A.J. Langer, Rayanne from ‘My So Called Life,’ is now the Countess of Devon

Years ago, I read a story about the actress A.J. Langer, probably best known for playing Rayanne Graff on My So Called Life. MSCL only ran for one season, but it made stars of Claire Danes and Jared Leto and, to a lesser degree, A.J. Langer and Wilson Cruz. Following MSCL, Langer bummed around television mostly, working consistently but not all that prominently. Then at some point in 2002, she met in a British guy in Las Vegas. Their eyes met across a crowded room and they fell in love in an instant. In 2005, they got married. Two children followed, first their daughter Joscelyn Skye Courtenay (in 2007), then their son Jack Haydon Langer Courtenay (in 2009). And as it turns out, the guy was an honest-to-God aristocrat!!! Langer ended up married to then-Lord Charles Courtenay, the son of the 18th Earl of Devon.

Langer’s father-in-law passed away last week. Which means that Rayanne from My So Called Life is now the Countess of Devon, married to the 19th Earl of Devon and mistress of the 600-year-old Powderham Castle, near Exeter. In the early years of their courtship, they lived in LA, but in later years, it seems like Langer spent most of her time in England while her husband Charlie worked as a barrister (but was he an Amal Clooney-like stunt-barrister?). She still did some acting here and there, but she’s been pretty quiet for years now. She’s currently 41 years old. And a COUNTESS. Girl, you did well.

You can read more about Rayanne – I mean A.J. Langer – and her situation here at the Daily Mail. Her meet-cute with Charlie was actually very sweet. He was wearing a kilt and he never told her about the titles or the castle or anything. He didn’t tell for a very long time, and then he just dropped it on her when he was driving her to his father’s castle. Which is now her castle. Because she’s a countess.

Photos courtesy of Getty.

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69 Responses to “A.J. Langer, Rayanne from ‘My So Called Life,’ is now the Countess of Devon”

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  1. Esteph says:

    Kaiser, sometimes you have me chortling my coffee in the morning with your writing.

    • Hudson Girl says:

      I’m confused by this story. Didn’t she marry the second son? Is the first son now Duke of something’s something, and her husband is a different title’s Earl?
      Or maybe I’m mixing them up with a different family where the Earl (Duke?) married a sixties model/ debutante?

      • Algernon says:

        The Duke of Wellington’s heir married a model, Jemma Kidd. When she got married she was the Countess of Mornington, I think, as the wife of the heir’s heir, but the old duke died and her father-in-law became the new duke, so she moved up a notch on the table. She’s now the Marchioness of Douro.

        AJ Langer married a different aristocrat and tops out at Countess, which sounds way cooler than “Marchioness” anyway. I’d rather be a Countess.

      • Hudson Girl says:

        Thanks, Algernon! I figured out who I was talking about- the Duke and Duchess of Bedford. She was a 60′s model. Their youngest son is the one I thought AJ had married.

    • Jellybean says:

      I live in Devon and even I can’t be bothered to work it out.

  2. Delilah says:

    It’s a dream come true. Good for her.

  3. bettyrose says:

    The Countess of Devon made it in the backseat with Jordan Catalano? Suck it Middletons!

    • M.A.F. says:

      LOL That show was everything, even if it was only on for a year.

    • Kitten says:

      She was so fantastic on that show too. She really embodied that character. I always wondered what happened to her…at the time, it seemed like she had a promising career in her future. Interesting…

      • Luca76 says:

        Yeah she was really great on that show her character could be so lovable and awful at once.

      • BengalCat2000 says:

        My old roommate and I used to watch it on VHS over and over because we didn’t have cable. Now my bffs stepdaughter is a fan. I’m still pissed it ended before she could hook up with Brian Krakow (sp?)

      • bettyrose says:

        Rayanne spinoff: she moves to the big city, meets quirky people, changes hair colors , and hooks up with tortured bad boys.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        I loved Rayanne. “I wanna be sedated” is going through my head now!

  4. AlmaMartyr says:

    This is a great story! I live near Powderham, it’s a beautiful estate. I know a few people who have known the Courtenays and have always heard that they’re very down to earth.

    • Sixer says:

      I also live near there.

