Whatever Happened To Ruby Rose?

Ruby Rose has worn a lot of hats during the course of her career in show business. Starting out as a model in her native Australia, Rose — who was born Ruby Rose Langenheim in Melbourne — landed a gig as a video jockey on Australia's MTV. The openly gay television personality made a huge impression on viewers, and the popularity she experienced as a VJ led to more television work, including a news program, "The 7pm Project." She then became the host of a reality competition, "Ultimate School Musical," and then co-host of "Australia's Next Top Model." 

In 2008, Rose shifted gears to launch herself as an actor. After landing a few small acting roles Down Under, she wrote, produced, and directed her own short film, "Break Free." "This is definitely an autobiographical piece," Rose told Pop Matters of the film, which depicts her transition from a feminine persona to an ultra-masculine one. "Break Free" proved to be something of a calling card that opened doors for her in Hollywood, beginning with a career-making role in a buzz-worthy Netflix hit.

Since then, she's starred in a TV superhero series, battled Keanu Reeves' John Wick and a prehistoric shark on the big screen, and stirred up more than her fair share of controversy — becoming a queer icon in the process. But what's she been up to lately? To find out, keep on reading for a look at whatever happened to Ruby Rose.

Ruby Rose's breakout role led to a high-profile superhero series

Ruby Rose had established herself as a musician, model, actor, and all-around television personality in her native Australia when she joined the cast of "Orange Is the New Black" in 2015, debuting in the third season. Her role as inmate Stella Carlin in the critically acclaimed series, set in a women's prison, was a high-profile one. As she told Rolling Stone at the time, she lobbied hard to land the role. "I was a really big fan of the first two seasons," she said, adding, "I had never binge-watched TV before 'Orange.”'

Playing Stella proved to be a breakthrough for Rose, and she exited "OITNB" after appearing in the first episode of the fourth season. Her character was last seen being hauled away to a maximum-security facility due to a major betrayal. 

As high-profile as that role was, it paved the way to an even bigger opportunity when reports surfaced that she'd been cast in the titular role in The CW's new "Batwoman" series. Among the more intriguing aspects of the superhero she'd be playing was the character's sexuality, with the character's alter ego, Kate Kane, being openly gay. "It's a game-changer," said Rose — who has described herself as gender fluid — during an appearance on "The Tonight Show." "Growing up watching TV, I never saw someone on TV that I could identify with. Let alone a superhero!"

She exited Batwoman under a cloud of controversy

Ruby Rose made her debut as Batwoman in 2018 as part of The CW's Arrowverse "Elseworlds" crossover event, followed by the premiere of "Batwoman" in October 2019. Shortly after the first season finale, Rose announced she was leaving the show. The plot thickened when TVLine reported Rose did not leave the show of her own accord. "She wasn't happy working on the show, and did that make her fun to work with? No," a source told the outlet. A few months later, Javicia Leslie was cast as Rose's replacement. 

In a subsequent interview with Comic Book Movie, Rose indicated she was open to returning to "Batwoman," then subsequently claimed her exit was because she was allergic to latex in her costume. That was followed by a series of Instagram Stories in which Rose claimed she was fired. "I did not quit," she wrote, as reported by Entertainment Weekly. She also alleged she was ordered back to work 10 days after spinal surgery (resulting from an injury she sustained on the set) and that a private investigator had been hired to follow her. 

The studio fired back, blasting Rose's account as "revisionist history." A spokesperson told BBC News, "The truth is that Warner Bros. Television had decided not to exercise its option to engage Ruby for season two of 'Batwoman' based on multiple complaints about workplace behaviour that were extensively reviewed and handled privately out of respect for all concerned."

She underwent emergency surgery after an on-set injury

During her single season on "Batwoman," Ruby Rose became involved in an accident on the set while shooting a stunt sequence. A few months later, Rose took to Instagram to explain that the incident was responsible for the large scar she now had on her neck. "A couple of months ago I was told I needed an emergency surgery or I was risking becoming paralyzed ..." she wrote. "I had herniated two discs doing stunts, and they were close to severing my spinal chord [sic]."

