What Has Sara Gilbert Been Up To?

Sara Gilbert has been famous since she was a child. Born into a Hollywood family — her grandfather created the iconic sitcom "The Honeymooners," while her brother and sister starred on "Little House on the Prairie" — it was only natural that Gilbert would dip a toe in the show business waters. As she explained to Deadline, from an early age, she was jealous of the attention that everyone else got. "I wanted in on that. I also just had this overwhelming sense that I was supposed to be an actor; like, I just knew it," she said.

Fame found Gilbert when she landed the role of Darlene on "Roseanne," the iconic 1990s sitcom starring Roseanne Barr. It made Gilbert a star, which she told Deadline wasn't all that difficult compared to the struggles that some other child stars experience. "The only weird thing about being a famous teenager was that it's a really strong juxtaposition between the adoration and attention, and the normal feelings of loneliness and isolation that can come with being a teenager," she said.

After "Roseanne" ended, Gilbert's show business career kept on trucking. However, when "Roseanne" returned to television in 2017, Gilbert ended up on quite the roller-coaster. She's continued acting in both film and television, worked in front of and behind the camera on various projects, left her long-running talk show, experienced some significant family drama, and much more. It's unclear if she ever gets to rest, but it is clear that Sara Gilbert has been up to quite a lot.

She brought Darlene back for the Roseanne reboot

In 2017, Sara Gilbert brought "Roseanne" back to television. She felt like the sitcom's story of a working-class family would resonate with audiences once again. "That's a voice that's not been spoken for enough in this country and we feel hopefully that we can be a uniting force in that way," she told Entertainment Weekly.

It was a hit. According to Nielsen ratings, the revival of "Roseanne" was a mega-smash, pulling in 20 million viewers ... numbers that most shows don't come close to anymore. Then, the show was canceled after star Roseanne Barr tweeted racist remarks. Gilbert had previously defended Barr's character's political beliefs, telling a "Watch What Happens Live" caller, "The show is not about politics ... It's really about what happens to a family when there's a political divide." This time, though, there was no getting around Barr's problematic and controversial actions. "It was a hard time because we were making something that we loved and no one thought that it was going to go that way. We didn't expect that turn of events, so it was hard to go through on a lot of levels," Gilbert told Gold Derby.

Instead of saying goodbye to Darlene, Gilbert got to work behind the scenes, producing a spinoff called "The Conners" that gives Darlene an even bigger role. Still, she told Deadline, "I saw the show as an ensemble from the beginning of this reboot, and I continue to see it as an ensemble."

Sara Gilbert and Roseanne Barr had a public falling-out

In May 2018, sitcom star Roseanne Barr tweeted racist comments about former Obama administration aide Valerie Jarrett. "muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj," Barr wrote (via Variety). Apologizing later, she added, "I am truly sorry for making a bad joke about her politics and her looks. I should have known better. Forgive me-my joke was in bad taste." The backlash was swift, and Barr headed to Fox News (via The Guardian) to offer a public apology. However, she also fought back at critics, insisting, "I am a creative genius, and this is not a good feeling for an artist to be treated this way."

Apologies aside, the damage was already done, and "Roseanne" was canceled. Like many people on X, formerly Twitter, Sara Gilbert fired off her own thoughts about her former co-star's remarks, stating, "Roseanne's recent comments about Valerie Jarrett, and so much more, are abhorrent and do not reflect the beliefs of our cast and crew or anyone associated with our show."

Barr didn't like that an actor from her sitcom spoke out against her. Barr now makes a living as a right-wing figurehead, her Fox Nation-exclusive comedy specials titled things like "Cancel This!" , and in 2023 she appeared on "The Megyn Kelly Show" to decry Gilbert's lack of loyalty. "She would go on her talk show every day and talk about how shocked she was at my racism," Barr complained. In the words of Tokyo Toni, "Well, yes!"

Sara Gilbert has put in appearances on several other sitcoms

Sara Gilbert is without question a veteran of the small screen, and she's never been one to take her career for granted. "I would love to take credit for being able to make a TV show successful," she told Entertainment Weekly in 2020. "But so often there are elements outside of your control. You do your best and then stars align, or they don't."

In addition to reprising her role as Darlene on both "Roseanne" and "The Conners," Gilbert has put in a number of appearances on other shows since she returned to television acting. She played herself on "Supergirl," "Happy Together," and "Jane the Virgin," and she's also stopped in for an arc as Professor Judd on Netflix's "Atypical." She played Cheryl on six episodes of "Living Biblically," and she's also acted on "Equal" and "Weird City." In other words, Gilbert is booked and busy.

