Christina Applegate's Life And Career Since Married... With Children

In 1987, actor Christina Applegate got her big break on the beloved Fox sitcom, "Married... with Children." Some fans of the show might even say that the actor was made for the role of Kelly Bundy, the family's hilariously ditzy teenage daughter, but it turns out that the actor had a hard time envisioning herself in the role at first. "I was a dark kid," Applegate told the Los Angeles Times in 2016. "I always thought serious projects were going to be my jam. But the show really helped me to let go of being so serious all the time."

Although the star may not have known it at the time, it appears that her "Married... with Children" role was just what her career needed, kickstarting a number of comedic roles on the small and big screen. Over the years, the "Dead to Me" star has arguably proven that she's a very versatile actor, enjoying an eclectic acting journey from starring in TV sitcoms to making an impressive Broadway debut. Along the way, the Los Angeles native has opened up about living with health issues while still working long days and nights as a busy actor — such is Christina Applegate's life and career since "Married...With Children."

Her post-Married... with Children roles earned awards

After "Married... with Children" ended in 1997, Christina Applegate continued to land roles on sitcoms. In 1998, she was cast as Jesse Warner on NBC's "Jesse." The show focused on the titular single mom pursuing a nursing career while balancing her love life, motherhood, and relationships with family. In 1999, the actor's performance in the show earned her a Golden Globe Award nomination. The sitcom ended a year later, but Applegate continued to impress with an acclaimed guest appearance in "Friends." In 2003, the star even won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress In A Comedy Series for her role as Amy in the sitcom, receiving a second nomination the following year for her subsequent guest appearance as the character.

During a 2019 "Today" interview, Applegate reminisced on her time in the classic sitcom, revealing that she already knew most of the cast from previous projects. The actor explained that she was so at home that it didn't feel like she was working, so her Emmy win was a pleasant surprise. "It didn't feel like I was doing anything special in any way," she continued. "I was just having so much fun ... I really was in shock when that happened. It was one of those moments of, like, 'why ... what, me?' Like in 'Sixteen Candles' when she's like 'Me?' And he's like, 'Yeah, you.' That's how I felt when they said my name."

She married Johnathon Schaech

In 1997, Christina Applegate found love with "That Thing You Do!" actor, Johnathon Schaech. Per Us Weekly, the couple got married in 2001 and divorced in 2005. While neither has shared exactly why their marriage didn't work, Schaech has suggested that the divorce was difficult for him given how the relationship had helped to pull him out of a dark place. "Being raised Catholic and having parents that are still together over 50 years, I felt I failed everyone. I thought God had given up on me," he wrote in a Reddit AMA. "Sex, drugs, alcohol, and dark nights became who I was. I knew I needed to find someone who loved me as much as I loved them."

Although the couple did not have children together, their divorce was complicated by their shared wealth and properties. According to The Hollywood Reporter, it was decided that Schaech would walk away with $1.5 million, as well as the former couple's Mercedes-Benz and cement Buddha. On the other hand, Applegate was awarded $7.5 million and two of their shared Los Angeles properties. Neither party requested spousal support and the actors have since tied the knot with other people.

Christina Applegate made her Broadway debut

Christina Applegate reached a major career milestone with her Broadway debut in a 2004 production of "Sweet Charity." However, it wasn't without its complications. As she explained to New York Magazine, early on in production, the star received a phone call that the show had been canceled.  "I hung up the phone. And then I went into a blind three days of just — I don't even remember what I said, what I did, all I knew was that I was on a mission and it wasn't gonna stop." The star's signature tenacity came into play and she managed to save the show and put it back into production — and then she went and broke her foot. Quite the professional, she focused intently on healing up and returned to the stage just a month and a half later. "I'm determined and I'm focused," Applegate told New York Magazine. 

During an appearance on "The Tonight Show" (via The Hollywood Reporter), she reflected on her Broadway stint and the beauty of sharing a performance with a live audience. She also told Jay Leno how the overall experience really helped to push her as an actor. "The work is really intense," she explained. "I think working 16 hours a day is harder, but really [I think] my whole soul changed doing that year of Broadway."

The actor returned to TV with Samantha Who?