      The castle is a tourist attraction, wedding and conference location, and is pimped out for films and TV. It’s not a home or a private country estate. Good day out though!

      And I’m not mourning the late Hugh. He’s the one who got the castle’s licence for being a wedding venue revoked for refusing to marry a gay couple. The son had to take over the estate to get it back.

      • AlmaMartyr says:

        Yes it is a good day out, we used to go a lot when I was younger. Is the private section of the home not there any more?

        The family that I knew of were the daughters, who went to school with my sister. Apparently they were friendly and down to earth but it was 25 years ago or so! The scandal with Hugh was grim.

      • Sixer says:

        Oh, still there. I just was dispelling the impression that the castle is anything like a private residence for anyone to be mistress of. It’s a commercial endeavour that leaves no stone unturned in the search for revenue streams.

        Yes. They had a lot of reputational work to do to get themselves back in the game.

      • Algernon says:

        @ Sixer

        I watched a special on PBS about the “real” Downton Abbey, and while I knew academically that keeping up an estate/castle had to be a lot of work, I was still blown away by *how much* work it seemed to keep everything going. I bet they’re going to miss the Downton revenue at Highclere.

      • Sixer says:

        Algernon – absolutely. It’s nigh on impossible to run old country seats as private homes now. They all have to be going concerns. See also: Longleat, Chatsworth, etc. It’s another reason why I think Her Maj should get the hell out of Buck House and have it open all year round.

      • Algernon says:

        @ Sixer

        I can see maintaining Buckingham as a residence, because then it’s kind of like the White House. They have state functions there, it’s a residence, it’s a living history monument, etc. My question is, isn’t Windsor Castle kind of close to London? Do they need *both*, if in fact Windsor is close(ish) to London? Also, this site has convinced me that anyone living in Kensington Palace ought to be paying full London rental rates. That’s ridiculous.

      • Green Girl says:

        There was a fascinating miniseries on Hulu a few years ago called “Weekend Aristocrats” about the work (and the serious cash) it takes to maintain these stately old homes. It’s so crazy!

      • imqrious2 says:

        Green Girl, thanks for the tip on that miniseries :-)

        For anyone interested, I found a link: http://www.mefeedia.com/search/weekend+aristocrats

        **NOTE: I use Chrome Brower with the “Hola” extension set to “British” country (I’m in California). I don’t know if you’ll need to use a British IP address to view the link, but I’m puttin’ it out here, just in case ;-)

    • Norman Bates' Mother says:

      Oh, nostalgia hit! I have really wonderful memories involving Powderham Castle – I spend some really great time wondering around the estate with friends and on dates. The surrounding area is really beautiful, but I only saw the inside in movies (Remains of the Day). Now I miss Exeter again.

  5. Nancy says:

    I love Rayanne. Nobody can belt out the theme from Sesame Street like she can holding a bottle of whiskey. Damn girl stole the show. Ah, Jordan Catalano, Rikki, Graham Chase, the best dad ever….memory lane

  6. Merritt says:

    I saw an interview with her a few years after they married on a “Where are they Now” type show. She seemed really happy at that time, I hope they are still happy.

  7. How did that convo happen? Like, did they turn off the main road onto the 5 km driveway with the castle looming on the horizon? “By the way, sweetheart, I should probably prepare you to meet the Earl. I mean dad. My dad the Earl.”

    I think I would have had a stroke.

    • Andrea says:

      LOL I would have said” Like a Downton Abbey type deal? Cool” LOL

    • Algernon says:

      It sounds like the plot of a rom-com. Like how has no one made a movie about this yet? There has to be a producer who knows AJ Langer who could get her life rights.

      • Wonderbunny says:

        True! This would make a really cute daytime TV type of family move and I would watch the shit out of it.

    • Reece says:

      Maybe he pointed to the brown sign and said “that’s it babe” haha

  8. ldub says:

    this is so cool.

    also, LOVE the pic of them dressed up.
    the Halloween episode is my fave MSCL episode EVER!

    • Kitten says:

      The Halloween episode was awesome and my only issue with it was that there wasn’t enough Jordan. My favorite eps are the ones where Catalano is feature prominently. Sigh. The way he leaned against a locker….

