Jack Pearson has become America's dad. America's mysteriously dead dad, but still its dad, nonetheless. And as the man who's brought such warmth and emotion to the
This Is Us character, Milo Ventimiglia has once again reinforced his role as TV's resident heartthrob. Many first knew him as Jess, Rory's dreamy love interest on Gilmore Girls. With his role as Jack, though, Ventimiglia has assumed a new level of stardom, appealing to new audiences and tackling deeper and more heart-wrenching storylines. The love he has for his character is palpable in every interview he gives and with every tweet he sends out. The actor obviously cares for the Pearson family, perhaps more than the rest of us, and it makes him a joy to watch.
"[The role is] kind of
art imitating life," Ventimiglia told Variety about how he relates to Jack. "I was just trying to be just a man existing as a man, and here’s this man who’s just trying to provide for his wife and his family and all of that. It was so simple and beautiful that I thought, ‘I’d just love to do it. I’d love to be a part of it.'" In honor of both Ventimiglia and Jack, let's take a peek at some of the actor's most adorable moments and stories of the past year.
He Cries Over Fans' 'This Is Us' Stories
This Is Us captures so many different experiences that viewers can relate to, whether it's the loss of a parent, the process of adopting a son, or raising an interracial family. Ventimiglia told Jimmy Fallon that when fans approach him and break out stories and photos of their loved ones, the waterworks start flowing.
He Welcomes His Young Co-Stars To The 'Family'
In an interview earlier this year with Bustle, Hannah Zeile, who plays teenage Kate on
This Is Us, said that Ventimiglia welcomed her to set with open arms, easing some of the nerves she had. "It can be intimidating walking on that set," she says. "But the first day I ever worked, Milo came up to me and said, ' Welcome to the family.'"
He Exchanged Use Of His Car For Food For The Cast And Crew
Apparently, the classic Chevelle featured in
This Is Us is actually Ventimiglia's personal belonging. According to Access Hollywood, the actor gave the production team permission to use his car in the show, but wouldn't accept a traditional payment. "I go, 'Okay, well you can use my car no problem, but whatever you’re going to pay me for it goes back to coffee trucks and burger trucks for the crew,'" he told Access Hollywood hosts Natalie Morales and Kit Hoover.
He Signs All His Tweets With His Initials
He's not just dreamy — he's also a complete dork. Ventimiglia signs his initials at the end of all of his tweets, and it's pretty adorable.
He's Outspoken About Supporting His Castmates' Performances
Vivien Killilea/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
Not only is he excited about the cast and crew when working on set with him, but Ventimiglia is also singing the cast's praises on social media during nearly every episode of
This Is Us.
He Cries When He Reads His Scripts
It's good to know that us fans aren't the only ones who openly weep when new plotlines hit us on
This Is Us. Ventimiglia himself isn't immune to it, either. " I still do," he said in an interview with Coveteur earlier this year when asked if he cries when he reads new scripts. "I don’t count [how often], I just accept that it happens."
When Ventimiglia talked to Giuliana Rancic on the Emmys red carpet earlier this year, she asked him what one of the biggest lessons he's learned as he's gotten older is. "I think I'm old enough to know I'm not young enough to
think I know everything," he responded. Swoon. Given the crazy success the actor's encountered and the two different sets of rabid fanbases he's worshiped by, it'd be easy for that to go to his head, but apparently Ventimiglia remains adorably humble.
He Adores His Onscreen Wife
Watching Mandy Moore, who plays Jack's wife, interact with Ventimiglia on screen is astonishing. The chemistry is intense, and it's even more heartwarming that the two have such respect for each other in real life.
"When time goes on and you’re on the same page with the work, and with your own characters and everything, then
you just get closer as people and you become friends," he told Deadline of his relationship with Moore. "Then, the bond that the audience gets to see is just what happens when you spend a good amount of time with someone that you really care about and that you’re sharing the work with. I thank God that [series creator Dan] Fogelman picked who he picked."
He's Not Afraid To Make Fun Of Himself
In a segment on John Oliver's
Last Week Tonight earlier this year , Ventimiglia and Moore spoofed a United States Postal Service ad, and, at the same time, poked fun at Jack's mysterious, upcoming death. Their segment starts at 3:30 of this video, and — fair warning — there's some swearing. It's always refreshing when an oftentimes deadly serious show's stars are willing to get silly with their roles.
He Understands Our Obsession With Jack's Death
Though Ventimiglia has said he wants audiences to be able to move on from Jack's death once it's explained, he appreciates that
viewers care about his character so much.
"You know, if anything, it means that the character has impacted people, and I think that’s always the biggest compliment to the process of the storytelling," he said in the same
Deadline interview. "To the writing, to the cinematography, to what us actors are able to do. It’s all working, it’s just all working that people care so deeply about this man. People are connected to this man. I’m very, very grateful."
He Models Jack After His Own Father
A lot of viewers see versions of their own fathers in Jack, and Ventimiglia is no exception. "I have a great father. And playing Jack, I feel very close to
how my father was with us," he told W magazine. "Because, you know, I was born in the '70s and grew up in the '80s and the '90s, and that is almost exactly when the Pearson Big Three are growing up. And so for me, I’m just taking the perspective of how I remember my dad." Swoon.