Mayim Bialik as a young girl holding a candle

Mayim Bialik has undergone a stunning transformation. Whether you know her from playing the titular character in the ’90s show Blossom, or you came across her as Sheldon’s wife Amy Farrah Fowler in the hit comedy show The Big Bang Theory, Bialik is an actress who is hard to forget. She’s still fairly young, but she’s managed to forge a successful and varied career, as well as amass a dedicated fan following.

In addition to her acting career, Bialik is also a successful blogger and scientist (via PBS), a fact that delights many of her fans. So yes, The Big Bang Theory‘s Mayim Bialik is as smart as Amy in real life.

Bialik has a long history in the entertainment industry, having landed roles in several films and television shows as a young teen; but as it turns out, her journey to success and stardom wasn’t as straightforward as you may be tempted to think. So how did she get where she is today? Here is the stunning transformation of Mayim Bialik.

Mayim Bialik was raised in a Jewish Reform family, which shaped her faith for life

Mayim Bialik as a young girl with ribbons in her hair

Mayim Bialik was born on December 12, 1975, as noted by Biography, in California to Jewish parents. While her parents weren’t super observant, they were part of a Reform congregation. (Reform Judaism is a less strict form of Judaism, in comparison to the much more rigid Orthodox branch). As Bialik explained to The Jerusalem Post, being part of this congregation was "a very positive experience."

Growing up, Bialik was heavily influenced by her family’s heritage. "Three of my four grandparents are immigrants to this country, and my mom was raised Orthodox, but left Orthodoxy when she was a teenager," she continued. And as Bialik explained to Edge Magazine, her parents always taught her the importance of hard work in the form of chores and homework — even when she started acting in films as a teen!

Bialik’s fascination with her Jewish heritage endured into adulthood. In college, she minored in Hebrew and Judaic studies; she also studied Yiddish, and has visited Israel multiple times. It’s clear that Bialik’s upbringing in Reform Judaism gave her a lifelong passion and faith.

As a child, Mayim Bialik started acting in the horror movie Pumpkinhead

Mayim Bialik entered the film business at a pretty young age. As the star explained, her passion for acting started when she participated in school plays as a child. It made her think, "Oh, I should be an actress — kids do commercials and stuff like that," she recalled in an interview with Edge Magazine.

Unfortunately, Bialik didn’t have much luck getting into commercials, as other child stars of her generation did. "In 1986, when I stated there was a notion that people on television needed to look what they called ‘All-American,’" Bialik continued. Because of her "prominent features" and "ethnic" look, Bialik was shoe-horned into quirky character roles.

In her film debut, Bialik played a character with five lines in the horror movie Pumpkinhead. "It was a very small part, because you don’t get big parts when you first start," Bialik added. It sounds like Bialik had to deal with the discriminatory side of Hollywood from the very beginning!

Mayim Bialik landed the lead role in Blossom at 14 years old

Mayim Bialik’s breakout role came in 1990, when she was cast as the lead character on Blossom. For Bialik, it was the role she’d been waiting for. "I read the Blossom script and it was the first script I had ever read where I laughed out loud," she revealed in an interview with Yahoo! Entertainment. She went to explain that she’d been working on another show called Molloy, and that Blossom was a "really welcome shift."

By the sound of things, Bialik’s time on Blossom was hugely important — and loads of fun. She recalled how she and her co-star Jenna von Oÿ had a blast on set; they even learned to tap dance during their lunch breaks. Bialik also shared that the entire cast became like a real family on set, and that the experience was as good as it could be for a teen actor. "I [was] really lucky that on the Blossom set I was 14 to 19 years old, and I never saw anyone drinking or doing drugs," she explained to Edge Magazine. It makes you wonder: where is the cast of Blossom now?

An interest in science may have helped Mayim Bialik get through the trials of being a child star

Many child stars end up going down a "bad" path, as noted by The Guardian — but Mayim Bialik was lucky enough to avoid this fate, as were these former child stars who live insanely lavish lives. As Bialik told Edge Magazine, her parents always encouraged her to take school seriously. Plus, she didn’t start acting until she was a teenager, which gave her more time to grow up like a normal kid.

However, what really saved Bialik from that fate may have been her passion for science! While being interviewed for Nova on PBS, she was asked how she escaped the "sad fate of most child stars." She replied, "Do you want the quick answer to that? Science!"

Of course, science itself wasn’t the only thing that kept Bialik grounded and sane as her fame grew. She told Fox News that as a late teen, she found therapy to be extremely helpful. "I think that helped me a lot," she confessed. "It gave me some perspective and I’m very grateful I had that opportunity."

