playing for 13th seasons.
Milo Ventimiglia as Jess Mariano
Jess is Luke’s troubled nephew, who has a flaky mother and an absent father. Although he’s very smart, witty, and has vast knowledge of literature and the arts, he’s usually sarcastic and likes to stir up trouble, distancing himself from people. When Jess arrives at Stars Hollow, Rory recognizes his more intelligent and softer side, and the two develop feelings for each other. While they didn’t end up together, Jess was among the show’s most beloved characters – and the ending painted a Jess and Rory come back a definite possibility.
Milo Ventimiglia – in real life
Milo began his way with small TV appearances before he gained recognition for his role as rebellious heartthrob Jess on Gilmore Girls. He also dated his on-screen love interest, Alexis Bledel (Rory), for almost four years. The actor has played a wide variety of roles in television and in film, like Rocky’s son in Rocky Balboa, Meg’s love interest Chris on American Dreams, and Peter in NBC’s Heroes. But his biggest role yet is that of Jack, the wonderful husband and father in the tear-jerking drama, This Is Us.
Melissa McCarthy as Sookie St. James
Fun and enthusiastic, Sookie is good friends with Lorelai, and the two often give each other helpful advice. She starts off as a chef at the Independence Inn, and later becomes the co-owner of The Dragonfly Inn, along with Lorelai. Sookie is a very talented chef, though she’s very accident prone and klutzy. She develops a love connection to the inn’s food supplier, Jackson Belleville, whom she later marries and has two children with.
Melissa McCarthy – in real life
Melissa’s role as quirky Sookie was the true beginning to her glorious career as a comedy actress. After Gilmore Girls, she moved on to co-starring in big-time comedies like Bridesmaids and The Hangover Part III, and later came to star in several hilarious comedy flicks, such as The Heat, Spy, The Boss, and the 2016 reboot of the iconic film Ghostbusters. The star also landed a leading role in the CBS comedy Mike & Molly, and has recently made several appearances on the popular sketch show Saturday Night Live.
Keiko Agena as Lane Kim
Lane Kim is Rory’s best friend. She grows up with an incredibly strict mother, who doesn’t allow her to be her true self, so she develops ways to disobey her mother without being caught (even dyeing her hair purple for a hot minute) – until she finally breaks free and becomes her own person, after confronting her mother. She’s a music lover, and when she joins a band, she meets her future husband – her bandmate Zack, with whom she has twin boys.
Keiko Agena – in real life
While Keiko is still mostly known by her role as Rory’s best friend Lane in Gilmore Girls, the actress has had numerous appearances on major TV shows. Some of which include the iconic teen-dramas Beverly Hills, 90210 and Felicity, medical dramas Private Practice and House, Showtime’s dramedy Shameless, and the Netflix drama 13 Reasons Why. She also took part in a comedy web-series called Super(fluous), a show that takes place in a world full of superheroes.
Liza Weil as Paris Geller
Paris starts out as Rory’s high-school classmate and rival, threatened by her academic success and effortless beauty. She’s overly-ambitious and uptight, and isn’t very popular or well-liked. With time, the two become good friends and even roommates. Paris isn’t accepted into her dream school of Harvard, so she goes to Yale with Rory, intending on studying medicine. Paris ends up marrying Doyle, editor to the Yale Daily News, but in the Gilmore Girls revival, it’s revealed that the two are getting a divorce.
Liza Weil – in real life
Before being cast as the intense overachiever Paris Geller, Liza started out with a few television guest roles, on shows like The West Wing, medical drama ER, and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. She also played a small part in horror thriller Stir of Echoes, alongside Kevin Bacon, and starred in a drama called Whatever. After Gilmore Girls, she made appearances on Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, and Scandal – all Shonda Rhimes shows – later taking on a main role in the Shonda-produced drama, How to Get Away with Murder.