She told Deadline that she intentionally tries to find roles that allow her to explore a certain tone. "I think I'm really drawn to projects that are a blend of comedy and drama," she said. "Projects that, if it's a comedy, are still very emotional and poignant, and if it's a drama, it's still extremely funny. I like that world in between, because I think that's what life is like."

She left The Talk after nine years at the table

Sara Gilbert was one of the co-creators of "The Talk," the CBS alternative to "The View." The chat show featured Gilbert and co-stars like Sharon Osbourne and Julie Chen-Moonves, each of the women giving their opinions about the news of the day. In 2019, after nine years at the table, Gilbert decided it was time to leave "The Talk." 

In an emotional on-air speech, she revealed that she'd been struggling to balance her acting, her family life, her time on "The Talk," and her growing career as a producer. "It's difficult because this is a place that I love, and a place that I'm extremely happy," she said. On her final episode a few months later, Gilbert addressed the audience. "This show has always been about community and connection and I want to thank you for letting me belong," she said.

It didn't take long for Gilbert to miss the show that had been her home for nearly a decade. Speaking with Variety in 2020, she reflected on what her life had been like since she left "The Talk." In particular, she shouted out everybody at "The Talk" who made it such a great place to work for so long. "It was just such a great environment, such a friendly place to go every day," she said. "So I do miss that."

Sara Gilbert and Linda Perry got divorced and now co-parent

In December 2019, TMZ broke the news that Sara Gilbert had filed for divorce from her wife, 4 Non Blondes frontwoman Linda Perry. Intriguingly, the date of their separation was listed as that August, the same month that Perry stopped in on "The Talk" to help celebrate her wife's last day on the show. Gilbert and Perry first got together after Gilbert split from her longtime partner Ali Adler. After paparazzi photos of Gilbert and Perry made the rounds and got tongues wagging, Gilbert confirmed the relationship on a 2011 episode of "The Talk." The two got engaged in 2013, tied the knot in 2014, and welcomed a child in 2015. Gilbert also shares two children with Alder.

Gilbert and Perry's divorce was finalized in 2021, at which point People obtained the court documents outlining how they would care for their child, Rhodes. The court gave them joint custody, ordering that they "regularly confer and share information concerning Rhodes's care, wellbeing, physical and mental health, education and welfare." Neither party was ordered to pay spousal support. 

A source who spoke with Closer Weekly confirmed that the split was relatively amicable, and they were still on good enough terms to make the co-parenting situation work out just fine. "Unfortunately, the marriage didn't work out, but they still have to co-parent Rhodes and there are no plans to avoid each other," the source said. 

She formed her own production company

One of the reasons why Sara Gilbert left "The Talk" was to focus on her production work. To that end, in 2019, she formed a production company with Tom Werner. The veteran producer has worked on everything from "3rd Rock From The Sun" to "The Cosby Show" and, fittingly, "Roseanne." They told Variety that their production company, Sara + Tom, was born out of that decades-long relationship, ever since Gilbert was a child star on one of his shows. "When I was a kid, he was the guy behind the scenes making it all happen," Gilbert said. "It's truly a dream to call him my partner, and I look forward to making impactful, funny and moving content together."

Gilbert detailed their plans in another interview with Variety. She said they first started having discussions about it when "Roseanne" was retooled into "The Conners," and they realized their partnership simply made sense. "It's almost like the choice was made for us," she reflected. "We work so well together and have such great chemistry, so it just felt like a natural extension of what we were already doing."

In a 2021 chat with the Yale Alumni Association, Gilbert shared that her company is most interested in scripted projects for TV. "We would do a film, but so many films are now on streamers, so it all has kind of blended into the same space," she added. 

She's still friends with Leonardo DiCaprio

Back in the 1990s, when they were both starting out in the industry, Sara Gilbert was once a member of Leonardo DiCaprio's infamous "P**sy Posse." Yes, she was part of the young Hollywood crew that also included stars like Tobey Maguire, Lukas Haas, David Blaine, Q-Tip, and Kevin Connelly. Pajiba rounded up a number of photos of DiCaprio and Gilbert hanging out back in the day, going to events together and finding themselves photographed by paparazzi at trendy nightlife spots. As an unnamed source quipped in a New York magazine feature back in 1998, "If they're a new Rat Pack, [Gilbert is] the Shirley MacLaine figure."

