Where are they now? The cast of Sweet Home Alabama, 20 years later.

20 years ago, a small-town girl who made it big in the city, went back home to finalise her divorce from her childhood sweetheart... and gave us one of the greatest rom-coms ever.

Sweet Home Alabama was released in September 2002. On its opening weekend, the film earned $35 million (in US dollars). During its theatre run in the States, it made over $130 million, then in its worldwide box office release, another $53 million. It had a budget of just $30 million.

In short, the film was a box office hit.

Watch the trailer for the 2002 film Sweet Home Alabama. Story continues after video. 

Video via Touchstone Pictures.

"When I read the script I was like, 'Do these people know my life story?'" Witherspoon recalled during a press conference 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!'"

This week, Witherspoon made an Instagram post to celebrate the 20 year anniversary of Sweet Home Alabama, writing: "20 years ago Sweet Home Alabama came out and completely changed my life."


She continued, "Incredible memories of shooting this movie with these amazing actors - Josh, Patrick, Dakota, Melanie, Jean, Ethan, Mary Kay, Fred, and Candace, of course! So many great scenes and my favorite line... 'So I can kiss you anytime I want.' Do you remember seeing it for the first time?" 

Here's where the cast of Sweet Home Alabama, 20 years on. 


Where is Reese Witherspoon now? 

Image: Touchstone Pictures / Getty.  When Witherspoon starred as Melanie Carmichael, her career was already well established thanks to her leading roles in Election, Cruel Intentions and Legally Blonde. 

In 2022, she's among one of the world's highest paid entertainers and Witherspoon's career has gone well beyond acting. 


At the time of filming Sweet Home Alabama, she was married to her Cruel Intentions co-star, Ryan Phillippe. Witherspoon has since gone on to marry agent Jim Toth in 2011. 

She won an Oscar for her performance as June Carter Cash in 2005's Walk the Line and was nominated in 2015 for Wild. 

The actor also pivoted to TV when she starred and produced in Big Little Lies, The Morning Show and Little Fires Everywhere. 

Her former media company, Hello Sunshine also became an industry phenomenon with the power to push authors to the top of the bestseller lists. It was reported she sold the company for US $900 million in August 2021.

Reportedly, Witherspoon is set to reprise her role as Elle Woods in another sequel to Legally Blonde. 

The actor has also admitted she's open to filming a sequel to Sweet Home Alabama. 

"We are not making a sequel that I know of, but if Disney wants to make a sequel, they can just call me. I would happily make Sweet Home Alabama 2," Witherspoon said in 2016.

Where is Josh Lucas now? 

Image: Touchstone Pictures / Getty. 


While Josh Lucas was nothing short of a heartthrob in the early 2000s, he didn't stick to making romantic comedy films. The actor went on to appear in Wonderland, Glory Road, The Lincoln Lawyer and Ford v. Ferrari

Lucas was married to writer Jessica Ciencin Henriquez from 2012 until they called it quits in 2014. They share one son together.

Since early 2021, the actor has been dating model Rachel Mortenson.

More recently, he has starred as the younger version of John Dutton in the cult-favourite series, Yellowstone and in May it was revealed Lucas is set to star alongside Scoot McNairy and Kit Harington in the action thriller Blood For Lust.

Where is Patrick Dempsey now?

Image: Touchstone Pictures / Getty. 


Patrick Dempsey first came on the scene in the 1980s before landing the role of a lifetime in 2005 as Dr. Derek "McDreamy" Shepherd on Greys Anatomy. He didn't finish up with the role until 2015 but will reprise his character of Robert Philip in the upcoming Enchanted sequel which will be called... Disenchanted. This year, the second season of his thriller set in the world of finance, Devils aired.

In 2018, he also played in the drama miniseries, The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair.

Dempsey has been married to makeup artist Jillian Dempsey since 1999. They share one daughter and twin sons.

Where is Ethan Embry now?

Image: Touchstone Pictures / Getty. 


Embry was the best friend of Melanie in Sweet Home Alabama and has since gone on to have a successful acting career.

He is recognised for his role as Mark in Empire Records, Preston in Can't Hardly Wait, and has had a recurring role as Coyote Bergstein on the Netflix series Grace and Frankie.

Embry has also had stints on Grey's Anatomy, Drop Dead Diva, Once Upon a Time and The Walking Dead. 

He shares one child with his ex-wife Amelinda Smith, who he divorced in 2002. 

In 2005, Embry married actress Sunny Mabrey. They divorced in 2012 but later reconciled and remarried in 2015.

Listen to The Spill, Mamamia's daily entertainment podcast. Story continues after audio.

Where is Candice Bergen now?

Image: Touchstone Pictures / Getty. 

Bergen starred as the disapproving mother of her son's beloved fiance. While she has undoubtedly had a career in the lights, some of her more well-known appearances include Sex and the City, Boston Legal and House, and films including Bride Wars, The Meyerowitz Stories, Home Again and Book Club

In 2020, she starred in the comedy-drama film Let Them All Talk and her latest film As They Made Us was released in 2022. 

Bergen was married to filmmaker Louis Malle from 1980 until his death in 1995. They share one daughter together.

Since 2000, Bergen has been married to real estate developer Marshall Rose.


Where is Jean Smart now?

Image: Touchstone Pictures / Getty. 


Jean Smart has been on the scene for almost four decades now and in her time, has won five Emmys. 

In 2002, she starred as the mother of Jake, Stella Kay. Since Sweet Home Alabama, the acclaimed actor has played Laurie Blake in Watchmen, and in 2021, also starred in Mare of Easttown. 

In 2021 and 2022she won an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, for her show Hacks.

Smart was married to actor Richard Gilliland from 1987 until his death in 2021.

"Acting is what I love to do, and people keep offering me jobs, so it seems like it would be silly to say no," she told W Magazine earlier this year. "I try to be choosy about what I do, and I know how incredibly fortunate I am to be able to be choosy; that is not a given for most actors. 

"It’s been a really satisfying, fun, interesting way to make a living - and hopefully it hasn’t damaged my children too much."

Feature Image: Touchstone Pictures / Mamamia.

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