The surprising real-life age gaps between 14 famous TV pairs

insider@insider.com (Kirstie Renae)
·7 mins read
Miley Cyrus and Jason Earles are 15 years apart.
Miley Cyrus and Jason Earles are 15 years apart.

The Disney Channel

Some fans may not have noticed that many of the pairs they see on TV — whether they be family members, romantic couples, or best friends — are actually played by actors with major real-life age differences.

Here are 14 surprising age gaps between some of TV's famous duos. 

Bianca Lawson, who played Maya on "Pretty Little Liars," was actually eight years older than her on-screen love interest, Shay Mitchell.

Bianca Lawson and Shay Mitchell on "Pretty Little Liars."
Bianca Lawson and Shay Mitchell on "Pretty Little Liars."

ABC Family/Freeform

Although they played characters who were the same age, Bianca Lawson and Shay Mitchell were not.

Mitchell, who played Emily, was 23 when the ABC Family series premiered, and Lawson, who played Maya, was 31.

Matthew Morrison was only a few years older than Cory Monteith when he played his teacher on "Glee."

Cory Monteith and Matthew Morrison on "Glee."
Cory Monteith and Matthew Morrison on "Glee."

Fox

When Fox's "Glee" premiered in 2009, Matthew Morrison was 30 years old. His character, Mckinley High's Spanish teacher and glee-club leader Will Schuester, was presumably a bit older than the teenage glee-club members.

However, many of the students were portrayed by 20-something actors.

When the series premiered, the late actor Cory Monteith, who played Finn, was 27 years old — only three years younger than his on-screen teacher. 

 

Despite playing siblings who were close in age on "Hannah Montana," Miley Cyrus and Jason Earles are actually 15 years apart.

Miley Cyrus and Jason Earles on "Hannah Montana."
Miley Cyrus and Jason Earles on "Hannah Montana."

Disney Channel

When "Hannah Montana" first aired on the Disney Channel in 2006, Jason Earles, who played Miley's teenage brother Jackson, was actually 28 years old.

In comparison, Miley Cyrus was 13 at the start of the show. 

The actors who played Angela and Shawn on "Boy Meets World" are 10 years apart.

Trina McGee and Rider Strong on "Boy Meets World."
Trina McGee and Rider Strong on "Boy Meets World."

ABC

When Trina McGee joined the cast on season five of ABC's "Boy Meets World" as Angela, she was 28 years old.

Rider Strong, who played Shawn, was only 17-turning-18 at the time, making him a decade her junior.

Elizabeth Rodriguez is only two years older than the actress who played her daughter on "Orange Is the New Black."

Elizabeth Rodriguez and Dascha Polanco on "Orange Is The New Black."
Elizabeth Rodriguez and Dascha Polanco on "Orange Is The New Black."

Netflix

On Netflix's "Orange Is the New Black," actress Elizabeth Rodriguez played Aleida Diaz. Dayanara Diaz, her on-screen daughter, was played by Dascha Polanco.

In real life, the actresses are only two years apart in age. Rodriguez was born in 1980 and Polanco was born in 1982.

Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher are five years apart, and Kunis was just 14 years old when she auditioned for "That '70s Show."

Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher on "That '70s Show."
Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher on "That '70s Show."

Fox

Unlike the other pairs on this list, Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher aren't terribly far apart in age. Perhaps the most surprising thing is how young Kunis was at the start of Fox's "That '70s Show."

The actress was 14 years old when she auditioned for and started playing Jackie.

In comparison, Kutcher was 19-turning-20 and was very close in age to the rest of the leading friend group. 

Bea Arthur was actually a year older than her on-screen mother on "The Golden Girls."

Bea Arthur and Estelle Getty on "The Golden Girls."
Bea Arthur and Estelle Getty on "The Golden Girls."

NBC

Despite playing Dorothy's mom on the NBC series, actress Estelle Getty was actually younger than Bea Arthur.

At the time the show premiered, Arthur was 63 and Getty was 62.

