Movies + TV

A Dream Street Deferred

Catching up with imaginary boyfriends I have loved and lost.

Like a bout of chicken pox, the celebrity crush is a childhood rite of passage that a lot of us just have to endure. The “fever”—whether it’s caused by Justin or the other Justin, a Spice Girl or a Cheetah Girl—is intense but short lived. (An “I ♥ Zayn” stick ’n’ poke tattoo may last forever, but your devotion to him probably won’t.) So where do heartthrobs go when our young love fades and the spotlight is no longer theirs—when we all grow up? Do they retreat to a secret island and live off the bottled tears of millions of weeping preteens? WHAT HAPPENS TO A DREAM STREET DEFERRED? On today’s episode of Divulging Embarrassing Personal Secrets With Gabby, I will attempt to find the answer by investigating the current states of my own childhood celebrity crushes.

Heartthrob: Michael Schoeffling

Jake Ryan

I became instantly enamored of Michael Schoeffling when I saw him in Sixteen Candles—or, more specifically, Michael Schoeffling as Jake Ryan in Sixteen Candles (NOT this Jake Ryan, UGHHH, GROSS)—when I was in middle school. Jake is the ultimate teen heartthrob: a wealthy, secretly sensitive hunk who questions his popularity and wants more out of life than to pal around with his overly privileged friends. I don’t want to reveal any spoilers, but at one point he surprises a character named Samantha (played by someone whose name rhymes with Jolly Dingwald) by appearing with his shiny red sports car outside the church where Jolly’s sister just got married. A lot of people find this scene to be the movie’s most romantic. The moment that really steals my heart, though, is the one where he presents Samantha with a beautiful cake at the end of her otherwise hellish 16th birthday. (I really like imagining him in line at the bakery, asking if he can get “Happy Birthday, Sam” written in frosting.)

Where is he now? OK, technically Jake Ryan only exists in a movie, so the answer is: Exactly where he has always been and will be…FOREVER! In fact, most of the character’s appeal lies in the fact that someone like him will never exist. Being human prevents actual humans from achieving his kind of mysterious perfection. He is a dreamboat—nay, a DREAM YACHT. (Because he’s rich, ha ha ha.) As for the real-life Schoeffling, I had hoped that in fervently Googling his name I’d discover that he went on to star in many more films previously unbeknownst to me, a buried treasure that would allow me to continue ogling his lovely self in new roles and new outfits for years to come—or at least some photos what would prove that he’s aging as beautifully as ol’ Jolly. Instead I found hundreds of images of him as Jake Ryan. It appears as though there were no public photos taken of Schoeffling after 1990, when he starred with Cher and Winona Ryder in Mermaids. Further digging showed that soon after that he quit the biz, settled down, had some kids. The most recent reports, which are fuzzy and about a decade old, say he makes handcrafted wooden furniture in rural Pennsylvania. Perhaps he can build an artisanal oak shelf on which I can display my BROKEN HEART.

Heartthrob: Joey Fatone
Some people think it’s weird to declare Fatone, with his impeccably groomed soul patch, your favorite ’N Syncer, but to them I say, “Google Chris Kirkpatrick.” Fatone was clearly the most funny, lovable guy in the now-defunct boy band, or at least that is what nine-year-old me deduced from watching SEVERAL interviews with him on MTV in which he cracked jokes and clearly wasn’t letting fame get to his ego. He seemed to be the group’s backbone. I couldn’t imagine him as the kind of boy who’d steal the spotlight (unlike another member of ’N Sync who shall remain unnamed but who now sings about the components of his formal attire).

Where is he now? The real question is, WHERE ISN’T HE NOW? In the early 2000s, Fatone starred in a variety of very important motion pictures, including but not limited to On the Line, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, and Homie Spumoni. He’s also had lead roles in Broadway shows like Rent, competed on Dancing with the Stars, been on a whole bunch of game shows, aaaand participated in a celebrity cook-off on the Food Network. He’s not letting his former-pop-star status stop him from living his life, you guys. While I no longer pledge my crush allegiance to Joey Fatone, I think of him fondly—kinda like how I’d feel about a friend’s funny dad. (SORRY FOR COMPARING YOU TO A DAD, JOEY FATONE, BUT YOU ARE A DAD.)

