What We Remember and Miss About the Hit TV Show Scrubs

Fans of medical TV series will never forget Scrubs. The American medical-comedy drama initially aired on October 2nd, 2001 and was a huge success. What made Scrubs so unique at the time was that it combined a hilarious sitcom with meaningful and heartwarming life lessons. From the comical banter to J. D’s daydreams, Scrubs was a medical TV classic.

John C. McGinley and Zach Braff / Judy Reyes and Sarah Chalke / Zach Braff, Tom Cavanagh, Neil Flynn, and Donald Faison / Zach Braff and Donald Faison

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As the show ended over a decade ago, some wonder where Zach Braff, who played Dr. John “JD” Dorian, and Donald Faison, who played surgeon and JD’s best friend Christopher Turk, are doing nowadays.

The Plot Unfolds

Scrubs takes place in Sacred Heart Hospital (an imaginary hospital) and follows J.D. Dorian’s professional medical career. We see JD dealing with the quirky staff, outraged patients, and bizarre situations throughout each half-hour episode.

Sarah Chalke, Zach Braff, and Donald Faison pose for the show

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The plotline moves thanks to the main character’s creative daydreams and his voice-overs throughout the episodes. Scrubs was labeled a comedy show but, as the show takes place in a hospital, it is not typically a fun experience; it is known for touching the hearts of its audience in the more serious scenes.

Zach Braff

Before Zach booked his ultimate part on the hit Scrubs, he took up a few minor roles. One was in Manhattan Murder Mystery (1993). He took part in Macbeth at the New York City Public Library in 1998. Zach’s first breakout gig was as doctor John Dorian. He had been working as a waiter at the time and immediately quit after having landed the role.

Zach Braff as John Dorian on the set of Scrubs.

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Zach quit his job a bit early but decided to utilize the time off to begin writing Garden State. Zach ended up directing, starring in the film alongside Natalie Portman.

Other Notable Projects

Braff received an Emmy nomination for Scrubs the same year he received an Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature for Garden State. Braff proved his success following Scrubs playing in Wish I Was Here (2014) with Kate Hudson and Going in Style with Morgan Freeman in 2017.

Zach Braff and Natalie Portman in a scene from the film Garden State.

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The last significant movie role Zach took was for playing himself in The Disaster Artist (2017). Setting the film aside, he has taken on several noteworthy projects with household names such as Robert De Niro. Braff never forgot his time on Scrubs, posting on Instagram old photos and memories of the cast.

Sarah Chalke

On Scrubs, Sarah played a doctor by the name of Elliot Reid. Sarah, a Canadian model, and actress, initially took on several jobs before landing her role in Scrubs. She played Rebecca Conner-Healy on Roseanne for a short time and had a role on a CBC Drama called Nothing Too Good for a Cowboy

Sarah Chalke as Elliot Reid poses for a portrait.

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Sarah stayed a cast member of Scrubs for almost the entire series. Elliot begins as JD’s friend, which slowly becomes his romantic love interest, and, eventually, becomes his wife in the ninth season.

Post Breakout Role

Sarah played Stella Zinman, a dermatologist on How I Met Your Mother, and romantic interest to Ted Mosby. Sarah took on a reoccurring part on Cougar Town, reuniting with the previous costar Christa Miller in addition to smaller projects.

Sarah Chalke and Josh Radnor in a still from How I Met Your Mother.

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Other roles include in the hit TV animated series Rick and Morty and Paradise PD, where she did voice-overs. Her most significant part is playing Kate’s best friend to Tully, Katherine Heigl, on Firefly Lane.

Donald Faison

Before playing on Scrubs, Donald was well-recognized from the popular teen film Clueless and the series Felicity. Nicknamed Turk on the show, he played fellow doctor, former roommate, and best friend to JD. Their relationship on the show was a total “bromance.” An entire musical episode was devoted to their relationship.

