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Milo Ventimiglia may have played heartthrob Jess Mariano on Gilmore Girls, but he remains on Team Dean more than 20 years after the series premiered

By Glenn Garner
April 06, 2021 08:50 PM
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Credit: The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

More than 20 years after Gilmore Girls premiered, Milo Ventimiglia is standing his ground in the Team Dean vs. Team Jess debate.

On Monday's The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Ventimiglia, who played bad boy Jess Mariano on the CW series, reaffirmed his Team Dean loyalty when he paid tribute to costar Jared Padalecki's character, Dean Forester.

During the interview, Ventimiglia, 43, revealed a handwritten note that he had displayed in his home, reading, "I [heart] DEAN 4 EVER."

Padalecki debuted on the first season of Gilmore Girls in 2000 as Dean, the first boyfriend of Rory Gilmore (Alexis Bledel). Ventimiglia joined the show in season 2 as Jess, who also vied for Rory's heart. Later, Matt Czuchry's Logan Huntzberger was introduced as Rory's college boyfriend. Thus, the Team Dean vs. Jess vs. Logan debate began among fans.

Milo Ventimiglia, Jared Padalecki, gilmore girls
Milo Ventimiglia and Jared Padalecki in Gilmore Girls
| Credit: Warner Bros. (2)

While speaking with Ventimiglia, Fallon was most amused by the fact that the note was taped to a framed certificate the actor got for one of his three Emmy Award nominations for This Is Us. "Is that rubbing it in his face?" the late-night host asked.

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Jared Padalecki and Alexis Bledel in Gilmore Girls
| Credit: Scott Garfield/Warner Bros./Getty

"Not at all, Jared and I are really good friends," Ventimiglia said, revealing that he made the sign for a photo op and decided to keep it.

"After I made it I just said, 'Well, let me just hang on to this 'cause this is cool.' And I literally just kind of stuck it right onto my Emmy notification that was hanging on my wall," said Ventimiglia.

Back in 2018, Ventimiglia revealed where he stood on the debate, telling Bustle, "That's the crazy part, I was totally Team Dean. I still am Team Dean."

"I don't dream too far from the script," he said when asked who Rory belongs with. "I look at the script and I accept this is what the script is, and [use] my imagination to get to the moments I need to as an actor. But when I left the show, I never really thought about where Jess went."

GILMORE GIRLS, Milo Ventimiglia, Alexis Bledel, 'Lorelai's Graduation Day', (Season 2), 2000-2007, p
Milo Ventimiglia and Alexis Bledel in Gilmore Girls
| Credit: Warner Bros./Everett

Both Jess and Dean appeared throughout the series, which ran for seven seasons until its finale in 2007. They also reunited with the rest of the cast for the 2016 Netflix miniseries Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life.

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Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel in Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life
| Credit: Netflix

The sequel series ended with a massive cliffhanger, with Rory revealing she is pregnant — and sparking a whole new debate over the identity of the father.

RELATED VIDEO: Milo Ventimiglia on the 'Devoted' Fans of the 'This Is Us'

Ventimiglia revealed in 2017, though, that he knows who's not the father.

"Just so you know, it's not Jess' kid," he said, breaking the news during a panel at London's Heroes & Villains Fan Fest, according to Today. "I'm very happy that the fans and the audience got those last four episodes. They should be happy with that."