Already have an account?
Get back to the

‘8 Simple Rules’ Cast: Where Are They Now

Plus, find out how the show proceeded after John Ritter’s death.


The 8 Simple Rules cast premiered in 2002 and spanned three seasons, going off the air in 2005. The show, which was led by actor John Ritter, quickly gained popularity for its relatable characters and witty storytelling, offering a humorous yet poignant exploration of family life and relationships. Created by Tracy Gamble and based on the book 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter by W. Bruce Cameron, the series struck a chord with audiences and became a beloved favorite during its run.

The series revolves around the Hennessy family, consisting of parents Paul and Cate and their three children, Bridget, Kerry, and Rory, and explores the challenges and triumphs of navigating adolescence, dating, and family dynamics in a humorous and heartfelt manner. With its blend of comedy and heartfelt moments, 8 Simple Rules resonated with audiences of all ages, making it a popular choice for viewers around the world.

Here, we look back at the 8 Simple Rules cast.

John Ritter as Paul Hennessy: 8 Simple Rules Cast

John Ritter as Paul Hennessy in the 8 Simple Rules Cast
2002/; Lawrence Lucier / Stringer/Getty

Born on September 17, 1948, in Burbank, California, John Ritter plays the role of Paul Hennessy, a loving yet overprotective father who often finds himself in comedic situations while trying to navigate the challenges of raising his teenage daughters.

Prior to appearing in the 8 Simple Rules cast, Ritter had a long and illustrious career in TV and film. He first appeared on television in 1966 as a contestant on The Dating Game, followed by guest appearances on Dan August (1970), which starred Burt Reynolds, The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970) The Waltons (1972), M*A*S*H (1972), Kojak (1973), and Rhoda (1974). Then he got his career-defining role as Jack Tripper on Three’s Company (1976).

From there, he starred in a number of TV movies, guest starred on shows like Felicity, Scrubs, Chicago Hope, Veronica’s Closet and Ally McBeal, and took the lead in the Three’s Company spinoff, Three’s a Crowd (1984 to 1985), Hooperman (1987 to 1989), Hearts Afire (1992 to 1995) and, finally, assuming the role of Paul Hennessy as part of the 8 Simples Rules cast.

Tragically, Ritter collapsed on the set of the show, and later died, after filming the first three episodes of the second season. The series then went on hiatus for several weeks, returning in November 2003 with a modified format addressing the death of Ritter’s character. Ritter received a posthumous Emmy nomination for his performance on the show.

MUST READ: John Ritter Movies and TV Shows — A Look Back at the Beloved Funnyman’s Life and Career

Katey Sagal as Cate Hennessy

Katey Sagal as Cate Hennessy
2002/; Jon Kopaloff / Stringer/ Getty

Born on January 19, 1954, in Los Angeles, California, Katey Sagal took on the role of Cate Hennessy, Paul’s wife and a nurse, who tries to balance her career with the demands of being a mother to three teenagers.

Sagal became a household name in the late ‘80s as the brazen Peg Bundy on the Fox series Married… with Children. She received three Golden Globe and two American Comedy Award nominations for her role.

MUST-READ: Our Favorite Shows Starring Katey Sagal — 11 of the Star’s Must-See Series

She was a shoe-in for the role of Cate Hennessy in the 8 Simple Rules cast. After the series ended, Sagal continued to act, having regular roles on several series including Boston Legal, Lost and Chadam. Her starring roles include Gemma Morrow on Sons of Anarchy (2008 to 2014), the narrator on A to Z (2014 to 2015), Randy DeLuca in Superior Donuts (2017 to 2018), the voice of Turanga Leela in the animated series Futurama (1999 to 2003, 2008 to 2013 and 2023 to today), and Louise on The Conners (2018 to 2024).

MUST READ: Married…with Children Cast Then and Now: Catch Up With The Bundy Clan

Kaley Cuoco as Bridget Hennessy: 8 Simple Rules Cast

Kaley Cuoco as Bridget Hennessy in the 8 Simple Rules Cast
2002/; Taylor Hill / Contributor/ Getty

Born on November 30, 1985, in Camarillo, California, Kaley Cuoco plays the character of Bridget Hennessy, the eldest daughter of Paul and Cate, known for her beauty and popularity, but someone who often struggled with her academic and romantic endeavors.

