The 1908 book Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud montgomery has been adapted into films and TV shows many times, but one of the most famous is the 1985 Anne of Green Gables miniseries. It stars Megan Follows in the lead role as Anne Shirley, the orphan girl who is taken in by two farmers. At the time the miniseries was released Follows was 17 years old, and she went on to star in two sequels and take on many more acting roles over the years. She’s still working today, has starred on several successful TV shows, and has taken on a new role in the industry. Read on to learn more about Follows’ life after she left Green Gables behind.
Even though she was just a teenager when she booked the role, Anne of Green Gables was far from Follows’ first gig. She starred on the Canadian series Matt and Jenny and had appeared on other shows, including The Facts of Life. That said, Anne of Green Gables brought her much more fame. After starring in the first miniseries in 1985, she went on to appear in sequel series in 1987 and 2000.
For her role in the original miniseries Follows won the Gemini Award (a Canadian award similar to an Emmy) for Best Performance by a Lead Actress in a Single Dramatic Program or Miniseries.
Unlike some child stars, Follows continued with a consistent acting career following her breakout role. Over the years, she has appeared in shows including , ER, and The X-Files, and has taken to the stage in various Canadian theater productions. In recent years, she starred on the CW series Reign as Catherine de’ Medici and had a recurring role on the Syfy series Wynonna Earp. This year, she starred on the short-lived series The Republic of Sarah and has a role on the long-running Canadian show Heartland.
In addition to acting, Follows also directs— a role she’s filled on many of the projects she’s also acted in, including Reign and The Republic of Sarah. “I was directing on Heartland out in Calgary, and I had a lot of fun on it,” she told The TV Junkies in 2018. “I just did a Lifetime Christmas movie starring Alexandra Breckenridge [Christmas Around The Corner], and I am about to do a new series called October Faction that’s a Netflix series. I’m also acting in that as well. So I love doing both, directing and acting. It’s fun creating just more than your role in a story.”
Follows has two children, Lyla and Russell, with her ex-husband Christopher Porter. In a 2017 interview with Fairfax New Zealand, the actor shared that she always involved her kids in her career while they were growing up.
“I have always included my children in my world, and they often came to set or the theatre with me when I’d be rehearsing or performing,” she said. “Even when they were little, I wanted them to be able to see what I was doing when I wasn’t home, and they watched pretty much anything I did if they wanted to. I haven’t had a chance to show them everything I did when I was younger, but as that material becomes more available to find online etc. I’m happy to share it with them.”
Lyla, who is also an actor, appeared on two episodes of Reign with her mother.
In an interview with Vulture in 2013, Follows was asked about how her audition tape for Anne of Green Gables is still one of the first things that comes up when her name is searched online. “Which is astounding to me,” Follows responded. “But that role, that character, that story, it made a huge, huge impact on my life. It never gets old hearing about it. The passion of people who talk to me about it is so genuine.”