The Untold Truth Of Bridgit Mendler

Bridgit Mendler may have come to fame early, but she is not your average former child actor. For one, Mendler has had a smooth transition into adult roles and adult life in general, without so much as a negative tabloid story. She has also developed a music career that has taken her to interesting and unexpected places, on a path different from other Disney stars. And she's a supremely driven and accomplished academic, on her way to earning a PhD while at the same time tackling Hollywood. It's exhausting to even write that, so we can't imagine what living it is like.

Per her IMDb, Mendler's first credit was for a voice role in "The Legend of Buddha," which was followed by other tiny roles before she broke out with her guest work on "Wizards of Waverly Place," on which she spent 10 episodes over the years. A year after her first "Wizards" appearance, Mendler got her own Disney show, "Good Luck Charlie," which ran for 98 episodes between 2010 and 2014. It was during this time that she also started her professional music career and her general ascent to stardom. In the years since, Mendler has appeared on multiple other television series, such as "Undateable" and "Merry Happy Whatever," while at the same time continuing her music and her studies. With the rumblings of new music on the way, it is the perfect time for us to look into the untold truth of Bridgit Mendler.

She started her professional career at age 11

Like many child actors, Bridgit Mendler caught the bug early, but it was not until she moved to Los Angeles as a young teen that her career really took off. According to USA Today, Mendler was born in Washington, D.C., and her family moved to the San Francisco Bay area when she was eight. It was there that she started working professionally, at the tender age of 11. "All there really is is, like, voiceover and commercials there, so that's what I did," she told a Vanity Fair interviewer in 2013. "And then I was like, 'Yo, this is not cutting it. I want to be down in L.A. working on stuff.'"

Once she got an agent in Los Angeles, Mendler quickly booked a small guest role on "General Hospital" when she was 13, which led to more small roles during her early career, including a guest spot on the Jonas Brothers' show "Jonas." By the time her sitcom "Good Luck Charlie" began airing, Mendler was nearly 18. At the same time as she was pursuing acting, Mendler was making music, and she even sang the theme song for "Good Luck Charlie." She also started writing early, as she told Coup de Main magazine. "I actually don't remember what it was called, but it was a song for Christmas when I was like six or seven years old for my little church, and I went and performed it in front of everybody," she said."

Bridgit Mendler has only nice things to say about her time with Disney

Not all child actors come out of Hollywood feeling good about the work that they did, and that seems to be especially true for those who work for the bigwigs, like Nickelodeon (owned by Paramount Global) and Disney. But for Mendler, working for Disney as a teenager was a treat, and she was excited to do it from the outset. "Being on a Disney show is pretty much every girl's dream," she told Backstage at age 16, before "Good Luck Charlie" had gone to air but after her casting. She would eventually go on to also star in the popular Disney Channel Original Movie "Lemonade Mouth" in 2011.

No one really talks bad about Disney when they are still on the payroll, though, so any critiques would not have come at that time. Still, in the years since, Mendler has only spoken positively of the company, the people she worked with, and the experiences she had while launching her acting and music career. "I used to be on the Disney Channel, and I made an album with Hollywood Records, and it was fun, it was great, it was nice pop music, and I'm proud of it and I'm happy with my Disney crew," she told Vice in 2016. "Honestly, I have no complaints about that whole chapter of life. What was scary was stepping outside of that sweet little corral."

She has purposefully avoided overly edgy roles

It is not unexpected for Disney actors — particularly female ones — to rebel against their clean-cut images and jump to the polar end of the spectrum once their time at Disney ends. We have seen this happen with everyone from Miley Cyrus ("Hannah Montana") to Bella Thorne ("Shake It Up") to, of course, Disney movie queen Lindsay Lohan ("The Parent Trap"). Bridgit Mendler is obviously aware of the trend to move directly into edgy and/or sexual roles, but that was never the path she wanted to take, even if it has not been easy.

