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Whatever Happened To Johnny Galecki After The Big Bang Theory Finale?

It's a rare occurrence when an actor finds themselves portraying the same character for over a decade. But that was the reality of Johnny Galecki, who donned the spectacles and many clothing layers of senior experimental physicist Leonard Hofstadter on "The Big Bang Theory" for 12 seasons. At the time, Galecki was no stranger to being part of a long-running sitcom. Throughout the '90s, he appeared on "Roseanne" as David Healy, the love interest of Darlene Conner (Sara Gilbert). However, his time on "Roseanne" (93 episodes over the span of six seasons) was nothing compared to "The Big Bang Theory," which ran for a record-breaking 279 episodes from 2007 until 2019.

Galecki showcases the intricacies of Leonard over the course of the series, from the dynamics of his unorthodox friendship with Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons) to the maternal love he craves from his psychiatrist mother Beverly Hofstadter (Christine Baranski). And, of course, there's the evolution of his relationship with crush-turned-wife Penny (Kaley Cuoco). By the series finale ("The Stockholm Syndrome"), Leonard is in a good place. He's made amends with Beverly, received proof from Sheldon that their friendship is meaningful to him, and is fulfilling his longtime dream of welcoming a child (who will be smart and beautiful) with Penny.

But what about Galecki? Was he, too, in a good place in the years that followed Leonard's send-off? Read on to learn what Galecki has been up to since the finale of "The Big Bang Theory."

He and Alaina Meyer welcomed a son before splitting

On May 3, 2019, Johnny Galecki took to Instagram to share some exciting news: he and his then-girlfriend Alaina Meyer, who he privately began dating the year prior, were expecting a baby. He wrote in the post, "We are absolutely over the moon to announce that we will soon be welcoming a little one into this crazy and wonderful world. We ask that you please respect our privacy during this celebratory time for us and our families."

Later that month, during a paint-filled backyard gender reveal party, Galecki and Meyer learned that they'd be welcoming a son. Orbison was born in early December 2019, with Galecki posting a sweet photo of himself and Meyer each holding one of their baby's little hands, and thanking fans for all of their love and support.

However, by November 2020, Galecki and Meyer, who were respectively 45 and 23 at the time, had broken up and were co-parenting Orbison. Meyer wrote on Instagram that month, "This has been the gnarliest year of my life, with the highest highs and the lowest lows..." Ever private about his relationships, Galecki has not to date publicly commented on why things ended.

He formed an unlikely friendship with Randy Houser

After his relationship with Alaina Meyer came to a close, Johnny Galecki turned to a friend to help get his mind off things: country musician Randy Houser. In January 2020, Galecki and his mother, Mary Lou Galecki, introduced Houser on stage at the Fonda Theatre in Los Angeles. In October of that year, as the world still reeled from the COVID-19 pandemic, Galecki shared an adorable photo of the two dads and their kids enjoying a sunny autumn day at a pumpkin patch, with Galecki referring to Houser as his "#unlikelypal." 

Additionally, Houser helped Galecki tap into his musical side. A talented drummer, Galecki learned to set aside his shyness on stage and occasionally join Houser on a few tour stops. In fact, his drumming skills can be heard on the demo version of "No Stone Unturned," the first song off Houser's 2019 album "Magnolia." 

That spur of the moment opportunity came when Galecki stayed with Houser and his wife Tatiana Starzynski in Nashville for a weekend. When his guest asked what he was working on, Houser played "No Stone Unturned" with just a click track. Houser said during an iHeartRadio performance, "I didn't even know he played drums. I was like, 'What the...?' ... I had this little set of drums set up and he said, 'Well, give me some sticks.'"

He resumed the role of David Healy

After filming for "The Big Bang Theory" wrapped up, Johnny Galecki returned to the world of Lanford, Illinois for brief appearances as David Healy on "The Conners." In Season 2, which aired in the fall of 2019, David is featured in Episode 2 ("A Kiss Is Just a Kiss") and Episode 4 ("Lanford ... Lanford"). These episodes show Darlene grappling with a difficult decision: does she get back with David, her teenage love and the father of her kids? Or does she finally leave him in the past and embark on a new relationship with Ben (Jay R. Ferguson)?

For Gilbert, it was a joy to once again work alongside Galecki, who stood by her side years prior as she began to understand her sexuality. She said on "Live with Kelly and Ryan," "He's the best. He's such a good guy, he's such a good actor. We just always talk about, when we do scenes together, we feel very lost. Everything disappears and we have a very special relationship."

