Celebrity Then And Now
Sara Rue
Famous For: As Carmen Ferrara on Popular, Claude Casey on Less ThanCurrently Known For: Actress
Sara Rue
Famous For As Carmen Ferrara on Popular, Claude Casey on Less Than
Currently Known For Actress

“Honestly, acting is the most work when you’re unemployed. For me, the actual acting part is never hard. It’s the politics and basically everything around the acting that is difficult.” The oldest of two daughters born to a stage manager and a former actress, Sara Schlackman was born on January 26, 1979 in New York City. Growing up watching her parents as they performed and worked behind the scenes on Broadway, Sara dreamed of one day taking the stage and, by nine years old, saw that dream come true when she appeared as Kevin Spacey’s on-screen daughter in the 1988 film, Rocket Gibraltar. By then, she’d already decided on her stage name and adopted her mother’s maiden name to become Sara Rue.

Two years after her silver screen debut, Rue landed a starring role alongside Bonnie Hunt, Pamela Reed, and John Randolph in the short-lived NBC sitcom, Grand. She appeared as a teenage Roseanne in the “Halloween IV” episode of Roseanne and briefly returned to film in Passed Away before snagging a recurring role on Phenom from 1993 to 1994. In the years following, she starred as Darby Gladstone in Minor Adjustments and honed her talents as a young actress with credits in ER, Pearl, For My Daughter’s Honor, Chicago Hope, the Simple Life, Will & Grace, and Zoe, Duncan, Jack & Jane.

In 1999, Rue garnered even more fans when she joined Leslie Bibb and Carly Pope on The WB’s teen comedy-drama, Popular, which ran for two seasons. During this time, Rue appeared in films like A Slipping-Down Life, A Map of the World, Pearl Harbor, and Gypsy 83 in addition to landing a recurring role on three episodes of The Division. Fortunately, even bigger things were in store for the redhead in 2002 when she was named the star of ABC’s newest sitcom, Less than Perfect.

Spending four seasons on the show playing Claudia “Claude” Casey from 2002 to 2006, Rue made a few cameos in Two and a Half Men and had credits in films like Danny Roane: First Time Director, Idiocracy, and Man Maid before she auditioned for and won the part of Dr. Stephanie Barnett on The Big Bang Theory. “I love Chuck Lorre,” Rue said of the show’s creator. “I did a little guest spot on Roseanne when I was fourteen. It was a whirlwind experience in a week and I think with Chuck, I had auditioned for him for a couple of other shows of his over the years.”

All About Dr. Stephanie Barnett: Sara Rue joins The Big Bang Theory

Rue joined the cast of The Big Bang Theory in 2008 as a recurring character—Dr. Stephanie Barnett—in three episodes: “The Lizard-Spock Expansion,” “The White Asparagus Triangulation,” and “The Vartabedian Conundrum.” Her performance as Dr. Barnett left a lasting impression on audiences as Rue portrayed the highly distinguished surgeon and medical doctor that Howard attempts to seduce. Unfortunately for Howard, Dr. Barnett falls for Leonard and quickly finds a way to move in with him, which Leonard doesn’t notice until Sheldon and Penny point it out.

For Rue, playing Dr. Barnett was an incredible experience especially since she was already a huge fan of the series and well-versed in sitcom work. “Every set has their own personalities and their own quirks,” she said of her return to primetime television. “It’s funny comparing starring in a show to going in and doing recurring work—there’s already a rhythm that’s been established and people know each other so well. It’s like being a guest in someone else’s home.”

The Dish on Dating, Relationships, and Motherhood

After The Big Bang Theory, Rue starred as Penny Higgins in Eastwick from 2009 to 2010 and then hosted Shedding for the Wedding as she prepared to tie the knot with teacher and college advisor Kevin Price in 2011. During the series, she admitted her ongoing struggle to manage her weight especially after her first marriage to writer, producer and director Mischa Livingstone from 2001 to 2007. Finding love a second time inspired Rue to get healthy once again.

“We all have that moment when we sit back and think about where we want to be in five to 10 years,” she said. “I saw a certain image of myself—one that was healthy and comfortable in my own body, but that wasn’t my reality at the time. I knew I had to take action.” Doing exactly that, Rue started the Jenny Craig program and made weight loss her priority as she learned to manage her portions and make healthier choices. “I was never really able to lose weight on my own,” she admitted. “Clearly, it was something I struggled with so I wanted a program that provides extra support. Jenny Craig does that. In terms of fitness, I’m going to rely on a professional for that as well. I really don’t know anything about working out, so I’m like, ‘Just tell me what to do.’”

Using her upcoming nuptials and the honeymoon as her inspiration, Rue dropped over 50 pounds before walking down the aisle and marrying Price on May 21, 2011 in a traditional Jewish wedding. “It’s the little things that make all the difference in motivating you,” she said. “I can concentrate on the dress or the wedding, but then I can also concentrate on something simple. I saw a pair of jeans that I want to buy, so I’m going to work towards that goal too. I’m definitely focused on the dress right now, but I’m also thinking about my honeymoon.”

After the wedding, Rue returned to acting and made a cameo in Psych before joining Reba McIntire in the singer’s short-lived series, Malibu Country, in 2012. At the time, Rue had just learned she was pregnant and, despite it being incredibly early in the pregnancy, she shared the news with the show’s writers who happily wrote her baby bump into the series. Although the show was canceled after only one season, the experience left a lasting impression on Rue. “It’s been a real blessing to be around people that are so kind and so supportive,” she said. “It’s been fun every day to go to work and say, ‘I got a sonogram, look at this,’ and to be able to share it with people who are invested in me and in the baby. I’m feeling really, really lucky.”

Rue gave birth to her daughter, Talulah Rue Price, on February 9, 2013 and spent the next year focusing on life at home saying, “Motherhood is the greatest thing I’ve ever done in my life.” Fortunately for her fans, Rue returned to television in 2014 with a recurring role on Mom followed by a starring role in Impastor from 2015 to 2016. In late 2016, the famous redhead announced her newest addition to the family—the adoption of daughter Adelaide Rue Price just in time for Thanksgiving. “I’m SO in love and grateful! Adelaide Rue Price joined our family and we are forever changed for the better,” Rue announced. “We just wanted another child to complete our family, and it really didn’t matter where she came from as long as we are her mom and dad.”

Today, Rue is happily juggling her roles as a wife and mother with acting. In addition to recurring roles on Bones and American Housewife, the 39-year-old is delighting fans as Olivia Caliban in the second season of Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events! Rue, of course, continues to count her blessings and knows her good fortune in the industry is incredibly rare. “I recognize how lucky I am as an actor,” she says. “I’ve been working since I was nine years old!”