Donald Faison poses as Christopher Turk on the set of Scrubs.

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He began on the show as a surgical intern but, as the seasons went on, he progressed, making his way to become an attending surgeon and then later the chief of surgery at Sacred Heart Hospital.

Much Success After the Hit Show

Donald moved to play on the comedy The Exes airing on TV Land from 2011-2015. Other shows he made appearances in include Undatable, Ray Donovan, House of Lies, and more. Donovan has also taken on many voice-over roles in movies such as Tron: Uprising, Star Wars Resistance, and Robot Chicken.

Lindy Booth and Donald Faison in a still from Kick-Ass 2.

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Some recognized films that he appeared in include Kick-Ass 2 and Pitch Perfect. Faison and Braff have remained close friends and even still take on co-projects such as appearing on Zach Braff’s Wish I Was Here.

John C. McGinley

John was already a successful actor before staring as Dr. Perry Cox on Scrubs. He had previously taken on roles in time-honored classics such as Platoon, Office Space, and Wall Street. John’s character Dr. Cox is remembered for being sarcastic, cynical, and harsh, often in unending rants.

John C. McGinley poses as Dr. Perry Cox.

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Dr. Perry Cox begins his role as the chief attending physician, moving up the scale to residency doctor, and by the end of the show, he becomes chief of medicine. He was also noted for his influential role as JD’s mentor.

After Scrubs

McGinley has taken a symbolic role in the More Tate League commercials for Miller Life, starring as the “Commish.” Other sports-related deals include narrating the documentary – 2008 Stanley Cup Championships of the Detroit Red Wings and commercials for the Champions Tour (professional golf tour for 50+).

McGinley rides in a golf cart.

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Among various roles on commercials for State Farm and other small projects, one of his best roles was on the Broadway revival of Glengarry Glen Ross, where he played Dave Moss.

Judy Reyes

When Judy was cast as Carla Espinosa on Scrubs, she already had years of experience acting and working in Hollywood. She guest appeared in Nothing Sacred, OZ, and shows like Law and Order, NYPD Blue, and The Sopranos.

Judy Reyes poses as Carla Espinosa.

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Judy played head nurse at Sacred Heart Hospital. Carla is known to be Sassy, not dealing with anyone’s nonsense, and protective of JD as he is the only intern whose approval she seeks.

Jobs Keep Coming In

Judy kept busy after leaving Scrubs. She became a regular on Lifetime’s Devious Maids for just about three years between 2013 and 2016. She also played in other successful television shows such as Fresh off the Boat, Jane the Virgin, Blue Bloods, etc.

Judy Reyes and Susan Lucci in a scene from Devious Maids

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Most recently, Reyes landed a role on Claws, playing Annalisa Zayas, nicknamed Quiet Ann. Although quiet, she gets entangled in some not-so-quiet disturbances due to being Arlene Branches’ former lover.

Christa Miller

Christa appeared on Seinfeld and played cutting edge Kate O’Brien on The Drew Carey Show before appearing as Jordan Sullivan on Scrubs. She also took roles on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and CSI: Miami.

Christa Miller is on the set of scrubs

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She plays Dr. Cox’s ex-wife and former board member at Sacred Heart Hospital. Her character is portrayed as somewhat hostile and apathetic towards everyone. Once she gets to know people such as Carla and Elliot, she opens up a little more and becomes friends.

Career Takeoff

Miller has kept busy since Scrubs ended. She has taken parts in various roles that she either executive produced or co-created, such as Clone High, Undateable, and Whiskey Cavalier.

Christa Miller and Courtwnwy Cox in a still from the show Cougar Town.

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In 2008, Christa landed a leading part in a two-part mini-series called The Andromeda Strain. The series was a science fiction show based on the Novel of the Same Name (1969), whose focus was “reimaging” the original story. She was also cast on the infamous Cougar Town with Courtney Cox from 2009 to 2015, which aired on TBS.

