The last few years haven’t been easy for Jim Carrey. According to Mirror, he faced a wrongful death lawsuit after his on-and-off-again ex-girlfriend Cathriona White died from a prescription drug overdose in 2015. He was later cleared of wrongdoing, but has pretty much kept to himself ever since. In a 2018 interview with Radio Times (via The Daily Mail), the star admitted he lived an “isolated and solitary life” but still enjoyed dating in his free time. Fast forward to the following year, and it looks like Carrey’s life is a whole lot less solitary.
In January 2019, the Dumb and Dumber star hit the Golden Globes red carpet with his brand new lady love — his Kidding costar Ginger Gonzaga. Though the pair share a more than 20 year age difference, they seem to find common ground almost everywhere, especially when it comes to comedy. Despite Gonzaga’s many struggles, she still manages to shake everything off with a bit of humor. So, who is she and how did they meet?
Ginger Gonzaga met Jim Carrey on the set of a different Showtime series
Ginger Gonzaga and Jim Carrey played a couple on the first season of their Showtime series Kidding, and it turns out they were so good at it (like, Golden Globe-nominated good at it) because they actually had some practice. The pair linked up prior to appearing together in front of the cameras after spending some time together behind the scenes.
In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Gonzaga admitted that she originally met Carrey on the set of a different Showtime series that the Ace Ventura star produced. Presumably, she was talking about I’m Dying Up Here, which saw Carrey as a co-executive producer while Gonzaga played the role of Maggie. This was about a year or two before the pair took on the roles of Vivian and Jeff in Kidding. Sadly, I’m Dying Up Here was canceled in 2018 after two seasons, but that’s when the pair started getting romantic. Carrey told Entertainment Tonight they started seeing each other once they finished the show because they “really hit it off.” Art really does imitate life (except for the fact that Gonzaga gets to keep her hair off-screen. What we see in Kidding is just a bald cap).
Ginger Gonzaga originally wanted to be a lawyer
We’ve all heard the stories of actors and actresses who have known they were destined for Hollywood since they were little kids. That’s not at all Gonzaga. The now-star originally wanted to become a lawyer when she grew up.
In an interview with The Modesto Bee, Gonzaga revealed that she graduated from Beyer High School in Modesto, California then high-tailed to the University of California, Santa Barbara where she pursued a degree in political science and a minor in Chinese. She wanted to work towards a career in international law, but she never fully realized her law school dreams because, well, she found out she didn’t actually like it that much. “While I was at college, I just realized it definitely wasn’t what I wanted to do. I like performing and being funny,” she told The Modesto Bee.
Gonzaga did end up finishing her studies, and her pre-law path wasn’t even a total waste. In 2014, the actress ended up playing a sports attorney on the short-lived ABC series Mixology. Hey, if she wasn’t going to be a lawyer in real life, she might as well play one on TV.
Ginger Gonzaga ditched law school to follow her 'SNL' dreams
Gonzaga is funny. There’s no way around it. Anyone who’s read her writing or has seen her part in Ted knows that the actress can deliver a punchline. While it might be a natural talent, she certainly honed in on her comedy chops with some intensive training. Her ultimate goal? To land a coveted spot on Saturday Night Live.
When Gonzaga made the decision to skip out on law school, she was hyper-focused on pursuing her comedy career. She even graduated from UC Santa Barbara a year early. Why waste time drawing out a degree you know you’re not going to use? According to The Modesto Bee, the star shipped off to Los Angeles after graduation where she enrolled in the Groundlings School. This school is notorious for launching the careers of famed comedians like Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Conan O’Brien, Will Ferrell and Jimmy Fallon.
“I always wanted to be on Saturday Night Live,” Gonzaga told The Modesto Bee. “I did SNL sketches with friends in high school. And at that time, all of the people on SNL were from the Groundlings. I love how ugly and weird these people make themselves to be funny.”
Ginger Gonzaga learned improv on her high school debate team
Gonzaga has a little bit of Mean Girls in her. No, she wasn’t a Regina George and didn’t have to wear pink on Wednesdays in fear of being ousted from her lunch table. The star was on the debate team and speech team in high school, but unlike Lindsay Lohan in her famed role, Gonzaga took it pretty seriously. According to The Modesto Bee, she competed in state and national tournaments (meaning she probably had a “the limit does not exist” moment of her own.)
