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‘Dawson’s Creek’ Cast: You “Don’t Want to Wait” to Catch Up With these Stars!

Go back across the creek and catch up with the stars of the hit series!


For any fans of soapy dramas filled with teen romance, angst and classic 90s fashion, Dawson’s Creek is the show for you. The Dawson’s Creek cast features James Van Der Beek as Dawson Leery and Katie Holmes as his childhood best friend, Joey Potter. The two deal with the emotional rollercoaster of growing up while harboring secret feelings for each other. Also coping with the trials and tribulations of adolescence is Pacey Witter (Joshua Jackson), often referred to as the “town loser,” and Jen Lindley (Michelle Williams), the new girl next door.

group of friends smiling; Dawson's Creek cast
Joshua Jackson, Katie Holmes, James Van Der Beek and Michelle Williams in ‘Dawson’s Creek’ (1999) Entertainment

The series, which ran from 1998 to 2003, always started with the iconic theme song “I Don’t Want to Wait,” by Paula Cole, though that wasn’t the original pick for the drama. The song written specifically for the show was titled “Run Like Mad,” by Jann Arden. But after the former was used for the show’s promotional advertisements, Warner Bros. executives decided on Cole’s tune, though “Run Like Mad” was used to open a few episodes and eventually replaced the original song when the show hit Netflix in 2020.

What is Dawson’s Creek about?

Dawson’s Creek takes place in the fictional coastal town of Capeside, Massachusetts, its title coming from protagonist Dawson Leery, who lives on the town’s creek. And the creek itself is an integral part of the show as Dawson and Joey live on opposite ends of it, with Joey often referring to herself as “the girl on the wrong side of the creek.” As noted, the show follows their tumultuous friendship and gradual romance.

Two couples sitting together
James Van Der Beek and Katie Holmes / Katie Holmes and Joshua Jackson (1998/1999) Entertainment

As the friends work through the curveballs life throws at them, they also tackle everyday issues such as mental health and loss. On top of all of that, Dawson’s Creek gave us the most thrilling back-and-forth love triangles of all time between Dawson, Joey, and Pacey.

And then there was the original love triangle between Joey, Dawson and Jen, which flared up every now and then throughout the series. Yikes.

In 2003, Dawson’s Creek came to an end after years of back and forth between the love triangle(s), as well as the on and off relationships between … well, all the characters. While the show was always supposed to have Dawson and Joey as the endgame couple, audiences got to see Joey with Pacey, much to the joy of many — including Katie Holmes herself. The showrunners said that Holmes fought for her character to end up with Pacey, which felt like a more honest storyline.

group of friends posed for picture; Dawson's Creek Cast
Cast of ‘Dawson’s Creek’ (1999) Entertainment

The cast reunited in 2018 for the show’s 20th anniversary, posing for the cover of Entertainment Weekly and being interviewed by the magazine.

See what the Dawson’s Creek cast has been up to since the show’s ending.

James Van Der Beek as Dawson Leery

James Van Der Beek
1998/2019 Walter McBride / Contributor / Getty // Allen Berezovsky / Contributor / Getty

As the lead of the Dawson’s Creek cast, there wouldn’t have been a show without James Van Der Beek. He started acting at the age of 13 in school productions and eventually off-Broadway shows. When he auditioned for the role of Dawson, Van Der Beek was attending Drew University in New Jersey as an English major, hoping to later become an actor. Of course, he booked the role at age 20, left the university and the rest is history.

Since the show’s ending nearly 21 years ago, Van Der Beek has starred in the films Varsity Blues (1999) and The Rules of Attraction (2002), and was part of the main cast of the series Mercy (2010), Don’t Trust the B—– in Apartment 23 (2012 to 2013), Friends with Better Lives (2014), CSI: Cyber (2015 to 2016) and Pose (2018). In 2019 he participating in Season 28 of Dancing with the Stars.

Krysten Ritter and James Van Der Beek
Krysten Ritter and James Van Der Beek, 2013©ABC/courtesy

Van Der Beek was married to fellow actress Heather McComb from 2003 until their divorce in 2010. They met through McComb’s sister, who worked with him on an episode of Dawson’s Creek.

