Whatever Happened To Chad Michael Murray?

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After supporting turns in "Gilmore Girls" and "Dawson's Creek," Chad Michael Murray cemented himself as one of his generation's premier teen drama stars when he bagged the leading part of basketball prodigy Lucas Scott in "One Tree Hill" (even if his character wasn't always considered to be the most exciting).

Big screen roles in the hit remake of body-swap classic "Freaky Friday," modern fairytale "A Cinderella Story," and slasher "House of Wax" followed, as did various high-profile endorsements, magazine covers, and the adoration of millions of teenage girls worldwide. But like the majority of The WB favorites, the heartthrob failed to sustain the same level of attention once he left the world of navel-gazing young adult soaps behind.

Not that the Buffalo native has entirely disappeared from view, of course. Chances are you've seen Murray pop up in everything from superhero spinoffs to schmaltzy Hallmark Channel movies over the past decade. But what else has the 2005 Teen Choice Award hottie male winner been up to since he entered his mid-30s? Here's how Chad Michael Murray's been staying busy.

Wedding bells for Chad Michael Murray and a co-star... again

Seems like Chad Michael Murray has no qualms about mixing his personal life with his professional. In 2005, he got hitched to his "One Tree Hill" co-star Sophia Bush, aka on-screen girlfriend Brooke Davis, although the pair's marriage barely lasted longer than an average season of The WB teen drama.

Murray then got engaged to Kenzie Dalton, a former beauty queen who'd appeared as an extra on the same show. The couple stayed together for a further seven years before calling it quits in 2013. And then two years later, he walked down the aisle again. In 2015, E! News confirmed that he got hitched to Sarah Roemer, a fellow actor who he starred alongside in Crackle's action thriller "Chosen." In keeping with the star's private nature, the couple decided to tie the knot in secret.

He appears to be third time lucky. Roemer and Murray are still very much together, and judging by the number of cozy, intimate selfies they both share on their respective Instagram accounts, are still very much loved-up, too.

Fatherhood has been major for Chad Michael Murray

2015 was certainly an eventful year for Chad Michael Murray. About six months after news of their nuptials broke, Murray announced on Twitter that he and Sarah Roemer had become parents to a baby boy. As he made very clear in another tweet, the new dad couldn't contain his joy: "Sarah & I couldn't b happier & intend 2 spend many a day having family adventures & watching @buffalobills football! & also @Chargers now."

Murray was equally excited when he welcomed his first daughter into the world two years later, captioning a photo of the tot's hand on Instagram, "Don't worry little girl you can hold on as tight as you want for as long as you want, I'm already yours and I'll never let go. I've now two incredible women in my life. My son and I are two lucky guys."

The "One Tree Hill" alum has yet to share the names of his kids, having previously told E! News in 2015, "I'm a family guy. I want that core. I tend to keep everything quiet. I love my life. That's the part that I keep for myself."

Chad Michael Murray got into a feud with his ex-wife

Twelve years after Chad Michael Murray and Sophia Bush's very brief marriage officially came to an end, the latter opened up a whole can of worms about what went down. During a 2018 interview on Andy Cohen's Sirius XM show "Radio Andy," Bush claimed that she'd never actually wanted to walk down the aisle with her "One Tree Hill" co-star and hinted she was pressured to do so for monetary reasons.

Unsurprisingly, Murray didn't appreciate this narrative, with E! News reporting that he later tweeted a GIF of Disney's "Pinocchio" in response to the interview. (That tweet has since been deleted.) A rep for the "Agent Carter" actor also addressed Bush's remarks, telling People magazine, "Chad conducts himself in a completely professional manner and would never marry for any reason but love." According to Us Weekly, Sarah Roemer also waded in with a bit of Instagram shade when she shared a meme that read, "Wait a second ... my producers also made me marry Chad Michael Murray."

Bush took to Twitter to maintain that her comments had been taken out of context. "When you're taking the p*ss out of yourself — because people can't let the past go and you really wish they would — and gossip rags try to turn it into inappropriate drama rather than self-deprecation," she wrote. "Don't twist people's words, y'all. If it wasn't clear, I was making fun of MYSELF."