"That's something that's really hard as an actress, because you want to work and you kind of are almost told that if you compromise your sexuality, then you'll get to a place where you can choose the roles you want to do," she told Vice in a 2016 interview. "And that just really hurts my heart. That's something that I just never want to see as a compromise that you're doing as a stepping stone." In the Vice interview, Mendler also discussed additional pressure to make her lyrics seem "edgy," without naming any specific names of other artists. Ultimately, she stuck with what she told Backstage in 2012: "I hope I can do something musically that's true to myself."

Mendler is still as wholesome as ever, even as she approaches 30, and that goes for both her on-screen and off-screen life.

Her reunions with her Good Luck Charlie co-stars

By all accounts, Bridgit Mendler appears to have gotten along great with her "Good Luck Charlie" co-stars, and the cast members' connections have survived beyond the show's four seasons. Two years after the series finale, in 2016, Mendler was even living with co-star Samantha Boscarino, who played her character Teddy's friend, Skyler, in nine episodes of the show. Per MTV News, Boscarino and Mendler were not just roommates, but also long-time best friends. Boscarino is less high-profile than Mendler, and she had a guest role on the show, so she was not included when the "Good Luck Charlie" cast reunited in 2020 (per ET), but the two appear to have remained close.

Mendler has stayed in touch with the rest of the show's cast, as well. In their reunion with ET, the cast discussed going on hikes and having family dinners together where they catch up. And when Lea Boscarino, Samantha's older sister, got married in 2018, Mendler was right there alongside co-stars Bradley Steven Perry ( who played Gabe Duncan), Jason Dolley (PJ Duncan), and Shane Harper (Spencer Walsh) (per Just Jared). Mendler's co-stars were also at her own wedding the following year, as evidenced by Instagram photos featuring Dolley, Perry, Leigh-Allyn Baker (Amy Duncan), and Mia Talerico (Charlie Duncan).

Bridgit Mendler co-writes her own songs

Sure, her first (and so far, only) studio album "Hello My Name Is..." is the kind of bubblegum pop you expect from a Disney star, but unlike many, Bridgit Mendler has actually had a hand in crafting each track she has put out. She co-wrote every song on the 2012 album, including the single "Ready or Not," which became a moderate hit. "Yeah, that was something that was really important to me — to make sure that I was a part of all the songs that go on the album," Mendler told Coup de Main at the time. "... It felt like in order to make music I could relate to myself, I would have to be a part of the writing process."

Mendler has continued to make music since, and in 2016 released an EP called "Nemesis" that marked a distinctive change to her sound. "I do want to reintroduce my sound as it is now and I love that people have been receptive to that," she told Complex while promoting the song "Atlantis," from the EP. Per Vice, Mendler explained that her tastes had evolved away from mainstream pop and toward genres like electronica. 

In an interview with AXS, posted to her Facebook page, Mendler discussed what songwriting means in her life. "I don't think it took courage necessarily to write the songs [on "Nemesis"] because that's just what I do — that's like my therapy, is writing songs and that's just how I function," she said.

She considered rebranding after her first album

Anyone who has listened to both Bridgit Mendler's early music and her follow-up EP four years later knows that her sound radically shifted during that time period. In fact, she changed her vibe so much that Mendler told Complex that she even considered a total rebrand after parting ways with Disney (could she have been "Bridge" or "Mendy" or something — we will never know!). "I was going to make my project title 'Nemesis.' 'Nemesis,' for me, means confronting that fear and just standing face-to-face with it," she explained in the interview. "...and then I actually realized I haven't taken full ownership in my identity as I am. So I decided it would be important to keep my name and keep that consistency and own it."

Though she did not change her moniker, Mendler eventually did decide to focus on a sound that felt truer to her, with the hopes that it would resonate with her audience. "Between my first album and this EP, I've written songs constantly. And I think for a long time, I wrote songs that I thought were what people wanted me to say. But I wound up getting weaker and weaker in my voice," she told Vice in 2016. Mendler added, "You write these words, and then you have to believe in them enough to say them. For a long time I just couldn't stand behind the words."