Decades later, Gilbert's friendship with the "Titanic" star seems to still be going strong. In 2023, they both attended the U.S. Open, and video of her evidently getting frustrated with her friend went viral on social media. Former "The View" host Michelle Collins tweeted a video of Gilbert looking back in consternation as DiCaprio prattled on. "I, for one, will cherish this footage of Sara Gilbert getting pissed at Leonardo DiCaprio for talking at the #USOpen," Collins wrote.

As BuzzFeed noted, Gilbert also attended her friend's 49th birthday party that year. Some guests weren't a surprise, like former fellow "P**sy Posse" member and frequent DiCaprio co-star Tobey Maguire, but Gilbert also partied alongside stars like Kim Kardashian and Salma Hayek. Hollywood... what a world.

Sara Gilbert returned to the big screen in 2023

Sara Gilbert is primarily known for her work on television, from her star-making role on the original "Roseanne" up through her runs on "E.R.," "The Big Bang Theory," and beyond. In 2023, however, she returned to the big screen for the first time since 2004's "Laws of Attraction." Almost two full decades later, she was in "80 for Brady," a football movie starring Hollywood legends like Jane Fonda, Sally Field, Rita Moreno, and Lily Tomlin.

In a behind-the-scenes interview from the set of the film, Gilbert said she signed on because of how impressive the rest of the cast was. "When I heard about the movie, I didn't care what the part was," she said. "I just heard these huge names, these icons ... I mean, you can't think of anyone better to be in a movie with." She said just one of those actors would have excited her, so she was even more hyped to be able to act with the whole cast.

In particular, Gilbert was excited that she played the daughter of the stunning Hollywood legend Lily Tomlin. She'd looked up to the actor since she was a kid, and this felt like a full-circle moment. "You feel like you have a special bond with somebody even though they don't even know you," she said. "To play her daughter was just the ultimate, the ultimate childhood fantasy."

She went viral for looking like Patrick Mahomes

In early 2024, Sarah Gilbert went viral online for a very odd reason. Over the past few years, fans on social media noticed something about football star Patrick Mahomes: he kind of looks like he could be related to Gilbert. Other fans took it a step further and joked that they might even be the same person. "I'm just saying we've never seen Sara Gilbert and Patrick Mahomes in the same room together," one fan tweeted in 2020. In 2023, after a particularly heated Mahomes moment lit up sports X, formerly known as sports Twitter, one fan wondered, "Anybody know if Sara Gilbert does Cameo? I would love to see her recite Patrick Mahomes' post-game hissy fit word for word."

By all accounts, the "Roseanne" alum sure seems to get a kick out of the meme. The veteran actor addressed the comparisons on an episode of "The Jennifer Hudson Show," admitting that she now follows Mahomes' career just because of the resemblance. Furthermore, she said, her Kansas City Chiefs fandom has absolutely nothing to do with Taylor Swift's relationship with Travis Kelce. "Taylor Swift's great," Gilbert joked, "but that's my son." Gilbert acknowledged that her interest in the NFL feels a bit out of character, according to her loved ones. She concluded, "It's a strange turn of events that has happened."

The Conners hit a major milestone in 2024

At first, Sara Gilbert wasn't sure that rebooting the rebooted "Roseanne" as "The Conners" was the way to go. It took some convincing, as she explained to Variety. "We were all scared," she said. "We didn't know how it was going to go. We didn't know how the reviews were going to go." 

The reviews were good, and in 2024, the sitcom celebrated a landmark 100th episode. Gilbert appeared on "The Kelly Clarkson Show" and counted down her favorite storylines that the show has explored, noting that she loved one episode where Darlene tries to be sexy for her husband. "It's funny to have me play that," she joked. "So I had to do this dance, and all this kind of stuff. It was wildly uncomfortable, but we laughed so hard." She also offered a theory about why the show has resonated with people for so long, guessing, "The characters were interesting from the start, and there was the luck of the chemistry." She also noted that "The Conners" shows a real working-class family in a way a lot of other sitcoms don't. "It's real for a lot of people," she said, "and I think a lot of people relate to it."

Speaking with ABC7's "On The Red Carpet," Gilbert offered further reflections on the success of the spinoff. Putting it simply, she said, "It just seemed impossible and then another season and another season and here we are."