Celebrity The 'Glee' Cast Then & Now Before the on- and off-screen drama, they were just a bunch of kids (okay, and a few adults too) trying to make it out of Ohio. Look back at the show's stars before the final season premiere By Jocelyn Vena Published on January 8, 2015 04:00 PM Share Tweet Pin Email Trending Videos 01 of 12 LEA MICHELE Tommy Garcia/FOX Then: Michele, just 22, began Glee as the ambitious and sometimes self-involved "Gleek" Rachel Berry with dreams of getting out of Lima, Ohio, and finding superstardom.Now: After some success in N.Y.C., Rachel (SPOILER) heads back to McKinley High for the show's swan song (beginning Friday, Jan. 9 at 9 p.m. ET on Fox), leaving Broadway to help revive her alma mater's glee club. As for 28-year-old Michele? Well, you know the rest. 02 of 12 CHRIS COLFER Matthias Clamer/FOX Then: Since day one (Colfer was just 18!) Kurt Hummel has pretty much been the best BFF a girl can have to Rachel. His role as the openly gay high-schooler with a lot of heart earned him critical praise – and a Golden Globe win in 2011.Now: (SPOILER) When the show resets in Lima full-time, he will team up with his pal and help her recruit for the new New Directions. We imagine 24-year-old Colfer will stay in L.A. and keep up with his successful book series. 03 of 12 DARREN CRISS Darren Criss. Joe Viles/FOX Then: While he didn't always attend McKinley, he won the heart of one of its most adorable students (Kurt) as the swoon-worthy prep school choir kid, Blaine Anderson. Criss himself, then 23, won a lot of fans' hearts, too.Now: (SPOILER) After a move back from N.Y.C., he'll head back to his alma mater, Dalton Academy, to "help out his former choir, the Warblers. As for 27-year-old Criss … maybe there's another Katy Perry video in his future? 04 of 12 NAYA RIVERA Miranda Penn Turin/FOX Then: Rivera, then 22, kept fans on the edge of their seats as the sassy Santana Lopez, who managed to make practices for cheerleading and choir a bit intimidating thanks to her in-your-face attitude.Now: (SPOILER) She, too, is leaving her big dreams behind in N.Y.C. and will resurface in Lima with the rest of her friends this season. As a 27-year-old newlywed, we imagine she has lots of fun real-life plans in store, too. 05 of 12 HEATHER MORRIS Miranda Penn Turin/FOX Then: At 22, Morris somehow made mega-ditz Brittany S. Pierce totally endearing as a not-so-nice Cheerio turned loving Gleek.Now: Turns out Pierce was a secret genius and admitted early to MIT. Will she bring those smarts back to Lima? Survey says … yeah, probably, especially with her girlfriend Santana returning to its hallowed halls. Off screen, Morris, 27, has two films (and a baby!) on the brain. 06 of 12 MARK SALLING Matthias Clamer/FOX Then: Salling, 26, kicked off his time on Glee as the football-playing bad boy (a.k.a. slushie-slinging bully) of McKinley, Noah "Puck" Pusckerman. After joining the New Directions to be closer to his baby mama, Quinn (Dianna Agron), he literally found his voice.Now: (SPOILER) He'll take some time out of his career in the Air Force to stop by Lima. Quinn will also be there with him – perhaps staging a romantic reunion on which to end the show? A new show, an original musical comedy project dubbed Camp Coyote, is just beginning for the 32-year-old actor. 07 of 12 JENNA USHKOWITZ Matthias Clamer/FOX Then: It took the Glee club to take 23-year-old Ushkowitz's Tina Cohen-Chang from shy (remember when she faked a stutter?) to almost outgoing.Now: When she graduated in 2013, she headed to Brown University. But the pull of Lima might be too strong for the 28-year-old to resist as the show ends its run on March 20. Outside of Lima, a documentary Ushkowitz produced, Twinsters, is out this year. 08 of 12 AMBER RILEY Matthias Clamer/FOX Then: Twenty-tree-year-old Riley's role as Mercedes Jones, one of the Glee club's biggest voices, kicked off one of the show's greatest rivalries (with fellow diva Rachel).Now: By the end of season 5, she was on her way to pop superstardom without boyfriend Sam (Chord Overstreet) by her side. Come season 6, (SPOILER) she'll be one of the many familiar faces lending a helping hand in getting the New Directions back together. In real life, 28-year-old Riley will keep being awesome . 09 of 12 KEVIN MCHALE Matthias Clamer/FOX Then: From the start, 20-year-old McHale's Artie Abrams never let his disability keep him from pursuing any of his dreams – including a successful stint on the football team.Now: Artie has gone from Gleek to up-and-coming filmmaker as the show has progressed. Last season explored his foray into that world by sending him to film school. Maybe he'll work on his documentary about Lima come season 6? Regardless, keep an eye out for the 26-year-old actor in next year's They Might Be Kennedys. 10 of 12 CHORD OVERSTREET Joe Viles/FOX Then: Like a few choir kids before him, 21-year-old Overstreet's Sam Evans he wasn't always driven by his love to sing, instead finding a home on the football team. That is, until Finn Hudson (the late Cory Monteith) gave him, well, a "new direction" in life.Now: Sam not only lost Mercedes at the end of last season, but he also gave up on his dreams to model. He returned home to Lima and (SPOILER) will try his hand at coaching the school's football team for yet another final season, full-circle moment. Meanwhile, the 25-year-old actor will hit the big screen in Fourth Man Out. 11 of 12 MATTHEW MORRISON Matthias Clamer/FOX Then: At 30, Morrison took on the role of Will Schuester, the fearless leader of the New Directions, who gave purpose to the school's popular and not-so-cool students alike.Now: (SPOILER) He'll become the fearless leader of a new set of choir kids in McKinley's rival choir team, Vocal Adrenaline. Morrison, 36, who married last year, will hit the screen in three big films. 12 of 12 JANE LYNCH Matthias Clamer/FOX Then: Since her debut, then-48-year-old Lynch's Coach Sue Sylvester hated the Glee club. Like really despised it to a level that she eventually killed it off in her own evil-bad-guy kind of way.Now: Now the school's principal, she remains enemy No. 1. With Rachel and Kurt resurrecting the New Directions, expect Coach Sue to try her best to slushie their plans into oblivion. With Glee signing off, we look forward to seeing 54-year-old Lynch in the upcoming film After the Reality.