  9. Red32 says:

    It always amazed me that Claire Danes was everywhere after My So-Called Life while Rayanne and Sharon kind of disappeared. I know Angela was the main character but she was irritating as hell.

    • Elisha says:

      Wasnt she one of the many Seinfeld girlfriends? I was always so confused; she’s supposed to be my age, in high school, and then BAM now she’s old enough to be a Seinfeld gf? Unless she wasn’t one….

      I saw People Undrr the Stairs too. Her pooping in a corner is forever burned in my brain.

  10. Sayrah says:

    Wow! That’s a great story. I randomly pulled up the last scene of the boiler room episode last week on YouTube just because. Jordan Catalano – swoon!!

  11. Felice. says:

    She’s also the president’s daughter in Escape from LA lol

  12. hmmm says:

    Wow! It’s just like a fairy tale.

  13. SKF says:

    I remember my girlfriend and I binge-watching every episode back-to-back for 2 days when we were teenagers while we made bead jewelry. Obsessed! And she looks amazing! She’s aged beautifully. Good for her!

  14. Michelle DD says:

    I miss MSCL so much ! :(

  15. Size Does Matter says:

    Wasn’t she the wild cousin in National Lampoon’s Vegas Vacation?

  16. Andrea says:

    I own the MSCL and every few years (like with Felicity) I binge watch it. So good. I miss some of 90′s tv. :(

  17. phoenix says:

    When Rayanne Graff told me I needed to change my hair. She wasn’t just talking about my hair. She was talking about….my life.

  18. Kate says:

    Ugh. I don’t comment on Amal Clooney stories because I don’t have a strong opinion of her as a celebrity, and I don’t have a problem with her liking the exposure and liking to be photographed because she married one of the few bona fide A-list movie stars in the world and would look a whole lot more stupid if she got all Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy-level angsty about her sudden fame (I mean, any woman would know well in advance that the media interest would come with the territory), but can we please stop with the asinine “stunt barrister” nonsense? Anal Clooney has incredible academic and professional credentials, and she was a real, honest-to-goodness barrister with a top-notch career long before she met and was allegedly “created” by Clooney and his PR people. Perhaps her career is now taking a backseat to her new, jet-set lifestyle, and perhaps she has changed her priorities, but she was an exceptional attorney. That has not been factionalized. I don’t particularly admire her choices lately, but I wouldn’t minimize her actual accomplishments. There are many, many more offensive women in celebrityland than Amal. As for the subject of this article, good for her, I guess. Seems like an interesting, made-for-TV story.

    • noway says:

      Wow!!!! The “stunt barrister” was an aside comment and has to do with the PR selling of Amal’s career and the way it appears her chamber has been using her lately to garner attention for certain cases, i.e. Elgin Marbles, Irish Hooded men case,etc. Before George, she may have been a fast tracked career oriented barrister, however now not so much. I slightly understand your point, however, unfortunately when you sell someone’s career as hard as George and Amal’s PR have, people have a tendency to dig and some people don’t agree with your assessment. I think it is free to joke about it here. It’s not like celebitchy is a legal journal or something.

      • Kate says:

        Yeah, I get that this was probably not the right story to comment about the tired “stunt barrister” stuff and that it was a casual joke made in passing, but it’s just such a bad joke, and it seemed like such a stretch to even include it here, that it promoted a hard eye roll. I agree that the relentless PR pushing and the saccharine narrative George’s people have spun do leave her open to added scrutiny and criticism, but I don’t think there’s any credible dispute of her credentials, especially for such a young attorney. I just think there are so many more insulting celebrities out there, I don’t see the point in inserting a backhanded reference to her in a story that has absolutely nothing to do with her just for the sake of putting her down. Why bother? And I had to chuckle re-reading my original comment. I called her Anal Clooney at one point, and autocorrect produced “factionalized” when I had meant to write “fictionalized.” The touch screen typing is not my friend, clearly.

    • Lotta says:

      I am with you! @Kate

    • Sunsetsnow says:

      I agree with you, but I think it was more tongue in cheek. Amal is gorgeous and very accomplished. i like having her on the scene as she is different than the usual celebutantes.

