May 14, 2003, marked one of the most important events in TV pop culture history: The series finale of "Dawson's Creek." In the 15 years since then, Dawson, Joey, Pacey and Jen have become some of our oldest friends, and now the actors who played them are among Hollywood's biggest stars. But the hit series didn't just introduce us to some of the greatest characters in the history of soapy teen melodrama — it also helped usher many of its fans from the awkward teenage years to full-fledged adulthood. In honor of the 15th anniversary of the "Dawson's Creek" finale, take a look back at the stars and supporting cast as they were on the show and find out where they are now.
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A 20-year-old James Van Der Beek had just a few credits on his resume when he scored the lead role of high school student Dawson Leery. The aspiring actor dropped out of Drew University, where he was studying English, to pursue his acting career. And the rest, as they say, is history!
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Since "Dawson's Creek" wrapped, James Van Der Beek has been steadily working. He took his talents to the big screen, starring in "Varsity Blues" and "The Rules of Attraction," but is still best known for his television work. James played leading characters on hit TV shows such as "Don't Trust the B—- In Apartment 23," "CSI: Cyber," "Friends With Better Lives" and "What Would Diplo Do?" In 2018, he'll star on Ryan Murphy's newest FX series, "Pose." He has also found success in his personal life after divorcing his first wife, actress Heather McComb. James married Kimberly Brook in 2010 and the couple have since welcomed five children together.
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Katie Holmes almost passed on the role that made her a star: The Ohio native refused to drop out of her high school production of "Damn Yankees" to audition in person for The WB. Fortunately, the network allowed the aspiring model and actress to audition via videotape for girl-next-door Joey Potter. With only a role in Ang Lee's "The Ice Storm" under her belt, Katie won the part — and the title of America's sweetheart.
Katie Holmes has matured from America's Sweetheart to leading lady. The actress has had a string of prominent film roles in projects including "Pieces of April" in 2003, Christopher Nolan's "Batman Begins" in 2005, the comedy satire "Thank You for Smoking" in 2006 and the horror film "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark" in 2011. She received worldwide attention when she wed A-list actor Tom Cruise and welcomed a daughter, Suri Cruise, in 2006. The super-couple, known as TomKat, divorced in 2012 after five years of marriage. Katie has since appeared in high-profile projects such as the TV miniseries "The Kennedys" and the comedy "Logan Lucky" and tried her hand at directing. She has also found love again with longtime boyfriend Jamie Foxx, though the pair refuse to go public with their undercover romance.
Joshua Jackson started his career as a child star thanks in part to his casting director mom. The Canadian actor had already amassed a small cult following from his days starring as adolescent hockey player Charlie Conway in the "Mighty Ducks" trilogy when he was cast as Dawson's BFF, class clown Pacey Witter.
Joshua Jackson has maintained a low profile since his "Dawson's Creek" days but is still a successful working actor. He starred in "Bobby," "Shutter" and "Fringe" after "Dawson's Creek" wrapped. He is currently a series regular on Showtime's "The Affair," a Golden Globe-winning show about the emotional effects of an extramarital relationship. Josh has also made headlines for his high-profile, 10-year relationship with actress Diane Kruger. The former couple began dating in 2006 and shared homes in Paris, Los Angeles and Vancouver before calling it quits in 2016.
Michelle Williams started her career as a tween appearing in small television roles. At age 14, she made her feature-film debut in "Lassie." The next year, the aspiring actress graduated early from high school and became legally emancipated from her parents as a way of getting around child-labor laws so that she could more fully focus on her career. The hard work at an early age paid off: Michelle booked the part of city girl Jen Lindley on "Dawson's Creek."
Michelle Williams went from "Dawson's Creek" to Academy Award nominations and Golden Globe wins! The actress has starred in a number of critically acclaimed films such as "Brokeback Mountain," "Blue Valentine" and "Manchester by the Sea," earning Oscar nominations for all three movies. For portraying the actress Marilyn Monroe in "My Week with Marilyn" in 2011, Michelle won a best actress Globe. She also starred in Martin Scorsese's thriller "Shutter Island," the fantasy film "Oz the Great and Powerful" and, more recently, the 2017 films "The Greatest Showman" and "All the Money in the World" to great acclaim. The Montana native also received global attention when she began dating Heath Ledger in 2004. The A-list couple welcomed their daughter, Matilda, in 2005 before calling it quits in September 2007. Heath died of an accidental drug overdose just a few months later in January 2008, leading to increased media attention for Michelle, which she actively avoided. After dating boldface names including Jason Segel and Spike Jonze, the actress surprised fans when she secretly married indie musician Phil Elverum, a widowed father of one, in July 2018.
