It's an ancient Zen koan as old as time itself: which came first, the character or the actor? Sometimes, actors have trouble breaking character—or they simply take the "method" part of acting a bit too far. When the line between fiction and reality blurs, it can be hard to tell where the part ends and the performer begins. Are there a bunch of TV stars who turned into their characters, or is it the other way around?
Be it a strange coincidence or amazing casting, there are numerous TV actors that act just like their characters. Here are eight TV actors who ended up sharing a fate with the characters they played on television. Find these stories captivating? Check out this list of the best new TV shows since 2015 you should be watching and try to predict which actors will end up following in the footsteps of the characters they play.
It's barely makes the news anymore when Charlie Sheen acts up, but when it comes to childish attention-seeking antics, he's met his match in his own alter ego, Charlie Harper.
Charlie Harper (character): Two and a Half Men's Harper was a rich playboy with too much of everything (money, time, confidence). He partied hard up until his final moments, when he fell in front of a train in Paris—or was pushed by a woman he had toyed with for years. It was only a matter of time.
Charlie Sheen: What is there to say about Charlie Sheen that he hasn't already said about himself? In an interview in 2011, he said he has tiger blood and Adonis DNA. It's Charlie Sheen's world, we all just live in it. Much like his character Harper, though, Sheen gets into all kinds of trouble. The thing is: without the safety of a sitcom and a live studio audience, his actions actually come with real-world consequences. Sheen has been in trouble with the law more times than Wikipedia even bothers to list. Sheen's ultra-ego eventually got him fired from the role that had once made him the highest-paid actor on television.
It appears that the only real difference between Sheen and his character is Charlie Harper's untimely demise.
Hank Moody (character): Try as he might, the main character of the hit show Californication, novelist Hank Moody, just can't seem to control his libido. This is, of course, no problem for X-Files fans still clinging to fantasies of nekkid Mulder. For seven seasons of Californication, Hank's unquenchable lust remained the one thing that kept him from achieving his creative potential—and from keeping his family together. It also got him into a pretty sticky situation at the end of the Season 5 finale.
David Duchovny: Duchovny's personal battles with sex addiction have made headlines over the years. He actually had to seek treatment for it in 2008. Following treatment, Duchovny returned to wife Tea Leoni and the couple's two kids, though the couple split again in 2011 and finalized their divorce in 2014.
This probably means that Duchovny's issues, much like of Hank Moody, may be part of what is standing in between him and ultimate happiness. The part could not have been better cast.
Tracy Jordan (character): Who wouldn't love Tracy Jordan, 30 Rock's eccentric, ego-centric male diva and the TGS production staff's worst nightmare? They work overtime doing damage control to clean up after his antics. When Jordan isn't trying to maim talk show hosts or accidentally voting for Ralph Nader, he's wasting time, blowing money, and embarrassing the people who are forced to work with him. It seems like he was originally supposed to be a satirical character who would poke fun at the overblown egos of the divos of the world, but then life began to imitate art.
Tracy Morgan: Let's face it - 2011 was a rough year for Tracy Morgan. In January, during live pre-NBA game coverage on TNT, he said Sarah Palin was good visual stimulation for some self-love, recalling the time his 30 Rock alter-ego Tracy Jordan set off panics in the streets of New York with random false declarations he spouted on Larry King Live.
In June of the same year, Morgan came under fire after he did a comedy show in Nashville and joked that he would hurt his son if he were gay. After Morgan issued an apology, the incident was parodied on an episode of 30 Rock. Speaking on Morgan's character's behalf, Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) said: "He's not capable of hate. He's just an idiot who doesn't know what he's saying." It becomes more clear how the two characters appeared to start merging after incidents like these.
Tiffany "Pennsatucky" Doggett (character): Pennsatucky is known for a wide array of antics on Orange Is the New Black. She not only has a tendency towards violence, but she also has a substance abuse issue that she can't seem to control.
Taryn Manning: Like her Orange Is the New Black character, Taryn Manning has in some trouble with the long arm of the law. Manning has been accused of abusing her makeup artist on than one occasion. In 2016, makeup artist and assistant Holly Hartman accused Manning of attacking her several times. Hartman filed a restraining order against the actress. Ultimately, it was not granted on a technicality: Hartman filed the request in California, but the attacks took place in NYC. Manning's legal team said the accusations were false, and that Hartman was actually under investigation for stalking the actress.