Already have an account?
Get back to the

Connie Britton TV Shows: Why She’s One of the Small Screen’s Brightest Stars

From 'Spin City' to 'Friday Night Lights' to 'Nashville' and beyond


Whenever Connie Britton shows up in a TV show, we know we’re in for a good time. The 56-year-old actress has been a constant presence in comedies and dramas alike since the ’90s. As Tami Taylor on the hit football drama Friday Night Lights, her fiery red hair, sweet-as-honey drawl and effortless maternal spirit made her one of the most beloved characters on television, but she’s also had a variety of successful shows before and since, including Spin City and Nashville. Here’s a look at how Britton became such an appealing star.

Before Connie Britton, there was Constance Womack

Connie Britton was born Constance Elaine Womack in Boston, Massachusetts. She always wanted to be a performer, and as a child, she and her twin sister would dig through closets for costumes and argue over parts in made-up plays. Britton’s mother was a music teacher who encouraged her interests, and as the actress revealed to Entertainment Weekly, “I grew up singing.” In 1989, she graduated from college and moved to New York City, where she immersed herself in a rigorous actor’s education at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre.

Britton began acting in off-Broadway plays, and in 1995, she made her onscreen debut in the indie movie The Brothers McMullen. After the film’s success, Britton packed her bags and moved to Los Angeles, where she’d soon become a star.

Connie Britton, 2002
Connie Britton in 2002Mark Mainz/Getty Images

Connie Britton’s early TV roles

Soon enough, Britton appeared in three episodes of Ellen DeGeneres’ sitcom Ellen, and even came close to playing opposite Tom Cruise in 1996’s Jerry Maguire, ultimately losing the role to Renee Zellweger. That year, Britton was cast as Nikki Faber in the workplace comedy Spin City opposite Michael J. Fox. When Charlie Sheen replaced him in 2000, she ended up being written out of the show.

Connie Britton, Michael J. Fox and Heather Locklear in 1999
Connie Britton with her Spin City co-stars Michael J. Fox and Heather Locklear in 1999Robin Platzer/Getty Images

With Spin City behind her, she landed a recurring role in the short-lived remake of the classic show The Fugitive in 2000, and in 2001, she played Gertrude Temple, Shirley Temple’s mother, in the TV film Child Star: The Shirley Temple Story

Britton kept busy that year with a recurring part in The West Wing, and a leading role in The Fighting Fitzgeralds, a family sitcom that lasted just one season. In 2006, she had a recurring role as Kiefer Sutherland’s girlfriend in the fifth season of the espionage thriller 24, and that same year brought the role that would change the course of her career for good.

Connie Britton’s breakthrough

In 2004, Britton had a small part in Friday Night Lights, a film adaption of the 1990 book Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream. The book was then adapted into a TV show two years later, in 2006, and she was cast opposite Kyle Chandler. (Read about what Kyle Chandler is up to now and whether or not a Friday Night Lights reboot is on the horizon).

Connie Britton played Tami Taylor, the wife of Eric Taylor, the head football coach played by Chandler. Her character had an impressive arc, as a maternal figure who becomes a high school guidance counselor and school principal. The New York Times described her as “something of an icon, a 40-something sex symbol and role model at the center of a critically acclaimed show.”

Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton, 2007
Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton in 2007Evan Agostini/Getty Images

Britton appreciated how the show gave her a well-written, mature role. In an interview with Redbook, she revealed, “In the past, I’d always felt like ‘the girl’ in the show or the movie. On Friday Night Lights, there were a bunch of girls and I was the woman. Initially there was a little struggle with my identity around that. But then there was a sense of ease.” 

Minka Kelly, Adrianne Palicki, Connie Britton and Aimee Teegarden, 2007
Friday Night Lights stars Minka Kelly, Adrianne Palicki, Connie Britton and Aimee Teegarden in 2007Evan Agostini/Getty Images

Friday Night Lights ran for five years and during that time, Britton developed a loyal fanbase that remains today. The show brought her the most exposure of her career, and she didn’t slow down after it ended.

Related: Taylor Kitsch Best Movies & TV Shows — From ‘Friday Night Lights’ to ‘Battleship’

Life after the Lights

In 2011, Britton starred in the first season of American Horror Story, playing Vivien Harmon, a woman who moves her family to California after a series of personal tragedies. Spoiler alert: the new house proves to be seriously haunted. 

