What You Don't Know About Mayim Bialik

Mayim Bialik has been a fixture on television screens, on and off, since the 1990s. Back then, she was the adolescent star of sitcom "Blossom," playing titular Blossom Russo for the series' five-season run. While "Blossom" was a hit, it didn't make her rich. "I think what's important for people to realize is ... I did not have the kind of financial success that would've set me up for the rest of my life. Also, our show was never put into syndication," Bialik divulged during an appearance on Jaleel White's "Ever After" podcast.

For the next few years, she stepped back from Hollywood to pursue other interests. However, as her IMDb profile indicates, she continued to keep her hand in showbiz by taking on occasional acting work, primarily voice roles in animated series. In 2010, she made a big return to television by joining "The Big Bang Theory," playing quirky neuroscientist Amy Farrah Fowler, love interest of the equally quirky Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons). She followed that up in grand style in 2020, when she became one of two permanent hosts replacing the late Alex Trebek as quizmaster on massively popular game show "Jeopardy!"

Despite being watched regularly by millions upon millions of TV viewers, there's still much they may not know about this fascinating public figure. Read on to discover the untold truth of Mayim Bialik. 

Mayim Bialik became a star at age 12

Mayim Bialik started acting professionally as a child, just 12 when she appeared in the 1988 horror flick "Pumpkinhead." He breakthrough role, however, came in the 1988 feature "Beaches," playing the younger version of Bette Midler's character. "I had seen some of [Midler's] movies, but I didn't really grasp the full notion that I'd be on a big screen, or that people would be considering the film for awards and things like that," she told Edge Magazine of the sudden fame the movie's success brought her.

During a 1989 appearance on "Good Morning America," host Charlie Gibson asked 13-year-old Bialik if she planned to continue acting when she grew up. Admitting she enjoyed it, she also said, "When I get older, I might want to ease out of it," expressing a desire to someday become a marine biologist.

She was just 14 when she was cast in "Blossom," an NBC sitcom in which she played the title role. "I read the 'Blossom' script and it was the first script I had ever read where I laughed out loud," Bialik recalled for Yahoo! Entertainment, describing the experience of becoming instantly famous. "Once I got 'Beaches,' I felt like everything kind of free-fell," she told Edge Magazine, "and all of a sudden I went from just being this kid who liked acting to a person with her own TV show."

She paused her acting career to earn a PhD in neuroscience

It was a studio tutor who helped a teenage Mayim Bialik realize science was her passion. As she'd predicted, Bialik stopped acting and went to college. "I made a conscious decision to leave acting because I wanted to pursue a degree in neuroscience, she told Edge Magazine. "I had other interests, as everyone tends to, and I think women in particular should be encouraged to try lots of different things — especially with the under-representation of women in science. It just felt like an amazing opportunity."

Bialik thrived in academia, ultimately earning a PhD in neuroscience from UCLA with a dissertation titled "Hypothalamic Regulation in Relation to Maladaptive, Obsessive-compulsive, Affiliative, and Satiety Behaviors in Prader-Willi Syndrome." Bialik's academic achievement was made all the more impressive by the fact that she was raising two small children at the same time. "I got married, I had my first son in grad school and then my second son right after, so it was a big 12 years," she explained during an appearance on "The Three Questions With Andy Richter" podcast. "[I] literally wrote my thesis breastfeeding, laying down and typing with one hand," she added. 

Bialik famously returned to television when she was cast as Amy Farrah Fowler in "The Big Bang Theory." As she told omg! (via Yahoo! Entertainment), her initial plan wasn't to join a hit TV sitcom, but to spend more time with her kids. "I figured actors never work, so it's the perfect job to have," she joked. 

Mayim Bialik was mentioned on The Big Bang Theory in its first season

When Mayim Bialik first landed her role on "The Big Bang Theory," she had no inkling she'd stick around for nine more seasons and become a member of one of television's highest-paid casts. "I went and auditioned with a bunch of other women," she told Edge Magazine. "The initial part was in the finale of Season 3 and it was maybe six lines. The character didn't have a name, she didn't have a career or a job — we didn't really know anything about her — so I was just brought on to do these few lines. They didn't even know if this character would continue." Bialik revealed to omg! (via Yahoo! Entertainment) that she was initially unfamiliar with the sitcom, even though she soon became a series regular.