Busy Philipps already had one of pop culture's most beloved cult series ("Freaks and Geeks") under her belt when she joined "Dawson's Creek" as Audrey Liddell, Joey's college roommate with a drinking problem, during the fifth season in 2001. Before she took on the role, the actress studied at Loyola Marymount University, where she dated actor Colin Hanks.
Busy Philipps is still enjoying a highly successful career after taking leading roles in "White Chicks," "Made of Honor," "He's Just Not That Into You" and "The Gift." She also starred on the beloved TV series "Cougar Town," for which she won a Critics' Choice Television Award for best supporting actress, and HBO's cult hit "Vice Principals." Busy is also now a married mother-of-two. The Illinois native wed screenwriter Marc Silverstein in 2007 and the pair welcomed daughters in 2008 and 2013. She's also still best friends with "Dawson's Creek" co-star Michelle Williams.
After attending the University of Vermont, where he earned a bachelor's degree in business administration, Kerr Smith got a late start in the acting game when he booked his first gig on "As the World Turns" at age 24. Kerr appeared on the soap for a year and a half before joining the second season of "Dawson's Creek" as Jack McPhee, the shy guy struggling with his sexuality. Kerr went on to make television history in the third season of "Dawson's Creek" when his character shared a passionate kiss with another male: It was the first time a kiss between two men was aired on network television in the U.S.
Kerr Smith has enjoyed a string of guest roles on hit TV shows such as "CSI: NY," "Life Unexpected" and "NCIS" since wrapping "Dawson's Creek." The actor is currently starring on Freeform's "The Fosters." He also runs a holistic health and wellness business, TerraLife Wellness, with his second wife, Lisa. Kerr was married to actress Harmoni Everett from 2003 to 2009.
The oldest member of the "Creek" crew, Meredith Monroe, was almost 30 when she joined the second season of the series along with Kerr Smith as his mentally unstable sister, Andie McPhee. Like her on-screen brother, Meredith got a late start in the business, launching her career with various small roles in the year before she booked "Dawson's." Before that, the Houston native attended Millikin University and was a cover model for several Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys books.
Post-"Creek," Meredith Monroe established her career as a television actress with guest spots on popular shows such as "Californication," "NCIS," "Psych," "The Closer," "CSI: NY," "Hart of Dixie" and "Castle." The Houston native was also well-known for her recurring role as Haley Hotchner on "Criminal Minds." She's reportedly been married to talent manager Steven Kavovit, with whom she had twins in 2015, since 1999.
Mary Beth Peil began acting in the 1960s, starring in Broadway shows such as "Kiss Me, Kate" and "The King and I," the latter of which earned her a Tony Award nomination. She continued to star in popular plays, shows and movies before being cast Evelyn "Grams" Ryan, Jen Lindley's grandmother, on "Dawson's Creek" in 1998.
Today, Mary Beth Peil has returned to Broadway and the small screen. The actress starred in the Broadway adaptions of "Nine," "Follies" and "Anastasia," the last of which earned her her second Tony Award nomination in 2017. Mary Beth also memorably played Jackie Florrick, the mother of Chris Noth's politician character, on the CBS drama "The Good Wife" from 2009 to 2016. As if that wasn't enough, she's starring in the romantic comedy "Best Day of My Life" alongside Sarah Jessica Parker in 2018. The Iowa native is a divorced mother of two and grandmother to two granddaughters.
John Wesley Shipp starred as Barry Allen on CBS's "The Flash" before securing his role as Dawson's father, Mitch Leery, on "Dawson's Creek" in 1998.
Today, John Wesley Shipp is still a successful television actor. His career has truly come full circle as he is now starring as Barry Allen's father, Henry Allen, on The CW's reboot of "The Flash." The Virginia native has also enjoyed guest appearances on "CSI: NY," "The Closer," "One Life to Live," "Teen Wolf" and "Drop Dead Diva."
Mary-Margaret Humes had guest roles on hit shows such as "The Dukes of Hazzard" and "Blossom" before securing her role as Dawson's mother, Gail Leery, on "Dawson's Creek" in 1998.
Since "Dawson's Creek" ended in 2003, Mary-Margaret Humes has had a string of guest appearances on popular TV shows including "Grey's Anatomy," "Criminal Minds," "Touched by an Angel," "CSI: NY," "Ghost Whisperer" and the Hallmark TV movie "Home by Spring." The former Miss Florida USA has been married to Raul A. Bruce since 1992.