  19. mkyarwood says:

    VAMPIRE. And also lucky. He’s got a real Cary Elwes before the bloat thing happening.

  20. shannon says:

    MSCL forever!!

  21. piecesofme says:

    She also had some pretty serious health issues–I know she’s worked with fibromyalgia groups through the years. I remember some interviews soon after MSCL ended where she talked about her struggles. http://www.lifescript.com/health/centers/pain/articles/actress_aj_langer_how_fibromyalgia_affects_her_life.aspx

    I found this really great quote from her: “I know what love feels like. That is one thing I have found. That is one thing that is much clearer because of fibromyalgia. Because once you experience real pain you recognize the vibration, the feeling of being healthy, happy and loved. If I’m not living from my heart, I get sick. I need to do things that feed my soul, like being with people I love, or playing my guitar, or listening to music.” Fibromyalgia Aware magazine (gacked from IMDB, because I couldn’t remember exactly what she was advocating for, looked it up, and found this quote).

    • Sam says:

      Yes! I also have fibromyalgia and i remember reading that she has it as well and that she does work for it. It made me feel normal when i heard that rayanne had it. She was a big part of my teenage life and i was only 15 when i was diagnosed. I completely understand why she doesn’t work too much if she doesn’t have to. It is not a fun disease.

    • Wonderbunny says:

      I’m filled with warm and fuzzy feelings from this story and comments and I think that just pushed me over the edge. Really beautiful thinking there. Thank you for sharing.

  22. Morgan says:

    Check out the Daily Mail link — dude’s a giant!! Like 2 feet taller than she is… no wonder they are seated for so many pictures.

  23. Algernon says:

    I find AJ Langer’s story much more romantic and fairy-tale-like than Waity Katie’s.

  24. Lisa says:

    Omg! I loved Rayanne.

  25. lila fowler says:

    She was the daughter in The People Under the Stairs, too. Her husband has a bit of a doucheface going on.

  26. Ginger says:

    Damn! She’s living my dream. Good for her!

  27. holly hobby says:

    She aged well without the standard Hollywood blow up doll plastic surgery. If she did have something done you can’t tell. Nicole and Courtney this is how aging gracefully looks.

    She married well and he’s handsome too!

  28. teacakes says:

    It’s cute to think both she and Claire Danes married Brits.

    I really would have liked to be a fly on the wall for the ‘oh by the way honey, my family home is a castle’ conversation. Anyway, it looks like she has a happy marriage and is well away from the clutches of Hollywood. Good on her!

  29. hmph says:

    I thought the top photo was an old one, it looks like it could’ve been taken in the 90s or something.
    She looks beautiful and I am so happy for her that she has found love, seems like they really are soulmates. I’ve always read soulmates meet each other at the most random and unexpected places and moments in your life and that you make eye contact and bam! You feel it right in your soul.

    • Andrea says:

      I thought I had that too but weve been back and forth for 7 years and now he has left me because he said I hurt him for a 22 year old! (he is almost 31!) I’m 34 and at a loss on what to do now. :/

      • hmph says:

        I’m so sorry to hear that, Andrea! I think the best thing to do is focus on yourself and doing things you love. I actually read that as well about soulmates, you should focus completely on yourself and doing things; hobbies, passions etc that make you happy and you will meet the person who is right for you. Maybe this guy wasn’t for you, that’s ok! We have more than 1 soulmate.

  30. Amanda G says:

    I just finished rewatchimg MSCL the other day!! She was SO good.

    • Dinah says:

      George Clooney is sadly an alcoholic in denial. Amal married an alcoholic, a drunk. Life is real no matter how much you fantasize that it’s different for others. Marrying an alchy is no fantasy or dream come true. All alcholics promise you heaven and drag you through hell. By now, she has seen him drunk and there’s no such thing as a sweet drunk. It’s going to get worse, but it’ll never get better. For her sake, I hope she eventally pulls out of the deal. It’s a deal with the devil. Clooney’s looks are shot to hell because he downs liquor like kids guzzel soda pop. This is a real concern of the Clooney, how heavy George now hits that bottle many, many times a day. Eventually he won’t be able to work. Paul Newman had his battle, but even he started losing work (never widely reported) because of the love of the bottle tops all.