The made-for-TV Christmas movie scene welcomed him

Chad Michael Murray sure seems to love the festive season. He's appeared in several chocolate box Christmas movies that always dominate the Hallmark Channel and Lifetime schedules every December. The New Yorker first showed up as Danny in 2018's "Road to Christmas" before playing Luke in 2019's "Write Before Christmas." In 2020, he appeared in Hallmark's "Love in Winterland" and the Lifetime original "Too Close for Christmas." The following year, the star played the role of Kevin Vaughn in Lifetime's "Toying with the Holidays."

In 2021, Murray starred as Gabe in GAC Family's "Angel Falls Christmas," which also starred actor Jessica Lowndes. According to Fox 5 Atlanta, it was the third time the actors got the chance to work together, with Murray sharing, "You walk on set, and it's so comforting to work with someone that you adore and you care about."

The previous year, Murray told Hollywood Life why he's so drawn to the season of goodwill. "I think a big part of it is I'm a dad," he shared. "I'm a family guy. Put God and family first, that's how we run, and these cater to that in a large way." And as for why he has taken to the Hallmark-Lifetime holiday genre? "They're family films. ... I think the light there is good for the world. It feeds the spirit and that's what we need." A spirit fed by a yuletide schmaltzfest is a well-fed spirit indeed.

Chad Michael Murray worked with his hero

They say you should never meet your heroes. But Chad Michael Murray ignored that piece of advice when he signed up to star in the 2020 movie "Survive the Night" alongside the man who inspired him to take up acting, Bruce Willis. And luckily, the Hollywood tough guy, who played Murray's father in the action thriller, didn't shatter any illusions.

In an interview with Express that same year, Murray revealed how honored he was to share the screen with such an icon. "It's one of those great moments in your life," he said. "Working with an actor of Bruce's caliber, I grew up watching Bruce in everything, from 'Die Hard' on. He's a legend, and he's left a mark in such a way that people try and emulate him and try to be like him, and have careers that can be even just a little bit close to his."

Murray got to star alongside his hero again in 2021's "Survive the Game," and the two men teamed up for the adventure film "Fortress" and its 2022 sequel "Fortress: Sniper's Eye." Speaking to 7 News Miami about working with Willis in one of his last films since announcing his retirement, Murray shared, "We got to know each other real well, to the point where I just felt like it was an older brother, younger brother type dynamic. Get up in the morning, he'd come walk towards me and give me this little shot in the gut and, you know, we'd goof around and talk old war stories and things like that."

This star is open to a One Tree Hill reunion

As the likes of "Saved By the Bell," "Punky Brewster," and "Beverly Hills, 90210" have all shown, no TV series is ever permanently canceled. Rumors about "One Tree Hill" coming back from the dead have continued to mount ever since it was taken off the air in 2012. And luckily for fans of The WB teen drama, its leading man is certainly open to the idea.

In 2020, Chad Michael Murray, who played the basketball playing heartthrob Lucas Scott, told Page Six it's inevitable that it will be revived in some way, shape, or form. "That show has affected so many people in the most positive way," he said. "I've seen it for years and years now. When I see that positive impact I can't help but be in awe and feel so humbled. I don't know if it will ever come to fruition. I have to believe at some point there will be some kind of reunion or a second edition for the new generation."

However, Murray's confidence may be misplaced. When asked about a possible revival or reunion in 2021, co-star James Lafferty, aka Lucas' brother Scott, told the New York Daily News, "I don't know how that would be possible for many different reasons." One of those reasons may well be the bad blood that bubbled up between Murray and his on-screen girlfriend and off-screen ex-wife, Sophia Bush, in 2018.

The very strict diet Chad Michael Murray follows

Don't expect to see a Chad Michael Murray cookbook hitting the shelves any time soon. In a 2020 interview about his daily routine, the one-time fashion model — who once lost 25 pounds for his "Cavemen" role by undergoing a very strict diet — told GQ that he eats not out of desire, but necessity. And he sticks to the same rather joyless-sounding menu every single day.