Her diverse variety of musical inspirations

The fact that Bridgit Mendler has experimented with her sound should not come as a surprise to anyone who has read about her many musical inspirations, most of whom are incredibly distinct from one another. Mendler's own tastes might not, on paper, read as expected, but she has expressed interest in rock, hip-hop, and electronic music. "[On my] first album, the leading song, 'Ready Or Not,' was an interpretation of the Fugees' 'Ready or Not.' So I think hip-hop has always been something that I've gravitated towards," she told Vice in 2016.

Lauryn Hill is someone Mendler has repeatedly name-checked in interviews as a big source of inspiration. Mendler has also mentioned that people who both sing and write their own music are particularly motivating, including the legendary Bob Dylan. Other contemporary artists she has drawn upon include Nelly Furtado, Maroon 5, Adele, Feist, and Florence + the Machine. She also gets inspired by classic jazz and R&B voices, such as Ella Fitzgerald and B.B. King. 

Bridgit Mendler has a modest net worth

Let's get one thing clear: Bridgit Mendler is rich. But as far as celebrities go, she's not amongst the top tier and, according to Celebrity Net Worth, other former Disney stars have far higher estimated fortunes — especially those who both act and make music. Miley Cyrus is reportedly worth $160 million, for instance, while Selena Gomez is worth $95 million and Demi Lovato is worth $40 million. So, yes, Mendler is richer than most Americans, but her earnings have paled in comparison with her contemporaries. Per Celebrity Net Worth, Mendler has "just" $2 million in the bank.

This seems like a good time to mention that Mendler's priorities have never appeared to be money-motivated, and that she has a number of other things going on outside of Hollywood, including her pursuit of advanced education. Given that, $2 million is a rather sizeable chunk of change to have saved. The bulk of her income has likely come from her work on "Good Luck Charlie" and from her music career. Mendler has had four songs reach the Billboard Hot 100, and her album "Hello My Name Is..." peaked at number 30 on the charts (per Billboard). While she does not have Zendaya money, she is doing well for herself.

She is married and her husband is not in the industry

Unlike many of her contemporaries, Bridgit Mendler has never been a tabloid staple. We have not been privy to her every date, and we have never seen her stumbling out of a nightclub on the arm of a new paramour. We do know a bit about her dating history, however, and even more about her current romantic status. Mendler confirmed in a 2012 Sweety High interview that she was dating her "Good Luck Charlie" co-star Shane Harper, and the pair lasted about three years before calling it quits. It is unclear if Harper was in attendance at Mendler's nuptials alongside her other "Good Luck Charlie" co-stars.

Speaking of nuptials, you may be wondering who Mendler's husband is — but you won't know him from the entertainment industry. Mendler's spouse is Griffin Cleverly, a mechanical engineer in the Boston area (per LinkedIn). They got married in November 2019 in a beach ceremony, which was documented on social media. "There was a great sunset and there was actually even this dude who built a sandcastle behind us while we were getting married — in his board shorts, constructing this beautiful, amazing sandcastle. While we are doing our vows, I could just see him in my eye line," Mendler told Extra (via People). Just after getting married, Mendler sold her California home for $1.986 million (per the Los Angeles Times).

She saw her role on Undateable as a new challenge

Though Bridgit Mendler has 43 acting credits on her IMDb page, the overwhelming majority of these are actually music videos. In truth, Mendler has not had a ton of work outside of "Good Luck Charlie." She has done some guest roles, like her stint on "Wizards of Waverly Place" and two episodes of "Nashville," but series regular TV work has been rarer. In 2019, she appeared in the Netflix show "Merry Happy Whatever" opposite Dennis Quaid, but her most notable gig aside from "Charlie" has been starring as Candace in the show "Undateable."