Neil Flynn

Taking on the witty and comical role of “The Janitor” of Scrubs, Flynn played in Rookie of the Year and The Fugitive before landing the whimsical role. Neil took on a fun part adding to the funny dynamics of the show.

Neil Flynn, as the Janitor, poses on the set of Scrubs.

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Flynn is also known for playing Mike Heck on ABC’s The Middle. Other television appearances include shows such as Smallville, CSI, and That 70’s show. Neil acted in various movies such as Mean Girls, Indiana Jones, the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and more.

Dave Franco

Dave was most certainly a name that stuck out before he portrayed Cole Aaronson on Scrubs. James Franco’s younger brother already made him an actor who stuck out. He was credited with multiple-episode gigs on shows like Greek and Privileged.

Dave Franco poses for a portrait for Scrubs.

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Dave played Cole Aaronson, a surgical student at Winston University. His character is arrogant and spoiled because his parents were wealthy and made donations to the New Sacred Heart Hospital. He seems to have little admiration for Dr. Cox and Turk, but they eventually succeeded in educating him.

Success After the Show

Infamous for cultivating the frat-party character, Franco landed other roles in 21 Jump Street and Neighbors (2014). He also wrote a series of shorts called Funny or Die, which he characterized himself.

Dave Franco and James Franco in a scene from The Disaster Artist.

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Franco had expanded his horizons on shows such as Netflix’s Easy anthology and other movies like The Disaster Artist his older brother James Franco starred in and The Little Hours. The Rental is set to be Franco’s first debut directing, starring his wife, Allison Brie.

Robert Maschio

Bill Lawrence, the creator of the show Scrubs, likes to keep his circle of actors in his works. Robert was cast in one of his previously created shows, Spin City, before taking on the role of Todd – “The Todd” Quinlan scrubs. Todd is an overly sexualized, immature, and muscle-head type character.

Robert Maschio and Donald Faison in a scene from Scrubs.

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Todd is constantly making sexual innuendos that are deemed to be non-creative as well as high-fives. Setting aside all the silliness, he is also defined as an excellent and talented surgeon.

Where to Next?

Following the pattern of Bill Lawrence’s shows, Robert played in Cougar Town as well as Updateable. Like the hypersexualized role on Scrubs, Maschio appeared in Lethal Seduction, an erotic thriller airing on Lifetime.

Robert Maschio and Sam Lloyd in a scene from Cougar Town.

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Robert also guest-starred in the hit TV show Bones the same year as Lethal Seduction. Unlike most of the actors who stayed in the entertainment industry, Maschio moved on to become a realtor in the Los Angeles area, but photos taking us back to Scrubs and the cast can be found on his Instagram.

Eliza Coupe

Eliza’s role as Denise Mahoney is undoubtedly one of her most traditional roles. Coupe is known to play highly motivated, success-driven characters like the one she portrays with grace on Scrubs. Dr. Denis Mahoney is a resident physician at New Sacred Heart Hospital and a teaching assistance and advisor at Winston University.

Eliza Coupe poses as Denise Mahoney.

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Sticking to the theme of a high-profile career woman, Eliza played Jane on Happy Endings for just about four years. The show didn’t’ last for long but, Coupe did land other roles on Casual, the Mindy Project, House of Lies, and Quantico.

Kerry Bishe

Kerry’s first flashy role was playing Lucy Bennett on the medical comedy show. Kerry Bishe, born in New Zealand, initially made her first on-screen performance as Sara Rosen in the low-budget production of Half-Life of Mason Lake and played an extra in the film Sex and the City.

Kerry Bishe poses in Scrubs.

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One of the more famous roles Bishe took on after Scrubs is in the 2012 movie Argo alongside Ben Affleck. She then took a role on Narcos, appearing in five episodes in 2017 and Halt and Catch Fire from 2014-2017.