"I bring my own food to work — have done for the last ten to 15 years," the "Riverdale" actor explained. "I live on the same thing every single day: nuts, coffee, Kind bars. I bring tuna to work every day for lunch with some Wheat Thins — American Wheat Thins. I'm going to hard-preface that: American Wheat Thins, they're far better than the Canadian Wheat Thins. One's more salty sweet and one's just really really salty and thinner, so it's not as easy to make a sandwich out of."

The former Teen Choice Awards favorite makes a point to "eat pretty clean the entire day," but he does allow himself at least one treat as he winds down. "I have no sugar the entire day, then right at bedtime I eat Airheads," he shared. "If I don't have them, I can't sleep. I purchase cases online and they're delivered right to the door." It's as the old saying goes: An Airhead before bed makes sleep incred...ible.

Chad Michael Murray is serious about working out

Chad Michael Murray got plenty of opportunities to showcase his efforts at the gym during his early years on The WB, and even ahead of the big 4-0, he managed to stay in similar shape. Indeed, paparazzi snaps taken at the beach in the summer of 2020 proves that the actor has maintained his muscular physique.

And the "Agent Carter" star hasn't let the small matter of a worldwide pandemic stop him from working out, either. In a 2020 interview with GQ, Murray revealed that he was way ahead of the curve when it came to installing a home gym. "I'm one of those guys who thought it was coming for a long time, so I did a lot more preparation than most," he shared. "I ran out and snagged a home fitness center. I think they installed it the day before we locked down California. I already had a bench and free weights and [was] making new playlists to keep me focused."

Murray seems to be enjoying his pared-back fitness regime, too, adding, "Necessity is the mother of invention. You find ways to do everything that you were doing previously, and now I find I don't need these devices that I would at a gym. I'm more of an old-school, Rocky Balboa, ropes and chains kind of guy anyway when I'm working out." Could this mean he will eventually add raw eggs to his diet? They may not pair well with Airheads, but what do we know!

Faith is a huge part of Chad Michael Murray's life

Chad Michael Murray's first big screen credit was in 2001's "Megiddo: The Omega Code 2," a religious sci-fi flick featuring Michael York. Over a dozen years later, he starred alongside Nicolas Cage in another Christian science fiction movie called "Left Behind." 

Murray revealed to Fox News Digital in May 2022 that he doesn't have an issue turning down roles that do not line up with his faith. "I stick to the things I believe in. Let's just say a piece of material were to come across my desk, which as happened plenty of times over the last 22 years, that I don't necessarily feel is what I believe or what I'm selling — then that's not for me," he shared. 

The actor's family is also big on faith, with Murray sharing his beliefs with his wife, Sarah Roemer, and their children. In 2020, Murray told Page Six, "We read the Bible, I start the day reading a chapter. We teach the kids about Jesus and who Jesus was and the story and we do church on Sundays." The "Freaky Friday" star also makes sure that the Murray brood say a prayer at the dining table, too. He added, "That's one of the foundations of teaching a good moral compass in our children. Having the fear of God is vital because, to be honest, what do you have to lose if you have no fear of that. If you have no fear of God it would be chaos here."

He has had recurring roles on several hit shows

Chad Michael Murray will perhaps always be associated with "One Tree Hill." But the former Tiger Beat pin-up has also graced several other hit TV shows in more recent times. In 2017, he portrayed record producer Sam Phillips in CMT's acclaimed miniseries "Sun Records," and a year later, he bagged the role of unscrupulous realtor Xander McPherson in the third season of Lee Daniels' musical drama "Star."

Murray has also enjoyed screen time in two comic book adaptations. In 2019, he followed in the footsteps of another former teen heartthrob, the late Luke Perry, when he joined the cast of "Riverdale" as cult leader Edgar Evernever. The actor told Vanity Fair that same year that he'd taken the part after his wife, Sarah Roemer, became hooked on The CW show in-between their kids' naptimes: "Anything I can do to please the Mrs., I'm in."

