The Big Bang Theory: What Happened To Kaley Cuoco And The Rest Of The Cast?

The following article includes brief references to mental health struggles.

After premiering in 2007, "The Big Bang Theory" aired for 12 seasons and gave viewers a unique look into the minds and lives of people typically called "nerds." But these so-called nerds were so much more than their Ph.D. qualifications — well, except for Howard Wolowitz, who didn't have one, something his pals enjoyed bringing up. It wasn't long before Sheldon, Leonard, Howard, and Raj won America's hearts, and the show eventually became a global hit. Once these intelligent young men found romantic partners, new characters joined the show and it became even funnier, more endearing, and all-around more interesting, cementing its place in pop culture history — bazinga!

It took a little longer for Television Academy members to get on board. But from 2009 onward, the show was nominated for several Primetime Emmys each year until the final season. Jim Parsons received an impressive four wins across the series for outstanding lead actor. But there was no shortage of talent on this show, where the actors were just as good friends in real life, as they were in the sitcom. As Kaley Cuoco revealed on an episode of "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert," the cast of "The Big Bang Theory" openly supported each other and enjoyed spending time together off-set. Whether or not they kept in touch after the show, it's at least clear that this amazing cast went on to more greatness. This is what they've all been up to since.

Kaley Cuoco received some Emmy nominations

As soon as Penny appeared in her first scene in Season 1 of "The Big Bang Theory," nerds across America brightened. Played by Kaley Cuoco, the character was not just a pretty face for viewers, as she provided hilarious digs on all the guys while often receiving a few of her own from Sheldon. However, she was often a voice of reason and offered comfort in times of need — one couldn't help but melt when she called Sheldon, "Sweetie." Unlike other women on the show, Penny appeared in every episode, bar one.

Although Cuoco had been acting before "Big Bang," her profile increased as the show gained popularity. In 2019, Cuoco started voicing the character of Harley Quinn for the acclaimed animated series of the same name. But it was her starring role in HBO's dark comedy "The Flight Attendant" that would bring her back-to-back Emmy nominations. As she told Variety in 2022, life sadly started to imitate art for the then-recently divorced star during the show's dark second season. "I truly feel like the pain I was going through, a lot of that was real on camera," she said.

However, Cuoco's biggest accomplishment after "Big Bang" was becoming a mother with boyfriend Tom Pelphrey in March 2023. But things didn't go 100% smoothly for the first-time mom, who was diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome in both hands after daughter's birth. "Some of you may know about my wrist injury from holding Matilda," Cuoco shared on her Instagram Stories that August. "Google it, it's a very real thing."

Johnny Galecki is enjoying being a dad

When Johnny Galecki first appeared in "The Big Bang Theory" as Leonard Hofstadter, most viewers probably recognized him from the long-running show "Roseanne." So they may not have realized that the actor has actually been in show business since he was 12 years old. Just two years later, he was cast as Rusty in the holiday classic "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation." Galecki continued to work regularly, garnering roles in TV and film before and during "The Big Bang Theory."

More than 20 years after the end of "Roseanne," he reprised his character of David in four episodes of the spinoff "The Connors" in 2018 and 2019. His acting credits have been minimal since — as of this writing, it appears the actor is taking a break not just from entertainment but from social media. He stopped posting on X, formerly known as Twitter, in 2016 and only posts sporadically on his Instagram. Still, considering that many of his posts concern his adorable son, Orbison, whom he shares and co-parents with ex-girlfriend Alaina Meyer, Galecki has the best excuse to keep him occupied.

By all accounts, it would appear he's still close with at least one of his former co-stars. In an excerpt from the 2022 "The Big Bang Theory: The Definitive, Inside Story," Vanity Fair reported that the actor had a romantic relationship with Kaley Cuoco during the filming of the show, which they'd initially kept secret from everyone. Although it didn't work out, Galecki shared, "We continue to love one another, just in other ways."

Jim Parsons is making his roles count

"The Big Bang Theory" is full of some of the most expertly written characters in sitcom history, but Sheldon Cooper easily tops the list. Not only was Jim Parsons perfectly cast in the role, but he skillfully took the character on a journey — one that evolved the character while allowing him to stay true to himself as an actor. In 2020, Parsons told Vanity Fair that he knew from the start that his audition for the show was important.

A few years before the show ended, Parsons and his husband, Todd Spiewak, pitched a story idea to Chuck Lorre based on Parson's nephew. The storyline seemed perfect for a spinoff to "The Big Bang Theory," and in 2017, "Young Sheldon" premiered with Parsons as the narrator of the main character. In 2022, Parsons starred in "Spoiler Alert," a tear-jerker romance in which his character is in a relationship with a man who has terminal cancer. The actor told USA Today that most of the movies he's seen like this are about a straight couple, adding, "I didn't realize how deeply I wanted to be part of telling a story like this."

