Celebrity Then And Now
Posted by Ryan Neal
Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: RidiculouslyExtraordinary. Posted by Ryan Neal
December 12, 1975
Currently Known For:
The Big Bang Theory
December 12, 1975
The Big Bang Theory
“If you’re keeping him, I’ve got a cage you can borrow. One of the test monkeys slipped on a banana peel and broke his neck. It was both tragic and hysterical.” Easily one of the most talented women in the world after proving she could have it all as an actress, neuroscientist, author, wife, and mother of two, Mayim Bialik first found fame as the star of Blossom in the early 1990s and is now known for her performance as Dr. Amy Farrah Fowler on The Big Bang Theory. So, what’s her life story and how did she make the transition from actress to neuroscientist and then back to Hollywood?
Mayim Chaya Bialik was born on December 12, 1975 in San Diego, California where she was raised in a Jewish household and attended Walter Reed Junior High School. She launched her career as a child actress in the late 1980s and earned credits in Pumpkinhead, The Facts of Life, Webster, Beauty and the Beast, and MacGyver before signing on to two television pilots—Molloy on the Fox network and Blossom on NBC. Filming the first six episodes of Molloy and only the pilot for Blossom, Bialik left her fate in the hands of the primetime television audience and, after Blossom aired to higher ratings, the young actress cut ties with Molloy after the first six episodes and settled into the series that would ultimately define her early career.
Spending five years on the show from the age of 14 to 19, Bialik added in credits in Don’t Drink the Water, Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?, The Real Adventures of Johnny Quest, Kim Possible, Johnny Bravo, and Hey Arnold! but was ready to pursue other interests outside of Hollywood and enrolled at the University of California-Los Angeles where she pursued her Bachelor of Science degree in neuroscience with minors in Hebrew and Jewish Studies. “If I had not gone to college, I might have kept acting and been happy like that,” Bialik said. “But I loved going to UCLA and doing something that was very challenging academically. I loved doing research with adolescents with special needs—that was seven years of my life.”
Eventually earning her Ph.D. in neuroscience in 2007, Bialik spent many years teaching and raising her children but knew acting might be more conducive to meeting her family’s growing needs especially with two boys at home. “In terms of time to raise my two sons, the flexible life of an actor was better than the long hours of a research professor,” she said.
After years of teaching neuroscience, Bialik made her grand return to television but never planned on acting full-time. “The true story is I was running out of health insurance and figured if I could even get a couple of acting jobs here and there, and if it’s enough to get you your Screen Actors Guild Aftra health insurance, we would at least have health insurance,” she said of her return. “My then husband was still working on his master’s degree. I was teaching neuroscience for about five years and I was not expecting to be a full-time actor, but this show called The Big Bang Theory brought me on.”
Snagging a recurring role on The Secret Life of the American Teenager in 2009, Bialik was invited to join the cast of The Big Bang Theory as neuroscientist Dr. Amy Farrah Fowler. Joining the show in the third season in 2010, she’s been on the series ever since and has earned Emmy Award nominations in 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2014 for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her performance. So, who’s Amy—the girl who won Sheldon’s heart and brought Bialik back to primetime television?
All About Amy: Neuroscientist and Sheldon’s Girlfriend
“Of course I do. I’m a princess and this is my tiara!” Before Bialik joined The Big Bang Theory, Raj suggested inviting her to join their Physics Bowl team in “The Bat Jar Conjecture” episode where he said, “You know who’s apparently very smart is the girl who played TV’s Blossom. She got a Ph.D. in neuroscience or something.” Thanks to Bialik’s neuroscience background, Big Bang Theory writers had no problem writing her into the series as Dr. Amy Farrah Fowler, a neuroscientist who becomes Sheldon’s love interest on the series.
Thanks to Raj and Howard setting up an online dating profile in Sheldon’s name, they find Amy, who the dating site agrees is a perfect match for Sheldon. Once the two meet, they have an instant connection, but Sheldon is completely oblivious to anything romantic and calls her “a girl who is his friend, but not his girlfriend.” Because of this, Amy initially becomes Sheldon’s female counterpart and, like Sheldon, is cold and rational, awkward in social situations, and emotionless. As the series progresses, her similarities with Sheldon unfold as he asks her to officially be his girlfriend, which encourages Amy to share his interests and learn more about Star Trek and video games. Before long, the two are regularly holding hands as Sheldon eventually gains the courage to say, “I love you” and even proposes. By the end of the 11th season, the two are slotted to marry after Amy accepts his proposal in the Season 11 premiere, “The Proposal Proposal.”
The Dish on Dating and Relationships
“Try not to ogle my caboose as I walk away.” Unlike her character on The Big Bang Theory, the 42-year-old Bialik isn’t aloof or unemotional and enjoys a healthy personal life as a neuroscientist, actress, and mother. Describing herself as a “late bloomer” and experiencing her first and second kisses on camera, Bialik didn’t have a boyfriend until she was out of high school and, even then, she wasn’t one to hook up with random guys. Instead, she quickly settled down with Michael Stone, whom she married in a Victorian-themed ceremony in August 2003. Two years later, she became a mother with the birth of their son, Miles, and then expanded into a happy family of four in 2008 with the birth of their second son, Frederick.
Balancing motherhood with her work as a neuroscientist and teacher proved to be too time-consuming and Bialik made her way back to acting in 2010 when she joined The Big Bang Theory. However, two years later, she saw her marriage end when she and Stone filed for divorce in November 2012. Still single today, Bialik has no regrets about her lifestyle, motherhood, or her return to Hollywood especially since The Big Bang Theory has skyrocketed her back to stardom and given her a platform to launch other projects like her book, Girling Up: How to Be Strong, Smart and Spectacular. “This is the book I needed,” Bialik says of the book written for girls like her in mind. “Our culture has things that our moms didn’t navigate and that many of us didn’t navigate, because of the internet, because of social media, because of more discussions on mental health and body image. These are things that really do need to be talked about in the first place.”
In addition to Girling Up, Bialik launched Grok Nation in August 2015, which is a place for people to discuss contemporary issues with the goal of changing the world as a community. All of this, of course, takes place when Bialik isn’t busy raising her sons or filming on the set of The Big Bang Theory, a show that has breathed new life into her early career. Apart from the popular series and motherhood, Bialik has earned credits as a voice actress in The Dog Who Saved Halloween, Scooby-Doo! Music of the Vampire, Stan Lee’s Mighty 7, Blaze and the Monster Machines, and Star Vs. The Forces of Evil. She’s also appeared in The Flight Before Christmas, Candid Camera, MasterChef Junior, Good Mythical Morning, and The Super Slow Show.
Today, Bialik is the first to admit that she never really expected to land on a hit television series or take home two Critics’ Choice Television Awards for Best Supporting Actress on a series she’d never actually watched before she auditioned in 2009. But, that’s exactly where she is and, thanks to her background in neuroscience, she just might have one of the easiest jobs in Hollywood! “I don’t want to say everything happens for a reason, but every day is lined up right next to the other one for a reason,” she says of her incredible fortune and where life and her career have taken her. “The best you can do is do each day well with kindness and as a good person.” If you ask us, Bialik seems to do exactly that both on and off the screen!