The untold truth of Krysten Ritter

Actress Krysten Ritter became a household name with her leading role in Netflix's Jessica Jones. Despite the series being canceled, rumors continue to swirl that Ritter's superhero character will eventually return to the small screen with Disney+, Disney's forthcoming streaming service. Regardless of Jessica Jones' fate, the actress is working on a plethora of other projects and is growing her family. She debuted her baby bump on the Oscars red carpet in February 2019, revealing that she's expecting her first baby with War on Drugs frontman Adam Granduciel.

However, while Ritter is perhaps best known as Jessica Jones, it was her role on Breaking Bad as Jesse Pinkman's ill-fated girlfriend Jane Margolis that perhaps first brought her to the public's attention. After that, she scored the lead part in the sitcom Don't Trust the B**** in Apartment 23, which ran for two seasons. Joining the Marvel superhero family as Jones may have shown Ritter in a new light, but the performer has already enjoyed a varied and unexpected career. Here's everything you need to know about the untold truth of Krysten Ritter.

She grew up on a beef farm

Krysten Ritter is a big Hollywood star now, but she actually had very humble beginnings. As Times Leader reported in 2015, Ritter "was raised on a 100-acre cattle farm outside Shickshinny" in Pennsylvania. In a revealing interview with Playboy in 2012, Ritter talked about life on the farm, explaining, "My stepfather called horses 'hay burners.' They do nothing. You can't milk them and you can't eat them, so we didn't have them. But I had a calf I raised named Jake."

By all accounts, Jake was a huge part of Ritter's life, as she told Playboy, "He was so small that when I got him, I could pick him up. We took naps together and snuggled." Recalling how she'd sometimes get on Jake's back, she said, "People would drive by and take pictures, like, 'Who is this girl riding a cow?'" While it's hard to imagine the Confessions of a Shopaholic actress being best friends with a cow, it's definitely endearing to hear.

Ritter embraced life on the farm, explaining to Times Leader, "I did all kinds of chores," noting that she fed the chickens and cows. Of her quiet childhood, the actress shared, "My mom says I was always dancing around and screaming for attention." It sounds as though Ritter was destined for stardom from the start.

Her parents had a not-so-nice name for her first boyfriend

In her 2012 interview with Playboy, Ritter revealed that her parents weren't huge fans of her first boyfriend. She told the publication, "He was so angsty and bad. He was a real bad boy." She shared that he gave he a school picture with a note that said he loved her and that she made him, um, excited, if you know what we mean. "That's how we started dating," she said. As if the actress' description of her first beau wasn't crazy enough, she also explained that her parents gave the guy she was seeing a shady nickname. She told the magazine, "His name was Damian, but my parents called him 'Demon.'" Brutal!

As for any romantic memories she had of her time with Damian, Ritter told Playboy, "Our first time was in his parents' van before basketball practice. I don't remember it being very pleasant." Basically, even Ritter knew that the relationship probably wouldn't last forever, but she likely wasn't looking for any kind of big commitment anyway, as she noted, "I was never the little girl who dreamed about a wedding or a big white dress."

She was discovered in a shopping mall

Judging by the story of how Ritter found stardom, dreams really do come true. For instance, her modeling career reportedly happened by chance when she was discovered by an agent in a local shopping mall. Times Leader reported in 2015 that "Ritter was scouted by a modeling agent at the Wyoming Valley Mall and soon was signed to Elite Model Management and then Wilhelmina Models." And according to Ritter, some aspects of her life changed very quickly. She told Elle in 2017, "I was brought to New York and sent around to all the go-sees and magazines and met cool photographers and hot musicians. All of a sudden, I was like, 'Wow, look at this whole world, look at this city.'"

The major move she made from the small town of Shickshinny to New York City felt right for Ritter instantly. She told Times Leader, "As soon as I got to the city, I went, 'Oh, here we go. This is where I belong. Krysten Ritter belongs in a city that is vibrating.' I was vibrating in my small town but didn't really know what to do with myself." But, as she told Playboy in 2012, modeling wasn't always so glamorous: "When I was modeling I lived with eight to 10 girls in the modeling agency's two-bedroom apartment, sleeping in bunk beds."

