How I Met Your Mother: The Actress Who Almost Played Robin

Robin Scherbatsky could have turned out much differently in How I Met Your Mother had the role went to another actress as first intended. Cobie Smulders memorably portrayed the character for the duration of the sitcom’s nine-season run, from 2005 until 2014. Smulders, however, wasn’t the first actress who was offered the role. Here’s who received the initial offer and why she turned it down.

Robin was one of the main characters at the focus of How I Met Your Mother, including Ted Mosby, Lily Aldrin, Marshall Eriksen, and Barney Stinson. The sitcom primarily followed Ted as his future self told his children the story about how he met their mother. At the start of the series, it was speculated that Robin would be the mother figure, but that was debunked by the end of the pilot. Robin remained as an on-again-off-again love interest for Ted, but she had plenty of her own subplots centering on her pop-singing past, Canadian origins, and tomboy-ish ways. Despite going on her own romantic path, Ted found his way back to Robin by the end of the How I Met Your Mother series finale, which was set in the present day.

Before Smulders was cast as Robin, the actress had just a few film and TV roles under her belt. She appeared in Veritas: The Quest as well as short stints on Andromeda and The L Word. Smulders’ portrayal of Robin served as the actress’ breakout role, making her a fan-favorite among sitcom characters. The situation almost didn’t work out that way since another actress was rumored to have turned down the role before Smulders was cast. According to How I Met Your Mother’s creators, Craig Thomas and Carter Bays, the role of Robin was offered to Jennifer Love Hewitt for an understandable reason.

Why Jennifer Love Hewitt Turned Down A Role On HIMYM?

Hewitt turned down the role of Robin in How I Met Your Mother to star in the CBS supernatural series, Ghost Whisperer, where she played a woman who could see and communicate with ghosts. The series from John Gray premiered the same year as How I Met Your Mother and happened to air on the same network. It’s likely that Hewitt saw the chance at a leading role on an hour-long series more appealing than an ensemble cast sitcom. Interestingly enough, Ghost Whisper was canceled after five seasons in 2010, whereas How I Met Your Mother lasted four more years.

Hewitt’s decision to decline a role How I Met Your Mother certainly didn’t hurt her acting career. Following Ghost Whisperer’s cancellation, Hewitt found steady work before landing as a lead character in Criminal Minds season 10. She now stars in the Ryan Murphy-created procedural drama, 9-1-1. As for Smulders, her involvement in How I Met Your Mother assisted in her casting as Maria Hill in the MCU. In addition to numerous other films, Smulders continued working on TV, appearing in A Series of Unfortunate Events, Friends from College, and Arrested Development. Smulders can now be seen leading the new ABC crime drama, Stumptown.

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