Celebrity Then And Now
Posted by Ryan Neal
Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: RidiculouslyExtraordinary. Posted by Ryan Neal
Beverly Hills, 90210, What I Like About You
Currently Known For:
1990s - 2000s
April 3, 1972
Beverly Hills, 90210, What I Like About You
“I have to pick myself up every day and say, ‘The show must go on,’ meaning life as I know it must go on, whatever the obstacle is, I know I can handle it and I can get through it.” Launching her career as an actress in 1989, Jennie Garth is best remembered for her starring role as Kelly Taylor on Aaron Spelling’s hit series, Beverly Hills, 90210. With the series running for a decade from 1990 to 2000, Garth became a household name in Hollywood and earned a Young Artist Award for Best Young Actress for her performance. Because of the show’s success, the opportunities were endless for Garth who made the rounds on television and in film with special appearances in Melrose Place (1992) and The Larry Sanders Show (1995) as well as in films like Power 98 (1996) and My Brother’s War (1997).
After wrapping up Beverly Hills, 90210 in 2000, Garth landed back on her feet with another hit series, What I Like About You, co-starring Amanda Bynes. Spending four seasons on the show from 2002 to 2006, Garth rekindled her fame just as her costar spiraled out of control. Fortunately, Garth didn’t let the media frenzy ruin her reputation as she danced her way back into the spotlight on Dancing with the Stars (2007) and reprised her role as Kelly Taylor in the 90210 reboot in 2008. Over the last decade, she’s snagged credits in Mystery Girls (2014), RuPaul’s Drag Race (2017), and The Mick (2018) but is currently focused on her newest project—MomGiftBox.com, an online subscription box for moms!Early Life: A Ranch’s Daughter
“My mom really instilled in me that I’m beautiful and I can do anything…” The youngest of seven children, Jennifer Eve Garth came into this world on April 3, 1972, in Urbana, Illinois where she spent the first 13 years of her life on a 25-acre horse ranch that gave her the freedom to run around and explore. In 1985, the family relocated to Glendale, Arizona where the teenage Garth entered Greenway High School before she transferred to Apollo High School for her sophomore year. By this time, Garth knew she was destined for stardom and initially studied modeling and dancing before she decided on acting. At the age of 15, she entered her first talent event where Hollywood manager and talent scout Randy James took notice of the young blonde who stole the show and won the event.
Under James’ guidance, Garth traveled to Los Angeles to learn more about the industry and started auditioning for minor roles on television. Although she briefly returned to Arizona, Garth dropped out of high school and moved to Los Angeles with her mother where she signed on for acting lessons from coach Jean Fowler. Working toward her high school diploma in her spare time, Garth went to auditions every day and, after just four months in Hollywood, landed her first television role on NBC’s newest series, Brand New Life, in 1989.
Garth made a guest appearance on Growing Pains in 1990 before Brand New Life was canceled after its fifth episode. This was perfect timing since Garth landed her next audition for the part of Kelly Taylor on Aaron Spelling’s newest series, Beverly Hills, 90210. At the time, Garth was desperate to land any part on the show but Spelling initially passed her over. “When the casting call for 90210 went out, Mr. Showbiz did his thing and sent over headshots, and we heard pretty quickly that these had been thrown out, likely, before they’d ever even reached the casting directors,” Garth recalled. “It was clear that only seasoned actors were going to be considered for this project, but Mr. Showbiz, who had a long and profitable relationship with Spelling’s team… persisted, and somehow managed to finagle a meeting for me with Mr. Spelling himself.”Rise to Fame on Beverly Hills, 90210
“I don’t think any of us were prepared for the stardom…” Although the first season of Beverly Hills, 90210 failed to impress and struggled in the ratings, Spelling pulled out all the stops in the summer of 1991 and aired a special summer season just as other networks aired reruns of popular shows. This small move launched Garth and her costars—Jason Priestley, Shannen Doherty, Ian Ziering, and a few others—to overnight fame as viewership dramatically increased and Beverly Hills, 90210 became Fox’s hottest new show.
“In just a matter of weeks, we went from being just another generic ensemble cast of any old primetime drama to being superstars,” Garth said. “I don’t think any of us were prepared for the stardom that was thrust upon us in this way. Thank God we had one another because we were able to protect each other from the harm this kind of sudden fame can bring with it by staying close and huddling up and focusing on getting the job done… and it bonded us for life.”
The series certainly bonded the cast as Garth and her costars became household names over the show’s 10-year run. Garth herself took home several awards for the series including a Young Artist Award and a Teen Choice Award nomination. She also tried her hand as a director for two episodes and assisted with spinoffs like Melrose Place and 90210. At the time, however, she struggled with her sudden stardom and later admitted that the severe anxiety that followed almost crippled her career.
“I felt comfortable—almost comforted—by all of the workers buzzing around me during the day, but after hours, I’d find myself getting anxious when strangers approached me,” she said of the severe anxiety she felt at 19 years old. “And so, simple tasks, like going to the grocery store, or the mall, or to get gas, became overwhelming exercises in having to be ‘on’ when my natural inclination was to shut down and not interact with anyone. I began to suffer what was, at times, nearly paralyzing. When the panic attacks started to kick in, I became even more withdrawn… I stopped going to the movies or clothes shopping or doing any of the other things normal young people do. I wouldn’t say that I ever stepped over the line into full-blown agoraphobia, but I would say I definitely came close.”