Growing up, Mayim Bialik was a self-proclaimed weird girl

Mayim Bialik always thrived when she played quirky roles; as it turns out, she was pretty unusual as a kid, too. Bialik opened up about her quirks in a chat with Marie Claire. "I was weird," she proclaimed. "I knew there was something — many things; possibly every thing about me that was different."

Bialik then described some examples of her "uniqueness." For instance, at 5 years old, she reportedly dressed in lederhosen with Princess Leia braids in her hair. At 10, she cried on her birthday at the thought of getting older. By 16 she was reading existential philosophy and dressing like a goth, and by 17, she found herself interested in sports cars, Elvis Costello, comic books, and veganism.

Unfortunately, all of these things made Bialik feel lonely and odd as a teenager. However, as an adult she’s learned to accept her differences. She even wrote a book called Girling Up about her experience of being different as a child!

Mayim Bialik met Michael Stone at university and they married in 2003

After high school, Mayim Bialik went to UCLA, instead of further pursuing an acting career. It was in a calculus class that she met Michael Stone, the man she would one day marry. Stone told The New York Times he was wearing an Elvis Costello T-shirt at the time, which sparked the initial attraction. For Bialik, who once said she wanted to "find someone who looks and thinks like Elvis Costello," (via Marie Claire) Stone seemed to be a perfect fit.

Eventually, the couple were married in 2003. Stone, who was raised as a Mormon, converted to Bialik’s religion of Judaism, too. The couple also had two sons (in 2005 and 2008), but in 2012, they announced they were splitting up (via ABC News).

Even though the couple divorced, Bialik and Stone don’t trash talk each other or seethe in acrimony. "I spend a lot of time building my ex up for my boys," she told Us Weekly. She also revealed that she’d been seeing someone new for a few years, so she may still be enjoying her new private relationship!

Mayim Bialik got a doctorate in science before she returned to acting

After completing her undergraduate degree at UCLA (and just before becoming a parent), Mayim Bialik went on to get a doctorate, which she finished in 2007. In an interview with The Guardian, she explained why she decided to pursue further higher education. "I really loved teaching and research," she said. Bialik went on to explain that her dissertation was about obsessive compulsive disorder in people with Prader-Willi syndrome.

Bialik likely would have stayed in academia if she never had kids, but that’s not what happened. "Being a research professor seemed like what I wanted to do," she continued. "But once I had my first child I realized how much time I wanted to be with him." To that end, Bialik started homeschooling her children.

Bialik taught neuroscience to other homeschooled children for five years, according to The Washington Post. And while Bialik eventually returned to acting, she remains passionate about science, and uses her platform to encourage young people to pursue careers in STEM.

Mayim Bialik chose to raise her kids with an "attachment parenting" style

When it came to raising their children, Mayim Bialik and her ex-husband Michael Stone made some pretty unusual choices. Namely, they chose to use a style of parenting called "Attachment Parenting." Bialik even wrote a book about her experience, entitled Beyond the Sling. According to Psychology Today, attachment parenting is term used to describe child-centered parents who choose to co-sleep with their children, let the children determine feeding time (and self-weening, which can lead to extended breast or bottle feeding), extensive physical contact, and responsiveness to crying.

In an interview with Time, Bialik explained that she was inspired to use attachment parenting after seeing some friends use the method successfully. She then explained that, while some people criticize attachment parenting for being too lenient, she believes that it’s best to "embrace the natural progression of independence."

Bialik has certainly been criticized for her child-rearing decisions, especially because she was widely reported to be against child vaccinations (which she denied on Twitter). Whatever you may think of attachment parenting, we are glad that she found a method that works for her!

Mayim Bialik started blogging about parenting and eventually launched her own website

After becoming a parent, Mayim Bialik began writing, inspired by her experiences. "I think when I was a young mum a lot of mums were starting to write about their experiences," she explained in a chat with The Guardian. "I wrote for a website called Kveller that really sought to bring a very honest voice to parenting, specifically Jewish parenting, but we covered all types." Apparently, the blog that Bialik was writing for grew organically, and she eventually started her own website, called GrokNation.

In addition to writing about parenting, Bialik covers a wide range of other topics, including her acting career, beauty, lifestyle, women’s healthcare, and more. Given the things that people used to believe about women’s bodies, having solid information available is not a bad thing!