She was bullied for her appearance growing up

Ritter has spoken at length about the bullying she was subjected to growing up. She shared with Access Hollywood Live in 2012, "I was totally picked on, but look at me now! I was definitely picked on by boys and girls. I was really lanky and skinny and the boys would say, 'Turn sideways and stick out your tongue, you look like a zipper.'" She added, "I had big feet, I had really skinny ankles… Yeah it was pretty rough." While her successful acting career has proven every mean high school kid wrong, Ritter's experiences sound nothing short of traumatic.

When Ritter's modeling career started when she was 15, she unfortunately was subjected to even more high school bullying. She told Playboy, "I was always picked on. When I became a model, it got even worse because the girls became meaner — 'Oh my God, I can't believe she's a model. She's not even pretty.' At some slumber party they tape-recorded their night, and it was about me getting bashed. And these were some of my best friends!" Ritter also explained that her striking appearance is still sometimes an issue, saying, "I'm a cartoon character. I have black bangs. I can't hide. People are mostly respectful and kind. But at one in the morning in Vegas, when everyone's wasted and yelling at you, you wish you could just kind of disappear, and you can't."

She was an extra in Mona Lisa Smile

One of Ritter's earliest roles was in the movie Mona Lisa Smile. The film, which was released in December 2003, featured a slew of Hollywood talent including Julia Roberts, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Julia Stiles, Ginnifer Goodwin, Topher Grace, and Kirsten Dunst. Ritter played an art history student and could be spotted in scenes alongside her famous co-stars. In January 2006, Ritter celebrated her part in the movie on Twitter, writing, "Baby Krysten! Mona Lisa Smile — this was like 12 years ago and I had ONE LINE! Dream big kiddies!!!"

As her career progressed, Ritter was offered several sidekick, best friend, and bad girl roles in movies like 2008's What Happens in Vegas with Cameron Diaz, 2009's Confessions of a Shopaholic alongside Isla Fisher, and 2010's She's Out of My League. She also played Gina the Goth in 27 Dresses, portraying one of the women whose weddings in which Katherine Heigl was a bridesmaid. Her hard work eventually paid off, and Ritter started to score leading roles, but the smaller parts she had in romantic comedies were undoubtedly an important step in her career.

She was almost in a Gossip Girl spin-off

Hardcore Gossip Girl fans likely haven't forgotten the strange season 2 episode that took viewers back in time and followed the teen years of Serena van der Woodsen's mother, who was born Lily Rhodes. In that episode — called "Valley Girls" — Krysten Ritter played a younger version of Lily's sister, Carol Rhodes, acting alongside Brittany Snow, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter. But "Valley Girls" wasn't just any old episode of the popular teen drama — it also served as a backdoor pilot for a Los Angeles-based Gossip Girl spin-off.

In a 2009 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the show's creator Josh Schwarz revealed why he wanted to set the spin-off in the '80s: "I remember my childhood very vividly. The 'Lily' spinoff is in '83, so I was pretty young then. But it's just a time that made a big impression on me." Sadly, the spin-off wasn't greenlit at The CW (via Deadline), so Ritter's time in the world of Gossip Girl was brought to an abrupt end.

She made a name for herself on TV

Despite her role in the Gossip Girl backdoor pilot not leading anywhere, Krysten Ritter made a name for herself by playing several unforgettable TV roles. The most famous part, which truly put her on the map, was probably when she played Jane Margolis, Jesse Pinkman's troubled and ill-fated girlfriend in Breaking Bad's second season in 2009. In 2014, Ritter revealed to HuffPost Live that she continued watching Breaking Bad even after she left the show, and she told the AMC blog that her devastating role as Jane "was so much more real than the romantic comedies" she'd previously filmed.

Ritter also had memorable arcs on Gilmore Girls and Veronica Mars, and she even returned for the latter's 2014 movie. Later scoring the lead role in Marvel's Jessica Jones was a huge career win for Ritter, and it also led to her being cast in Marvel's The Defenders. While Jessica Jones was ultimately canceled, along with other Marvel shows on Netflix (via Forbes), it was undeniably a major moment of Ritter's small screen career. 

Another major TV gig she had? Playing Chloe on Don't Trust the B**** in Apartment 23 in 2012.

She'd never seen Dawson's Creek before working with James Van Der Beek

When Krysten Ritter scored the leading role in the show Don't Trust the B**** in Apartment 23, which was canceled during its second season, she had a terrible secret. Despite being cast alongside actor James Van Der Beek, who played an embellished version of himself on the show, the Breaking Bad star had never seen an episode of his famous series Dawson's Creek. On the classic The WB show, Van Der Beek played eternally mopey teen Dawson Leery. And Don't Trust the B**** would often hilariously riff off of Van Der Beek's iconic TV role. We imagine that not knowing much about Dawson's Creek could have proved awkward on set.

