‘Glee’: The Creepy Way the Show Mirrored 1 Star’s Personal Life

The stars of the hit musical series Glee have been in the news a lot lately. While it’s hard not to compare Lea Michele’s reported on-set behavior to that of her character on the show, there’s another actor from Glee who once had his life near-perfectly predicted by it. 

Mark Salling starred in ‘Glee’

(L-R) Mark Salling, Lea Michele and Cory Monteith of 'Glee'
(L-R) Mark Salling, Lea Michele and Cory Monteith of ‘Glee’ | Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic

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Glee premiered in 2009. The New Directions, the high school club at the center of the show, initially featured just a few members. However, several others soon joined. Among them was Noah “Puck” Puckerman, played by Salling. He’s a football player and best friend to Finn Hudson (Cory Monteith), and is involved in one of the major conflicts of the first season.

Puck is characterized as an arrogant jerk and womanizer. He changes over time, but his sexual promiscuity and penchant for rule-breaking don’t shift until the very end. After he graduates from high school, he pursues a career as an actor and even returns briefly when his younger half-brother, Jake, joins the New Directions.

Child pornography

Months after the Glee series finale in 2015, Salling made headlines when he arrested. After an investigation, he was indicted on charges of receiving and possessing child pornography in May 2016. Salling later pled guilty to the possession charge. Oddly enough, his character was once part of a discussion of this very crime.

In the season 2 episode “Sexy,” Puck and his then-girlfriend, Lauren, telling Gwyneth Paltrow‘s substitute teacher Holly Holiday that they’re going to make a sex tape. In response, she says, “Are you aware that because you’re under 18 years of age that making and owning a sex tape could make you guilty of child pornography?”

Interest in underage girls

That was far from the only time that Puck makes a questionable comment about underage girls, as evidenced by this YouTube video. In the season 3 episode “Choke,” Finn approaches Puck to talk to him about his grades. When he mentions a sophomore girl, Puck, now 18, misunderstands his concern, saying, “I called dibs on all the chicks whose boobs aren’t done growing yet.”

In the season 4 episode “Sadie Hawkins,” Puck is now a graduate, but still dating high school girls. When Kitty pursues him, he seemingly attempts to dissuade her, asking, “Aren’t you underage?” “I have a fake ID,” she replies. His response? “Good enough for me.” They date for a few episodes, though their relationship is not depicted on camera.

His death

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While the other similarities are a bit strange, one that’s even more frequently cited is downright spooky. Puck and Salling may have a few things in common, but it’s hard to imagine that the writers would have included this moment from the season 3 episode “The Spanish Teacher” if they knew how closely it mirrored what would happen to Salling.

Mr. Schuster begins one of his typical lessons by asking the students where they’ll be in the future, choosing the year 2030. Puck’s reply? “In jail. Or dead. Or both.” Though it’s played off as a joke, it rings eerily true. Not only was Salling arrested for his child pornography charges, but he was awaiting his sentencing when he died by suicide in January 2018.

How to get help: In the U.S., call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Or text HOME to 741-741 to connect with a trained crisis counselor at the free Crisis Text Line.