In September 2023, Variety announced that Parsons would join Jessica Lange and Celia Keenan-Bolger on Broadway as part of "Mother Play," a play by Paula Vogel. Of course, this won't be Parsons' first time on The Great White Way, as he previously appeared in productions of "An Act of God," "Harvey," "The Normal Heart," and "The Boys in the Band."

Simon Helberg upped his game

When Simon Helberg was cast as Howard Wolowitz in "The Big Bang Theory," he was actually already on two television shows, "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" and "Derek and Simon," a show he not only joint-created but starred in. During an episode of the "Plot Twist" podcast, Helberg shared why he originally decided not to audition: "I played enough nerdy characters and as wonderful as the script was for 'Big Bang,' I just thought, 'I'm going to stay on this road.'" Thankfully, at the urging of his agent, he changed his mind. Evidently, he was surprised by the results, telling Jake's Takes, "It was the greatest course in acting that you could ever have."

Helberg also still managed to nab some solid roles in other projects like 2016's "Florence Foster Jenkins" with Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant, for which he was nominated for a Golden Globe. He's since continued to enjoy a variety of interesting roles in off-beat and indie fare, including one in "As They Made Us," written and directed by fellow castmate Mayim Bialik. In 2023, the star continued along this path with a role in Rian Johnson's case-of-the-week detective series "Poker Face" alongside Natasha Lyonne.

That January, People shared that Helberg was selling his LA house for $9 million. Elisa Ritt, one of the realtors who had the listing, told the outlet in part: "It is incredibly rare to find a pristinely restored 1920's Spanish with a pool and guest house and the indoor-outdoor flow every buyer craves."

Kunal Nayyar isn't joking around

In "The Big Bang Theory," Raj Koothrappali, played by Kunal Nayyar, is a bit of an enigma. He has a Ph.D. and a job at the university, but he doesn't get many opportunities to shine intellectually among the other characters. Amazingly, it was one of his first roles on television. Though Nayyar started his career in theater, he'd only had two uncredited onscreen roles before "The Big Bang Theory." During the run of the show, he enjoyed a recurring voice gig on "Sanjay and Craig," as well as a few guest spots on shows like "The Mindy Project."

At the close of "Big Bang," Nayyar didn't miss a beat in stepping into the next phase of his career. After appearing in 2020's "Think Like a Dog," he seemed to gravitate toward more serious roles. For Apple TV's British thriller miniseries "Suspicion," Nayyar sported a full beard and depicted a suspect in a kidnapping. "It was a real personal challenge of mine to see if this is something that I could pull off," he shared with BackstageOL.

Nayyar has also been a vocal advocate for mental health awareness, often posting positive affirmations to his Instagram, offering resources, and sharing his own personal struggles, which he discussed on an episode of "Mayim Bialik's Breakdown." In May 2023, Nayyar put his New York penthouse up for sale. According to People, the penthouse was listed for $2.8 million by Sotheby's International Realty. This is the second property he and his wife, Neha Kapur, would sell, as their LA property was sold for $3.89 million in 2020.

Melissa Rauch is a working mom

What started out as a guest role as Howard Wolowitz's blind date in Season 3 of "The Big Bang Theory" turned into a regular gig that would change everything for Melissa Rauch. At the time, she was only a couple of years into her acting career. However, the part meant even more to her because she was a big fan of the show. During her time on the sitcom, Melissa also garnered spots on other shows like "True Blood" and "The Office," and lent her voice to animated projects like "Sofia the First" and "Batman and Harley Quinn." In 2015, she co-wrote "The Bronze" with her husband, Winston Rauch, and took the lead role in the comedy. The same year "Big Bang" wrapped, Melissa appeared in "The Laundromat," as well as other TV shows.

In May 2020, Melissa announced the birth of her son on Instagram, by posting a cute snap of a blue beanie with the name "Brooks" on it. Still, she was able to get some credits in that year too, voicing characters for "Animaniacs" and "Cats & Dogs 3: Paws Unite," and continued to stick to voice acting roles for the next two years. In 2023, her next project involved real, live people with a reboot of the judicial sitcom "Night Court." The original series aired from 1984 to 1992, with John Larroquette reprising his role for the new edition. The reboot has since been renewed for Season 2.

Mayim Bialik is putting her Ph.D. to good use

Mayim Bialik, a true child actor success story, joined the cast of "The Big Bang Theory" as Amy Farrah Fowler in Season 3. However, she quickly became a regular fixture on the show. She'd returned to acting after working to get her Ph.D. while raising her two sons. On an episode of "The Three Questions with Andy Richter," she shared that she started acting again to help the family make ends meet and get health insurance, stating, "I missed acting, but I enjoyed no one caring what I looked like." While she didn't miss fame, that's exactly what came for her because of "Big Bang."