While Gonzaga might not have used her speech and debate skills for a law career like she initially intended, she did admit that her high school extra-curriculars helped prepare her for a comedy career. “Having done impromptu speaking in high school helped a lot for improv,” she told The Modesto Bee. “I was used to making stuff up right away.”
Once she graduated from the Groundlings, the star honed in on her improv chops at Second City and Upright Citizens Brigade. She basically ran through the Saturday Night Live schooling checklist and came out with some serious skills.
Ginger Gonzaga got her start in commercials
Like most Hollywood stars, Gonzaga started small. After she moved to Los Angeles and graduated from the Groundlings, she started auditioning for TV commercials. She even found a little bit of success — it just didn’t taste very sweet. Her first commercial was for a nutrition bar, and she never even made it into the final cut.
“[My first commercial] was for SoyJoy (nutrition bars),” she told The Modesto Bee. ” They tasted like cardboard and I ate like 40. And then I got cut from it. But I got my [Screen Actors Guild] card out of it.”
Gonzaga went on to appear in national commercials for TurboTax and McDonald’s. She finally landed a recurring role in 2009 on the NBC web series In Gayle We Trust. According to IMDb, she scored her first feature film role in Ted three years later. The actress’ part was small — she played Mila Kunis’ colleague Gina — but it was a part nonetheless. Since then, she’s had recurring roles in a number of series including HBO’s Togetherness and the Mindy Kaling-created NBC comedy Champions.
Ginger Gonzaga was originally meant to appear in Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Brooklyn Nine-Nine has such a cult following that it managed to survive FOX’s cancellation and live on in the depths of NBC. The cop comedy has undoubtedly gone through some changes, but that’s just the way the show has rolled since the beginning. In fact, Gonzaga was initially supposed to be in the series alongside Andy Samberg.
In 2013, Gonzaga fell victim to network pilot season. She was originally up for a couple of shows including ABC’s Mixology and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. According to The Modesto Bee, FOX tested first, so she was initially contracted to them (whichever network tests — or auditions — an actor first gets to have the first rights to that actor). As a result, Mixology ended up casting a different actress in Gonzaga’s role.
Ultimately, Gonzaga was let go from FOX when they decided to cast someone else for the spot in Brooklyn Nine-Nine, but the actress who won Gonzaga’s Mixology role didn’t end up working out. ABC called the star back to shoot the pilot, and she ended up nailing it. The entire thing was so last minute that she got hired on Friday and started shooting the series on Monday. Of course, everything happens for a reason. If Gonzaga was busy with Brooklyn Nine-Nine, she might have never been cast on I’m Dying Up Here and, subsequently, never met Jim Carrey.
Ginger Gonzaga has no problems winging an audition
Most people wouldn’t really leave something as important as an audition up to improvisation. Even if they have a solid background in improv like Gonzaga, that stuff is usually crazy rehearsed. You want to show the best version of yourself, right? Well, Gonzaga has no problems throwing caution to the wind and just letting it happen. The star completely improvised her auditions for Togetherness, and that trend continued throughout the series once she landed the part of Christy.
In an interview with BriefTake, Gonzaga admitted that Mark and Jay Duplass, who produced the HBO series, go through a very strict vetting process, but give their actors a lot of freedom once they finally sign on. “There’s a level of trust that says ‘Hey I think you’re good, and whatever is in your brain is going to be awesome,’ and it’s just so nice,” Gonzaga admitted. “I could do whatever I wanted and improvise as much as I wanted, and it just made everything so natural and organic.”
Nonetheless, improvising at work is one thing. Winging an audition is what really shows courage, and Gonzaga appears to be fearless.
Ginger Gonzaga has awful PMS — and isn't afraid to talk about it
Periods are rough — period — and Gonzaga isn’t afraid to talk about how annoying they are. The comedian admitted that Aunt Flo has a tendency to make her a little bit moody. Like many of us, Gonzaga suffers from a mega-dose of PMS before her monthly visit.
During an appearance on the podcast Alison Rosen Is Your New Best Friend, the star admitted her emotional symptoms once got so bad that boyfriend Jim Carrey was walking around the house to check on her and caught her throwing a water bottle into the garbage from across the room in a fit of rage. In her mind, the silver lining was that her beau at least knows what he’s signing up for, but she should probably lay off the caffeine if she isn’t training for a three-point free throw competition.