Fans were likely thrilled when Christina Applegate made her return to TV with ABC's "Samantha Who" in 2007. The sitcom followed the life of Samantha Newly, a woman who starts her life over after a car accident leaves her with amnesia. Along the way, she discovers that she wasn't the nicest person before the accident and tries to reverse all of her wrongdoings. During an interview with FanBolt in 2009, the actor spoke about what it was like playing a character with a history of being unkind. "It definitely is fun to play a mean girl," Applegate revealed. "Samantha gets away with so much because of her confidence and the way she looks. I get very exhausted playing her because she has so many different sides to her character, but it's also very fun. I really enjoy working on the show."

"Samantha Who?" was initially popular with audiences, scoring the highest ratings of any new show that fall. Sadly, it was canceled after only two seasons. According to The Hollywood Reporter, ABC Studios requested for $500,000 to be cut from the show's budget for each episode in order for it to be considered for renewal. "Samantha Who?" faced yet another challenge because it would also would have had to compete with 10 new ABC shows. Ultimately, the television studio decided it was better to say goodbye to the series, leaving Applegate free to make her next career move.

Christina Applegate was open about her breast cancer

In 2008, Christina Applegate came forward with some heartbreaking news regarding her health. During an interview on "The Oprah Winfrey Show," she revealed that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer and had undergone a double mastectomy. The actor shared that her mother had also been diagnosed with breast cancer, so she made sure to keep up with annual mammograms. However, she was told she needed additional testing. "My doctor said that the mammograms weren't enough for me because of the denseness of my breasts," she told Winfrey. "He suggested that I get an MRI." Applegate went on to explain that her MRI results led doctors to perform a biopsy that revealed she did, in fact, have breast cancer. Thankfully, it was caught early, and the star received six weeks of radiation therapy rather than chemotherapy to treat it. 

Applegate later found out that she had inherited the BRCA gene, also known as the breast cancer gene. "That sort of changed everything for me," she said of the discovery. "Radiation was something temporary, and it wasn't addressing the issue of this coming back or the chance of it coming back in my left breast. I sort of had to kind of weigh all my options at that point." After weighing her options, she decided to undergo a double mastectomy. Having received the cancer diagnosis at just 36 years old, the star has since become a vocal advocate for breast cancer awareness and early detection. 

She explored voice acting

Following the cancellation of "Samantha Who?" and her breast cancer diagnosis, Christina Applegate picked up a few voice acting roles. In 2009, she voiced a Chipette called Brittany in "Chipmunks: The Squeakquel." Speaking to Parade, she explained how she mastered the distinctive chipmunk voice — however, it sounds like it might not be a good idea to ask Applegate to perform her chipmunk voice in person, as it won't sound the same as it did in the film. "You have to talk really slow like you just kind of had woken up from a nap," she explained. "It's really funny because it's as far away as you can get from that chipmunk sound. Then, you hear it sped up and it's perfect." 

The actor also explained how she was able to keep things PG in the recording booth. "When I improvise, foul things often come out of my mouth that aren't on the page," she said. "So I really stuck to the script or there would have been some inappropriate words from my chipmunk. It was good to do something that was very wholesome." 

Per IMDb, Applegate also lent her voice to two other films in the "Alvin and the Chipmunks" franchise, including "The Road Chip," and "Chipwrecked." Musical rodent films aside, the star also voiced Cathrine in the animated film, "Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore," and Mary Beth in the Día de los Muertos inspired, "The Book of Life."

She briefly starred in Up All Night

In 2011, Christina Applegate returned to TV once again with NBC's "Up All Night." On the show, she played Reagan, a new mom navigating parenthood with her stay-at-home husband, Chris (played by Will Arnett). In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Applegate shared her take on the star-studded sitcom, which also featured comedic talents like Maya Rudolph and Sean Hayes. "It's a funny take [on raising a child] but it starts in a real place," she said of the show. "All good comedy starts in a real place. Obviously, raising a child is ridiculous and funny and things happen."

Applegate hit a bump in the road when the producers of "Up All Night" decided to revamp the show. Per Deadline, there was speculation that "Up All Night" was instead being pushed in the direction of a workplace comedy that would focus more on Rudolph's character, who was Reagan's boss on the series. Applegate subsequently left the sitcom after its second season. 

Amid her departure, the actor released a statement published by Deadline that read, "It's been a great experience working on 'Up All Night,' but the show has taken a different creative direction and I decided it was best for me to move on to other endeavors." She added that along with the cast and crew of the show, she adored working with comedy mogul, Lorne Michaels, on "Up All Night" and was grateful for the opportunity to do so. 