In 2021, the real-life neuroscientist starred in "Call Me Kat," and was one of the executive producers on the sitcom. That same year, she became the host of "Jeopardy," a gig she kept for about two years. Amid the 2023 WAG and SAG strikes, Bialik decided to step down, and the show replaced her with Ken Jennings. Michele Loud, one of the writers, told Variety that August, "There is no 'Jeopardy' without writers. Without us it's just an empty blue screen."

An advocate for mental health, Bialik hosts a podcast called "Mayim Bialik's Breakdown," in which she discusses the myriad of issues connected to mental health and well-being while also debunking some long-held mistruths surrounding mental illness. As if she wasn't busy enough, Bialik sat in the director's chair for the film "As They Made Us" in 2022.

Kevin Sussman could have been Wolowitz

When Kevin Sussman was cast as Stuart in "The Big Bang Theory," the actor already had more than 10 years of credits on his resume, including a role in "Almost Famous," guest spots on "The Sopranos" and "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," and a recurring role on the Emmy-winning "Ugly Betty." It was actually his commitment to the latter show that kept him from taking on the role of Howard Wolowitz, which was originally written for Sussman. Thankfully, they eventually found a way to get the actor on the show, and although Sussman was only in about a third of the total episodes, he appeared in every season except the first one.

After "Big Bang," Sussman appeared in three episodes of the mini-series "The Dropout" and two episodes of "Better Call Saul." The actor also spent some time with co-star Mayim Bialik, first in a 2021 episode of her podcast "Mayim Bialik's Breakdown," where he discussed his struggles with anxiety. Then, in 2022, he had two guest appearances on "Call Me Kat." According to Deadline, Sussman has a lot in the pipeline, including selling a number of projects penned by him to Fox, Sony, CBS, Amazon, and Paramount, and starring in an Apple TV+ series called "Lessons in Chemistry," which would premiere in October 2023.

After two years of dating, Sussman announced on Instagram in April 2023 that he'd married Addie Hall, captioning a sweet pic from the big day with, "Did I mention I got married this weekend?" Former "Big Bang" castmate Kunal Nayyar commented, "Oh my gaaaawwwwwd! Love you brother."

John Ross Bowie gets around

Actor, comedian, and writer, John Ross Bowie played Barry Kripke on "The Big Bang Theory" starting in Season 2. As he explained on Tumblr, the character's speech impediment was implemented to give the character some vulnerability. After all, he would often play an arrogant villain against Sheldon. Since Bowie's character was only in 25 episodes across the seasons, he was able to secure other gigs and was actually quite busy, especially during those last few years of the sitcom. Between 2018 and 2019, Bowie depicted characters in half a dozen TV shows, including his starring role in "Speechless" with Minnie Driver. He also had a guest spot in "American Princess," a dramedy created by his wife, Jamie Denbo, to whom he's been married since 2004.

After "Big Bang" there was no shortage of work for Bowie. He closed 2019 with a role in "Jumanji: The Next Level," and went on to enjoy several guest spots in shows like "Grace and Frankie," "Station 19," and "The Neighborhood."

In November 2022, Bowie published a book titled, "No Job for a Man: A Memoir." The author shared in an interview with Fox 5 that the title comes from something his father used to say about show business as a career. However, he was quick to clarify that the book is not spiteful but more about their relationship and the actor's journey into show business.

Laurie Metcalf is prolific and accomplished

Award-winning actor Laurie Metcalf played the only character on "The Big Bang Theory" who could tell Sheldon what to do — his mother. And she executed it perfectly. The highly religious Mary Cooper gave Sheldon a run for his money in the best one-liner category, too, surprising viewers with tidbits like, "He's got my eyes. All that science stuff, oh that comes from Jesus." She received an Emmy nomination for her guest role in the show in 2016.

Prior to the role, Metcalf was already a prolific and esteemed actor best known for her role as Jackie in the hit sitcom "Roseanne," which originally ended in 1997. Over 20 years later, the show came back for another season but was ultimately canceled after the lead actor, Roseanne Barr, was accused of making racist statements on X, formerly known as Twitter, per People. Thankfully, the powers that be pivoted with a new show, "The Connors," in which Metcalf has starred for five seasons (in May 2023, it was renewed for Season 6). In the years that followed, she once again voiced the character of Andy's Mom in "Toy Story 4," enjoyed an Emmy-winning guest appearance in "Hacks," nabbed an Oscar nom for her role in "Lady Bird," and won back-to-back Tonys in 2017 and 2018.

During the summer of 2023, Metcalf returned to Broadway in a horror play called "Grey House" alongside Tatiana Maslany. "We had a great rehearsal time, all of us together," Metcalf told Vanity Fair. "It was a good time, good to be back."