Despite her crippling anxiety, Garth pushed through and, amid her success on Beverly Hills, 90210, expanded her reach as an actress. She starred in several television films including Danielle Steel’s Star (1993), Without Consent (1994), Lies of the Heart: The Story of Laurie Kellogg (!994), Falling For You (1995) and An Unfinished Affair (1996). She also landed small parts in films like Power 98 (1996), My Brother’s War (1997), and Telling You (1998), all of which added to her fame as she was ranked as one of the 100 Sexiest Women in the new millennium by FHM magazine.From Beverly Hills, 90210 to What I Like About You
“I still enjoy acting. I love the moment in front of the camera, but it’s all the other moments that I don’t enjoy. The ‘business’ aspect of it. The gossip.” After Beverly Hills, 90210 wrapped in 2000, Garth was back on the market for another project and landed a recurring role on The $treet (2000-2001) and starred in the 2001 television film Watching the Detectives. Then, in 2002, she caught her next big break when she was cast as Valerie Tyler opposite Amanda Bynes on the WB sitcom, What I Like About You. The series was a hit over its four-season run from 2002 to 2006 and put Garth back on the map as she starred in two more television films—The Last Cowboy (2003) and Secret Santa (2003).
After What I Like About You wrapped in 2006, Garth voiced Trudy Lawrence in an episode of American Dad! (2006) and returned to television with a starring role in the 2007 made-for-television film, Girl, Positive. She then danced her way back into the spotlight with Derek Hough on the fifth season of Dancing with the Stars and surprised her fans in 2008 when she reprised her role as Kelly Taylor in the 90210 reboot, which ran until 2010. Following 90210, Garth starred in a string of television films like Accidentally in Love (2011), A Christmas Wedding Tail (2011), Village People (2012), and The Eleventh Victim (2012) before she signed on with CMT to star in her own reality series—Jennie Garth: A Little Bit Country (2012).
Although her reality series was short-lived, Garth refused to slow down and returned to television with a cameo in Community (2013) and a lead role in the 2013 television film Holidaze. The following year, she teamed up with Tori Spelling to star in the ABC Family sitcom Mystery Girls, which was canceled after only ten episodes. Once again, Garth pushed forward and hosted The Jennie Garth Project reality series on HGTV that documented her work renovating her Hollywood Hills home. The series wrapped after 10 episodes as Garth spent the next few years out of the spotlight before returning with credits in A Time to Dance (2016), RuPaul’s Drag Race (2017), and The Mick (2018). So, what’s she doing now?Personal Life and Future Plans
“I don’t think there’s a hobby that I haven’t tried on.” With Beverly Hills, 90210 marking the most successful decade (and project) of her entire career, Garth has a lot to be grateful for especially since the show sealed her fate as an actress and earned her titles like one of the “100 Sexiest Women of 2000” by FHM magazine. However, the accolades and fame did little to overshadow Garth’s personal issues from the anxiety brought on by her overnight stardom to her troubled romantic relationships beginning with her first marriage to musician Daniel B. Clark from 1994 to 1996.
Legally separated from Clark in 1995, Garth met and fell in love with actor Peter Facinelli on the set of An Unfinished Affair (1995). Once her divorce from Clark was finalized in 1996, Garth and Facinelli confirmed their relationship and started a family with the birth of their daughter, Luca Bella, in 1997. Four years later, Garth converted to Roman Catholicism and exchanged vows with Facinelli in a Roman Catholic ceremony on January 20, 2001. During the ceremony, Luca was tasked with handing rose petals out to her parent’s 150 guests. “This took great concentration on her part, and I watched, my heart breaking with the overwhelming adorableness of her, as she carefully chose each rose petal and handed them off,” Garth later recounted. “Here’s one for you, Uncle Bob; one for you, the lady in the hat I don’t know; one for you, Kevin [Spacey] since you just worked with Daddy; one for you Jason [Priestly] because I’ve known you since before I was born…”
While their relationship appeared idyllic to outsiders as they welcomed daughters Lola Ray (2002) and Fiona Eve (2006) into the world, tensions rose in 2012 when Facinelli skyrocketed to fame after he landed the role of Dr. Carlisle Cullen in The Twilight Saga franchise. As he juggled the film series and his starring role on Nurse Jackie with his life at home, Facinelli and Garth spent more and more time apart. This took a huge toll on their marriage and led Facinelli to file for divorce in March 2012. “I was very resistant,” Garth said of her separation and impending divorce. “I didn’t want it to happen. It took me some time to come to peace with it.”
Garth eventually came to peace with it and signed the official divorce papers in June 2013 after agreeing to share custody of her daughters with Facinelli. Fortunately, Garth was quick to find love a third time after she met actor David Abrams on a blind date in the fall of 2014. The couple announced their engagement in April 2015 and married on July 11, 2015. Once again, things seemed idyllic for the couple until they announced their separation in 2017 and finalized their divorce in April 2018. Now back on the market today, the 46-year-old Garth remains optimistic about her love life saying, “I just want to love and be loved.” Until she finds that lasting love, she’s content being a single mother to her three daughters and pursuing her talents as an actress and entrepreneur.