You Won't Believe How Cute The Big Bang Theory Cast Was As Kids

The cast of The Big Bang Theory — including now-familiar faces like Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco, and more — may have transformed over the years that they spent on the show, however, that's nothing compared to the difference between the stars now as adults and what they were like as children.

What makes their transformations even more interesting is that they had a range of childhoods that exposed them to different areas and different experiences. For instance, can you guess who was born in Europe and who originally comes from the U.K.? And can you pinpoint which star was an athlete and which was the one of "the coolest guys in the whole world?" Some of the cast even worked together as kids, experiencing firsts with each other on-screen and forming friendships that last to this day. But while they all had relatively different backgrounds, they were all ridiculously sweet children. Honestly, you won't believe how cute The Big Bang Theory cast was as kids.

Johnny Galecki had Hollywood dreams as a toddler

Born in Belgium, Johnny Galecki's father was stationed in the country at the time with the U.S. Air Force. However, it wasn't long before the family moved to the United States, which is why Galecki grew up in Oak Park, Ill. However, even then, he had dreams of Hollywood.

"I started talking about it when I was 3, and I have no idea how the word 'actor' was even in my vocabulary," Galecki told Variety in 2018. "No one in my immediate family was an actor, or even in theater or television or anything. We barely had money to go to the movies, let alone buy a theater seat, so it wasn't part of my family's lifestyle, and it was just my answer when people asked, 'What do you want to be when you grow up?' ... I feel incredibly blessed that that was the case because I see people, even in their 30s and 40s, struggling to learn what their calling is, and I think I just knew it as soon as I could speak."

Galecki followed his passion and started racking up credits in movies like 1989's National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation and on shows like Blossom in 1991. Of course, he also appeared on Roseanne, playing troubled teen David Healy, the boyfriend of Darlene, aka Sara Gilbert, another alum of TBBT and someone else who was an adorable kid. 

Jim Parsons' TBBT Texan accent came from real life

Jim Parsons was born and raised in Texas, just like Sheldon Cooper, his character on The Big Bang Theory, which is why Sheldon's accent is apparently spot-on, according to Houstonia — "As expected; actor Jim Parsons is a Houston native, after all."

In 2015, Entertainment Tonight discussed what Parsons was like as a kid at a time when, as an incredibly successful adult, he was receiving his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and getting his own wax figure in Madame Tussauds museum in Orlando. ET described the man who's now a star as "a shy kid from Texas." And while it may seem strange to think about the superstar as a timid child, it may be much easier to accept that the endearing actor was also "voted the friendliest in his class." Parsons himself admitted, "I wasn't the coolest person in the school by any measure." Yet it may have been the fact that he was so nice that saved him from some dire experiences that unpopular kids can go through. "Luckily, I never experienced a wedgie or something," he explained.

In 2010, ET also took Parsons' obviously proud mother, a teacher named Judy Ann, to visit the star's old high school where he got his start in acting. "Jim is a perfect example of how a dream can come true," she said before pausing because she started to cry. Aw, mom!

Kaley Cuoco started in wiener and Barbie commercials

You might have spotted a five-year-old Kaley Cuoco in an Oscar Mayer commercial before she popped up in Barbie ads when she was six, according to Business Insider. The outlet also noted that Cuoco graduated from commercials to work on the big screen, alongside future The O.C. star Adam Brody while playing Marcia in Growing Up Brady, and Backstreet Boy Nick Carter in the horror flick The Hollow. Cuoco also appeared on Northern Exposure, My So-Called Life, Ellen, and The Wonderful World of Disney, among plenty of other gigs. Of course, she was also Bridget Hennessy on 8 Simple Rules.

But before that, Cuoco was a kid from California who was a nationally-ranked amateur tennis player, landing at the #54 spot for Girls' 14 Doubles in 1998. According to Insider, which sourced Cuoco's stats to the Southern California Tennis Association, "She'd been playing tennis since she was three, but switched to acting full-time in 2001." Cuoco spoke about her background to Self, saying, "My parents are pretty normal and I've had the same best friend my whole life, so I'm seminormal." Her parents are also why she keeps some variety in her life. "When I was growing up, my parents' rule was don't do just one thing. So, if I was auditioning, I had to play tennis or go to art camp, too." That's why, even when she was starring on TBBT, she said it wasn't "the only thing in [her] life."