Heartthrob: Will Friedle


Friedle is best known for playing Eric Matthews, the silly big brother of Ben Savage’s Cory Matthews on the beloved ’90s sitcom Boy Meets World. I know Will best as the actor who has played with my heartstrings from the age of five to…now! (Thanks, Netflix!) Lots of BMW fans only have eyes for Rider Strong, the dude who played Cory’s best friend, Shawn Hunter, but my loyalty stands with Will. If you’re not familiar with him or his glorious antics, here’s part one of a three-part series of YouTube videos devoted to his greatest moments as Eric. When Boy Meets World first aired, the character was supposed to seem cool and sophisticated, but over time he became goofier and goofier (which to me = DREAMIER and DREAMIER). I guess my crush on Will Friedle is, like my crush on Shoeffling, basically an infatuation with the character he played.

Where is he now? After BMW, Friedle lent his voice to a whole bunch of cartoon characters, including Ron Stoppable on Kim Possible. There are rumors that he’ll be joining the cast of Girl Meets World, a BMW spinoff that’s in production right now, and I really hope they’re true. Since the reboot is in the hands of some of the show’s original creators, I have no bitter feelings—so far—that they could ruin the original Eric.

Heartthrob: Robert Schwartzman


You might recognize Robert Schwartzman from his role in The Princess Diaries, as Mia Thermopolis’s best friend Lilly Moscovitz’s big brother, Michael. (In real life he’s Jason Schwartzman’s kid brother). There’s something about his eyes that makes you feel like he’s peering into your soul and ~truly listening~. At least that’s what I’ve picked up on. In The Princess Diaries he’s the only boy who sees Mia when she’s “invisible”—i.e., who appreciates her for who she is before her royal makeover, and that really struck a chord in my invisible-feeling preteen self. Unlike my previous actor obsessions, my love for Robert Schwartzman transcended screens when I became a fan of Rooney, the power-pop band he formed and fronted.

Where is he now? Rooney is reportedly on hiatus, but Robert released a solo album a couple years ago. Honestly, I haven’t listened to it—I’m not worried that it’ll be bad, I’m just afraid that it will somehow tarnish my image of Robert playing a piano covered in M&M’s. But the most important fact about his post-Diaries life is that he follows me on Twitter (where I’m joined by about 25,000 of his other closest friends)!

You guys: What will happen to the teen idols of today? Will it be possible for them to move into relative obscurity? Will they even want to? I get kind of worried about the internet’s ability to make fame seem never-ending, but part of me also hopes that Justin Bieber will keep Instagramming until his 2073 World Tour. Only time will tell. But if Tiger Beat: Elderly Edition exists in the future, you might catch me reading it in my Hoveround. ♦


  • Narnia May 29th, 2013 11:20 PM

    this is so greeat! i loved robert character in the princess diaries. my heartbroke when i learned he wasnt in the second film/book. robert was also in the virgin suicides. i think our idols will fade the same ways as in the past, and become vintage tumblr photos.

    • Brecht Brecht May 30th, 2013 2:39 AM

      Michael Moscovitz is TOTALLY in the second Princess Diaries book! The movies kinda diverged from the path, but the books continued to follow Michael and Mia’s relationship. They’re actually so good!

      • lydiamerida May 30th, 2013 12:01 PM

        Yeah! People dismiss the Princess Diaries as some sort of stupid book series, but they really funny, empowering, teach you a lot and are completely relatable.

      • Narnia May 30th, 2013 5:02 PM

        ohh sorrry
        thanks for correcting me

        i wish the they would have continued on that path. cuz i literally-metphorically died when i saw the second film and their was no michael. he rocked my 5 year old socks

  • heartshapedbox May 29th, 2013 11:30 PM

    JOLLY DINGWALD OMG. This is great.

  • laurajane May 29th, 2013 11:59 PM


  • kendallakwia May 30th, 2013 1:11 AM

    if my devotion to zayn malik doesn’t last forever, we’re gonna have to find some way to make our marriage work

    • emmmasdilemmas June 1st, 2013 7:51 PM

      offended that you think my devotion to zayn won’t last #zemmaforlife

  • kathryn-s May 30th, 2013 1:27 AM

    A couple of years ago (after suddenly remembering its existence from my childhood) I watched the entirety of Boy Meets World on youtube, so I was super pumped when I saw the header!

    • kathryn-s May 30th, 2013 5:22 PM

      but also, i definitely have eyes for rider strong/shawn hunter only.

  • Cactus Woman May 30th, 2013 2:29 AM

    The title is absolutely perfect.
    Also Michael Moscovitz is still my dream boyfriend.

  • Sophie ❤ May 30th, 2013 6:35 AM

    I really loved The Princess Diaries, they were some of my favorite movies ever! Still trying to get the third movie ( if it came out yet).

    Thanks, Gabby!


