‘This Is Us’: Susan Kelechi Watson Explains Why She Tries to ‘Distance’ Herself From Beth

This Is Us fans fell in love with the Pearson family when it premiered on NBC in 2016. The series follows each member of the tribe, as well as their romantic relationships. Throughout the show, Beth and Randall Pearson (Sterling K. Brown) have been “couple goals” for several supporters. However, actor Susan Kelechi Watson revealed that she and Beth are two different women.

Susan Kelechi Watson as Beth on 'This Is Us' smiling and stretching out her arms during a scene.
‘This Is Us’: Susan Kelechi Watson as Beth | NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

‘This Is Us’ star Susan Kelechi Watson rarely uses anything from her personal life while playing Beth

Watson was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. When she graduated high school, she attended Howard University. After receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the university, she earned a Master of Fine Arts degree from Tisch School of the Arts Graduate Acting Program. Following graduation, Watson appeared in Law & Order and Private Practice in the early 2000s. The actor’s first significant role occurred in 2012 when she played Louis CK’s wife on Louie

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Around 2016, Watson auditioned to play Beth on This Is Us. The actor plays Randall’s college sweetheart and the mother of their three children– Tess (Eris Baker), Deja (Lyric Ross), and Annie (Faithe Herman). The couple faced several hurdles on the show, adopting their foster daughter, career changes, and almost divorcing in season 2. 

In an Oct. 2020 interview with Entertainment Weekly, Watson shared why she doesn’t use much of her real-life issues to play Beth. 

“People, a lot of times, can associate a person with a character,” she says. “And I find myself really trying to distance me from Beth.”

Who Susan Kelechi Watson takes inspiration from to play Beth

While speaking with EW, Watson also said the parallels between her and Beth. Although her character met the love of her life in college, the actor isn’t married. In Nov. 2020, the actor announced that she and her fiance, Jaime Lincoln Smith, ended their engagement. The pair first announced that they planned to get married in Sept. 2019, 

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Due to her love life looking very different from Beth’s, Watson said she takes inspiration from married women with kids to see her character’s perspective. 

“I think people would be surprised at how much I use the experiences of other women that I’ve heard throughout the years to create Beth,” she reveals. “Me not being a mom, me not being married, but hearing what people desire, still, as a married woman with kids, the dreams they still desire, the way they still desire to be seen and heard — that never was lost on me.”

What fans can expect to see from Beth during the rest of ‘This Is Us’ Season 5

Throughout the years on This Is Us, Beth has been Randall’s most extensive support system. During season 5, she helped her husband learn more about his birth mother, Laurel (Jennifer C. Holmes). As the season progressed, viewers found out that Beth’s dancing studio was negatively affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. 

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Eventually, she closed the business and started looking for jobs in Season 5, Episode 14, “The Music and the Mirror.” In May 2021, Watson shared with People that while Beth feels “like a big failure” for losing the studio, she knows her character will find her way. 

“I think there has to be some time for recovery,” she says. “I feel like she’s trying, but not right away. She’s not OK right away; it feels like a big failure. For her, who wants to get it right and wants it to be perfect, to finally live out that dream and for it to fail was a big failure. She’s going to need a little time to recover from that.”