Interestingly, Bialik was actually in an episode of "The Big Bang Theory" years before she was cast — in a manner of speaking. She was referenced two seasons earlier, in the 13th episode of the series' first season. Characters Raj (Kunal Nayyar), Howard (Simon Helberg), and Leonard (Johnny Galecki) were trying to find a fourth team member to compete in the Physics Bowl. Raj mentions Bialik without saying her name. "You know who is apparently really smart, is the girl who played TV's Blossom. She got a PhD in neuroscience or something," he says. Leonard isn't interested, so Raj then suggests "the girl from 'The Wonder Years,'" math expert Danica McKellar.

How her kids' involvement with TikTok led her to host Jeopardy!

When "The Big Bang Theory" ended, Mayim Bialik next starred in her own Fox sitcom, "Call Me Kat," which debuted in early 2021. That same year, Bialik's career took a sharp turn when she was hired to host "Jeopardy!" after an unforeseen set of circumstances (she and "Jeopardy!" champion Ken Jennings would alternate hosting duties, reported CBS News, after previously announced host Mike Richards' past controversial comments came to light, and he resigned). 

According to Bialik, at least part of the reason she wound up as "Jeopardy!" host had to do with her kids' activity on TikTok. "My 15-year-old heard on the TikTok universe that people were saying, 'That girl from "Big Bang Theory" should do it,'" Bialik told Insider. Intrigued, Bialik wanted to find out whether there truly was an online movement pushing for her to step into the shoes of the late Alex Trebek. Apparently, there was. 

"I don't know if it was my 15-year old and having to email my agent that did it or if it was something that was already in the works, but I'm super excited and honored, especially as a woman and as a woman in science to be able to present in this way in 10 snazzy blazers," Bialik said. The only downside was, she joked, "I have to give my kid 10 percent now."

She's written several books

Among her other accolades, Mayim Bialik is the prolific author of several books. Her first, published in 2012, is called "Beyond the Sling: A Real-Life Guide to Raising Confident, Loving Children the Attachment Parenting Way," extolling the virtues of the controversial child-rearing philosophy known as attachment parenting. She followed up with two more books in a similar vein, "Girling Up: How to be Strong, Smart and Spectacular," and "Boying Up: How to be Brave, Bold and Brilliant," with these two aimed at children, not their parents. Demonstrating her versatility, Bialik also shared some of her favorite vegan recipes in a 2014 cookbook, "Mayim's Vegan Table." 

It was her first book, however, that dredged up controversy nearly a decade after its publication. In 2021, The New York Times unearthed a brief excerpt from the book, in which she wrote that she and ex-husband Michael Stone, quote, "made an informed decision not to vaccinate our children."

The Times also reported on a YouTube video she had recorded the previous year in which Bialik shared her view that children receive more vaccinations than they need, but insisted she's no anti-vaxxer. She recalled of the time when she wrote the book, "My children had not received the typical schedule of vaccines, but I have never, not once, said that vaccines are not valuable, not useful, or not necessary." She added, "My children may not have had every one of the vaccinations that your children have, but my children are vaccinated." 

She apologized for her op-ed about Harvey Weinstein

Mayim Bialik's stance on vaccines isn't the only controversy she's found herself in. Another came about when she wrote an op-ed for the The New York Times about disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, who was found guilty on rape charges and sent to prison after allegations of sexual misconduct were leveled by dozens of women. In her piece, discussing the #MeToo movement, Bialik suggested that she hadn't been victimized by Hollywood predators because of her "nontraditional" look and modest dress.

"Those of us in Hollywood who don't represent an impossible standard of beauty have the 'luxury' of being overlooked," she said, "and, in many cases, ignored by men in power unless we can make them money." 

Bialik found herself hit with backlash for those remarks, which some felt implied that the victims were to blame for their own assaults simply by virtue of being attractive and dressing in a way that could be described as provocative. She took to Twitter to offer a mea culpa for what she'd written. "What you wear and how you behave does not provide any protection from assault," she wrote, "nor does the way you dress or act in any way make you responsible for being assaulted ... I am truly sorry for causing so much pain, and I hope you can all forgive me."

