Who is Vanessa Ray?
Vanessa Ray Liptak was born on 24 June 1981, in Livermore, California, USA. She’s an American actress and singer perhaps best known for her role as Eddie Janko in the TV series “Blue Bloods”, and also as CeCe Drake in “Pretty Little Liars”. Vanessa began her acting career on Broadway, and has also appeared in films such as “Frances Ha” and “All in Time”.
Early life and education
Vanessa was raised in Livermore, a city located in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her parents, Valerie and James Liptak, were involved in the theater, providing Vanessa with early exposure to the performing arts.
Vanessa attended Livermore High School, where she was involved in the school’s drama program, then upon matriculating in 1999, she continued her education at the prestigious American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Los Angeles, California, which provided Vanessa with the opportunity to hone her acting skills and gain valuable experience in the industry.
Although most people know her best for her TV and film roles, Vanessa began her acting career on the theater stage. She first made a name for herself in 2000, with her role as Rusty in the musical “Footloose”. In the following year, she played the titular role in “Finding Nemo: The Musical”, which was performed in Disney World in Orlando, Florida and she also toured the country with musical comedy “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee”, in which she played the role of Olive Ostrovsky.
Vanessa made her Broadway debut in 2003, when she joined the cast of the legendary anti-war musical “Hair” as Crissy, and sang the song “Frank Mills”.
Vanessa Ray Liptak (born June 24, 1981) is an American actress and singer. She is known for her role on Pretty Little…
Roles in movies
Vanessa made her film debut in the short comedy “Is He…” in 2004. Her next movie role was in the 2008 independent film “Finding Chance”, in which she portrayed the character Katrina, showcasing her ability to take on complex characters, bringing depth and nuance to the role of a woman whose past intertwines with the story’s protagonist.
In 2012, Vanessa appeared in the romantic drama “The Last Day of August”; the film tells the story of a group of friends who gather to help one of their own, Dan (played by Michael Izquierdo), as he struggles to accept the reality of his recent paraplegia. Vanessa’s role as Phoebe, Dan’s ex-girlfriend, allowed her to further explore her range as an actress, as she portrayed a character torn between love and the knowledge that she must let go of her past relationship.
In the same year, she played a supporting role in the critically-acclaimed romantic comedy drama “Frances Ha”, written and directed by Noah Baumbach. She also appeared in the independent comedies “Mutual Friends” (2013), “My Day” (2014), and “Rumberbutts” (2015).
Another notable role in Vanessa Ray’s film career is her portrayal of Rachel in the 2015 indie drama “All in Time”, written and directed by Marina Donahue and Chris Fetchko. The movie revolves around a man named Charlie (Sean Modica), who quits his job to pursue his dream of managing a rock band. Vanessa’s character, Rachel, serves as a grounding force in Charlie’s life, offering support and encouragement throughout the film.
In 2016, Vanessa played the lead role in the thriller drama “Serialized”, centered on a crime serial writer whose work becomes a massive hit after a real-life murder which happens to coincide with one of her stories.
Vanessa hasn’t appeared in any movies since then, as she’s primarily focused on her TV roles.
Roles in TV series
Vanessa made her TV debut in 2006, with a recurring role in the long-running soap opera “As the World Turns”. Her character, Teri, is a chef who becomes entangled in the lives of the show’s central characters. Vanessa’s performance in the show served as a strong foundation for her burgeoning TV career, opening the door for more acting opportunities in the following years. Vanessa left “As the World Turns” in 2010, and in the following years, she had several minor roles in TV series such as “White Collar” and “Suits” both in 2011, and “Girls” (2012).
One of most notable TV series roles for Vanessa is that of CeCe Drake, later revealed to be Charlotte DiLaurentis, on the hit mystery drama “Pretty Little Liars”. The show, which aired from 2010 to 2017, is a teen drama mystery-thriller that follows a group of friends as they uncover the secrets surrounding the disappearance of their friend, Alison DiLaurentis. Vanessa’s character is initially introduced in season three, as a stylish and enigmatic individual with ties to Alison. As the series progresses, the depth and complexity of her character is revealed, ultimately culminating in the shocking revelation that she is “A”, the show’s primary antagonist. Vanessa’s portrayal of CeCe/Charlotte was met with praise from both critics and fans alike.
Another notable role in Vanessa’s TV career is that of Officer Eddie Janko in the CBS police procedural drama “Blue Bloods”, joining the cast of the long-running series in its fourth season, which premiered in 2013. Her character, Eddie, is a dedicated and strong-willed police officer who becomes the partner of Jamie Reagan (played by Will Estes), one of the show’s main characters. Throughout the series, Eddie’s relationship with Jamie deepens, and the two eventually marry. Vanessa’s performance as Eddie has been praised for its authenticity and the depth she brings to the character. Her chemistry with Estes has also been a highlight of the show, resonating with fans and contributing to the series’ continued success. Vanessa is set to return to the TV screens for the 14th season of the series in late 2023.
Love life and relationships
Vanessa was married to Derek James Baynham, a fellow actor, from 2003 to 2009. Despite their divorce, the two remained on amicable terms and Vanessa has spoken positively about their time together, acknowledging the lessons she learned during their relationship.
In 2014, Vanessa found love again with musician and actor Landon Beard. The couple became engaged on Valentine’s Day 2015 and tied the knot in an intimate ceremony in June that year, surrounded by close friends and family. Vanessa and Landon often share glimpses of their life together on social media, and frequently praise each other’s talents and accomplishments.
In recent years, Vanessa has been outspoken about her mental health issues. In 2020, during an episode of the podcast “Women on Top”, she revealed that she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, as an adult, since many of her symptoms went unnoticed during her childhood.
Vanessa spoke openly about the way her condition negatively affected her relationship with family and friends. After going through an extreme manic episode, she sought help from a therapist, whom she credits for helping her turn her life around.
Vanessa’s story helps lift the stigma around bipolar disorder, and make the topic of mental health less taboo. Before her, several other high-profile celebrities have also revealed that they suffer from the same condition, including singers Mariah Carrey, Halsey, and Sia.
Throughout her career, Vanessa has been involved in numerous successful projects, both in film and on television. As a result, her modest fortune has grown substantially over the years, which according to the website Celebrity Net Worth, is estimated to be around $3 million as of May 2023.