Even though they played characters who were the same age on "Gilmore Girls," Keiko Agena and Alexis Bledel are eight years apart.

Keiko Agena and Alexis Bledel on "Gilmore Girls."
Keiko Agena and Alexis Bledel on "Gilmore Girls."

The CW

Throughout the CW series, Rory and Lane were thick as thieves and supported one another through various stages. On the show, they were the same age, but in real life, they have quite an age gap. 

Alexis Bledel was 19 when "Gilmore Girls" premiered and Keiko Agena was 27, even though they were both playing young teenagers.

Tim Rozon is only five years younger than Jennifer Robertson, who played his mom on "Schitt's Creek."

Tim Rozon and Jennifer Robertson starred on "Schitt's Creek."
Tim Rozon and Jennifer Robertson starred on "Schitt's Creek."

Pop

On Pop's hit comedy series "Schitt's Creek," Jennifer Robertson played Jocelyn and Tim Rozon played Mutt. 

Although the characters are mother and son on the show, Robertson is actually only five years older than her costar in real life.

Sarah Michelle Gellar is 15 years younger than the actor who played Spike on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."

Sarah Michelle Gellar and James Marsters on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."
Sarah Michelle Gellar and James Marsters on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."

UPN

Although The WB's "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" never explicitly stated how old Spike was, it seemed like he was turned and became immortal in his 20s. If that's the case, his character wasn't much older than Buffy herself.

However, the actor who played Spike, James Marsters, was actually 35 years old when he started on the show — 15 years older than Sarah Michelle Gellar, who played Buffy.

Evangeline Lilly, who played Kate on "Lost," was at least 10 years younger than both of her character's main love interests.

Evangeline Lilly was 25 and Matthew Fox was 38 when "Lost" premiered.
Evangeline Lilly was 25 and Matthew Fox was 38 when "Lost" premiered.

ABC

Not long after ABC's "Lost" premiered in 2004, fans were already gripped by the love triangle between Sawyer, Jack, and Kate.

On the series, it appeared that Kate was around seven or eight years younger than both Sawyer and Jack, however in reality the actress who played her was even younger than that.

At the start of the show, Evangeline Lilly, who played Kate, was 25. Matthew Fox, who played Jack, was 38 and Josh Holloway, who played Sawyer, was 35.

The actors who played Abraham and Rosita on "The Walking Dead" have an even bigger age gap than their characters.

Michael Cudlitz and Christian Serratos on "The Walking Dead."
Michael Cudlitz and Christian Serratos on "The Walking Dead."

AMC

It's made apparent on AMC's "The Walking Dead" that love interests Abraham and Rosita have an age difference of around 20 years. However, the actors who played them are even further apart in age. 

When the characters were introduced on season four, Christian Serratos was 23 and her costar Michael Cudlitz was 48.

Leonard and Penny from "The Big Bang Theory" are much closer in age than the actors who portrayed them.

Johnny Galecki and Kaley Cuoco on "The Big Bang Theory."
Johnny Galecki and Kaley Cuoco on "The Big Bang Theory."

CBS

For much of CBS' "The Big Bang Theory," fans awaited the fate of the romance between Leonard (played by Johnny Galecki) and Penny (played by Kaley Cuoco).

Although the show depicts the two as being fairly close in age, the actors who play them are actually a little over 10 years apart. 

Galecki was born in 1975 and Cuoco was born in 1985.

Ben McKenzie was in his mid-20s when he starred alongside 17-year-old Mischa Barton on "The OC."

Ben McKenzie and Mischa Barton on "The OC."
Ben McKenzie and Mischa Barton on "The OC."

Fox

After the Fox teen drama "The OC" premiered in 2003, it quickly became a hit, as did the romance between two of its lead characters, Marissa and Ryan, played by Mischa Barton and Ben McKenzie.

Although the main characters were all around the same age in the series, the actors who played them weren't all teens.

Barton was 17 when the show premiered and McKenzie was 24, which isn't the most shocking age gap on the list, though McKenzie was still playing a teenager when he was nearly 30 years old at the end of the show. 

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