From film franchise to hit Broadway musical, "Legally Blonde" has left a lasting impact on popular culture. It's hard to believe it's already been two decades since we first met Elle Woods (and Bruiser)! To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the film's release — it came out on July 13, 2001 — Wonderwall.com is taking a look at how its cast's lives have changed since they appeared in the hit romantic comedy. Keep reading for more…
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Reese Witherspoon shined as the film's protagonist, Elle Woods, a bubbly, Chihuahua-loving sorority sister-turned-law school student.
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Elle Woods was just one of several iconic characters that Reese Witherspoon took on. After playing Melanie Smooter in 2002's "Sweet Home Alabama," Reese returned as Elle in 2003's "Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde" — and she'll reprise her role once again in 2022's "Legally Blonde 3." She then won a best actress Oscar and a Golden Globe for her portrayal of music star June Carter in 2005's "Walk the Line." She earned another Academy Award nomination for her work as Cheryl Strayed in 2015's "Wild." More recently, Reese has made a name for herself on the small screen, starring in and producing acclaimed projects like HBO's "Big Little Lies" — for which she won a Primetime Emmy for best limited series — the Hulu miniseries "Little Fires Everywhere" co-starring Kerry Washington and the Apple TV+ series "The Morning Show," which she leads with Jennifer Aniston. These days, Reese's production companies existed under the banner of her media company, Hello Sunshine, which focuses on telling female-driven stories. Reese also has a popular book club — much of the material she produces finds its inspiration here — and in 2015, she launched Draper James, a clothing and lifestyle brand inspired by her Southern roots. As for her personal life? Reese and actor Ryan Phillippe separated in 2006 after seven years of marriage and two kids together. In 2011 — following a headline-making romance with actor Jake Gyllenhaal — she married talent agent Jim Toth. The couple welcomed a son, Tennessee, in 2012. In addition to being recognized as one of the highest paid actresses in the world by Forbes magazine in 2019, Time magazine named Reese one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2006 and 2015. Next up, she's producing four films: "The Dry," "Pyros," "Your Place Or Mine" and "The Cactus." She'll also appear in the films "Wish List" and "Tinker Bell."
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Luke Wilson played Emmett Richmond, Professor Callahan's teacher's assistant and Elle's love interest.
Since playing Elle Wood's love interest, Luke Wilson has appeared in several acclaimed films from "The Royal Tenenbaums" and "Old School" to "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy" and "Blades of Glory." The youngest Wilson brother was also a series regular on the short-lived but beloved HBO series "Enlightened," on which he starred alongside Laura Dern. In 2019, he appeared in four films: "Berlin, I Love You," "Guest of Honor," "The Goldfinch" and the long-awaited sequel "Zombieland: Double Tap." He landed a supporting role in the 2020 Netflix teen romance film "All the Bright Places," which is based on the novel of the same name. In 2021, he appeared in the sports film "12 Mighty Orphans" alongside Martin Sheen and Robert Duvall. Next up, Luke — who split from girlfriend Gwyneth Paltrow shortly after "Legally Blonde" came out and went on to date actress Joy Bryant — will appear in the films "Gasoline Valley," "The Cleaner" and "Plus/Minus" and the television series "New-Gen."
Selma Blair played Vivienne Kensington, Elle's rival-turned-friend.
After appearing as Vivienne Kensington in "Legally Blonde," Selma Blair went on to act in movies like "The Sweetest Thing," "A Guy Thing," The Fog," "Feast of Love," "The Poker House," "Ordinary World," "Mom and Dad" and "After." Her fandom grew when she played Liz Sherman in the 2004 superhero film "Hellboy" and its 2008 sequel. Selma also landed television roles on series like "Kath & Kim" and "Anger Management" and played Kris Jenner in "The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story." In 2018, the "Cruel Intentions" actress announced that she'd been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. "I have #multiplesclerosis," she said on Instagram. "I am in an exacerbation. By the grace of the lord, and will power and the understanding producers at Netflix, I have a job [on the series 'Another Life']. A wonderful job. I am disabled. I fall sometimes. I drop things. My memory is foggy. And my left side is asking for directions from a broken gps. But we are doing it. And I laugh and I don't know exactly what I will do precisely but I will do my best." In 2020, she appeared in the drama "After We Collided" and in 2021, she starred in the film "Far More." In 2004, Selma married writer-producer Ahmet Zappa, though the couple divorced in 2006. From 2010 to 2012, she dated fashion designer Jason Bleick, with whom she shares son Arthur. In more recent years, she's been romantically linked to producer and real estate investor David Lyons.
