|Famous For: The Big Bang Theory||Currently Known For: Actress|
Currently Known For Actress
“Just so we’re clear, you understand that me hanging back to practice with you is a pretext for letting you know that I’m sexually available.” Better known in Hollywood as Sara Gilbert, Sara Rebecca Abeles was born in Santa Monica, California on January 29, 1975 as the youngest of four children. Raised in a Jewish household where her grandfather was The Honeymooners creator Harry Crane, Gilbert was raised around show business thanks to her older brother and sister—Melissa and Jonathan—starring on the popular series, Little House on the Prairie.
Launching her career with a handful of appearances in television commercials and films, Gilbert was 13 years old when she landed the most iconic role of her early career—the part of Darlene Conner on Roseanne. Giving a stellar performance as the sarcastic middle child on what’s now considered one of the greatest television series of all time, Gilbert starred alongside Roseanne Barr and John Goodman throughout the show’s entire run and earned two Primetime Emmy Award nominations. The show even introduced her to her future Big Bang Theory costar, Johnny Galecki, who played Gilbert’s on-screen boyfriend, David.
Once the series wrapped in 1997, Gilbert was free-floating in her professional career but managed to finish up her studies at Yale University where she graduated with honors in 1997. “I just felt like a free-floating orb,” she told Variety magazine. “That was a hard time, finding my feet again, because I’d been in all these institutions—the institution of family, the institution of education, the institution of Roseanne. Suddenly I had no affiliations anymore.”
Luckily, Gilbert made her way back to the screen where she made guest appearances on The Simpsons, 24, Will & Grace, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and Private Practice. She had a recurring role on the long-running hospital drama, ER, and returned to primetime television in 2005 on The WB network’s Twins. The series was soon canceled but bigger things were in store for Gilbert who auditioned for and won the part of Leslie Winkle, a scientist and friend to Leonard Hofstadter (Johnny Galecki) on The Big Bang Theory. How’s that for a small world?
All About Leslie: Experimental Physicist and Promiscuous Friend
“Uh, in the past, I would’ve said something obnoxious like, ‘Happy Birthday, dumba**.’ But I’m not going to do it. You and I have both grown a lot, and it’s just so nice to see you all again. So, Happy Birthday, Sheldon.” Considered Leonard’s female counterpart as an experimental physicist and his coworker, Leslie Winkle is instantly recognized by her black-framed glasses and sweat jackets. Although she engages in promiscuous sex with Leonard and Howard simply to meet her physical needs and nothing more, she has a vastly different relationship with Sheldon who refers to her as his archenemy. With both believing the other is inferior, Leslie is obviously far wittier than Sheldon and frequently refers to him as “Dumbass” to further annoy him.
With The Big Bang Theory writers bringing Mayim Bialik on as Dr. Amy Farrah Fowler and giving Melissa Rauch an even bigger role as Bernadette Rostenkowski-Wolowitz, Leslie was slowly written out as a series regular. In total, Leslie appeared in nine from 2007 to 2010 and 2016.
The Dish on Dating and Relationships
“I always felt so scared. If I came out, what could happen? Could I lose my career? Will I ever be able to play a straight role again?” Long before Gilbert joined the cast of The Big Bang Theory, she and Galecki had a brief fling of their own on the set of Roseanne. However, it was during her relationship with Galecki that Gilbert realized that she was a lesbian—a secret only Galecki knew after Gilbert confessed she didn’t enjoy making out with him. “I eventually told him I thought it was about my sexuality and he was super sweet about it,” she recalled.
Galecki kept her secret throughout the course of Roseanne as Gilbert secretly started dating a woman for the first time. “I started dating a woman who was like 18 years old than I was, who was also in the public eye,” she told TV Guide. “It was something people could have found out about. Like no one knew at the show for years, and Johnny held the secret the whole time. and I always felt so scared. If it came out, what could happen?”
Gilbert didn’t publicly come out until 2010 just a few weeks before she launched her talk show, The Talk. By then, she had been in a relationship with television producer Allison Adler since 2001. In October 2004, Adler gave birth to the couple’s son, Levi Hank, and in August 2007, Gilbert gave birth to the couple’s daughter, Sawyer Jane. However, Gilbert and Adler slowly grew apart as Gilbert outed herself as a lesbian and later announced that she and Adler had separated amicably in August 2011. Shortly after, Gilbert started dating songwriter and music producer Linda Perry. After announcing their engagement in April 2013, they married on March 30, 2014 and, a year later, Gilbert gave birth to their son, Rhodes Emilio Gilbert Perry, on February 28, 2015.
Although she’s incredibly happy with her personal life and her career, Gilbert shared her deepest fears on The Talk and admitted that she’s still scared to talk about her sexuality. “When I talk about my sexuality on the show or in public I still feel really scared,” she says. “So, I’ll try and act confident or I’ll make jokes about it, but there’s still a piece of me that goes, ‘Well, what is this costing me in my career?’ It’s not that I’m not thrilled to be who I am and so grateful to have the life that I have, because I really am, but, for example, even when I got engaged, there’s a piece of me that’s like, ‘Oh wow, I’ve got to say this now to everybody.’”
Apart from her incredible personal journey, the 43-year-old Gilbert embraces every opportunity that comes her way, which she credits with tenacity. “If people tell me I can’t do something, I just keep trying for years,” she says. “I don’t think I’m naturally successful. I just don’t give up and don’t quit till something happens.” That tenacity is exactly what makes Gilbert’s series, The Talk, so popular as she sits down with co-hosts Julie Chen, Aisha Tyler, Sharon Osbourne, and Sheryl Underwood to discuss hot topics. As producer and co-creator of the show, her talents have been widely recognized with Gilbert earning a 2016 Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Entertainment Talk Show.
Outside of The Talk, Gilbert recently returned to television and reprised her role as Darlene in nine episodes of Roseanne, which will also see her in the executive producer’s chair. In fact, the reunion was all her idea and sparked interest after John Goodman joined her on an episode of The Talk where he said he’d do the show again in a heartbeat. That was enough for the rest of the cast and Gilbert—the only person left to convince was Roseanne herself! “I think I didn’t feel done with it, honestly,” Gilbert told Variety. “I think for all these years I’ve thought about it, measured things against it. and I guess I just needed to go back… I just really needed to know what it would feel like to do it now.”
While Barr was notorious for being demanding during the show’s first run, Gilbert assured Barr she could handle being a producer and promised to maintain the integrity of the show. As a result, Barr has been a dream to work with the second time around. “I never found Roseanne difficult the first time because I just wasn’t working with her in that capacity,” Gilbert said. “I think Roseanne in the past could get frustrated creatively if she was hitting a lot of roadblocks or if people weren’t communicating with her. Now there’s such an open line of communication that there’s no room for any kind of breakdowns because we’re all talking to each other about what we want to achieve.”
Also adding in credits in episodes of Bad Teacher, Supergirl, and Jane the Virgin, Gilbert’s most recent credit puts her back alongside her longtime friend and costar, Johnny Galecki, in Living Biblically. Galecki is in the driver’s seat as producer of this 2018 project and had Gilbert in mind long before he ever outlined the characters. “She was always on the list before there was a character list,” Galecki said of casting his friend. “And then I made her audition. I knew how much she wanted to inhabit a character again. So I knew that she would come at it, despite all of her years of experience, with a whole lot of commitment and a whole lot of excitement. And she did tenfold.”