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The movie named after the famous hit by Southern rock legends Lynyrd Skynyrd has earned its own keep in the record books – as one of the highest-grossing films of the year.
Since its debut, it has become a staple of romantic comedies and a movie that has been lauded throughout the careers of its star-studded cast.
Now, nearly 20 years after it was first released, we are taking a look at what has happened to the cast of Sweet Home Alabama…
Likely best known for his 2005 role as “McDreamy” on Grey’s Anatomy, Patrick Dempsey actually comes from a very small town himself. Cast just shortly after his performance in Sweet Home Alabama, Dempsey played McDreamy for 10 years. His career is further dotted with films like Bridget Jones’ Baby, Made of Honor, and he reprised his role as Robert Philip in Disenchanted – the long-awaited sequel to Disney’s 2007 hit Enchanted.
Josh Lucas, who played the estranged husband of the lead character, Melanie, is a Little Rock, Arkansas native who gained significant exposure after his Sweet Home Alabama role. In the years since he’s had leading roles in Glory Road, Poseidon, Stealth, and has taken on a few television roles. Recently, he appeared as the young version of John Dutton in Yellowstone.
Taking the starring role as a “small-town girl” who moved to the big city and “forgot” all her roots, Reese Witherspoon has continued on a path of stardom after her unforgettable time as Melanie in Sweet Home Alabama.
“When I read the script I was like, ‘Do these people know my life story?’” Witherspoon said in 2018. “Because no matter how much you love where you’re from – when you get a little bit older, you get nostalgic for it. When I was 18, I was like, ‘I am out of here! I am never coming back!’”
Since Sweet Home Alabama, Witherspoon has starred in films and TV shows like Walk the Line, Legally Blonde 2, Wild, Big Little Lies (with Nicole Kidman), Little Fires Everywhere, and the Emmy-nominated Apple TV+ series The Morning Show (with Jennifer Aniston and Steve Carrell).
When asked about doing a Sweet Home Alabama sequel, Witherspoon’s response has always been a resounding “Yes!”.
While holding a brief, but important role, Dakota Fanning portrayed the young version of Melanie in Sweet Home Alabama – in a scene when she and young Jake discuss why anyone would want to get married.
The answer? Obviously – so you can kiss your spouse anytime you want.
One of her first big movie roles, Fanning has since built an astounding career as an actress and appeared in projects like Uptown Girls, War of the Worlds, Coraline, Twilight, Ocean’s Eight, and The First Lady among many others.
She also was the youngest person ever inducted into the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences at age 12.
An iconic actress with a career spanning more than half a century, Candice Bergen picked up the role of Kate – the mayor of New York City – and the future mother-in-law of Melanie. Suspicious that Melanie is not right for her son, she attempts to catch her in a lie when Melanie goes back home to clear things up with Jake.
Eventually, Melanie punches her while still in her wedding dress. A classic scene from this film.
Bergen was easily recognizable by the time Sweet Home Alabama hit the box office. Her illustrious career began in the late 1960s, leading her into her best-known role as Murphy Brown in the 1988 TV series of the same name.
Just before Sweet Home Alabama, Bergen starred alongside Sandra Bullock and William Shatner in Miss Congeniality and had a four-episode arc on Sex and The City.
Following the movie, Bergen has appeared in Boston Legal, Book Club, Let Them All Talk, the Murphy Brown series revival, and The Conners…just to name a few.
Another legendary actress, Jean Smart has been appearing in TV shows and movies since the late 1970s.
She plays Jake’s mom Stella in Sweet Home Alabama, and she and Melanie had always been close when she was growing up. Her lovable character bubbles in this film and is a standout supporting role that everyone is sure to remember.
Most recently, Smart starred in HBO’s dramatic comedy Hacks and the TV mini-series Mare of Easttown.
Smart’s biggest break came in 1986 with a main role on Designing Women which ran for five years. Her later work included Scarlett, High Society, Style & Substance, Frasier, Garden State, 24, Fargo, Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce, and many others.
See the unforgettable trailer for Sweet Home Alabama below – and let us know who your favorite character is!