In 2012, Britton signed on to star in the country nighttime soap opera, Nashville, as Rayna Jaymes, a 40 year-old renowned country singer whose star is beginning to fade. Britton admitted that the most challenging part in the beginning of taking on this role was singing. While she had musical experience in her youth, she admitted, “I was so nervous that I would not let anybody listen to me sing until we had recorded the song,” in an Entertainment Weekly interview. She left Nashville during the fifth season, only to return for the series finale in 2018 as a guest star.

Charles Esten, Hayden Panettiere, Connie Britton, Clare Bowen, Sam Palladio and Jonathan Jackson, 2013
The cast of Nashville (left to right: Charles Esten, Hayden Panettiere, Connie Britton, Clare Bowen, Sam Palladio and Jonathan Jackson) in 2013Amanda Edwards/WireImage/Getty Images

Continuing success

2012 continued to be a busy year for Britton, as she co-starred in The Fitzgerald Family Christmas and the dramedy Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (opposite Steve Carell and Keira Knightley). She then returned to her Friday Night Lights roots in Austin, Texas to star opposite Harry Connick Jr. and country legends Willie Nelson, Lyle Lovett and Kris Kristofferson in the Christmas family drama, Angels Sing. Work continued to come her way with each passing year, and in 2018, she starred as emergency dispatcher Abby Clark in the first season of 9-1-1, her third collaboration with Ryan Murphy. 

Connie Britton has found continued success in numerous TV shows over the past few years. Later came the Bravo scripted series Dirty John, based on the podcast of the same name, in which Britton played a successful entrepreneur who sacrifices everything when she becomes enmeshed with a con man. 

In 2021, she had yet another celebrated role, playing Nicole Mossbacher, a wealthy businesswoman and mother on a tropical vacation, in the first season of HBO’s The White Lotus. She received a well-deserved Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie.

Connie Britton at the LA premiere of 'The White Lotus,' 2021
Connie Britton at the LA premiere of The White LotusJon Kopaloff/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Finding peace off-screen

After all these years in the entertainment business, Britton says she’s becoming more adept at knowing and asking for what she needs and wants. “I stand up for myself much more now,” she told Health. “I’ve done a lot of conscious work around my own sense of value.

In 2011, Britton adopted a son from Ethiopia, and treasured the opportunity to savor the small things. As she told Oprah, “My weekend ritual has changed but it’s better than ever. We get up early and go for a walk on one of the hiking trails near my home in Los Angeles, then meet up with friends at a diner. There’s nothing better than sipping coffee, eating scrambled eggs and taking three hours to do it.”

Like many actresses with kids, Britton has sometimes struggled with work-life balance. “I have days like, ‘Wow, I succeeded as a mom today or I succeeded at work today,” she told Health. “It’s not all perfect.” As a single mom (she divorced John Britton, an investment banker, in 1995) and actress who’s known for playing mature woman, Britton is an ongoing source of inspiration.

Connie Britton in 2023
Connie Britton in 2023Araya Doheny/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Whether she’s playing a maternal presence in the macho world of football, a country star or a wealthy woman on vacation, Connie Britton remains a force to be reckoned with — and we can’t wait to see what she does next.

For more female powerhouses, click through!

Geena Davis Movies: 12 of Her Most Charming and Memorable Films

‘The Office’ and ‘Monk’ Star Melora Hardin’s Must-See Movies and TV Shows

From ‘Beaches’ to ‘Hocus Pocus’: 15 Unforgettable Bette Midler Movies

Hollywood Icon Ann-Margret Opens Up About Motorcycles, Dean Martin, Elvis and Her Secret Souvenir From ‘Viva Las Vegas’

How ‘SVU’ Star Mariska Hargitay Got Her Start and The Advice That Keeps Her Going: ‘Get Up and Try Again’

Jan Brady is Grown Up — You’ll Be Surprised By What Actress Eve Plumb is Doing Today

Use left and right arrow keys to navigate between menu items. Use right arrow key to move into submenus. Use escape to exit the menu. Use up and down arrow keys to explore. Use left arrow key to move back to the parent list.