What You Don't Know About Melissa Rauch

Melissa Rauch, who is best known for playing the petite yet commanding Bernadette Rostenkowski on the award-winning sitcom "The Big Bang Theory," was still climbing the ranks to stardom when she landed the iconic role in 2009. In fact, Rauch was somewhat of a self-starter, working her way through the industry and pounding the pavement doing standup comedy. She also appeared in shows like VH1's "Best Ever Weekend," a sketch-style comedy show. As Rauch explained on "The Rubin Report" in 2013, as a shy individual, "[comedy] was always definitely an outlet" for the budding star. And she has some crazy stories to back that up, including as far back as eight years old.

Rauch scored her first movie part in the 2006 off-beat dramedy "Delirious," then began building a respectable resume on TV, starting with recurring roles on the sitcoms "12 Miles of Bad Road" and "Kath & Kim." Just three years later, Rauch wrote, directed, and starred in a comedy short called "The Condom Killer," the same year she was picked for the role that would change everything: as Howard Wolowitz's love interest — though Bernadette was only meant to be a guest character. Clearly, viewers loved the couple's chemistry as well as the "voice of reason" that her character offered to the off-beat bunch of guys.

And just as Bernadette became a fan favorite, Rauch herself grew more well-known and well-loved by fans. Still, there's lots to learn about the talented blond beauty. Keep reading for more things you didn't know about Melissa Rauch.

She began her comedy career with stand up

If you thought Melissa Rauch could deliver a comedic line with perfection as Bernadette on "The Big Bang Theory," you should have seen her when she was just eight years old. Rauch told Conan O'Brien back in 2012 that she took any opportunity available to perform in elementary school, including the traditional show-and-tell day. "I would watch sets of Whoopi Goldberg and do things that were wildly inappropriate that I didn't really understand," the actor recalled. 

A few years later, she was back on "Conan" again, sharing how she used to recreate musicals in the basement with her brother. She even brought a clip of herself singing "Dance Ten: Looks Three" from "A Chorus Line," which includes the lyrics, "T**s and a**."

While she was attending college, Rauch began hitting the stand-up comedy circuit. She reminisced about that time with commentator and fellow comedian Dave Rubin on "The Ruben Report." While she told Rubin she loved doing standup, Rauch also admitted it was a tough time for her, especially when she had to stand out in the cold, late at night, handing out flyers in Times Square. But the comedian pushed through, and was eventually performing a one-woman theater show called, "The Miss Education of Jenna Bush."

She was obsessed with Ellen DeGeneres

One of Melissa Rauch's biggest inspirations was Ellen DeGeneres, who performed her "Phone Call to God" bit on "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" in 1986. Because before DeGeneres became the queen of daytime, giving away expensive prizes to her talk show audience, DeGeneres was also a stand-up comedian and actor.

Rauch recalled with Dave Rubin that her first laughs were garnered in her living room doing impressions of other comedic actors, like Don Knotts and Richard Pryor. She also had no problem memorizing and re-creating bits and scenes — even if she didn't quite understand the meaning of the jokes. One of those such bits was DeGeneres's "Phone Call to God." When Rauch was on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" in 2016, she told the host she watched a DVD of that act over and over as a child. "It's the best stand-up routine of all time," she said fondly. 

Rauch humbly told DeGeneres that she memorized it and performed it for her class, admitting, "I wish I could say I did you proud, but the kid before me had a shark tooth that he brought in from the Bahamas that really killed." And though she remembered doing the act just as DeGeneres had performed it, including the perfectly timed pauses, it was over the heads of her fellow classmates, who just stared at her. Still DeGeneres thanked the actor and gave her props for being ahead of her time.

Melissa Rauch met her husband in college

Opposites might attract but there's something to be said for being completely in sync with your partner. For college sweethearts Melissa Rauch and Winston Beigel, that seemed to be the case. Melissa met Winston — who's listed as Winston Rauch on IMDb — freshman year at Marymount Manhattan College, as she shared with "The Nerdist Podcast," in a script analysis class. They became not only friends but writing partners, and then during senior year, they finally made the jump to dating. Rauch told Interview Magazine that they worked as servers while looking for jobs. That's when they co-wrote "The Miss Education of Jenna Bush," the 2005 one-woman play that Melissa starred in.