Mendler joined "Undateable" for its second season and also appeared in its third season before the show was cancelled by NBC. Mendler was only 22 at the time and her character was more adult than anything she had done before. Though not scandalous, Candace was a bartender at Black Eyes, the bar that served as the show's main setting. 

In an interview with TVLine, Mendler said she took the role because she knew that it was right for where she was in life, and because it offered something different. "I thought that these guys were very funny, and I thought it was a fresh take on comedy that I hadn't done before. It felt like a challenge, and so I think that's why it was exciting," she said.

Bridgit Mendler is a PhD and JD student

Trying to balance acting and music seems hard, but trying to balance both while pursuing higher education seems nearly impossible. And yet, it is what Bridgit Mendler has been doing for years. She started her college career at the University of Southern California, where she studied anthropology after initially wanting to major in art history (per Vice). Interestingly, Mendler's mother attended USC simultaneously in pursuit of her doctorate, according to USA Today. The Mendler family clearly values education, and like her mother, Bridgit was not satisfied to stop at a bachelor's degree.

After USC, Mendler moved to Boston to attend the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "The reason why I'm taking this time out to study is very connected to how i feel about social media," she posted on Twitter at the time. "As an entertainer, for years I struggled with social media because I felt like there was a more loving and human way to connect with fans. That is what I'm going to study." She started at MIT in 2018, earned her master's degree in 2020, and is now pursuing her doctorate at the MIT Media Lab. Per her official bio, her work has "a focus on technologies that support inclusive and collaborative governance and citizen engagement." If all that were not enough, Mendler is concurrently pursuing a law degree at Harvard University. According to her LinkedIn, she plans to graduate from both Harvard and MIT in 2024.

She is very philanthropic

We have a soft spot for celebrities who use their status and power to support charitable causes, and Bridgit Mendler has been known to do just that. For instance, she joined another Disney star, Selena Gomez, in a concert to raise funds for UNICEF in 2013 (per her Twitter). Even before that, she was doing work with Target as part of the "Give With Target" initiative to benefit in-need students (per The Press-Enterprise). "I'm in Baltimore with @Target volunteers at Sarah Roach Elementary School for our last stop on #GiveWithTarg," she tweeted in August 2012. She has also shown up for UK charity Comic Relief (per Just Jared) and partnered with Seventeen to try to tackle bullying.

"I remember when I was younger my parents would tell me that in my lifetime I should do something to make the world a better place, in whatever capacity that is. That's something that has stuck with me," Mendler told Vice in 2016. "And it has challenged me as well, because I think in a lot of ways I've led a very privileged life where I've been given so much, but then I always have that voice nagging in my head to use that privilege for a purpose." In the article, she detailed some of the charities she has worked with, including Save The Children, focused on making the lives of youth better with education and other efforts, along with WE, which aims to help young people become advocates.

One of her relatives gained national notoriety in 2018

There are a lot of remarkable people in Bridgit Mendler's family, and she has spoken about their desire to make a positive impact on the world. In a Vice interview, she disclosed that both her parents had jobs that focus on environmental issues — her father "designs high fuel-efficiency car engines" and her mother is an architect with a focus on sustainability — and her grandfather was a lawyer who fought for equality in housing. But as special as these individuals sound, no member of Mendler's family had matched her public status, or at least not until 2018.

That was the year that her aunt, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, gained national attention when she publicly accused Brett Kavanaugh, who was at the time a Supreme Court nominee, of sexual assault. Blasey Ford also bravely testified to such in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the rest of the world, which resulted in much support but also much scrutiny. Blasey Ford's family released a signed letter of support, which Mendler herself signed and posted on September 20, 2018. "Dr Christine Blasey Ford, or Aunt Chrissy as I know her is the person who patiently helped me with my college application, she was the first to give me a hug when I saw my family on vacation. Please remember her humanity," Mendler tweeted alongside the letter.

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).