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‘Gilmore Girls’ Dreamboat to ‘This Is Us’ Dad — Why We Can’t Get Enough of Milo Ventimiglia

Catch up with the star, find out what happened to his new show and what he's doing next!

Actor Milo Ventimiglia has been one of our favorite TV stars since his career took off in the mid-’90s, with one-off roles on classic teen shows like The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch and Saved by the Bell: The New Class. In 2000, the California-native had starred on the short-lived series Opposite Sex, but his breakout role would come a year later, in 2001, when Milo Ventimiglia landed a new show where he played Jess Mariano, Rory Gilmore’s troubled but charming love interest on the beloved dramedy Gilmore Girls.

The ultra-devoted Gilmore Girls fanbase will always know Ventimiglia as Jess, but he’d soon star in other popular TV shows, including the sci-fi drama Heroes, which ran from 2006 to 2010. More recently, Ventimiglia played the devoted patriarch Jack Pearson on the moving, family-centered show This Is Us — a role that earned him three Emmy nominations for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. And he didn’t just act — he also directed three episodes!

Here’s more of why we can’t get enough of the charming 46-year-old actor.

Actors Milo Ventimiglia and Alexis Bledel in 2003
Milo Ventimigllia with his Gilmore Girls love interest Alexis Bledel in 2003Vince Bucci/Getty Images

Milo Ventimiglia overcame career struggles

Milo Ventimiglia has always been known for keeping it real. After Heroes ended, Ventimiglia said that he considered quitting the business during a rough patch. “I couldn’t get hired,” he shared in an Access Hollywood interview. “I did not work for one calendar year.” He did some soul-searching and settled on getting back to basics, saying, “I was really having to re-evaluate what I was going to be doing because you need to feed yourself and clothe yourself and have a roof over your head.”

Milo Ventimiglia at a 'Heroes' press conference in 2006
Milo Ventimiglia at a Heroes press conference in 2006Vera Anderson/WireImage/Getty Images

But if Hollywood completely turned its back on him, he had a fun contingency plan: “I was gonna cash in and move to Italy on my European passport and find a farm to work on, grow a beard and ride a motorcycle and just live a quiet life,” Ventimiglia said. While this does sound like it could’ve been a good plan for a struggling actor looking for an escape, he soon landed roles in a string of movies including That’s My Boy, Static and Kiss of the Damned. In 2006, Ventimiglia filled some truly iconic shoes when he played Sylvester Stallone’s son in the sixth installment of the beloved Rocky movie franchise.

Embracing imperfections

Milo Ventimiglia may be dashingly handsome, but he was initially self-conscious about his so-called “crooked mouth.” When he was born, the nerves in his lower left lip were “broken,” as he’s described. “When I was young, I used to really talk out of the side of my face — it was that pronounced,” he admitted to People.

Actor Milo Ventimiglia in 2016
Milo Ventimiglia shows his charmingly uneven mouth in 2016Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic/Getty Images

When he first saw a recording of himself talking as a kid, he panicked, asking his mom, “What’s going on?… That’s what I look like when I talk?” This heartbreaking moment of childhood self-consciousness led him to try and straighten his mouth by holding it a certain way. After years of struggle, he no longer minds it so much, and says it only comes out if he’s running and yelling in a scene. We think this imperfection only makes him more charming!

His family’s impact

This Is Us won fans for its depiction of the ups and downs of family life, and Ventimiglia has often spoken of the influence of his own family. He has two older sisters, which he described as “the best thing but also the worst thing,” in an Interview Magazine feature. As he recalled, “They dressed me up like a girl, but at the same time they taught me a lot of what they experienced and what they lived through.”

This family dynamic shaped him as a person both on and off the screen, he says. “[They] influenced how I approached not only women, but people.” It’s no wonder, then, that he’s excelled at playing caring, sensitive men. “I got very lucky with the family I was born into,” he said.

Given how convincingly Ventimiglia played a father, you might assume he has kids himself, but this isn’t the case. The bachelor actually found inspiration from his own father. “I feel like Jack had the same heart as my father,” he said. His father was active and involved in his childhood, and taught him to be a good person.

When it came to playing Jack, Ventimiglia had a super-sweet keepsake from his dad that helped him get into character. He explained: “I have a photograph of my dad from when I was about three years old and above it, it says: ‘Be a good father’ and below it, it says ‘Be a good husband.'” He kept this photo in his This Is Us trailer and made a point of looking at it before going onto set. No wonder his performance was so powerful!

Actor Milo Ventimiglia in 2019
Milo Ventimiglia in 2019Rachel Luna/Getty Images

Milo Ventimiglia is more than just an actor

When he’s not acting, Milo is passionate about motorcycles (he’s had a motorcycle license since he was 26), comic books (he’s even presented his own comic book series), photography (a hobby he’s had since childhood) and music (he’s a devoted fans of punk bands like The Clash). He also loves being with his family, and is proud to take on the real-life role of “cool uncle.” He told People how much he loves spoiling his two nieces and two nephews, and said he’s been inspired by watching his sisters become parents.

Saying goodbye to Jack Pearson

While Milo Ventimiglia has moved on from his critically acclaimed role in This Is Us, he definitely misses aspects of Jack, the show and his co-stars. Mandy Moore, who played his wife in the hit series, was a force to be reckoned with, and someone Milo regards as one of his greatest acting partners to this day.

She has been, probably, in my 26 years in front of the camera, the best partner I’ve ever had,” he said in an interview on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. He spoke adoringly of her commitment, dedication and growth as an artist, and these positive feelings offscreen translated into serious onscreen chemistry.

Milo Ventimiglia and Mandy Moore in 2016
Milo Ventimiglia and Mandy Moore are all smiles in 2016Michael Kovac/Getty Images for The Paley Center For Media

Rather than get too emotional about the end of This Is Us, Ventimiglia told People, “You have to let it go. You perform, you put your heart into it and then you have to be okay stepping away from it.” It’s this down-to-earth attitude that makes the star so lovable.

Milo Ventimiglia new show

After This Is Us ended in 2022, Milo Ventimiglia scored a new show and wasted no time in getting back on our screens, playing a con man in ABC’s The Company You Keep, while also acting as the show’s executive producer. And Ventimiglia’s role couldn’t have been more different from his role of Jack on This Is Us. As he told People, the more dark and violent tone was quite a change from “holding babies and changing diapers.” He called Jack “an attainable superhero” — the total opposite of a con man.

Unfortunately, despite good reviews and fan favor, The Company You Keep was cancelled after just 10 episodes. Because the show only premiered in midseason, there was talk that ABC may give the series a partial second season order to give it more time to find an audience, but that has not yet been confirmed.

What we do know is that the handsome and humble actor will land on his feet, and in the meantime we’ll be binging all of his previous shows and but we can’t wait to see what Ventimiglia will do next.

Catherine Haena Kim and Milo Ventimiglia of ABC's 'The Company You Keep' pose for a portrait during the 2023 Winter Television Critics Association Press Tour at The Langham Huntington, Pasadena on January 11, 2023 in Pasadena, California
Milo Ventimiglia poses with Catherine Haena Kim, his The Company You Keep co-star, 2022JSquared Photography/Getty Images

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