The couple eventually tied the knot in 2007, but the newlyweds didn't simply transform from collaborative partners to husband and wife. The pair continued to work on projects together, including co-writing, "The Condom Killer" and "The Bronze." And since the couple that plays together stays together, Rauch and her husband found a way to do that too. She shared with Esquire in 2013 that she and Winston bought season passes to Disneyland when they first moved to L.A. "whenever I was bummed out about work, we would go to Space Mountain, and it was like a physical injection of anti-depressants," she said.

How tall is Melissa Rauch?

It's obvious to most viewers and fans of Melissa Rauch that she's not too tall. In the show that made her famous, they often refer to her small stature. But before Rauch came along as Bernadette on "The Big Bang Theory," it was Howard Wolowitz (Simon Helberg) who was the brunt of the "tiny" jokes, and truthfully still was even after Bernadette arrived. Coming in at 5'4", Howard had been the shortest of the main friend group, but given all the guys (except outlier Jim Parsons who is 6'1") are 5'7 and under, Rauch's height — or lack thereof — wasn't as noticeable. 

Though this small visible difference wouldn't seem to be a problem, it actually was on the set. Rauch shared with CinemaBlend in 2021 that she struggled with sitting on the couches on set and that she would often need assistance or special accommodations. "I was like propped up with pillows at all times! And if I wasn't, I would need like a hoist to get me up," she told the publication.

And with all Rauch and her husband Winston have in common, height is not one of them. He's more than a foot taller than his wife, with a height of 6'3", according to TV Show Stars. As Rauch shared on "Conan" in 2021, some short men in their neighborhood weren't happy about the mismatched pair, giving them side-eye when they ran into them.

Bernadette wasn't supposed to be a permanent character

In a Season 3 episode of "The Big Bang Theory," Penny, played by Kaley Cuoco, sets up a blind date for Howard with a fellow Cheesecake Factory worker named Bernadette. At the time, the plan was that the character would be temporary. And Rauch herself was just happy to be joining the cast. In an interview with "WGWG" she said, "It was really a dream come true. I was a fan of the show before I even auditioned for it."

Rauch went on to share that although everyone understood her time there would be short, the cast and crew were very welcoming. Around this same time, Mayim Bialik joined the show as Amy Farrah Fowler. Adding two women to the group certainly changed the dynamic of the show, but Rauch gave credit to the creators and writers for taking their time and letting the transition happen organically.

In regards to her character specifically, the actor doesn't want to take all the credit for how far Bernadette came from the early episodes. About the writers, she told "WGWG," "They really have done such a beautiful job with giving all the characters really so much growth and development." A huge part of that development was Howard and Bernadette marrying and starting a family. Rauch revealed her excitement for that storyline, especially since it had Bernadette unsure about being a mother. "I thought they handled it beautifully, and I'm very grateful that they've taken her character in that direction," she added.

Bernadette evolved into a character based on her mother

When Melissa Rauch took on the part of Bernadette in "The Big Bang Theory," she had no way of knowing where it would ultimately lead. And since character development is something that happens over time, an actor might be less concerned about it if they know the role won't have that time. Which is why at some point, Rauch changed the way she portrayed Bernadette.

Viewers may have noticed that early on Bernadette's voice was lower, more like the normal speaking voice of Rauch. When the actor realized this was going to be a lasting part, she began to transform Bernadette into a unique and lovable woman who sounded like Rauch's mother — except for the New Jersey accent as Rauch told "WGWG." But it's not just the voice the two women have in common. "My mother has this quiet fire that Bernadette has," Rauch explained, adding that when she reaches her boiling point, she'll let you have it, something viewers have seen Bernadette do on the show.