At the time of this writing, though the cast and crew were preparing for cancellation of "The Conners" following Season 6, the show has been renewed for its seventh and final season. Regarding a possible Galecki return, it's not out of the realm of possibility. "The door is always open to Johnny," executive producer Bruce Helford told TV Line. "I'm sure we'll be talking to him."

Galecki stepped away from acting

Aside from his limited appearances on "The Conners," Johnny Galecki hasn't set foot in front of a camera since the end of "The Big Bang Theory," essentially disappearing from Hollywood. That's because, after 12 years, Leonard's mannerisms were so ingrained in Galecki's acting performance that it would have been impossible for him to immediately take on a new role and not carry over some of the character.

He said in "The Big Bang Theory: The Definitive, Inside Story of the Epic Hit Series" by Jessica Radloff, "One of the reasons I kind of have been staying out from in front of the camera is I'm still kind of bleeding Leonard out of my system. Because these characters ... they stay with you for a while."

Plus Galecki truly enjoyed his 12 years as Leonard, which would have made a quick transition into another character even harder. In an interview with Larry King, he revealed that the show's co-creators, Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady, initially envisioned him as Sheldon. However, upon reading the first few pages of the script, he felt drawn to Leonard. "I hadn't had a lot of opportunities to play, not that Leonard's a love interest, but the love interest, someone who's struggling with that territory of the heart," he said. "I was cast as the love interest's best friend or gay assistant generally."

He moved away from Hollywood

Upon landing his first major sitcom role on "Roseanne" in the early '90s, a teenage Johnny Galecki moved himself from his childhood home in Illinois to Los Angeles, where he remained for the next three decades. However, for the majority of that time, he never felt like he belonged in the City of Angels permanently. "I never felt like much of an Angeleno," he told Architectural Digest. "And I did try. I say that with sadness, not with snobbery. 30 years is just a very long time to live in a city that you're not all that comfortable in."

When "The Big Bang Theory" wrapped up and Galecki no longer had any commitments tying him to the West Coast, he began pondering where he'd like to move to. A few places came to mind, including Austin, New York and even Reykjavík, the capital of Iceland. But one place attracted him the most: Nashville. He said, "Everywhere I looked, around here, felt like the scene of a future memory."

In 2019, shortly before the shutdowns of the COVID-19 pandemic, Galecki finally said goodbye to California and moved to the Music City. Once there, his sole focus was on his family and getting his new house organized and decorated to his liking, rather than what was next in his career. In fact, he admitted that the 2024 interview with Architectural Digest was the first he agreed to in nearly four years.

Galecki found love again and welcomed a second child

Though Johnny Galecki's relocation to Los Angeles as a teenager was a solo endeavor, this wasn't the case for his Nashville move. By his side was Morgan Galecki, whom he privately married on an undisclosed date. He first posted images of Morgan on his Instagram in January 2023, as part of a series of photos from their trip with Orbison to Walt Disney World. Johnny captioned the post, "#absolutehappiness Thank you to Mickey & gang for a magical post-holiday holiday."

A little over a year later, the Galeckis welcomed their first child together: a daughter named Oona Evelena. Morgan was pregnant at the time of the couple's Architectural Digest photo shoot in early 2024, and gave birth not long after, also on an undisclosed date.

Similar to how he handled his relationship with Alaina Meyer and the birth of Orbison, Johnny has worked to keep his home life with Morgan and Oona out of the public spotlight. However, he does share the occasional glimpse into his life and happiness as a husband and father, whether it be cute Instagram posts like the Disney one or the rare interview.

The Galeckis live in a Gothic mansion

Johnny Galecki doesn't reside in your average home. His 12,000-square-foot mansion in Nashville boasts five bedrooms and his eccentrically dark design style, brought to life by interior designers Louisa Pierce and Emily Ward, who have worked with high-profile clients such as Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Hudson.

Pierce described the space to Architectural Digest as "the inside of Johnny's brain" come to life, while staying true to the mansion's history. From the fire-engine red walls of the library to a floating bed in the center of the master bedroom, the house is truly and uniquely Galecki's ... and his designers enjoyed every moment of fleshing out his vision. "Johnny is just one of those people that forces you more outside of the box than you already thought you were," said Ward. Pierce added, "I'd say he's one of the only clients that we've ever had that has been like, 'I want this to be more interesting.'"

Additionally, it was important to Galecki, Pierce, and Ward to prominently display his most prized collectibles, including vintage glass eyes and wax molds of Charlie Chaplin's hands, which only added to the whimsicalness of the home. Ward said, "To get a client who lets you execute these crazy notions, it's just such a dream."