Matthew Davis played Warner Huntington III, Elle's pretentious ex-boyfriend and Vivienne's ex-fiancé.
Since landing his breakout role in "Legally Blonde" in 2001, Matthew Davis went on to appear in several films, though his most notable roles were on television. He's best known for his portrayal of Alaric Saltzman on the CW fantasy series "The Vampire Diaries" from 2009 to 2017. He also guest starred on "The Vampire Diaries" spinoff series "The Originals" from 2017 to 2018. Then in 2018, he reprised Alaric on the "Originals" spinoff "Legacies," which debuted its third season in 2021. The "Blue Crush" actor also starred on the short-lived ABC comedy series "What About Brian" and the CW horror-drama "Cult." In 2018, he married actress Kiley Casciano. The couple welcomed their first child, a daughter, in 2020.
Victor Garber played Professor Callahan, Elle's manipulative teacher.
After appearing in "Legally Blonde," Canadian actor Victor Garber went on to craft a successful career on television. Among his most notable roles is Jack Bristow on J.J. Abrams' action-thriller series "Alias," a performance that earned him an Emmy nomination. He's since appeared on several series including "Will & Grace," "Modern Family," "Glee," "The Good Wife," "Damages" and "Schitt's Creek." Victor is also a series regular on the CW's "Legends of Tomorrow" in a role he originally portrayed on a recurring basis on "The Flash." Next up, he'll appear on the series "Family Law" and in the film "Kill the Poet." He's also appeared on Broadway — in 2010's "Present Laughter" and 2018's "Hello, Dolly!" In 2015, Victor married Canadian model and artist Rainer Andreesen after 15 years together.
Jennifer Coolidge played Elle's shy manicurist and friend Paulette Bonafonté.
Jennifer Coolidge appeared in several films in the '00s including "A Mighty Wind," "A Cinderella Story," "Click," "Date Movie," "American Dreamz" and "Gentlemen Broncos." The "American Pie" actress — who was a member of the legendary Los Angeles improv-comedy troupe the Groundlings — also appeared on the small screen, landing roles on television shows like "Joey," "The Secret Life of the American Teenager" and "2 Broke Girls." In 2020, she appeared in two films — "Like a Boss" starring Tiffany Haddish, Rose Byrne and Salma Hayek, and "Promising Young Woman," which starred Carey Mulligan. She also made a cameo as her "Legally Blonde" character, Paulette Bonafonté, in Ariana Grande's "thank u, next" music video in 2018. Her HBO miniseries "The White Lotus" debuted in July 2021. She famously split from comedian Chris Kattan around the time "Legally Blonde" was released, but not much is known about her love life these days.
Alanna Ubach (left) and Jessica Cauffiel (right) played Serena and Margot, Elle's quirky, supportive sorority sisters.
After playing Serena in "Legally Blonde" and "Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde," Alanna Ubach appeared in films like "Herbie: Fully Loaded," "Bad Teacher" and "To the Bone." Her most notable roles include Isabel Villalobos in 2004's "Meet the Fockers" and the the voice of Mama Imelda in the 2017 Disney animated film "Coco." Alanna is set to reprise her role in the third installment of the "Legally Blonde" franchise. She and her husband, Grammy-winning record producer Thom Russo, welcomed son Thomas Rodolfo Russo III in 2017.
After appearing in "Legally Blonde," Jessica Cauffiel reprised her role as Margot in the film's sequel, "Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde." Throughout the '00s, she appeared in films like "White Chicks," "Guess Who" and "Hoot." In 2020, it was announced that she'd appear in the highly anticipated third installment in the "Legally Blonde" franchise.