Christine Baranski continues to be a class act

"The Big Bang Theory" definitely has some distinctive characters, and the mothers are no exception. Leonard Hofstadter's mom, Dr. Beverly Hofstadter, is a brilliant neuroscientist as well as an award-winning psychiatrist and author, but she seemingly has no love or kindness for her son. Christine Baranski must have been convincing in her guest performance as it yielded four Primetime Emmy nominations over the years.

Of course, the acting veteran has long dominated both television and movies. Baranski's longest credit is her lead role in "The Good Wife," which she started around the same time she first appeared on "Big Bang." When that show ended after seven seasons, her character, Diane Lockhart, got a spinoff series, "The Good Fight," which she starred in for six seasons until 2022. Speaking to People, the beloved star revealed that the role has been one of her favorites.

In 2022, Baranski made headlines when a photo of her glaring at Elon Musk at the Met Gala went viral. As she told Entertainment Weekly, while she doesn't think highly of the man, she also didn't recall that particular moment. It was that same year that Baranski starred in "The Gilded Age." During an April 2023 chat with co-star Carrie Coon for Interview magazine, Baranski spoke about the challenges of dealing with the HBO Max series' lengthy hiatus ahead of Season 2: "Just as you really get into it and you're an ensemble and you're flowing, then the ten episodes are up and we're going to have a very long wait yet again."

Brian George is not all what he seems

British actor Brian George has been appearing on screen for more than four decades. Before being cast as Dr. V. M. Koothrappali, aka Raj's dad on "The Big Bang Theory," George was best known for his role as Babu Bhatt on "Seinfeld." He only appeared in three episodes. However, he was affectionately remembered for telling Jerry, "You're a very bad man," on more than one occasion. Given the fact that he used an Indian accent for both characters — and many others as well— viewers might be surprised to know that he actually speaks with an English accent in real life.

Although George started on "Big Bang" in Season 1 and he was also in Season 12, he only appeared in 16 episodes. That made it easier for the actor to snag roles in other shows like his recurring role on "The Secret Life of the American Teenager" and voicing regular characters in animated series like "Green Lantern: The Animated Series" and "Star Wars: The Clone Wars." When "Big Bang" came to an end in 2019, he was voicing characters on several shows and eventually starred in two sitcoms, "The Really Loud House" and "The Neighborhood." Four years later, George reprised his voice-acting role as Alfred in the 2016 adaptation of "Batman: The Killing Joke" in the animated film "Batman: The Doom That Came to Gotham."

Aarti Mann blossomed on the show

When Aarti Mann was added to the cast of "The Big Bang Theory" in 2010, she'd only had a handful of credits on her acting resume. Some of her roles included three episodes of "The Future Dead" and a guest spot on "The Young and the Restless." Cast as Priya Koothrappali, she played Raj's sister who came for a visit but quickly began dating Leonard. This provided an interesting dynamic for Penny to see Leonard in a different light.

Mann's first love for the entertainment industry was actually behind the camera rather than in front of it. As she explained during an interview with Pittsburgh magazine, she initially wanted to pursue directing and had gone to film school. When her sister asked her to star in a movie she wrote, directed, and produced in India, Mann's passions shifted to acting. As she told the outlet, her experiences were radically different to those of her "Big Bang" character. "Although I am Indian and so is Priya, I don't factor that in when I decide how to play her. I focus more on her as a conflicted girl who is confident yet insecure," she said. 

Since the show, Mann's appeared on an episode of "Grey's Anatomy," eight episodes of "The Recruit," as well as a role in Al Pacino's "Danny Collins."

The beloved Carol Ann Susi will be missed

One of the funniest characters on "The Big Bang Theory" never shows her face, but her voice is unmistakable. As Howard Wolowitz's mother, veteran actor Carol Ann Susi was always off-screen somewhere, shouting hilarious and often ridiculous things to her son. What makes it even funnier is that his wife, Bernadette, seems to transform her usually soft sweet voice to match Howard's mother's tone. Before being cast in "Big Bang," Susi made a name for herself with guest roles in some huge shows like "Growing Pains," "Cheers," "Seinfeld," "Six Feet Under," and "The King of Queens." She was also in 2011's "Just Go With It," starring Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston.

Tragically, the beloved "Big Bang" actor died in November 2014 from cancer, which they'd only discovered a little more than a week before her death, per Deadline. Kunal Nayyar, who played Raj, posted her picture on Instagram, with the caption, "We'll miss your Carol Ann." Producers decided to write her death into the show, with an emotional reveal that Howard's mother died in her sleep while on vacation in Florida. According to The Hollywood Reporter, there was also a special tribute video included with the Season 8 DVD, where her castmates share their fondest memories of Susi.

If you or someone you know needs help with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.