"I'm the only person in the entire world who has never [seen] Dawson's Creek," she admitted to Access Hollywood Live in May 2012. Regarding her lack of Dawson's knowledge, Ritter explained, "I was like 15 when that show was on. I was busy getting into my own trouble." Well, that's not too hard to believe considering her stories about her boyfriend "Demon."

Just call her Krysten Knitter

Krysten Ritter's Instagram account is a testament to one of her favorite hobbies: knitting. The actress told Women's Health in October 2017, "My gram taught me to knit when I was little, and then I came across my old knitting tools when I was cleaning out my closets after [Jessica Jones] season one, and got right back into it."  She admitted, "If I have a moment on set, or anytime, I do this. I love it, the repetition. People call it the Secret Keeper, because it's a meditation; it relaxes your mind. After I've knitted for a while, I feel like I just woke up from a nap." She even knitted late night host Conan O'Brien a hat and presented it to him on his talk show. What a guest!

Speaking to Interweave in October 2017, Ritter elaborated on her love of knitting, admitting that she likes "the sense of accomplishment" she feels after she completes a project. She also noted that it simultaneously "relaxes and energizes" her and claimed that the activity "kind of gives [her] superpowers." She also shared, "I find that people always comment on how fast I am. I do knit pretty fast. And I've gotten a lot of other people into it as well!" And she's generous with her talents, as she told Interweave, "Everyone wants me to knit them something, and honestly making gifts for people is my favorite part."

She's a novelist and screenwriter

If you thought that Ritter's biggest accomplishments involved modeling and acting, then it's time to think again. The actress released her debut novel, Bonfire, in 2017, which the author of Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn, called "a phenomenal, haunting debut," per the official Penguin Random House websiteEntertainment Weekly called the book "an auspicious literary debut" and described it as "a suspenseful, psychologically gripping story." Of her decision to write a novel, Ritter told Elle, "Originally, I thought that this idea would be a great TV series. Then I realized that this idea might lend itself to working as a book." And Ritter might publish more books in the future. When TV host Conan O'Brien asked her in a March 2018 interview if she'd write another novel, Ritter replied, "I hope so! I loved doing it. I loved the process."

The actress also co-wrote and starred in 2011's L!fe Happens, alongside Kate Bosworth and Rachel Bilson. Of her screenwriting career, Ritter told ComingSoon.net in October 2012, "I'm working on this new screenplay that's a little darker [than] L!fe Happens and then I have a pilot that I wrote with a friend we just sold. It's all just about development and getting in early."

She uses vision boards to stay focused

When it comes to staying organized, Ritter told Ocean Drive magazine in 2014, "I have a giant [vision board] at all times, with projects that I'm working on and in development." As for the other things that she features on her vision boards, Ritter revealed, "I also have a note for myself to do more charity work. I want to be doing good things in addition to developing TV shows and acting." Noting that she "[wants] to have a big life," she shared, "I also have pictures of my girlfriends on it. For me, the things that are most important in life are feeling good, having important relationships and deep, meaningful friendships, and going after work that I love, and creating work that I love."

Clearly, the actress and novelist is extremely productive with her time, which she explained to ComingSoon.net, saying, "I'm pretty good at time management." She must be to get everything she's working on done. We wouldn't mind hearing some tips, Krysten!

There's nothing she can't do

When she's not filming movies and TV shows or writing novels and screenplays, Krysten Ritter spends time playing music. In 2014, Ritter spoke to Ocean Drive about the music she was working on at the time, calling it "cutesy and dark and girly." The actress further described music as her sanctuary, saying, "I'm happiest when I'm playing guitar and writing and expressing myself in that creative way." She added, "It's a great detox from the grind of Hollywood for me." In 2012, she released her debut album under the name Ex Vivian.

Her boyfriend, War on Drugs frontman Adam Granduciel, also encourages Ritter's musicality. She told Ocean Drive, "He's incredibly supportive and encouraging." She noted, "We played guitar together for a bit yesterday before he left on tour. He taught me a scale that I'm going to practice a bunch and try to blow his mind when he gets back." As a musician, actress, model, novelist, screenwriter, and director, Ritter's career is only getting more impressive, and we couldn't be more excited to see what she does next.