"The Big Bang Theory" Is Officially 15 Years Old — Here Are 12 Side-By-Sides Of The Cast Then Vs. Now

It's officially been 15 years since The Big Bang Theory premiered on CBS. The show went on to have 12 seasons and 280 episodes, and it became one of the biggest comedy series to date. So to celebrate, let's take a look back at the iconic cast members in their first movie or TV roles vs. on the show vs. in real life:

1.Johnny Galecki's first role in 1987:

A boyish Johnny's face circled

Johnny's first role came in 1987, when he starred as Doug in the TV movie Murder Ordained opposite Keith Carradine, JoBeth Williams, and Kathy Bates. From there, he went on to appear in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation and the TV show American Dreamer before landing his breakout role as David Healy in Roseanne.

CBS / Via youtu.be

Johnny Galecki as Leonard Hofstadter on The Big Bang Theory:

Johnny in seasons 1 and 2
CBS

Johnny Galecki now:

2.Jim Parsons's first role in 2002:

Jim outside and wearing a cap and shirt

Jim's first role was in the TV series Ed in 2002, and he starred in numerous stage productions. He went on to appear in a few movies and shows before landing his breakout role as Sheldon Cooper on The Big Bang Theory.

NBC / Via youtu.be

Jim Parsons as Sheldon Cooper on The Big Bang Theory:

Jim shown in seasons 1 and 12

Jim's work on The Big Bang Theory earned him four Emmy Awards for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series.

CBS

Jim Parsons now:

Jim wearing glasses and a bow tie

After The Big Bang Theory ended, Jim appeared in Hollywood and The Boys in the Band. He's also executive-produced a few shows, like The Big Bang Theory spinoff Young Sheldon, where he also narrates the series. Up next, he can be seen in the 2022 film Spoiler Alert.

Getty Images / GLAAD

3.Kaley Cuoco's first role in 1992:

A young Kaley with a short bob and bangs

Kaley's first role came in 1992, when she starred in the movie Quicksand: No Escape. From there, she appeared in several movies and shows like My So-Called Life, Northern Exposure, and more. In 2002, she landed her breakout role as Bridget Hennessy in 8 Simple Rules.

MCA Television / Via youtu.be

Kaley Cuoco as Penny on The Big Bang Theory:

Kaley in seasons 1 and 12
CBS

Kaley Cuoco now:

Kaley at the Emmys

Since wrapping The Big Bang Theory, Kaley has been nominated for two Emmy Awards for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for her work as Cassie Bowden in The Flight Attendant, which she also produced. Most recently, you can catch her in the rom-com Meet Cute opposite Pete Davidson.

Gilbert Flores / Variety / Getty Images

4.Simon Helberg's first role in 1999:

Simon with spiked hair

Simon's first movie role was in 1999, when he appeared as "College Roommate" in Mumford. He then went on to appear in numerous movies and shows, including A Cinderella Story, Undeclared, MADtv, Joey, and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, before The Big Bang Theory.

Buena Vista Pictures

Simon Helberg as Howard Wolowitz on The Big Bang Theory:

Simon in seasons 1 and 12
CBS

Simon Helberg now:

Simon with longer hair on the red carpet

Since The Big Bang Theory ended in 2019, Simon has appeared in several movies, including Annette, As They Made Us, and Space Oddity.

Emma Mcintyre / Getty Images

5.Kunal Nayyar's first notable role in 2007:

Kunal rocking a mustache and being apprehended

Kunal's first notable role actually came right before The Big Bang Theory, when he appeared in an episode of NCIS in 2007.

CBS

Kunal Nayyar as Raj Koothrappali on The Big Bang Theory:

Kunal in seasons 1 and 12
CBS

Kunal Nayyar now:

6.Melissa Rauch's first role in 2006:

Melissa looking down and then up

Melissa's first onscreen credit is for the film Delirious in 2006. From there, she went on to appear in movies like I Love You, Man and Adventureland, as well as the show Kath & Kim, before landing her breakout role in The Big Bang Theory.

Peace Arch Entertainment / Via youtu.be

Melissa Rauch as Bernadette Rostenkowski-Wolowitz on The Big Bang Theory:

  CBS
CBS

Melissa Rauch now:

7.Mayim Bialik's first major role in 1988:

Mayim with curly hair

Mayim's first notable role was in 1988, when she appeared as Young CC in Beaches. From there, she appeared in TV shows like The Facts of Life, Empty Nest, MacGyver, Doogie Howser, M.D., and more before landing her breakout role as Blossom Russo on Blossom.

