Riveting Facts About Zach Braff’s Early Life, Accomplishments and His Past Relationships

Zach Braff had a clear picture of what he wanted to do with his life from an early age, and he has worked hard to drag himself to that position. The talented actor is a filmmaker, screenwriter, and producer—a man whose multiple talents have earned recognition from the movie industry.

It was not always the case, and he has had to be patient and employ other unconventional methods to get things done. He is perhaps the most famous name in a family that has contributed its share to the entertainment industry.

Braff has earned a Grammy award and numerous nominations for his work in the film industry. One can argue that he deserves another recognition for dating history, which is full of good-looking actresses that he did not entirely end up with.

He Was Diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder at an Early Age

Braff was born Zachary Israel Braff on April 6, 1975. His father, Harold Braff, was a trial attorney, professor at Rutgers Law School, founder of American Inns of Court, and a trustee of the National Inns of Court Federation. His mother, Ann Hutchinson Maynard, was a clinical psychologist. Braff’s parents separated when he was young, and they both got married to other people.

Braff was born into a Jewish family. His mother, previously a protestant, converted to Judaism shortly before she married his dad. As a result, Braff had his bar mitzvah at the Oheb Shalom Congregation.

At the age of 10, Zach Braff got diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). His brother, Joshua Braff, is an author while his second brother, Adam, is a writer and producer. He has a stepsister, Jessica Kirson, who is a stand-up comedian in New York.

Braff Met A Lot of Fellow Celebrities During His Childhood

Zachary Braff grew up in South Orange and Maplewood, both in New Jersey. He attended Columbia High School in Maplewood and was a friend of future rapper, singer, and member of Fugees, Lauryn Hill, who attended the same school.

Braff described filmmaking as a childhood dream and knew that was all he wanted to do. This conviction took him to Stagedoor Manor, a training center for young actors between the age of 10-18. While there, he became friends with Josh Charles and met other people that would become fellow celebrity actors. They include Joshua Radin, Natalie Portman, and Mandy Moore.

Braff went on to Northwestern University School of Communications, where he joined the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity before graduating in 1997.

Braff Started His Acting Journey with Small Roles

When Zachary Braff secured a role on How High, a proposed series that would also feature Gwyneth Paltrow in 1989, he must have thought his acting journey was off to a flyer. It turned out to be a false dawn as CBS – or any network for that matter – never aired the shot pilot.

He did get his first appearance as an actor in 1990 when he appeared in the series The Baby-Sitters Club in a small, supporting role. It was not until 1993 before he appeared on the screen again with another small role in Woody Allen’s film Manhattan Murder Mystery.  The next year, he had a part on CBS’s School-break Special as Tony/Tammy.

In 1998, he had a role in the production of Macbeth for New York City’s public theatre by George. C. Wolfe. For several years though, work continued to be few and far between for Braff.

Zach Braff Found Breakthrough Through Scrubs

Braff continued to struggle for acting roles in the 90s. After appearing in the movie Getting to Know You in 1999, he had appearances in three films in the year 2000; Endsville, Blue Moon, and The Broken Hearts Club: A Romantic Comedy. These were peripheral roles, and he was yet to have a leading role on any project at that point.

That changed in 2001 when he got cast as lead actor and narrator, John “J.D” Dorian, on the American medical comedy-drama, Scrubs. Braff starred in all nine seasons and 175 episodes of the show.

Zach Braff
Zach Braff with Donald Faison in Scrubs: image source

With Zach as lead, and the show’s comedic brilliance, the show had a huge following, and he became a household name. His performance as J.D earned him acclaim from both fans and critics. He also received an Emmy nomination and three Golden Globes.

In 2002, he, along with other members of Scrubs, appeared in the movie, It’s a Very Muppet Christmas Movie playing himself and his character from Scrubs.

He Has Been Appearing Onscreen with More Regularity

With his breakthrough role came more visibility and Braff grabbed it with both hands. He was cast in the science fiction comedy animation Chicken Little in 2005, voicing the titular character. 2006 brought appearances in two comedy movies, The Ex and The Last Kiss.

Zach Braff’s career as a TV actor also got a boost, and he racked up appearances in Clone High, Arrested Development, and Nobody’s Watching between 2002-2006. Appearances waned a little as he only garnered a singular movie appearance in 2010 when he played Henry in The Cost of Living.

His next movie did not come until two years later hen he featured in the drama, The Colour of Time. He appeared in the box office smash hit Oz the Great and Powerful in 2013. Subsequent movie credits include the drama, In Dubious Battle, and the biographical-comedy The Disaster Artist with both coming in 2016 and 2017, respectively.

Braff Earned Plaudits when He Directed Garden State

There is more to Zachary Braff than regularly featuring in comedies and drama-themed movies. He fulfilled his childhood dream of being a filmmaker when he made his directorial debut with the release of Garden State. Braff was also the screenwriter and completed the whole script in six months.

He faced multiple obstacles, as producers were reluctant to provide funds for the movie. With a budget of $2.5million, the film was shot over 25 days and released on July 28, 2004.

The movie turned out to be a financial and critical success. It raked in $35million worldwide against a budget of $2.5million. Garden State also became a cult favorite amongst fans while also garnering praise from critics. It marked a successful directorial debut for Braff. To crown it all up, he won a Grammy for Best Compilation Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture for his Garden State Soundtrack.

Zach Braff also went on to direct multiple episodes on Scrubs, including its 100th episode. Ten years after the success of his first film, Braff was back to direct another movie called Wish I was Here. He wrote the screenplay for the movie with his brother Adam Braff.

Once again facing a financial obstacle, Braff sought to source funds with Kickstarter. He reached the $2 million target in three days. He released the film, Wish I was Here, on July 18, 2014. However, unlike his first project, this had a more lukewarm reception from critics and the box office.

In 2020, Braff directed the short film In the Time It Takes to Get There. The film stars Alicia Silverstone and Florence Pugh.

Zachary Braff Has Had a Colourful Dating History So Far

Zachary Braff has dated his fair share of women in the industry. His relationships, as well as his breakups, have been well-publicized.

Mandy Moore (2004 – 2006)

Zach Braff
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Braff dated Mandy Moore from 2004 till 2006. Moore guest-starred on the series Scrubs and she subsequently began a relationship with its main star, Zach Braff. The couple attended the 2005 Emmys together before breaking up in 2006. Their breakup inspired some songs on her 2007 album Wild Hope. According to Moore, the separation also exacerbated the depression she was going through at that moment.

Taylor Bagley (2009 – 2014)

Zach Braff
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Braff began dating model Taylor Bagley in 2009, and the relationship lasted for five years before they called it quits in 2014. She had posted a picture of them together on her Instagram feed celebrating five years together just a month before the breakup occurred. They also attended the 2014 Sundance Film Festival in Utah together.

Zach Braff is Currently Dating English Actress, Florence Pugh

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Braff and Florence Pugh were first seen together as a couple in April 2019. He had previously directed her in the short film In the Time It Takes to Get There. Pugh had to publicly defend the 21-year age difference between herself and Braff when a fan called it out on Instagram. She was 23 years old and he 44, when they began their relationship.

The couple resides in Los Angeles and has been spending quarantine moments together. And even though they have had to modify how they spend their time together, the experience has also drawn both of them together. Is Pugh the final stop for Braff, or will we be reading about another separation in the nearest future? With Zach Braff, one can never be too sure.


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