The Los Angeles native remarried in 2013

After moving on from her ex-husband, Johnathon Schaech, Christina Applegate found love again with musician, Martyn LeNoble. The two tied the knot in a discrete wedding ceremony in 2013. The "Anchorman" star opened up about the early days of their romance in an interview with More magazine (via Daily Mail). "We had always cared deeply for one another when we were friends," she said. "And he came and put me under his wing. That was it — he was supposed to come." LeNoble re-entered her life as she recovered from her mastectomy in 2008. "Without him, I don't know if I could've gone through any of it," she said of the musician. "He came around at a time when there was a lot of loss in my life on many levels, so he's been a really incredible help."

The happy couple welcomed their first child together in January 2011, two years before their wedding. An interview with People revealed that Applegate already had an idea of what she would be like as a mother before her daughter came into her life. "I'll probably be a little bit hippie and a little bit Type A," the actor told the outlet a few months prior to giving birth. She added that while she intended to take inspiration from her mother's free-spirited tactic of parenting, she'd also incorporate some practical skills she'd picked up from watching her friends do great jobs as parents. 

The star took on a number of movie roles

After leaving "Up All Night," Christina Applegate seemed to focus on movie roles, starring in a number of films while settling in as a new mom and wife. In 2013, she reprised her role as Veronica Corningstone in "Anchorman 2: The Legend of Ron Burgundy" alongside Will Ferrell. Unfortunately for fans of the movie, the star revealed that she didn't see an "Anchorman 3" happening in the future. When asked about the possibility during an episode of Deadline's "The Actor's Side," she responded, "I highly doubt it, at this point. Now that [Adam] McKay has got some Oscars on his shelf I don't know if we're going to go back and revisit [Anchorman]." The aforementioned Adam McKay is the film's director and he has since gone on to work on a number of critically-acclaimed films, such as "The Big Short," and Netflix's "Don't Look Up." 

After "Anchorman 2," Applegate went on to snag a role in the 2015 "National Lampoon" sequel, "Vacation," but her off-putting character in "Bad Moms" was arguably more notable. The star discussed her role in the film during an interview with, where she explained that she pulled inspiration for her character, Gwendolyn, from the various Alpha-moms she's come across over the years. "I don't have that in me ... so I had to really pull from what I've seen," she explained. "Not that anyone I've ever met has been this awful."

Dead to Me reunited her with the Anchorman team

In 2018, Christina Applegate reunited with Will Ferrell and "Anchorman" director, Adam Mckay, as executive producers of Netflix's dark-comedy series, "Dead to Me." In the off-beat series, Applegate plays a widow who works to investigate the hit-and-run that led to her husband's death. "Jen, my character, is grieving in [the] worst way possible, but that's her way," Applegate said of the show while speaking to Variety in 2019. "And I think that we should all be allowed to do that when we need to. Grief doesn't have a timeline. And grief is messy."

It turns out that the show's dark plot took a toll on Applegate, who told the outlet that her character's journey led her to work through a hardship she was facing in real life. "It was cathartic," the actor said. "I don't know if [it was] therapeutic. Did I start therapy after I shot the show? Yes, absolutely. To like finally talk about the stuff that hurt you in your life — and heal from that? I think it's [a] really beautiful thing." In 2020, it was announced that the third season of "Dead to Me," would be it's last, with Applegate writing on Twitter, "I will miss these ladies. But we felt this was the best way to tie up the story of these women."

The star continued to work after being diagnosed with MS

In 2021, Christina Applegate revealed on Twitter that she'd been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). "It's been a strange journey. But I have been so supported by people that I know who also have this condition," she wrote. "It's been a tough road. But as we all know, the road keeps going. Unless some a**hole blocks it." 

A year later she opened up about her experiences with the disease in an in-depth interview with The New York Times. Revealing that she received the diagnosis while filming Season 3 of "Dead to Me," Applegate explained that the show temporarily ceased production while she received treatment. "There was the sense of, 'Well, let's get her some medicine so she can get better,'" she said of the uncertain time. "And there is no better. But it was good for me. I needed to process my loss of my life, my loss of that part of me." She added that although she processed the issue, she couldn't accept it. "No. I'm never going to accept this. I'm p*ssed," she stated.

Applegate went on to reveal that she continued to work after her break from filming "Dead to Me," vowing that she wouldn't walk away from Season 3. She did, however, insist that filming would continue according to her terms — remaining as self-sufficient as possible — and described completing the season as the most difficult thing she's ever achieved.