  • Sandrine May 30th, 2013 7:13 AM

    OMG I got a crush from someone in the Princess Diaries too!! It’s Jeremiah Hart, the red haired guy :’) I’ve got something for red haired guys! Dang he’s just perfect!

  • Chloe22 May 30th, 2013 8:17 AM

    Well, hopefully my devotion to zayn would last…we’re MARRIED, after all! (lol)

  • Flavia May 30th, 2013 8:20 AM

    Robert Schwartzman is the same person as the leader of Rooney????? WHAT I thought they were just similar!!!!!!!!!!! ohgod

  • FlowerandtheVine May 30th, 2013 9:06 AM

    What is it about those Schwartzman boys? They are both so dreamy.

  • Tara May 30th, 2013 10:50 AM

    omg Jake Ryan yes.. also Mermaids is the best. Robert Schwartzman UH BABE.

  • MaggietheCat May 30th, 2013 1:16 PM

    I didn’t realize Jake Ryan guy was also the guy in Mermaids. He was such a babe in that movie. Just add that to the laundry list of me wanting to be Winona Ryder in high school.

  • Hally May 30th, 2013 2:03 PM

    The fact that Michael Schoeffling is a family man who builds things with his big, strong hands somehow makes him even HOTTER to me, which I didn’t think was possible!

  • rhymeswithcat May 30th, 2013 2:04 PM

    Thank you so much for opening my eyes to the Schwartzman brother connection. I don’t know how it didn’t cross my mind but it sure explains why I find them both so incredibly dreamy.

  • elliecp May 30th, 2013 2:05 PM

    god looking through my old crushes is worrying. It ranges from Daniel Radcliffe, to johnny depp, to jake gyllenhaal, to Taylor York, to David bowie and elvis. And those are just the ones I have at the moment.

  • wanderlusted May 30th, 2013 2:22 PM


  • MegW May 30th, 2013 2:55 PM

    I thought for the longest time that I didn’t have any celebrity crushes and then I read Krista’s blog post on Effing Dykes about Amelia Earhart. HOLY CRAP.

    This one:

  • Faith May 30th, 2013 7:01 PM

    MICHAEL MOSCOVITZ!! OMG <3 :( but then it kinda breaks my heart a little to know that there won't be someone like him at my school. Oh the agony.

  • Simone May 30th, 2013 8:55 PM

    Props for Gabby to admitting she had a crush on Joey Fatone!!!!!!!! That takes some guts.

  • eremiomania May 31st, 2013 6:33 PM

    For me, it’s *Jason* Schwartzman 4EVER!

  • loonylizzy May 31st, 2013 11:29 PM

    ROBERT SCHWARTZMAN OMG he was my childhood LOVE! i adore the princess diaries!! eep!
    and i pause the tv every time jake ryan comes on screen in sixteen candles so i can take a moment to swoon xD

  • desssays June 1st, 2013 12:34 AM

    OMG I love Robert on Rooney!:))

  • dumbpling June 2nd, 2013 5:33 PM

    robert schwartzman was, no, IS my ultimate random obsession I will never give up. Michael Moscovitz is perfection and his whole family is so awesome (well nicholas cage…) and rooney is just swoonworthy and ahh

  • Nikilodeon June 3rd, 2013 1:45 PM

    omg i used to have SUCH a huge crush on jake ryan. the hannah montana one.

  • Elvii July 2nd, 2013 7:06 PM

    I also went on the Jake Ryan/Michael Schoeffling hunt a while ago… it really is heartbreaking </3
    I'm sad to not see Mark-Paul Gosselaar as Zack Morris on here!!!

  • KirstenCT July 25th, 2013 12:08 PM

    I watched Sixteen Candles the other day for the first time, and I was expecting to totally swoon over everything in it, because of stuff I’ve read (like this article, amongst others), so I was really surprised and confused when it was chock-full of racism and sexism and really disturbing rape allusions. Jake Ryan basically gives his passed-out girlfriend to a character that we’ve seen harass Molly Ringwald’s character, Samantha, throughout the film (which she forgives him for, unfortunately). Jake says of his passed-out girlfriend something along the lines of, ‘I could violate her any way I want, but I’m just not feeling it’, before offering her to the other guy and going to find Samantha. This did not come off as romantic to me at all. It didn’t seem like a happy ending to Samantha’s awful birthday to see her going off with a creep like that. Why is this overlooked so much? Otherwise, though, I love this article! Sorry, this is not meant as a criticism of this article, but of Jake Ryan, who I don’t get (I’d go so far as to say I prefer him in Hannah Montana, haha). <3