Buena Vista Pictures

Mayim Bialik as Amy Farrah Fowler on The Big Bang Theory:

Mayim in seasons 3 and 12
CBS

Mayim Bialik now:

Mayim on the red carpet

Since wrapping The Big Bang Theory, Mayim has gone on to star in the sitcom Call Me Kat, and she's now a cohost of Jeopardy. She also directed the film As They Mad Us, which starred Simon Helberg.

Michael Tran / AFP / Getty Images

8.Kevin Sussman's first notable role in 1996:

Kevin looking shocked

After he appeared in a few TV episodes, Kevin's biggest role came in 1999, when he was in Liberty Heights opposite Adrien Brody. From there, he went on to appear in several big movies and shows, including Almost Famous, Wet Hot American Summer, Sweet Home Alabama, ER, Ugly Betty, and My Name Is Earl.

Warner Bros. / Via youtu.be

Kevin Sussman as Stuart Bloom on The Big Bang Theory:

Kevin in seasons 2 and 12
CBS

Kevin Sussman now:

Kevin on the red carpet

After The Big Bang Theory, Kevin went on to star in The Dropout opposite Amanda Seyfried, and he appeared in the final season of Better Call Saul. Up next, he'll star in the TV adaptation of Lessons in Chemistry alongside Brie Larson.

Jon Kopaloff / Getty Images

9.Christine Baranski's first notable role in 1982:

Christine wearing a wide-brimmed hat

After appearing in a few TV episodes, Christine made her first notable screen debut in a filmed version of A Midsummer Night's Dream. A prolific stage actor prior to making the jump to the big screen, she went on to appear in numerous TV shows and movies like Cybill, To Dance With the White Dog, Cruel Intentions, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Mamma Mia, Into the Woods, The Good Wife, and many, MANY more.

New York Shakespeare Festival / Via youtu.be

Christine Baranski as Dr. Beverly Hofstadter on The Big Bang Theory:

  CBS
CBS

Christine Baranski now:

Christine on the red carpet

Since last appearing in The Big Bang Theory, Christine has continued to star in The Good Fight as Diane Lockhart, which will end its run in 2022. She's also starring in the HBO Max series The Gilded Age.

Hippolyte Petit / Getty Images

10.Wil Wheaton's first role in 1981:

Wil as a boy

Wil's first onscreen role came in 1981, when he starred as Donald in the TV movie A Long Way Home. From there, he appeared in several TV shows before landing his breakout role as Gordie Lachance in Stand by Me in 1986. Then, the following year, he began starring as Wesley Crusher in Star Trek: The Next Generation.

ABC / Via youtu.be

Wil Wheaton as himself on The Big Bang Theory:

Wil in seasons 3 and 12
CBS

Wil Wheaton now:

Wil in jeans and a casual suit jacket

Since last guest-starring on The Big Bang Theory, Wil has appeared in episodes of Supergirl and S.W.A.T., and he notably reprised his role as Wesley Crusher in Star Trek: Picard in 2022.

Jesse Grant / Getty Images / Paramount+

11.John Ross Bowie's first notable role in 2000:

John as a waiter

After appearing in a few episodes of Upright Citizens Brigade, John had his first notable role when he appeared in Road Trip in 2000. He went on to appear in shows like Undeclared, Charmed, Girlfriends, Reno 911, Psych, Monk, Heroes, and many more.

DreamWorks Pictures

John Ross Bowie as Barry Kripke on The Big Bang Theory:

John in seasons 2 and 12
CBS

John Ross Bowie now:

12.And finally, Laurie Metcalf's first notable role in 1981:

Laurie in a street scene

Following a notable early theater career, Laurie made her first big TV appearance in 1981 as a "Weekend Update" correspondent on an episode of Saturday Night Live. She went on to appear in a few movies and shows before landing her breakout role as Jackie Harris on Roseanne.

NBC

Laurie Metcalf as Mary Cooper on The Big Bang Theory:

Laurie in seasons 1 and 11
CBS

Laurie Metcalf now:

Laurie smiling on the red carpet

While guest-starring on The Big Bang Theory, Laurie notably received acclaim for her work as Marion McPherson in Lady Bird opposite Saoirse Ronan. Most recently, she appeared in The Dropout, and she won an Emmy Award in 2022 for Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for her work on Hacks. Currently, she's still playing Jackie on the Roseanne spinoff series The Conners.

Gary Gershoff / WireImage / Getty Images