*If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

Mayim Bialik tried to be in a Spider-Man movie

Mayim Bialik holds the distinction of being one of the rare actors who hasn't appeared in a superhero movie or TV series. According to Bialik, that hasn't been from a lack of desire. "I've tried very hard and I'd like to believe that one day it might happen," she told Insider of her ambition to eventually appear in a Marvel or DC movie. 

In fact, she revealed that she once came close. "I did audition to play the teacher in one of the 'Spider-Man' [movies], but I didn't get it," she said. "I'm past the young ingenue character, but I still think there might be a place for me. I'm a huge Marvel and DC person, but obviously DC is my Warner Bros. family. I'm pretty partial to that."

As of this writing, Bialik has yet to land a role in a superhero movie, but that hasn't dampened her enthusiasm for other superhero-themed projects. In 2020, The Hollywood Reporter noted that she was curating a series of graphic novels called "Flash Facts," featuring the speedy DC superhero the Flash. Joined by such fellow superheroes as Supergirl and Green Lantern, the book series — aimed at middle school students — was said to educate readers on how STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) affects day-to-day life in ways that people may not realize.

She owned a vegan restaurant

Not only has Mayim Bialik demonstrated her street cred as a vegan by publishing a cookbook of vegan recipes; she took it one step further by opening her own vegan restaurant, Los Angeles-based Bodhi Bowl. 

As she told Haute Living, the restaurant came about from her 20-year friendship with vegan chef Ali Cruddas. "We have been friends and co-vegans, dreaming of a world where we would not just eat salad and pasta and french fries," she told the outlet. After working together on her cookbook, "Mayim's Vegan Table," they partnered on what Bialik described as "essentially a vegan healthy Subway sandwich restaurant at reasonable prices" located in downtown Los Angeles. In addition to bowls, the joint served wraps, sandwiches, and salads.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in spring 2020, Bialik issued a promotional tweet urging her followers to get a takeout order from Bodhi Bowl. Sadly, that wasn't enough to save the eatery, which became one of many casualties of the pandemic. As VegOut reported, just a few months later, Cruddas announced that Bodhi Bowl was shutting down. "Downtown is pretty deserted and my customer base is just no longer there, as the majority of my customers are office workers," Cruddas lamented. "COVID has taken its toll on us all in DTLA."

She's branched out into screenwriting and directing

In addition to appearing onscreen, Mayim Bialik has also ventured behind the camera for the film "As They Made Us." Released in April 2022, the project marked Bialik's debut as a feature director, and she's also credited as co-writer of the screenplay, on which she collaborated with Jonathan Cohen. Ina On stars as a recently divorced woman dealing with her dysfunctional family, with Dustin Hoffman and Candice Bergen as her parents, while Bialik's "Big Bang Theory" co-star Simon Helberg and "Glee" alum Dianna Agron also star. Filmed in New Jersey, noted a press release from the state, the former working title of the movie was "As Sick as They Made Us."

As Bialik explained in an interview with Variety, the film's origins date back to 2015, when she began writing about her feelings at the time. "I started writing prose. It wasn't even in screenplay format," she said, admitting that in those early days, she didn't anticipate that what she was writing would eventually lead to her directorial debut. 

"There's so many stages of making your first film, especially for me, learning as I go," she said. "And there's so many things to know when making a very, very small budget film, which we are. It took a lot of labor and a lot of love to pull it together. It's still very surreal."

Mayim Bialik is proud to be a 'holistic mom'

In addition to her affinity for attachment parenting, Mayim Bialik is also a devotee of holistic medicine. So much so that she was named "celebrity spokesperson" of the Holistic Moms Network, described as a non-profit offering resources and support for mothers raising their children in a manner in keeping with holistic practices. These practices include organic foods and natural childbirth.

Declaring she'd "found her tribe" in the organization, Bialik explained that she was passionate about the group's mandate. "For those of us who parent against current trends, and for those of us who are parenting after educated, compassionate decisions, to do so without support can be disheartening, discouraging, and often leads to straying from our instinct," she said. "HMN provides the support and education that we historically have gotten from close-knit communities."

