It’s a big day for John Hughes fans, as Sixteen Candles heartthrob Michael Schoeffling, who played dream guy Jake Ryan, celebrates his birthday today!
It’s been nearly 30 years since the teen cult classic came out, and we can hardly believe it, but Michael is turning the big 5-3! Born on December 10, 1960 in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, Michael peaked in the industry at 23 as quiet, plaid-wearing dreamboat Jake. However, showing Molly Ringwald’s Sam that dreams come true turned out to be a problem for Mikey S.
After the film, he appeared in only eight more movies and one television show before disappearing off the map. These included Vision Quest, Mermaids, and Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken, with the last of those, in 1991, his final movie before retiring from the industry at the ripe age of 31.
Although he gave some interviews after, talking about how hard it was to find good roles once the magic wore off, he’s largely vanished. In a 2004 article, The Washington Post said that he hadn’t really been seen or heard from in years, having married a woman named Valerie, raised a couple kids, and worked as a carpenter in Pennsylvania.
There are quite a few rumors floating around about what happened to Michael after he left the business. The most factually-based is that Michael’s wife is named Valerie Robinson, and that she is a former model. She and Michael had two kids, a boy named Zane around 1988 (making him 25) and a girl named Scarlett around 1990.
Michael and Valerie now live in Newfoundland, Pennsylvania, where he makes custom furniture at an unnamed shop. In one account from around 12 years ago, a woman mentioned on a blog that she ran into him there while shopping with her parents, and that he confirmed his name. There were no pictures taken, but she mentioned that he appeared to have gained some weight and gotten a little older, which is to be expected 17 years after he made us swoon as Jake.
In a few other accounts, it was said that son Zane had started a band, but it’s nearly impossible to find more about that. One fan did post a pic of a boy they believe to be Zane on a Michael Schoeffling Facebook page, saying that the photo dates back to 2006. The band was supposedly called “Jepedo’s Army” and is listed on its (largely empty) MySpace page as being from Greentown, Pennsylvania, the town next to Newfoundland.
Further evidence that it may be him comes via sister Scarlett, who is (as one Wetpaint fan mentioned) now a model. Her Instagram feed is chock-full of shots of her beautiful self, and she looks like a perfect cross between her gorgeous parents. One throwback pic from 1997 of her and her brother — who looks like a younger version of the boy in the guitar-playing pic from Facebook — is particularly adorable.
An especially gorgeous family pic, also from Scarlett’s Instagram, shows shots of Valerie and Michael holding Scarlett and Zane as babies, likely circa Christmas 1990.
Scarlett also posted a photo of her birthday cake on May 11, 2013, captioning the shot with a hashtag that stands out: “23 candles.” Although the beautiful model, who has done tons of runway and print work, hasn’t posted any recent pics of her famous father, it’s nice to see that her parents’ background in the industry continues with their genetically-gifted progeny.
We’d be lying if we said we weren’t dying to see what Jake Ryan, er, Michael Schoeffling looks like now. We would love to sit in an alcove in a living room and talk to him, or take a ride in a Porsche with him. But the fact that the most famous crush in the world was able to step away from the spotlight on his own terms and make a life for himself outside of his iconic past is pretty great.
We miss you, Jake Ryan — yeah, you — and hope, as you blow out your 53 candles, you remember that we’ll always love you, wherever you are.