Bialik’s website has become so successful that she has a team of editors and marketers supporting her! As if one successful career as an actress wasn’t enough, Bialik has thrived as a writer too.

Mayim Bialik returned to acting on The Big Bang Theory

After finishing her doctorate and becoming a parent, Bialik decided it was time to return to acting. But as she told ABC News, it wasn’t because she pined for the lights of Hollywood. "The true story is I was running out of health insurance," she revealed. Apparently, she and her then-husband were struggling a bit, and she thought a few parts here and there would tide her over. "I was not expecting to be a full-time actor," she confessed.

As fate would have it, The Big Bang Theory was looking for someone to play a neuroscientist, so Bialik decided to go for it. "I auditioned with five other actresses — none of whom were neuroscientists — who were really talented and many of whom I knew of," she recalled in a chat with The Hollywood Reporter. And while the part was small at the time — she had just five lines in the season 3 finale — Bialik got the good news the same day, and the rest is history!

One month after her first Emmy nomination, Mayim Bialik was in a traumatic car accident

In 2012, Mayim Bialik received an Emmy nomination for her work on The Big Bang Theory. Just one month later, the actress was involved in a devastating car accident, and suffered a horrific hand injury. Another month down the line, Bialik turned up at the Emmy Awards wearing a bedazzled cast. She spoke to Vanity Fair about the accident, saying, "It’s been a crazy couple weeks — between the Emmys, which was such a high, followed by a devastating, tragic accident, which could have ended up much worse." We’re glad you’re okay, Mayim!

Additionally, Bialik explained that her trauma was compounded by the public’s response to the accident. Apparently, people tried to videotape her right afterwards!

Nevertheless, despite going through such a horrible event, Bialik maintained a sense of humor and went straight back to work. "It’s a testament to how much I love my job," she continued, adding that her co-stars and "buddies" Jim Parsons and Melissa Rauch — who’s undergone a stunning transformation herself — were a huge help.

Mayim Bialik became a proud vegan

Mayim Bialik has been interested in veganism since she was very young. According to an essay she penned in Marie Claire, she first started exploring the non-meat, non-dairy diet in her teens. As Eater reported, Bialik went vegetarian at the age of 19, and later gave up all animal products after reading Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer. She even published a book of vegan recipes called Mayim’s Vegan Table.

In 2016, the actress opened up about why veganism is so important to her in a video on her Youtube channel. In it, Bialik said that veganism wasn’t a "viable option" for her growing up, as attitudes at the time were different than they are now. She then explained that the idea of "not knowing" where food comes from is actually a really dangerous aspect of the modern food industry, which is why she feels safer avoiding meat products altogether. We have to say, her commitment to living ethically and healthily is seriously impressive! What really happens to your body when you go vegan, anyway?

Mayim Bialik has come a long way with her mental health

Ever since she was a child, Mayim Bialik struggled with her mental health. The mixture of feeling different from her peers, becoming a child star, and her family’s history of mental health issues made her quite depressed from a young age. Fortunately, after years of therapy, Bialik eventually learned more about mental health via her graduate studies. As she told Hope to Cope, this gave her a new insight into her own history with depression.

In a 2018 video for the Child Mind Institute, Bialik spoke about her journey. "There are answers," she shared. "And for me, some of those answers I had to wait years to find, and I needed to get different help." She also explained that it took a long time for her to find the "right help" for herself, after trying various kinds of therapy and medication. Eventually, Bialik found a solution.

We think it’s so amazing that she speaks up about mental health in young people by sharing her own difficult experience! If you need a boost as well, do these exercises to help combat anxiety and depression.

During the 2020 shelter-in-place order, Mayim Bialik became an advocate for cats

In 2020, Mayim Bialik was subject to the shelter-in-place order like everyone else. But in a surprising turn of events, Bialik ended up using the extra time at home to advocate for an unusual cause: cats! In an interview with Fox News, Bialik explained how she and her Big Bang Theory co-star Jim Parsons were joining forces. The reason? To create a new comedy series called Call Me Kat, about a woman who opens up a cat cafe, based on the famous British show Miranda.

Bialik’s interest in cats doesn’t stop there! As she explained in the interview, "I happen to have three cats and they’re living their best lives." To that end, she linked up with Royal Canin to promote education amongst cat owners in 2020. The initiative is designed to encourage them to take proper care of their cats so that they can live their best lives too. We have to say, this is one initiative we can get behind!

Bialik did admit that she was worried about the stigma that can come with being a cat person, but we think she’ll be just fine.