Just as an actor can personally influence a character, it can happen the other way around too. One thing the former stand-up comedian has tried to take away from her character is Bernadette's posture. Though Rauch herself was somewhat of a sloucher, she knew Bernadette would be straight as an arrow, and after playing that part for so long, she says she's tried to emulate that in her own life.

She posed for Maxim in 2013

The character of Bernadette on "The Big Bang Theory" exudes sweetness on the surface but you can also feel she won't take any BS. But given the modest wardrobe she dons each week, one would be surprised if she were to pose for some racy pics. Melissa Rauch, herself, might have a few things in common with Bernadette, but it appears she's a little more flashy and revealing when it comes to her outfits — at least that was the case when she posed in a black corset — not unlike her co-star Kaley Cuoco who wore a similar outfit in 2010 — for Maxim magazine.

In 2013, the petite actor posed for Maxim in what resulted in some serious online chatter from viewers who were surprised and excited about seeing this different side of Rauch. Some of the photos featured dark smokey eyes, revealing clothes, and even one with a snake wrapped around her. Still, Rauch stayed true to her comedy roots when she told the magazine, "I absolutely love a funny guy. I am a sucker for it." (via E! News)

Coincidentally, a few months before the magazine came out she appeared on "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson," wearing a beautiful black cocktail dress with lacy, low-cut top. Ferguson commented, "You look fantastic. May I say there's a little bit of vavoom." And when he asked if she was going out later, she replied that it was all for him.

Melissa Rauch and her husband wrote The Bronze

Since the moment the pair met, Melissa Rauch and her husband, Winston Rauch, have been a creative team, as in the case of 2015's "The Bronze," which Melissa starred in. The sports dramedy, which debuted at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, focuses on a former Olympic gymnast who struggles with her fading stardom in a small town, then gets a chance to coach another gymnast.

The birth of the story idea came from a personal experience where Melissa received a free pretzel in her hometown because the manager recognized her from her VH1 show. Later, the show was canceled and upon her return, Melissa reported to "You & Me This Morning." "The manager kind of pretended like he didn't know me." The gesture seemed to represent her view of herself and out of that came inspiration to share what goes on when fans are no longer adoring.

The Rauches knew they had something special with the script, but they needed backers. Rauch explained on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" in 2016 that some of those producers would have jumped on board if there was a bigger name attached to it instead of Melissa's. "So we kept on saying, we're going to 'Rocky' this and Sylvester Stallone it," the actor said, referring to Stallone holding out with his "Rocky" script so he could star in it. Not only did it work out for Rauch, but she shared that she was able to thank Stallone when she encountered him at a party.

She has been open about her pregnancy journey

Announcing a pregnancy can be a scary thing for anyone, especially if you've had a miscarriage in the past. But when you're in the spotlight like Melissa Rauch, the amount of eyes on you at all times increases the percentage that someone will see a baby bump. Still, that wasn't the only reason Rauch and her husband were hesitant to share the news. 

In an exclusive piece in Glamour magazine in July 2017, Rauch shared with the world not just the wonderful news that the couple was expecting, but the journey leading there, her previous miscarriage, and her fears and thoughts about pregnancy and having a child. "The miscarriage I experienced was one of the most profound sorrows I have ever felt in my life," she said. Rauch explained this was one of the reasons it was so difficult for her when others would share their good news. It made her wonder if her announcement would cause the same kind of pain.

The actor also admitted to Glamour that along with the sorrow, there was considerable guilt and what she called "the constant assault of emotions." It was a long road to healing but one simple thing ended up helping her the most: acceptance. And she ended up being even more grateful for another chance at motherhood. Rauch's daughter, Sadie, was born in December of 2017 and then the couple had a son, Brooks, in May of 2020, per People.