He's focused on being a good dad

Without the stress of a weekly sitcom on his plate, free from the pressure of memorizing lines and embodying a globally-loved character, Johnny Galecki is able to dedicate his full focus to something else: being a good father and introducing his son to as many fulfilling experiences as possible. Though he shields Orbison from the public eye, even hiding his face in social media posts and having him wear a rabbit mask for the Architectural Digest photo shoot, Galecki shares occasional updates about their father-son adventures, which range from typical outings to spending time with one of the top rock bands in the world.

In December 2021, Galecki took Orbison to see some holiday lights. He captioned a post of the two standing under a lit-up canopy, "Let it snow. With my best friend, Orbison Galecki." In a March 2022 post, Orbison can be seen taking in the world of art, as he stands in front of a Vincent Van Gogh piece.

Then, in August 2022, this duo got an opportunity that every emo kid of the early 2000s would pay top dollar for: attending My Chemical Romance's soundcheck at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena. Galecki captioned the post, "...an extra heartfelt thank you to @gerardway for the shout-out to both Orbie and I during last night's absolutely incredible show." Galecki and MCR's Gerard Way actually go way back, with Way once interviewing Galecki for YRB Magazine.

Galecki maintains a friendship with Kaley Cuoco

Johnny Galecki has a great way of maintaining friendships with his ex-girlfriends. The first was Sara Gilbert, who went through a tragic depression while dating him as a teenager. At the time, she was questioning her sexuality, but after she came out to him, he was nothing but supportive and kept her secret until she was ready to do so publicly years later.

Then came Kaley Cuoco, who he dated from 2008 to 2010. Though things became strained as Galecki held fast to their self-imposed rule to keep the relationship away from the public eye, there were no hard feelings when it ended. The two stayed close friends throughout the remainder of filming and in the years that followed the finale. Galecki still posts annual birthday wishes for Cuoco that are filled with love and sarcasm. In November 2020, he wrote, "The happiest 74th birthday to my fake wife @kaleycuoco. You know how much I adore you and respect you. I'm so proud of all you are doing and so happy with your happiness ... Congratulations on 82 years of age."

Additionally, for the 2022 book "The Big Bang Theory: The Definitive, Inside Story of the Epic Hit Series," they conducted most of their interviews with author Jessica Radloff as a duo. In her acknowledgements, Radloff thanked Cuoco for "taking charge of Johnny's schedule for the Zooms we did as a trio."

He makes his political views known

On June 1, 2020, a few days following the murder of George Floyd by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, peaceful protestors gathered at the plaza between St. John's Church and Lafayette Park in Washington, DC. However, they were ejected from the area with tear gas by the U.S. Park Police and National Guard. Shortly after their removal, then-President Donald Trump stood in front of the church with a Bible, with many reports claiming the protestors were forcibly removed so that he could reportedly stage a photo opp.

Johnny Galecki, who had been making his disapproval of Trump and his voters known for several years prior to the St. John's incident, took to Instagram to express his many thoughts on the situation. He said, in part, "We need understanding. And compassion. And trusted leadership. Not your irresponsible and thoughtless, extremely dangerous threats and your pathetic and impotent bullying ... I'm sincerely convinced at this point that this unstable person will not be satisfied until he creates another civil war."

Galecki continued to be a vocal critic of Trump throughout his term in office, while also posting remarks on such events as school shootings and the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court in 2018.

Galecki's not opposed to a Big Bang reunion

Since the emotional finale of "The Big Bang Theory," which allowed viewers to be part of one last Chinese takeout gathering as an acoustic version of the Barenaked Ladies theme song played, many fans have wondered if, at some point down the line, they'll see this cast together again on screen.

It's not completely out of the question. Just look at the 2021 Max reunion of the "Friends" cast, which brought together Matthew Perry, Matt LeBlanc, David Schwimmer, Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow and Courteney Cox at the Warner Bros. lot, where "Friends" — as well as "The Big Bang Theory" — was filmed, for the first time in 17 years. Johnny Galecki has hinted that he's not opposed to doing something similar for "The Big Bang Theory" — just not anytime soon. He said in "The Big Bang Theory: The Definitive, Inside Story of the Epic Hit Series," "Maybe after the amount of time that the 'Friends' cast had."

In the meantime, he credits Jessica Radloff's book as being an emotional reunion of sorts, one that allowed him to reminisce on those 12 years, and all of the highs and lows, that changed his life forever.