Tom Welling: Why He Faded Away After Smallville

By Rick Gonzales | 1 year ago

Tom Welling

For ten years he was known as Clark Kent and in some eyes, he was our favorite Clark. It was the role that shot Tom Welling to stardom. Or it least it should have. Instead here’s what happened.

Tom welling’s career has been twenty years in the making. He first jumped onto the scene in the TV series Judging Amy before moving on to Special Unit 2 and Undeclared. This all happened in 2001, which would also be the year his life would change drastically.


Tom Welling

Smallville was at first going to be Bruce Wayne, a series following Wayne’s journey toward becoming Batman (yes, just like Gotham). But at the time, the idea just didn’t generate the interest needed to get that Batball rolling. What came from it, though, was Smallville.

Smallville was the story of a young Clark Kent, a teenager in high school, dealing with superpowers he is trying to keep hidden. In fact, series creators Alfred Gough and Miles Millar pitched the idea to the then Warner Bros. president of television as a “no tights, no flights” rule. They would only be examining Clark Kent before and as he was becoming Superman. But not in full Supe gear. It worked.


The series starred Tom Welling as Clark Kent, the role that brought him mass fame. He was joined by immediately famous co-stars Allison Mack as Chloe Sullivan, Kristin Kreuk as Lana Lang, Annette O’Toole and John Schneider as Clark’s parents and Michael Rosenbaum as villain to be Lex Luthor. John Glover also appeared as Luthor’s father. Erica Durance came onboard during season four as Lois Lane.

Smallville was an immediate hit for Tom Welling and the show’s cast. It set a ratings record for WB, debuting the show with 8.4 million viewers and was a consistent watch over its ten seasons. The series also received its fair share of awards that ranged from Teen Choice to Emmys. So with all the pub, with all the accolades, where is Tom Welling now?


Tom Welling

It’s not that he didn’t try to make the jump away from Superman. Tom Welling, while performing on Smallville, did step into the feature film arena.

His first foray was the Steve Martin-led comedy Cheaper by the Dozen. He then found himself in the horror remake of The Fog, following that up with the sequel Cheaper by the Dozen 2. Somehow, that would be his last feature film for a very long time. Eight years to be exact.

During his ten-year run on Smallville and besides his few feature films, Smallville was all that Tom Welling appeared in. Not that he wasn’t busy. During its run, Welling was able to put on the producer’s hat, both regular producer and executive producer, for many of the series episodes.

Tom Welling in Cheaper By The Dozen

As Smallville was ending, he jumped aboard the TV series Hellcats as its executive producer. And finally, though it took some time, he was not only the star of the TV series Professionals, he was also its executive producer.

Being an executive producer was not the only role Welling played behind the camera. During his time on Smallville, he also found himself in the directors’ chair on several occasions.


Tom Welling

Once Smallville ended, Tom Welling found himself on a two-year vacay. He came back with a few features. Parkland, a movie which covered the day that John F. Kennedy was assassinated, Draft Day, the Kevin Costner NFL draft flick, and The Choice. All respectable, but for a man who hit it big with Smallville, not what was expected.

It took Tom Welling six long years to find his way back to the small screen and perhaps it was a deal with the Devil that got him there. He told Variety about his decision to return to the small screen on the TV series Lucifer. “There was actually another project that I was chasing that I didn’t get. I was told in a very kind way that I just wasn’t the guy for this particular role that I was chasing, but having gone out for that role, the idea of moving back into television became more of a reality for me and it was exciting. Joe Henderson, who’s one of the producers, had watched “Smallville.” They called on a Monday, and I was at work on Friday.”

So, what was it that convinced him to return to TV? “Joe explained to me the arc of the character, which was vast, and it was a slow burn from the beginning. The whole point of the first third of the season is no one’s supposed to know who I am or why I’m there. The whole point is we want people to be like, “Who is he? Why is Tom even playing this role?” And we’re at a point in the season now where you realize he’s not who he said he was, and things are heating up in the love triangle, and I think from here the train’s really taking off.”

Tom Welling enjoyed two seasons as Marcus Pierce on Lucifer, but it wouldn’t be until the following year that he would look back into his past.



In this day and age, it’s easy to go back. Especially when in Hollywood. For Tom Welling, going back meant playing Clark Kent one more time. It was Batwoman and the Crisis on Infinite Earths: Part Two that saw Welling return to his roots as Clark Kent. This big event covered the CW series’ Supergirl, Batwoman, The Flash, Arrow, and Legends of Tomorrow, with all previous versions of superheroes on display. Not only did Tom Welling reprise his role as Kent, Brandon Routh and Tyler Hoechlin did the same.


It’s a strange career that Tom Welling has forged for himself. Once one of the biggest TV stars, he never really embraced the Hollywood lifestyle.

Now 43-years-old, Tom Welling married his second wife Jessica Rose Lee in 2019. They have a son together and Tom reportedly spends a lot of time playing golf. For the most part, he has kept low key, a twice-married family man, picky about what roles he takes on.

Talking to YM Magazine Welling once said, “I don’t want to be a celebrity for the sake of being a celebrity. I want to work and then go home and live in private.”

As mentioned earlier, Professionals is his latest project, one that he co-stars in with Brendan Fraser of The Mummy fame. No word yet if the series has been picked up for a second season, but it would be nice to see more of Tom Welling, either on the small or big screen.

The Professionals