Simon Helberg was one of 'the coolest guys in the whole world'

Simon Helberg was born in Los Angeles and was likely introduced to the industry by his dad Sandy, an actor, and his mom Harriet, a casting director. However, there is also the fact that Simon went to school in Santa Monica, Calif., with fellow actor Jason Ritter, the son of the late John Ritter, who was Kaley Cuoco's costar in 8 Simple Rules.

In 2014, Jason Ritter talked about his younger days with Helberg, saying (via Screen Invasion), "We met in seventh grade. Essentially, he and his group of friends ... I just thought they were the coolest guys in the whole world. ... I saw Simon and his friends and they seemed to be out of the hierarchy that I had been taught. They didn't seem to care who was popular or who was a dork. They were sort of going around the entire thing."

Recalling a time when Helberg invited him to sit and eat lunch with his group, Ritter said it was "like the greatest moment of [his] life." From then on, the two were inseparable. "We were college roommates, and I love him so much," Ritter added. Best friends are indeed the best.

Kunal Nayyar used humor to 'defend' himself growing up

Kunal Nayyar, aka The Big Bang Theory's Raj Koothrappali, was born in London, England, however, his family moved to India when he was four years old and he grew up in New Delhi, where his parents still live. He then moved to the U.S. in 1999 after graduating from high school "to do a BA in business and marketing," he told The Telegraph India, adding, "For my Masters, I shifted to acting." 

However, the cute kid didn't learn his comedic ways in school. In 2015, Nayyar told The Huffington Post, "In my family, I was the youngest amongst my cousins and brother. If you weren't quick on your feet with wit, you would get buried alive. You were destroyed. I think all of that humor comes from having to defend yourself in the moment."

And while Nayyar is certainly good at making people laugh, he also thinks his story can help others. "When I first started going on talk shows — Ellen, Conan — all the stories they wanted to hear were about India: growing up in India, what was life like coming over," he said. "I started seeing this nice arc and I thought it would make a good collection to hopefully inspire someone to follow their dreams. ... If this happened to someone else, I'd want to know about it. I'd be like, 'This kid from Delhi made it on the biggest sitcom in the world. You gotta tell me how you did it!'"

Mayim Bialik was famous but 'teased a lot' as a kid

Another former child star who charmed audiences with her adorable ways is Mayim Bialik, who appeared on The Big Bang Theory as Sheldon Cooper's significant other, neurobiologist Amy Farrah Fowler. She was also, of course, the star of Blossom, which featured a small appearance by Johnny Galecki. As an adult, Bialik revealed during an interview on Conan that she shared her first "stage kiss" with Galecki that "might have been [her] first real-life kiss also."

But even before that, Bialik had plenty of other on-screen gigs, popping up on The Facts of Life, Webster, Murphy Brown, Doogie Howser, M.D., MacGyver, Empty Nest, and The Wonder Years. Of course, there was also her amazing role in Beaches as a spunky young performer named CC Bloom, whose adult version is played by Bette Midler.

However, despite being famous, the actress who was raised in Los Angeles and went to North Hollywood High School has the same struggles as lots of non-famous kids. "I was very small for my age and I developed late, so I was teased a lot," she wrote in her book Girling Up: How to Be Strong, Smart and Spectacular, adding, "I cried a lot and felt left out of many things my whole life, and I still feel that way as an adult sometimes." Hopefully, she feels more accepted now that she's a mom with her own cute kids.

Melissa Rauch had a 'major' accent when she was younger

Born and raised in New Jersey, Melissa Rauch, who you'll recognize from The Big Bang Theory as Dr. Bernadette Rostenkowski-Wolowitz, admitted to USA Today in 2011 that it wasn't easy to get rid of her "'major' accent" in order to act. However, she was able to bring it out whenever her character impersonated her mother-in-law. "I always get excited when the script calls for me to do Mrs. Wolowitz. It connects me to my East Coast roots," she said.

Rauch also loves to share pics of her younger self on Instagram. In March 2015, she posted a photo of herself as an adorable little one with ringlets and frills, writing, "An email from my Mom today: 'Thrown back Thursday pic of when you wore a tutu with overalls. I had nothing to do with that.'"

Rauch also showed that she was keen on being in the spotlight even as a child. In February 2019, she shared a shot of herself as a kid in full performance mode, writing, "#FBF to a groundbreaking production of Little Shop of Horrors which ran in my childhood NJ basement. As you can see the stage was a sturdy piece of craftsmanship (a busted lawn chair on top of a plastic step stool). The curtain was donated from a generous benefactor (ripped from my parent's shower unbeknownst to them). ... Also I'm wearing a silk nightgown ... as ya do in Jerz." 