Rose shared even more details of her accident during a 2019 appearance on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon," revealing she initially thought that she'd broken a rib, which would require between six and 12 weeks to heal. As the days passed, however, Rose experienced chronic back pain, assuming the pain was from her injured rib. While shooting a movie in Romania, she got an MRI that was sent to her doctor — who immediately responded and told her that she was at risk of becoming paraplegic. "It was really, really terrifying," Rose admitted.

By 2021, Rose had healed enough to return to stunt work in subsequent projects. "I feel better than ever [about stunts]," she told NME, crediting her surgery for making her neck even more resilient than it was to begin with. "I have a replacement neck, it's basically bionic," she added. "It's probably stronger than anyone else's neck! I've been injured a bazillion times ..."

She continued to make action movies

After her "Batwoman" exit and revelations about the injury and surgery that preceded it, Ruby Rose returned to making action movies. Having previously appeared opposite Keanu Reeves in "John Wick: Chapter 2," and co-starring with Jason Statham in "The Meg," she next jumped into "SAS: Red Notice," in which she played the leader of a crew of elite criminals who hijack a train beneath the English Channel. Starring alongside Rose was Sam Heughan of "Outlander," portraying a Special Forces operative who just happens to be a passenger on that train, leading to an epic clash between the government agent and the criminal mastermind.

As Rose explained in an interview with Sky News, both her character and Heughan's are essentially psychopaths — albeit on opposite sides of the law. "This is such a complicated and complex situation where I get to play a character I don't get to do very often," Rose said. "It was really the psychological aspect about being able to play a psychopath and have other characters as psychopaths ..."

Rose remained on the action track for her subsequent movies, the thriller "Vanquish," and "Stowaway," in which she starred as a party girl who turns the tables on a gang of thieves who take over her luxury yacht.

She was nominated for a worst actress Razzie

Based on Andy McNab's bestselling novel, "SAS: Red Notice" — which was renamed in some markets to "SAS: Rise of the Black Swan" — featured a first-rate cast that included Ruby Rose, Sam Heughan, Andy Serkis, and Tom Wilkinson, filmed in various stunning European locales. 

Her next picture, however, did not fare so well: "Vanquish," an action-thriller in which Rose is a mother trying to move beyond her past as a Russian drug mule — until a nefarious ex-cop (Morgan Freeman) kidnaps her daughter and forces her to execute his violent plans. The film's Rotten Tomatoes review was dismal at five percent, and reviews were brutal. "'Vanquish' burdens Morgan Freeman with stupid lines and barely gives Ruby Rose a character," griped Chicago Sun-Times critic Richard Roeper in his review.

Rose, in fact, was also singled out for an award nomination — but not a good one. As Variety reported, she was nominated for a Razzie — aka the Golden Raspberry — earning a nod in the worst actress category. Luckily for Rose, she was spared the indignity of actually winning the Razzie.

She opened up about her painful past

Ruby Rose was just 12 when she came out as openly gay. Her mother, she told The Guardian, was entirely supportive; her classmates at school, however, were not. "It was horrendous," she recalled, detailing the verbal and physical bullying she endured. One incident in particular left her so badly injured she was forced to change schools. "I got beaten up by about four girls and one guy in front of about 50 people," she explained. "I ended up with lacerations, big bruises, concussion ... I'd been bullied a lot, but not to this degree where I was worried for my life," she added.

Looking back, Rose admitted that if she could do it all over again, with the knowledge of just how homophobic her peers would be, she would have waited until she was older before coming out. "I got bullied for it. I got tormented. I felt like I got crucified at school," she told Glamour.

As Rose grew older, though, she noticed a cultural shift, which she felt was the result of a TV show. "I was getting ready to graduate, and then 'The L Word' came out, and suddenly everyone at school was gay," she said, referencing the Showtime drama following the lives of a group of lesbians in Los Angeles while pointing to the importance of media representation. "It made life liveable for me."

She's teased a tell-all memoir

Ruby Rose has been candid about her personal life in various interviews, sometimes painfully so, so it shouldn't have come as a surprise when she revealed plans to write a book about her experiences. In February 2023, she shared a post on her Instagram Story (as reported by the Daily Mail), in which she hinted at an upcoming memoir. "Book writing," she wrote, taking a somewhat threatening tone. "The truth. It will p*** a lot of people off ... but maybe you should have been better?"