In 2009, he met current wife Kimberly Brook on a trip to Israel. He shared in an Instagram post for their 10-year anniversary, “I was in Israel, on a trip with an organized group, when it hit me: I was done being single. I wanted a real relationship. A soulmate…rattling all this off to a friend of mine when a voice interrupted us… it was @vanderkimberly.”

James Van Der Beek and wife Kimberly
James Van Der Beek (R) and Kimberly Van Der Beek attend HFC’s Brain Health Dinner on September 30, 2023 in Austin, Texas Rick Kern/Getty Images for Hilarity for Charity

The couple now have six children and recently relocated to Texas from Los Angeles. Van Der Beek has been on a bit of a break from acting since their move and has been focusing on his family.

Katie Holmes as Joey Potter: Dawson’s Creek Cast

Katie Holmes
1998/2023 Entertainment / Jamie McCarthy / Staff / Getty

The girl from the wrong side of the creek really outgrew that line after the series ended in 2003. In 2004, Katie Holmes starred in the films First Daughter and Batman Begins (2005).

Though Holmes’ character ended up with Pacey in the series finale of Dawson’s Creek, that wasn’t the case in real life. Homes and Jackson did have a brief romance early on in the show’s run, but they never discussed the relationship.

Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes
Tom Cruise (L) and Katie Holmes arrive at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party 2012 Anthony Harvey/Getty Images

In 2006, Holmes married fellow actor, Tom Cruise, who declared his love for her on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 2005. The two welcomed their first child, Suri Cruise, a few months before their wedding. In an interview with Vanity Fair, Katie said, “All I can say is the moment I looked in her eyes, I felt like … Mom.”

After all the commotion of their relationship, Holmes and Cruise divorced in 2012. Since then, she had been in a 6 year relationship with Jamie Foxx, but is currently single.

Katie Holmes’ most recent projects have been the film The Secret: Dare to Dream (2020) which just landed on Netflix, as well as Alone Together (2022) and Rare Objects (2023).

Joshua Jackson as Pacey Witter

Joshua Jackson; Dawson's Creek Cast
1999/2023 Steve Granitz / Contributor / Getty // Leon Bennett / Stringer / Getty

Joshua Jackson was meant to be in the Dawson’s Creek cast. The self-proclaimed “town screwup” originally auditioned for the role of Dawson, which he almost got, but eventually scored the role of Pacey. The show’s screenwriter, Kevin Williamson, explained, “The network said they didn’t see Josh as Dawson, and rightfully so. So, I went, ‘Okay, he’s Pacey,’ because I knew I wanted him in the show no matter what.”

Since the series ended, Jackson has starred in films such as Americano, Aurora Borealis and Shadows in the Sun (all 2005). His television career also thrived after the show’s ending. From 2008 to 2013, Jackson starred in the series Fringe, while in 2014 he got the part of Cole Lockhart in The Affair, which lasted until 2019. A year later, he became Reese Witherspoon’s husband in the series Little Fires Everywhere (2020).

The cast of Fringe
The cast of Fringe, 2008 to 2013©20th Television/courtesy

In 2019, Jackson tied the knot with actress and model, Jodie Turner-Smith. The couple welcomed their daughter, Juno Rose Diana, in 2020. However, they recently split at the end of 2023 and filed for divorce.

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Jackson’s most recent roles were on the Paramount+ mini-series, Fatal Attraction (2023) as well as the series Dr. Death (2023).

Michelle Williams as Jen Lindley: Dawson’s Creek Cast

Michelle Williams; Dawson's Creek Cast
1998/2023 Entertainment // Taylor Hill / Contributor / Getty

The new girl from New York was meant to cause some chaos for the comfortable Dawson and Joey, but Michelle Williams was a much needed addition. Sure, her presence riled up Joey and excited Dawson, but her character broke a lot of barriers. Jen sadly had an untimely death in the series finale due to a heart condition (RIP Jen!), leaving her friends, her Grams and her 1-year-old daughter behind.

After the series came to an end, Williams’ career took off. She went on to star in a number of movies including, Brokeback Mountain (2005), Blue Valentine (2010), The Greatest Showman (2017) and I Feel Pretty (2018). Williams has also won two Golden Globes: one in 2012 for her role as Marilyn Monroe in My Week with Marilyn (2011) and one for her role in Fosse/Verdon (2019).