But Murray's first foray into the comic book world came four years earlier when he was cast as Agent Jack Thompson in the Marvel spin-off "Agent Carter." The father of two told Australia's News.com.au that he relished being able to play such a complex man. "When you have a character who isn't the moral compass, they tend to do the wrong thing, or at least the unexpected thing," he said. "So it's fun for me to be able to make crazy choices and to do whatever. I tend to get a good laugh whenever I read the script."

Showbiz has been good to the actor's bank account

According to Showbiz CheatSheet, Chad Michael Murray earned a not-too-shabby $22,000 per episode during his first year playing Lucas Scott in "One Tree Hill." But that figure was eclipsed by the $100,000 per episode each member of the teen drama's cast started earning in Season 4.

Of course, as one of the nation's premier heartthrobs, Murray also got the chance to boost his bank balance with various endorsements. Big screen roles in box office hits such as "Freaky Friday" and "A Cinderella Story" no doubt came with impressive paychecks, too. And even though his money-spinning show ended in 2012, the Buffalo native has still been raking in the dollars thanks to gigs on high-profile series such as "Agent Carter," "Star," and "Riverdale," not to mention several made-for-TV Christmas movies. As a result, Celebrity Net Worth lists Murray's net worth in the region of $4 million.

The actor is no stranger to paying it forward. In 2007, at the height of his teen idol fame, WECT reported that Murray bought and donated a bunch of toys to a children's charity in North Carolina. A few years later, The Buffalo News reported on how he gave $20,000 to a local children's hospital. And in 2020, Murray helped to launch a line of jerseys, signed in character as Lucas Scott. As he noted on his Instagram page, the proceeds would partly go toward the Rock Foundation for COVID-19 relief.

Chad Michael Murray played Ted Bundy

In 2021, Chad Michael Murray landed the role of one of the most prolific serial killers in history — Ted Bundy. The film, entitled "Ted Bundy: American Boogeyman," follows real-life FBI agents Kathleen McChesney (Holland Roden) and Robert Ressler (Jake Hays) as they try to apprehend the infamous killer. The movie also stars horror movie icon Lin Shaye, who portrays Mrs. Bundy, the mother of Ted. 

Roden spoke to Looper about working with Murray and shared, "He was so lovely. ... He played a great Ted Bundy. He had a very particular character choice, and he put a lot of thought into it." She added, "But it was really fun to play a real person in modern-day and to work with Chad." 

The film came two years after another popular re-telling of the horrific crimes of Bundy, with Zac Efron portraying the killer in 2019's "Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile." Meanwhile, in 2021, actor Luke Kirby also starred as Bundy in "No Man of God," which follows FBI agent Bill Hagmaier's (Elijah Wood) encounter with the serial killer toward the end of his life on death row. 

He published a graphic novel

Chad Michael Murray added author to his extensive resume when he published his first graphic novel in 2011. Titled "Everlast," the book tells the tale of a pre-apocalyptic world where its main character, Derek Everlast, chooses who will survive before the world ends. 

The novel was long overdue for the star, who shared with Reuters, "I've been writing this for years but this was the first thing I ever followed through with." When asked about what inspired his dark tale, the actor said that it started after a man came to his door to preach his faith. "The man said 144,000 people would be left to survive the end of days and it spurred a lot of ideas. What if that was true? How would you choose these people?"

Good Reads reported that, so far, Murray has written one other graphic novel to accompany "Everlast" entitled "Flight of the Cormorant." The actor told Reuters that he envisions his project on the big screen. "The world is kind of limitless, there is no end for it. There's a lot of stories we didn't tell. If an audience really embraces it and takes it in, maybe they would want to watch it on the screen. As a film, as a TV series, there are all options," Murray shared. 

The actor also wrote a book called American Drifter

Chad Michael Murray got back into writing when he teamed up with famed romance and suspense author Heather Graham to publish the thriller "American Drifter."