Ken Jenkins

Unlike most of the cast, Ken Jenkins was a veteran actor when he got cast on Scrubs as Dr. Bob Kelso, Chief of Medicine. Some of the more famous movies Jenkins landed include The Abyss and Psycho.

Ken Jenkins as Bob Kelso on the set of Scrubs.

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Jenkin’s character on Scrubs lacks some sensitivity regarding the passing away of patients around him. An example of this is making complex financial decisions without regard for the consequences to the patients or his staff. He can be sweet if it serves his interest or is food-related.

Highlights of the Veteran Actor

Ken Jenkins played in episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Early Edition, Beverly Hills, 90210, and more. Bill Lawrence cast Ken as Jules’s father on Cougar Town, played by Courtney Cox.

Ken Jenkins and Tippi Hedren share a dance in a scene from Cougar Town.

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Other portrayals include Representative Howard W. Smith in All the Way appearing in HBO in 2016 and on Harvey Beaks as the voice of Blister. Jenkins is also known to play acoustic guitar and sing. His talent is showcased on the “My Tuscaloosa Heart” and “My Musical” episodes on Scrubs.

Aloma Right

Aloma played Laverne Roberts on Scrubs between 2011-2009. Laverne was known for convincing Dr. Kelso and Dr. Cox to raise the bar regarding standards as she was a very religious person. Putting that aside, she loved gossip, soap operas and never let anyone walk all over her.

Aloma Right poses as Laverne Roberts on the set of Scrubs.

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Aloma took on yet another nurse role as Maxine Landis on the daytime drama Days of Our Lives appearing on NBC. Other on-screen appearances include playing Mildred Clemons on Private Practice and Gretchen Bodinski on the attorney show Suits.

Why We Love Scrubs

Now that we have been acquainted with the cast past and present, it’s time to reflect on why we fell in love with the show in the first place. Of course, only true fans will remember all the fun facts.

Braff and Faison crack jokes in a scene from Scrubs.

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Medical shows seem to grip us because of the drama with patient outcomes and the staff dynamics and relationships. When it comes to Scrubs, the combination of JD’s bizarre daydreams to simply remembering the “professionalism” of all the medical team is what makes us stay for good.

Enjoying the Show

Another thing that made us love Scrubs was that the actors seemed to be enjoying themselves on the show. Think about ever watching bloopers or outtakes when the actors mess up or forget their lines. Seeing actors enjoying what they are doing makes the show even more lovable.

Judy Reyes and Sarah Chalke pose with a bulldog on the set of Scrubs.

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Seeing the actors’ off-screen interaction makes us feel a genuine connection to the show and its storyline. Here are some interesting facts about the show that you or you may not know.

Marriage off Set

So we know that Christa Miller played Jordan Sullivan on the show, but what is unique about the character and the casting? It turns out that Christa Miller is the real-life wife of creator Bill Lawrence.

Christa Miller and Bill Lawrence arrive at an event.

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The show’s writers, including Bill Lawrence, enjoyed formulating the character as she was created to be insufferable, which is the opposite of Christa Miller in real life. Kudos to her for taking on a challenging performance and doing it right.

Creator’s Input

Bill Lawrence is the show’s brilliant creator. He loved being involved in the scenes and giving them his spin. He had a lot of passion for the show, so he decided to participate in the scene where the Janitor is united with his significant other, IE, at his wedding.

Bill Lawrence is officiating a wedding in an episode of Scrubs.

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Lawrence played the priest at the wedding ceremony officiating the union. Even if it’s just acting, it must have been an honor to have his “marriage” blessed by none other than the show’s creator.

JD’s Character

It turns out that Dr. John Dorian is based on a real-life person named John Doris. In an interview with Bill Lawrence, he spoke about how JD’s character was inspired by his experience at the College of William and Marry as an undergraduate student.

John Doris and Dolly Klock participate in the documentary film about Scrubs.