Of course, her devotion to holistic parenting hasn't always gone well from a PR standpoint. Such was the case when she posted a photo of herself on a subway in New York City in 2011, nursing her three-year-old son; this connected to an article she wrote about breastfeeding for Kveller. "I received a tremendous amount of backlash," she later told HuffPost (via E! News). "What I like to point out is that was the best way for that subway ride to be pleasant for everyone. It was the end of a very long day."

She launched her own lifestyle website

In 2015, Mayim Bialik followed in the footsteps of such celebs as Goop founder Gwyneth Paltrow and HelloGiggles' originator Zooey Deschanel by launching her own lifestyle website, GrokNation.

"...GrokNation will be the place where I share my thoughts about being an actress on 'The Big Bang Theory,' being a scientist and a vegan mom, being an unusual woman because I am an actress and a scientist and a vegan mom, and everything in between," she wrote when announcing the site via Kveller, where she'd been writing a parenting blog. Though she was interested in explaining the inner workings of her own brain, Bialik hoped to include other writers on the site eventually. "I want to really explore how complicated most issues are, emphasizing the importance of getting educated and exploring perspectives we may not have considered before," she shared. 

Bialik relaunched GrokNation in 2018 with a greater emphasis on lifestyle elements, covering fashion and style (albeit in "an environmentally responsible way," noted the announcement). The following March, Bialik announced another change, that GrokNation would no longer have fresh content added to the site; instead, updates would be provided via Bialik's newsletter. As of July 2022, the website was no longer active

The Big Bang Theory made her a multi-millionaire

Not only was Mayim Bialik's role on "The Big Bang Theory" a boon for her career, but it also boosted her bank account significantly. After all, as The Hollywood Reporter pointed out, the show ended its 12-season run as one of the most popular TV sitcoms in history — and, at the time of its exit, television's highest-rated comedy. Those boffo ratings translated to massive salaries for the show's main cast, who reportedly earned a hefty $1 million per episode. 

While Bialik (like co-star Melissa Rauch) was categorized as a supporting player, she was also paid quite well; THR reported that the actor's pay had increased to $425,000 per episode by 2017. Add that sitcom salary to Bialik's other ventures (including revenue from her books and podcasting), and the end result is an estimated net worth of $25 million

Meanwhile, Bialik's post-"Big Bang Theory" paychecks should also be taken into consideration. While her per-episode salary on "Call Me Kat" hasn't been publicly reported, given that she's both star and exec producer, she's likely taking home some serious money. And then there's her "Jeopardy!" salary. While that also hasn't been made public, longtime host Alex Trebek was said to be earning $10 million annually by 2015, per CNN Business. Celebrity Net Worth claimed he was making $18 million a year prior to his death in November 2020. If Bialik was being paid even a small fraction of that, her net worth could be expected to rise considerably. 

Mayim Bialik is in a post-divorce relationship with her podcast partner

In November 2012, Mayim Bialik shared the news that she and husband Michael Stone were calling it quits. "Divorce is terribly sad, painful and incomprehensible for children," she wrote in a statement on Kveller. "It is not something we have decided lightly."

In January 2021, Bialik launched her podcast "Mayim Bialik's Breakdown," featuring co-host Jonathan Cohen. "To be honest, 2020 was a beast of a year and my partner Jonathan and I have a shared passion for mental illness and mental illness education," Bialik told Forbes, revealing that Cohen wasn't just her co-host but her "partner."

According to the "Mayim Bialik's Breakdown" website, Bialik and Cohen first met when they were attending a toddler's birthday party nearly a decade earlier, where the two bonded. They "began a connection fueled by shifting the collective understanding of mental health and emotional well-being," the site notes. Cohen is described as a futurist, father, producer, poet, and writer, as well as the co-founder of Lotic AI, a company that aims to help people connect their minds with their bodies. He posted an Instagram reel in 2022 featuring cute, silly photos of Bialik as an adult baby. She also poked fun at Cohen with a video of him vacuuming.