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In the 1980s, Molly Ringwald was one of the biggest teen stars in the world, thanks to her roles in Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, and Pretty in Pink, all projects by writer/director John Hughes. Because of these parts, Ringwald was also a member of the much talked-about Brat Pack, a group of young actors who worked together frequently. Now, it's been over 30 years since Ringwald's days of playing beloved high schoolers, but her career is still going strong. In fact, you can usually find her playing the parent of a teen character in the next generation of high school shows and movies.
Read on to learn about Ringwald's life today, from her acting career, to her family life, to her jazz singing and writing careers—that's right, she does it all.
She never gave up acting.
Ringwald has continued acting ever since coming to fame in the '80s, on the big and small screens and on the stage. Her theater credits include tick, tick… BOOM!, Cabaret, and Sweet Charity. Some of her more recent onscreen projects are The Secret Life of the American Teenager, the Kissing Booth movies, and Riverdale, which is based on Archie comics.
"It's Archie. I mean, I loved Archie growing up," she told Entertainment Tonight in 2017. "I was always really interested, you know, 'Am I more Betty or am I more Veronica? What am I gonna be like when I grow up?' but it turns out I'm Archie's mom."
She's a singer, too.
Ringwald's father was a jazz musician, and she's followed in his footsteps. In 2013, she released a jazz album titled Except Sometimes.
"I sang before I acted, because my father is a jazz musician and I performed with his band from the time I was three years old," she told Seven Days in 2014. "Every creative endeavor does seem connected. I use my acting ability when I sing a song (ballad especially); I write in a musical way."
And then there's her writing…
As she mentioned in the Seven Days interview, Ringwald also writes. She released a memoir, Getting the Pretty Back: Friendship, Family, and Finding the Perfect Lipstick, in 2010. Then, in 2012, she published a book titled When It Happens to You: A Novel in Stories. The actor has also written for other publications, including an essay about taking another look at her '80s movies during the #MeToo era for The New Yorker and an advice series for The Guardian.
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…and the translating.
Ringwald, who is fluent in French, did the translation for the English version of the book Lie with Me by Philippe Besson.
"For me it's a bit like the difference between giving birth and being the midwife, she told Vanity Fair in 2019. "I was completely invested in the process and the health of the book was paramount, but I was always aware that it isn't my book, it's not my story, it is Philippe's. I would say that I paid more attention to every single word in a way to a much more obsessive degree."
She's a mom of three.
Ringwald has been married twice and has three children with her second husband, writer Panio Gianopoulos, to whom she has been married since 2007. Her daughter, Mathilda Gianopoulos, is 18, and her twins, Adele (pictured with her mom above) and Roman Gianopoulos, are 12.
Ringwald has talked about how the movies she made with Hughes are very much of their time in terms of the elements of sexism, racism, and homophobia that were permitted to be included, which makes watching her early work with her children complicated. In her New Yorker essay, the star wrote about being somewhat uncomfortable watching The Breakfast Club with Mathilda.
In 2021, she told Andy Cohen on Radio Andy, "My 12-year-old daughter, Adele, is the most woke individual that you've ever met, and I just don't know how I'm gonna go through that, you know, watching it with her and [her] saying, 'How could you do that? How could you be part of something that…'" But, she also said, "On the other hand, [the movies are] also about people that felt like outsiders. They speak to a lot of people. They're complicated, and I feel like that's what makes the movies really wonderful."