In 2004, Williams met her partner, Heath Ledger, while filming Brokeback Mountain. The two never married, but they had a daughter, Matilda, in 2005. Williams and Ledger split up in 2007, just five months before his shocking death. In 2020, she married current husband, Thomas Kail, whom she welcomed son Hart with the same year.

Kerr Smith as Jack McPhee in the Dawson’s Creek Cast

Kerr Smith
1999/2015 Barry King / Contributor / Getty // Alberto E. Rodriguez / Staff / Getty

Introduced in Season 2, Jack’s appearance may have shook up the lives of Dawson and Joey, but he made our hearts flutter! After the series ended, Smith appeared in the series Charmed (1998), CSI: Miami (2002) and Eli Stone (2008).

In 2010, Smith starred in the series, Life Unexpected. A few years later, The Fosters (2013) introduced Smith as the main character’s birth father, Robert Quinn. Additionally, a couple of his films include Final Destination (2000) and My Bloody Valentine (2009).

Smith married Harmoni Everett in 2003, but they split in 2009. His most recent roles include minor arcs on series like Into the Dark (2019), Riverdale (2019), and The Resident (2021).

Meredith Monroe as Andie McPhee

Meredith Monroe; Dawson's Creek Cast
1999/ 2017 Entertainment // David Livingston / Contributor / Getty

Also introduced in Season 2, Andie was a turning point for the character of Pacey. Though the couple didn’t last, Meredith Monroe’s Andie was in Capeside until the end of Season 4.

Following the series’ conclusion, Monroe made appearances in many shows, including, CSI: Miami (2004), House (2005) and Cold Case (2005). Apart from Dawson’s Creek, her most notable projects are Minority Report (2002), Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011) and The Edge of Seventeen (2016). Most recently, Monroe starred in the Netflix series, 13 Reasons Why (2018).

In 1999, she married Steven Kavoit, the couple having two children together.

Mary Beth Peil as Grams in the Dawson’s Creek Cast

Mary Beth Peil
1998/ Entertainment // Bruce Glikas / Contributor / Getty

The Dawson’s Creek cast wouldn’t have been what it was without the lovable Grams offering her wisdom and sage advice to granddaughter Jen and her friends.

After the show ended, Peil starred in the movies The Reagans (2003) and The List (2007). Over the years, she’s had minor roles in the movies The Stepford Wives (2004) and Flags of Our Fathers (2006). In 2009, Peil booked the role of Jackie Florrick in The Good Wife. She remained on the series for all seven seasons, but only made sporadic appearances in the later seasons. Additionally, she’s been in multiple Broadway shows including Nine (2003), Anastasia (2017), and The Visit (2015).

Mary Beth Peil was previously married to Jerry Kirkbride and has two children with him.

Busy Philipps as Audrey Liddell in the Dawson’s Creek Cast

Busy Philipps; Dawson's Creek Cast
2002/2024 Gregg DeGuire / Contributor / Getty // Jose Perez/Bauer-Griffin / Contributor / Getty

Though she was only there for the last two seasons, Busy Philipps’ character was an unforgettable one. With a partying phase, rehab stint and readjustment to college life, Audrey was on a rollercoaster ride.

After the series, Philipps acting career took off. In 2004, she got a part in the movie White Chicks. Then in 2005, she booked her own series, Love, Inc., but that only lasted a single season. In 2008, Philipps booked Made of Honor, which she followed up with her role in He’s Just Not That Into You (2009). That same year, she became a part of the series Cougar Town, with Courteney Cox, which lasted for six seasons. Her most recent work includes a role on I Feel Pretty (2018), alongside Dawson’s costar Michelle Williams; and her portrayal of Regina George’s mother in the new film version of Mean Girls (2024).

Philipps married her current husband, Marc Silverstein, in 2007. The couple have two daughters, Birdie and Cricket.

For more of your favorite casts, click through the links below!

‘Blossom’ Cast: See the Hilarious Russo Family Then and Now

‘Party of Five’ Cast Then and Now: Catch Up With the Salinger Siblings Today

Catch Up With the Cast of ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ — See the Stars Then and Now!

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