Cuoco got her start in the TV movie Quicksand: No Escape (1992) alongside Donald Sutherland and Tim Matheson. Her other television credits include guest-starring on the series Ellen, where she played young Ellen (1994); Northern Exposure (1990) and My So-Called Life (1994). In addition, she played a leading role in the miniseries, Mr. Murder (1998) with appearances in the films Virtuosity (1995), Picture Perfect (1997) and Lucky 13 (2005). In Ladies Man (2000 to 2001), she was one of the lead characters, portraying Bonnie Stiles.

After appearing in the 8 Simple Rules cast, Cuoco was the lead voice of the animated Brandy & Mr. Whiskers (2004 to 2006) and Bratz (2005 to 2006), followed by her portrayal of Billie Jenkins in the original Charmed (2005 to 2006) and, then, her most popular role of Penny in The Big Bang Theory (2007 to 2019).

Beginning in 2019 (and continuing to today) she’s voiced the title character of the Max animated series Harley Quinn and starred in the same streamer’s The Flight Attendant (2020 to 2022). Most recently, she was in the 2024 movie Role Play.

MUST-READ: Kaley Cuoco’s Never-Published Interview from Big Bang Theory Season 1

Amy Davidson as Kerry Hennessy

Amy Davidson as Kerry Hennessy
2002/; Araya Doheny / Stringer/ Getty

Born on September 15, 1979 in Phoenix, Arizona, Amy Davidson stars in the role of Kerry Hennessy, the middle child of Paul and Cate, known for her intelligence and activism but often feeling overshadowed by her sister’s popularity.

Prior to the 8 Simple Rules cast, Davidson was on The Truth About Jane and Judging Amy. She also had a recurring role on the Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen series So Little Time.

She continued acting after her role on 8 Simple Rules and appeared in Killing It, All Rise, The Rookie, Better Call Saul, and Bones. She was also in the 2019 movie Ernesto’s Manifesto and was most recently seen in Killing It (2022) and The Lincoln Lawyer (2023).

Martin Spanjers as Rory Hennessy: 8 Simple Rules Cast

Martin Spanjers as Rory Hennessy in the 8 Simple Rules Cast
2002/; Michael Tullberg / Contributor/ Getty

Born on February 2, 1987, in Tucson, Arizona, Martin Spanjers is Rory Hennessy, the youngest child of Paul and Cate, known for his mischievous antics and close relationship with his sisters.

After the 8 Simple Rules cast, Spanjers continued to make appearances in TV shows, including True Blood, Saving Grace, Better with You, Good Luck Charlie and Angel from Hell. He also had roles in several films, among them Body at Brighton Rock, Send It and The Curse of Downers Grove.

David Spade as C.J. Barnes

David Spade as C.J. Barnes
2002/; Steve Granitz / Contributor/ Getty

Born on July 22, 1964, in Birmingham, Michigan, David Spade portrays the character C.J. Barnes, Paul’s irresponsible and immature nephew who often finds himself getting into trouble but has a good heart. Following Ritter’s death, Spade was brought in as a new co-lead with Sagal.

Spade had a long and successful acting career before joining the 8 Simple Rules cast. He was a writer and cast member of Saturday Night Live. Plus, he had parts in several movies, including Police Academy 4, Coneheads; Reality Bites and Tommy Boy. He then landed a recurring character on the show Just Shoot Me! (1997-2003),

After 8 Simple Rules he’s continued to act, appearing in movies like Benchwarmers, Jack and Jill and the Hotel Translyvania franchise. TV guest spots include Curb Your Enthusiasm, Entourage, Hot in Cleveland, Rules of Engagement, The Mayor, and Love. Most recently, he’s done voice work in the animated series Housebroken. In 2023 he hosted the game show Snake Oil.

For more from the early 2000s, click here!

Use left and right arrow keys to navigate between menu items. Use right arrow key to move into submenus. Use escape to exit the menu. Use up and down arrow keys to explore. Use left arrow key to move back to the parent list.