You probably know her as the cute teenage daughter of Cliff and Clair in the famous sitcom “The Cosby Show”. However, do you know that Tempestt Bledsoe was a model before her acting career, and what major did she chose for her education?
Early life and education
Tempestt Bledsoe was born on 1 August 1973, in Chicago, Illinois USA, of African-American descent. Early in her childhood her parents divorced, and she was given into the custody of her mother, Willa Bledsoe. She is the second cousin of Dallas Cowboys and New England Patriots football player, Drew Bledsoe.
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When she was just four years old she became a child model, and appeared in several commercials for brands such as Kellogg’s and Safeway grocery stores. This helped start her future career in acting in TV series and feature films.
There is no disclosed information about her high school, but Bledsoe studied finance at New York University, and graduated in 1994, then just a few months later moved to Los Angeles, California US.
Bledsoe made her television debut when she was 11, after being cast as Vanessa Huxtable in Bill Cosby’s “The Cosby Show”, the main couple’s fourth child who is troubled by typical teenage girl problems, such as dating and make-up.
She won the role after auditioning in 1984, two years before the show’s premiere, when she was only nine years old! In 1985, she earned her first award nomination for Young Artist Awards, and remained a regular in the show for eight years. She also portrayed Vanessa Huxtable in a 1989 episode of “A Different World”, a spin-off from “The Cosby Show”.
In 1986, she portrayed Grace Williams in an episode of season 15 of the ABC show “Afterschool Special Program”. Two years later, she made support appearances in the TV movie “Dance ‘Til Dawn”, and in the TV series “Monsters”.
That same year she won the Kids Choice Awards for Favorite Actress. She landed the starring role of Danni Fairview in the television movie “Dream Date”, a romantic comedy about a teenage girl and her overprotective father. In 1989 she won the Young Artist Award in the category Best Young Actor/Actress in a Television Comedy, Drama Series.
During the middle of the 1990s, she was the host of Columbia TriStar Television’s daytime talk show “The Tempestt Bledsoe Show”. She landed a guest role in TV series “Jenny” in which she portrayed Kaylene, and the next year appeared in three episodes of the ABC mystery series “The Practice”, as the character Roberta Bayor.
In 1999 she appeared in the episode “And the Band Plays On” of the TV series “The Parkers”.
In the early 2000s, Bledsoe was in several TV movies, including “The Expendables” and “Fire and Ice”, and portrayed the guest character Chloe in the TV series “Rock Me, Baby”. In 2006 she had a support role in the final season of the drama romance series “South of Nowhere”, and the same year she was nominated for TV Land Awards for Favorite Singing Siblings. Two years later in 2008, she was cast as Abbey and Claudia in the third season of “The Replacements”, the animated series that aired on the Disney Channel.
After which she made an appearance in VH1’s reality show “Celebrity Fit Club”, and in 2010 became the host of Style Network’s makeover television show “Clean House”, replacing the previous host Niecy Nash. That same year she co-starred in the crime drama film, “N-Secure”, in which she portrayed the role of Jill. She again won the TV Land Awards for Favorite Singing Siblings in 2011.
In 2012, Bledsoe provided the voice of the character Sheriff Hooper in the Laika LLC. animated film “ParaNorman”, in which she was credited alongside Anna Kendrick and Kodi Smit-McPhee.
That same year she landed the co-starring role of Marny in the sitcom “Guys with Kids”, but the show was canceled after the second season.
Bledsoe reprised her portrayal of Vanessa Huxtable in 214, when she appeared in the episode of the TV series “Instant Mom”. In 2018, she acted in the drama musical “Jingle Belle”, and the next year had a guest role in the first season of TV series “Family Reunion”.0
As of April 2020, Bledsoe is in a long term relationship with Darryl M. Bell, her “A Different World” co-star – the couple met on the set and started dating in 1993.
They are often seen attending VIP and red carpets events together. They both appeared in the “House-husbands of Hollywood” reality TV show that aired in 2009. The couple doesn’t have any children, and haven’t disclosed any news about a possible marriage.
She is a good friend of her “The Cosby Show” co-star Pam Potillo.
Bledsoe is a vegetarian and a big activist when it comes to animal rights. She is also publicly advising people to protect their skin, so they can be safer from skin cancer.
Despite the rumors due to her skin being blotchy and discolored, Bledsoe doesn’t bleach or lighten her skin in any way. She is reported to have a skin condition known as vitiligo, that causes the loss of pigment on certain patches of skin.
In 2017, Bledsoe and her “The Cosby Show” colleagues have been in the center of controversy surrounding the allegations of sexual assault against the show’s star and creator, Bill Cosby. Though most of her co-stars have publicly supported Cosby, stating that they think the allegations are false, Bledsoe has remained quiet, refusing to publicly comment on the situation. In September 2018, 81-year-old Cosby was sentenced to three to 10 years in prison.
Acting isn’t Bledsoe’s only source of income; she is also the owner of a chain restaurant in Washington D.C. This is the reason she has a net worth that is estimated at around $13 million.
Bledsoe is a tall, African-American woman, with a height of 5ft 8ins (1.72m) and weight of around 132lbs (60kgs). Her hair is curly and black, and her eyes are dark brown.