She fought for higher pay for her role in The Big Bang Theory

Sure there's something to be said for seniority, but when you're an integral part of a winning team, you deserve to be compensated appropriately. When Melissa Rauch and Mayim Bialik joined the cast of "The Big Bang Theory" in Season 3, no one knew they'd end up being permanent fixtures, rounding out the main group to be four guys and three girls. But at some point, even when it became obvious Amy Farrah Fowler and Bernadette Rostenkowski were here to stay, the actors were still making only $200,000 per episode in Season 10 compared to the original five stars of the show who were pulling in an impressive $1 million an episode, per Variety.

When renewal talks began in 2016, the original five cast members generously offered to take a pay cut of $100,000 each to add to the salaries of Rauch and Bialik, more than doubling their pay. By February of 2017, it still hadn't worked out because, according to Variety, the two actors in question wanted the studio to shell out more money as well. By April of 2017, The Hollywood Reporter announced a deal was made. And while they didn't give verified amounts, it appeared that Rauch and Bialik didn't get the powers that be to bump them any closer to that elusive million an episode mark. Warner Bros. Television offered up no comments.

Melissa Rauch loves her co-stars

While the initial appeal of "The Big Bang Theory” seemed to be a peek into the lives of four nerd geniuses and the wacky things they do, over time it became so much more. As the men each found their soulmate, the group transformed into not just a group of friends — but a family. It's even better when you discover that things are the same for the actors behind the scenes, and according to Melissa Rauch, it's been that way since day one. 

One just needs to watch a cast interview to see the natural chemistry between the stars. One example is the 2011 Comic Con TV Line interview where they laughed and joked with each other, then Rauch was asked how the group accepted her. "Each one of them is so amazing — even when I just started on the show as a guest star of my first episode," she said.

Rauch elaborated on that when she spoke to "WGWG." After being on the show for almost ten years, and the feeling was still the same. She explained that she was raised to be kind in everything she does. "I've been so grateful that I'm surrounded by people at 'Big Bang Theory' who are all so kind," she said, adding that it's not always the case in show business. In fact, Rauch gushed that it's not just the cast, but everyone involved in the show.

She wrote a children's book

Given Melissa Rauch's long history of writing, it makes sense she would eventually get to writing a book. But she didn't write a comedy or a memoir — Rauch wrote a children's book. The book, entitled, "The Tales of Tofu" was co-written with House Foods. The actor and manufacturer began collaborating not long after Rauch's daughter, Sadie, was born. Rauch told "New York Live" that one of the main inspirations was her passion for healthy eating, especially in families with children.

The story's main character, Tofu, is a shy cube who eventually comes out of its "shell" to share healthy and fun recipes with the children. You might be surprised how many ways tofu can actually be used when you read the story. Some of Rauch's favorites in the book are tacos, broccoli mac and cheese, a chocolate pudding, and a smoothie. According to Rauch, you might never guess there was even tofu in the dish. "It's delicious. It just picks up the flavor of whatever you cook it with."

While the book is not just informative but visually appealing for kids, one of the best parts about it for parents is that it's free and can be downloaded on House Foods website. Rauch explained, "We just want kids to get excited about this awesome, not-so-familiar food, but that's so incredibly good for you."

Melissa Rauch's net worth

Self-starter Melissa Rauch has come a long way from singing in her parents' basement and doing stand-up during show-and-tell at school. From handing out flyers to comedy shows, telling jokes in clubs, and writing her way onto a theater stage, this is one actor who has practically paved her own way to stardom.

And once Rauch started appearing on television screens, things seemed to speed up for her. In 2009, she was just finishing up a stint on "Kath & Kim," when the burgeoning star landed the role of Bernadette on "The Big Bang Theory," forever cementing herself into pop culture. Less than a year later, she would show up on "True Blood," a six-episode role as a new woman dating Hoyt Fortenberry. Rauch has also accumulated a ton of credits in the voice-over column, including on TV shows like "Awesome Magical Tales," "Ant-Man," and "Sofia the First," as well as movies such as "Ice Age: Collision Course" and "Batman and Harley Quinn."

With an almost two-decade-long acting career under her belt, Rauch has amassed a net worth of $20 million dollars, much of that likely garnered from her last years on the hit show, "The Big Bang Theory."