Discussing the memoir in a 2023 interview with The Guardian, Rose admitted she'd started writing about a decade earlier but stopped. She had, however, recently resumed writing and was far happier with what she'd written recently than she was with her previous efforts. "I'm glad I didn't release the one back then — I cringe at some of it," she admitted. "I've had ups, I've had downs — I've lived very publicly and not always been the best representation of myself." 

Speaking with the Sydney Morning Herald, Rose insisted that one thing fans should not expect from her memoir is a gossip-laden tell-all. "I want this book to be a little bit of what I've been through and what I learned from that, and what I feel like might be able to help somebody else who's gone through something similar or is going through a tough time," she explained.

She made her stage debut — but reviews weren't great

Ruby Rose's career has taken her down some distinctive paths, from MTV VJ to television superhero to being the "face" of makeup brand Urban Decay. It wasn't until 2023, however, that she added a new entry to her already hefty résumé: stage actor. That summer, in fact, Rose made her stage debut in her hometown of Melbourne, appearing in a production of "2:22 – A Ghost Story" at Her Majesty's Theatre. 

As any actor will confirm, the experience of acting in front of a camera (which Rose has done plenty of) is very different from performing in front of a live audience — something she'd never done before. "Everyone kept saying it was so brave of me to agree to do a stage production, and I was like, 'Wait, what? Why do I not feel nervous?'" she told Time Out Melbourne ahead of the opening. "And then I started getting nervous that I wasn't nervous."

Reviews were largely negative. "Most of the acting is as wooden and unconvincing as the dialogue," declared a critique in The Guardian, writing of her performance, "Rose, initially poised and angular, fumbles Lauren's descent into drunken morbidity." Meanwhile, a review in The Age declared that "the acting, dialogue and poor character development ultimately let '2:22' down." Melbourne Observer was slightly kinder to Rose, noting, "Ruby Rose and Daniel McPherson do their best to add what they can to puff life into a largely predictable script."

She served as ambassador for an Australian LGBT youth organization

When Ruby Rose returned to Melbourne to prepare for her role in "2:22 – A Ghost Story," she also used the opportunity to give back to the community — specifically, a particular segment of the community that holds a special place for her. That was made crystal clear in a news release in February 2023 that Rose had partnered with the Hilton hotel chain and Minus18 — an organization that supports Australia's LGBTQIA+ youth — for a new initiative that would hold inclusive school formals for queer teens. "As a queer person who came out at a very young age, I cannot overstate the importance of this cause," she said in the release, revealing that Minus18 played a pivotal role in her own life. 

In fact, Rose began attending Minus18 events soon after she came out at 12. "I went by myself and I walked in, and it was the first time I felt completely free and safe to be who I was," she told the Sydney Morning Herald.

Rose also opened up about what a large role Minus18 played in her own adolescence when she appeared on Australia's "Today." "Minus18 is an organization close to my heart because from the age of 12 or 13 I got involved as just a participant and it was the only place I felt safe to be myself," she said during her appearance, as reported by the Daily Mail.

She's struggled with living in America

After making it big in her native Australia, Ruby Rose did what so many other Aussie actors over the years have done by heading to Hollywood. Basing herself in Los Angeles, Rose has been at the epicenter of the entertainment industry since moving there in 2013. In 2017, she bought a house, selling it at a profit in 2021.

She'd come to appreciate her homeland a lot more after a decade spent in the U.S. Interviewed by the Daily Telegraph's Stellar magazine in 2023 (via Daily Mail), she admitted that recent attitudes she'd seen toward the LGBTQIA+ community were proving very disturbing for her, to the point that she was feeling a toll taken on her mental health. "I don't know that I have the emotional bandwidth and energy to withstand another year of living in the States with that anger and that oppression and what they're doing to the gay community and the trans community — it has become so exhausting," she said.

At the time of that interview, she was back in Melbourne, a place she confessed she missed considerably while living in America. "There's nowhere else in the world like Melbourne when it comes to food, art, entertainment and culture," she told Time Out Melbourne. "As soon as I wake up in my hotel, I think: where can I go? What can I do? What can I see? What coffee can I get?"