Sara Gilbert thinks being a child star saved her life

According to TV Guide, yet another former child actor who's still in the business, Sara Gilbert was born Sara Rebecca Abeles and was introduced to the industry early on thanks to the fact that her older sister is former Little House on the Prairie star Melissa Gilbert. Sara jumped into the business herself in 1984 as a sweet-faced kid when she was only seven years old and appeared in a TV movie titled Calamity Jane. Just four years later, she landed the role of the young Darlene Conner on Roseanne, where she first met Johnny Galecki, who became a lifelong friend and is often seen reuniting with Sara now as adults, including during her time playing Leslie Winkle, his significant other on The Big Bang Theory.

While working in the industry at such a young age can be a terrible experience for others and sometimes lead to self-destructive behavior, Sara says it saved her life. "I was lucky, for me personally, I was so miserable in school and having that life — the creative outlet kind of saved my life in ways," she said while discussing her past on The Talk in 2016 (via People). "But I think that's a very unique set of circumstances and I think it still comes with its downsides even in the best set of circumstances." Thankfully for Sara, she seems to have gotten the best out of the business. 

Christine Baranski was a hard-working and daring student

Christine Baransky appeared on The Big Bang Theory as Leonard's less-than-affectionate mother, Dr. Beverly Hofstadter. According to TV Guide, Baransky was born in Buffalo, New York, and when she was young, studied at New York City's Juilliard School, which not only gave her the chance to hone her acting skills in a prestigious educational environment, but she was also given an opportunity to explore her daring side while still a student.

While at the respected school, Baransky was presented with $1,000 for being "the most hard-working, economically needy student." While the money was supposed to be used for living expenses, the actress admitted to The New York Times in 2011, "I took that money and was at the passport office the next morning." That's right, she took that money and headed to the airport! And not just for a week or two. "I was actually able to go to Europe for two months," she said. "I remember 10 days in Paris at the cheapest hotel." Baranski, who was also class president and looked more like a sweetly innocent student than a plane-hopping rebel when she was young, also told the outlet she "felt such a sense of pride," having made the trip at just 19 years old.

No wonder she was destined for a long and successful career.

Growing up in the theater district turned John Ross Bowie off acting

Known to The Big Bang Theory fans as Caltech scientist Barry Kripke, actor John Ross Bowie — whose last name is pronounced like "Maui" — was born in New York City. For school, he headed upstate to Ithaca College, where he graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in English, according to ABC. But being from the Big Apple didn't urge him to take a bite out of the business. In fact, it had the opposite effect for Bowie.

"I knew so many people who were struggling at it," he told The Spectrum, adding, "I eventually realized I had to at least give it a shot or I'd never forgive myself. I was 28 before I started making a living at it."

To be honest, he didn't exactly give off a vibe that screamed "future Hollywood star" when he was a kid. While he was certainly cute as a child who kind of resembled Superbad's McLovin at times, he then went on to a teenaged stage that featured puffy hair and even a bowtie. Oh so snazzy! However, it is pretty awesome that he went from a kid who played with a Luke Skywalker toy to a grown-up who was able to attend the final Star Wars premiere (see the awesome full circle above).

Wil Wheaton boldly went where so few children have gone

One of the reasons Wil Wheaton appeared on The Big Bang Theory is because the characters on the show were fans of Star Trek, a series Wheaton appeared on as a young actor from 1987 to 1994 (more specifically, he was on Star Trek: The Next Generation, of course). In fact, Wheaton himself can relate to the fandom. "I was a huge Star Trek fan as a little kid, so getting to work on Next Generation was like getting to do what I used to do as a kid on the playground at elementary school and make it the best virtual-reality LARP (live-action role play) I'd ever experienced," he told CNET in 2016. But that wasn't Wheaton's first foray into the business. 

Along with other roles, the young actor who was a ridiculously cute kid also voiced a character for 1982's animated classic The Secret of NIMH and was one of the young actors in 1986's Stand by Me.

Wheaton is also a famous social media user who shares plenty of "TBT" (throwback Thursday) posts on Instagram which often reflect on his past as a child star. "#tbt the first season of TNG," he wrote on January 23, 2020, along with a photo of himself hard at work while dressed as the young Wesley Crusher. "I'm doing homework on the set, with my studio teacher, Marian. She was such a good teacher and mentor to me." Now that's just sweet.