The 2017 book tells the tale of war veteran River Roulet who cannot let go of the horrific images and memories of his past and time at war. The young man tries to change his life by traveling to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, but after meeting a journalist named Natal, with whom he strikes a romance and who so happens to live with a drug lord, his life is forever changed. River finds himself in serious trouble and in tremendous danger as he and Natal try to flee Brazil. 

Murray and Graham sat down to talk about their book on Graham's YouTube channel, with The New York Times Bestseller stating that the actor "came up with the idea" for the novel, and adding, "It was your dream." Murray shared, "I was super blessed to be able to spend time and have a wonderful working relationship and amazing friendship and kind of a family relationship now at this point." Graham also spilled that a second novel about the story of River Roulet was also in the making for those who love Murray's books! 

Chad Michael Murray wouldn't mind a One Tree Hill reboot

If a "One Tree Hill" reunion with all of the OG cast isn't in the stars, then what about a "One Tree Hill" reboot with a slew of new actors? With fan-favorites like "Gossip Girl," "Fuller House," and more recently "Frasier" jumping on the reboot and revival band wagon, then why not see the beloved teen drama follow suit? 

Chad Michael Murray spoke with E! News in December 2021 and shared his thoughts on a much-needed reboot, stating, "I can't imagine that it won't, at some point. We get asked all the time. I know I do. And I know Hilarie [Burton] does, and I see everybody at least once or twice a year." He added, "I got to imagine at some point, there would be some version of it." 

The "Agent Carter" actor even shared what he'd like to see in the show if a reboot would ever happen. "I have an idea that's been bouncing around in my head to do a new generation of this show, dealing with today's issue. There's just so many things now that are so very different than it was back in the early aughts. So, you can do issues that are relating to children and kids that [they] are dealing in high school today." Guess we'll have to cross our fingers for this one!

He starred in Sand Dollar Cove with Aly Michalka

Chad Michael Murray is no stranger to starring in Hallmark movies and, in 2021, acted alongside Aly Michalka in "Sand Dollar Cove." While it wasn't his usual Christmas-themed film, it followed the same tune. The movie focuses on two strangers with an undeniable connection after Michalka's character, Elli, has her sights set on making a beach front property into a resort, while Murray's character, Brody, a local of the area who holds the deed, wants the town's pier to remain as it is. 

In an interview with Culturess, Murray spoke about his adoration for starring in "feel-good" movies, sharing, "I just feel like the world needs more and more good-hearted family content, right? I really, truly believe that. I think [this movie] has a good heart, good soul, too." He continued, "When these stories come across my table, I just try to find something where I know that I can identify with the character so I can bring his best foot forward. And that's what really speaks to me."

For her part, Michalka spoke to TV Fanatic about working alongside Murray and how they developed a great bond on the set. "We had a great time. We got along really well, which doesn't always happen, where you kind of walk away with these friendships," the Aly & AJ hitmaker said, adding, "Chad and I became friends out of it." 

Chad Michael Murray thinks his younger self was a 'dweeb'

Fans of "One Tree Hill" might have had posters of Chad Michael Murray on their walls or collected magazines with the actor's photos, but Murray looks back at his past self knowing he was a teen heartthrob and recoils. 

The "Riverdale" actor told Page Six, "I look at photos of myself and think, 'What a dweeb. He thought he was so cool!'" Murray added, "Why wouldn't I? I was 21 years old. I'm just a kid from Buffalo, moved out here, took a chance and I fell headfirst into it. I remember in 2005 I was standing in Times Square doing a big ball drop for 'TRL,' thousands of people, and you're on stage. It's a very surreal thing but how do you really decipher where you are in your life at that age? It's just a passing moment, I think at that age you can give it too much value."

Murray may have cringed looking back at his younger years, but reading tweets from fans for BuzzFeed's "Thirst Tweets" series should tell him that he's completely wrong. Murray got to know how much women and men appreciated seeing him on screen, with one tweet reading, "If you're gonna tell me Chad Michael Murray wasn't your childhood crush I don't want to be friends with a liar." Pretty sure anyone who was watching him in the early 2000s can agree with that statement.