Source: YouTube

His best friend at the time was a future medical student whose nickname was JD. They knew each other so well that they developed a bromance like that between Turk and JD. It turns out life experiences can directly inspire your work.

Janitor’s Father

Curiosity surrounding Janitor’s background is certainly understandable for the show’s fans. Having such a peculiar personality makes us wonder where it all came from. The writers were not shy about providing clues as to how Janitor’s upbringing shaped his character.

Zach Braff is intimidated by R. Lee Ermey.

Source: Imgur

R. Lee Ermey was the actor who played Janitor’s Dad. Erney was famous for playing the drill instructor in the movie Full Metal Jacket. He also happened to be a Marine Corps drill instructor in real life, which made playing the part a must.

Where Was the Show Filmed?

In Hollywood, in successful shows and hit series, large budgets for sets seem to be a no-brainer. People fell in love with how realistic the location was, which made that much more authentic. It turns out Scrubs was filmed in an actual hospital.

John C. McGinley and Zach Braff work on the set of

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Sacred Heart, which used to be an actual hospital, was in the North Hollywood Medical Center. The building, which was a medical center between 1952 to 1998, was taken down in 2011. Authenticity makes us appreciate the little touches, and in this case, Scrubs got it just right.

Real-Life Bromance

We’ve all heard about the casts who make great TV, play breathtaking parts, and win us over with their incredible acting. However, not all casts and acting colleagues get along; some even can’t tolerate one another. This is not the case, however, for Zach Braff and Donald Faison.

Zach Braff and Donald Faison in a flashback scene from Scrubs.

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The on-screen bromance seemed to come naturally for these two as they were close friends in real life. Having a good friendship off-screen helped them deliver solid performances.

Major Cast Reunion

Don’t we all just love a show reunion? Seeing the actors we watched on our favorite shows come back together makes us nostalgic and warms our hearts. Rumors of two new seasons for Scrubs seem to be just background chatter, but an actual reunion would win over the fans’ minds.

The cast of Scrubs speak onstage during the 'Scrubs Reunion.'

Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images

In 2018 at the Vulture Festival in Los Angeles, the cast had their biggest reunion to date. We were able to see the actual actors who portrayed the show we cherished laugh, catch-up, and mingle as if no time had passed.

Storylines Accuracy

Portraying hospital scenes, surgical procedures, and medical examinations is no joke. It was important for Bill Lawrence and the writers to fact-check the plotlines and ensure they were as scientifically accurate as possible.

Dr. Cox is taking the bandages off of a patient's face.

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On the show, not all the illnesses were ghastly and unheard of. Still, a realistic portrayal of the scenes was essential to maintain the show’s legitimacy and contribute to the overall feeling. Some subtle changes made the scenes more entertaining and funnier, but the cases were checked for correctness.

Season Six Was a Hit

The episode is known as “My Musical,” took on a life of its own. This episode was written by one person only as opposed to the entire group of writers. Deborah Fordham, who wrote the episode, also wrote the lyrics to the songs.

The opening dance number in the “My Musical” from Scrubs.

Source: YouTube

Members of The Blanks composed the music for the episode making it the highlight of Season Six. The episode was such a success that it was nominated for five Emmy Awards. It was also named among the top 100 best episodes of all time by TV Guide.

Love at First Stunt?

What would TV shows and movies be without stunt people? The behind-the-scenes professionals add action, excitement, and thrilling nature to the film and TV industry. In Season Two, Episode Seven, there was a scene where JD and Elliot did a bungee jump together.

Braff and Chalke are standing on the bridge / The stunt doubles doing the bungee jump.

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Surprising and rare, the stunt doubles for JD and Elliot had met for the first time on set the day of the shoot. As they say, it truly was destined to be as they ended up getting married.

Unfortunate Reality

Phill Lewis, famous for playing Mr. Moseby on the Suite Life of Zach, and Cody, played Hooch, otherwise known as “Hooch is Crazy.” He was arrested after striking a woman during a drunk driving accident.