“I do get batsh*t crazy beforehand. It’s happening right now,” she told Rosen. “I crave coffee, then I have a coffee, and I’m an insane person. …It’s basically like, ‘Oh no my boobs are hurting, time to get crazy.'”
Ginger Gonzaga struggled with eating disorders
Gonzaga is an open book. The star doesn’t falter when talking about her past mental health struggles. During an appearance on the podcast Alison Rosen Is Your New Best Friend, the actress admitted she struggled with not just one eating disorder, but “all of them.” She claimed if there were 90 different types, she probably had 97 of them.
Gonzaga’s struggle with disordered eating began with anorexia when she was just 11 years old. The star only got help when she was around 29 years old and managed to enter recovery without actually going to a treatment center. Instead, she tried out various 12 step programs, saw therapists, and worked with nutritionists. Today, she considers herself recovered “right now,” since eating disorders are a lifelong battle.
“I knew I was anorexic because I was hiding it, you know?” she told Rosen. ” …You have such a need for control, and if your life — if you’re surrounded by chaos, which I was — it’s just like what else are you going to grab at? …It’s a very ambitious disease, you know? I would like set really crazy goals for myself, and it would feel good to make that goal even though it was really unhealthy.”
Ginger Gonzaga struggles with body dysmorphic disorder
Gonzaga hasn’t just survived her various eating disorders — she has a history with body dysmorphic disorder, too. According to the Mayo Clinic, BDD causes people to obsess over perceived defects and flaws in their appearance that are either minor or don’t exist at all. This is no easy task when you’re working in an industry that already causes people to obsess over flaws in their appearance, but Gonzaga has managed to rise above regardless.
During an appearance on the podcast Alison Rosen Is Your New Best Friend, the actress opened up about what it’s like to have BDD while working in Hollywood. She didn’t lose any roles when she gained weight during her eating disorder recovery, so she no longer feels “triggered,” but BDD still rears its ugly head occasionally while she’s on-set. This was especially apparent when she worked on the the 2016 comedy Dean.
“I will catch myself noticing it where like, I did a movie with Demetri Martin, and I remember when I did the movie with Demetri, I was like ‘I am an elephant,'” she told Rosen. “… And if I look at it now, I’m like ‘Oh my god. I was so small,’ but I know that my brain at that time was like ‘No one look at me. I’m embarrassed. I’m sorry I’m in your film.'”
Ginger Gonzaga's first heartbreak was in high school
Our first heartbreak is often one of the most painful — a wistful story of young love lost. We will never forget it, but that doesn’t mean it’s actually very interesting to anyone else. Like many of us, Gonzaga got her heart broken for the first time by her high school sweetheart, and she admitted to Alison Rosen that she wished she had a funnier story to share. “Is that heartbreak?” she asked.
Gonzaga admitted that her young relationship started to crumble in the way high school relationships usually do. Her boyfriend went to Princeton, but she had yet to graduate. They initially took “a break” while he was doing a semester abroad in Germany, but then they started to date other people. Oh, how young love fades so easily.
Today, the pair couldn’t be more different. Gonzaga is a comedian, a true artist at work, and “he’s like one of those rich, stock broker-y type people.” Sometimes heartbreak happens for the best.
Ginger Gonzaga is a mental health advocate
Gonzaga has high hopes of using her fame for the greater good. The star wants to be an advocate for mental health awareness. In an eye-opening Medium essay, the actress admitted that she’s “willing to be judged so that perhaps, eventually, others will feel less judged.”
In her essay, Gonzaga admits she started suffering from manic depression when she was just 16 years old and studying at UC Berkeley. She admitted that she stopped needing sleep for three weeks, and “IT. WAS. FUN!.” She mostly spent that time listening to the Watergate tapes (she’s a self-proclaimed dork), reading, walking, taking notes, and exploring Berkeley and San Francisco. It only started to get scary when she found herself “on the floor of [her] dorm room” pondering suicide. She didn’t end up seeing a therapist until “well over” a decade after her first manic episode, but today, she finds strength in her struggle.
“I’m Ginger Gonzaga. I’m bipolar 2. I also have PTSD, anxiety, OCD, and about 20 years of eating disorders that come and go,” she wrote on Medium. “Do I feel shame right now for saying that? Hell no, b*tches! I feel like I just dropped the mic! I feel like Eminem in 8 Mile! … I’m freakin’ EMINIMEN! And perhaps you are too!”
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