Phill Lewis attends an event.

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He was intoxicated and was charged with manslaughter. He did serve a prison sentence but remained in the acting business following his release. He was working in a prison-based theater troupe that held performances in churches, schools, and jails to bring awareness about drug abuse.

Real Life Picture

Ted Buckland, the lawyer for Sacred Hospital played by actor Sam Lloyd, was more a character that Dr. Kelso poked fun at than a respected lawyer. Ted was known to walk around with sweaty palms, a moist brow, and an overall expression of depression and sadness.

Sam Lloyd poses as Ted Buckland on the set of Scrubs.

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As part of the bumbling personality, he had a picture of his mother hanging in his office. It turns out that the image was actor Sam Llyod’s birth mother. If you caught a resemblance, you know that it was a legitimate one.

Can’t Miss the Talent

Ted was also known to have a cappella group on the show called The Worthless Peons. It only made sense that the Cappella group performed on another one of the show’s musical episodes called “Guy Love.” That talent didn’t just come from anywhere.

The Worthless Peons are performing on the set of Scrubs.

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The Cappella group, it turns out, is known as the “The Blank” in real life. The group performs sketch comedy in addition to Cappella music. Their performances include Skits, choreography, and funny antics. A fun personal endeavor turned out to be an excellent addition to the Scrubs musical contributions.

Equal Treatment

Equal opportunity for men and women has always been a hot topic, and it seems like now more than ever. However, Bill Lawrence made sure all his actors were treated equally for sexy and sensual scenes.

Chalk and Braff act together in a scene from Scrubs.

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Bill told all the female actresses on the show that for every spicy outfit or scene they needed to perform, the male actors would need to do the same. This equal treatment added to the hilarious display, such as Todd’s banana hammock, for instance.

NickNames Galore

We all remember how Dr. Cox would hand out a never-ending list of girl nicknames throughout the show, with JD winning the lot with nicknames such as “Bambi,” Abby, Angelina, and more. Fans would even try to guess what he would come up with next.

McGinley and Braff stare at each other in a scene from Scrubs.

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It seems this isn’t the first time actor John C. McGinley used girl nicknames for his friends. John Cusack, a fellow actor and McGinley’s friend, would often experience the trick placed upon him. It looks like this is where McGinley got the inspiration for the show.

Determination

Getting your big break in Hollywood is something most actors work on their whole life. All they need is that one audition that puts them in the spotlight and pushes them forward. Zach Braff, who plays the protagonist on the show, didn’t take the role after one stand-out audition.

Zach Braff, Tom Cavanagh, Neil Flynn, and Donald Faison in a still from Scrubs.

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After auditioning the first time, Zach wasn’t contacted and figured it was the end. However, his agent urged him to audition once again, and it was not an opportunity he was going to miss. He eventually booked the part for the hit TV Show.

Big Age Difference

Many years after the series, Zach Braff is still being discussed in the press, but his personal life is in the spotlight this time. The biggest news in recent times is related to the actor’s relationship with actress Florence Pugh.

A selfie of Zach Braff and Florence Pugh.

Source: Twitter

It seems that the couple is officially together, considering they posted a picture on Instagram with their adopted a dog. What makes this relationship the buzz of celebrity couples is that Zach is 21 years older than Florence. The couple has been together for two years.

Private Relationship

The juicy gossip is that in 2018, Zach started to like photos of Pugh on Instagram. Supposedly, they would work on The Secret Ingredients of Rocket Cola together, but the movie never fell through.

Florence Pugh, Zach Braff, and Donald Faison pose for a selfie.

Source: Instagram/@zachbraff

Cut to many months later, Pugh received a special gift from Braff posted via Instagram, urging the fans to see Black Widow and commanding her on her performance as Yelena Belova, Natasha Romanoff’s little sister. Iconic comic book artist Phil Noto painted the gift.