Last year I wrote a long post for Mr. Ackles’ birthday and the top five reasons he’s a pretty special person. This year, I find myself emotional in a slightly different way about Jensen’s birthday today – because this is the last year that on his birthday, he is still Dean Winchester.
I fervently hope that at some point in the future, Jensen will get to portray Dean again – and I know, because he has said it more than once – that Dean will always be a part of him. But this is the last March 1st when Jensen is Dean and Supernatural is still filming and on the air. The last birthday when Dean’s story is not yet fully told, and the character that Jensen has inhabited for the past fifteen years is still so much a part of him – likely in a way that no character will ever be again. It’s a rare and special thing to be able to play a single character for fifteen years, as he has often said; they become a part of you, a best friend who you come to love.
A few years ago, Jensen talked about a dream he’d had that really struck a chord and brought some surprisingly strong emotion. It was a dream about Dean, from Dean’s perspective. A dream in which Dean hands over the keys to the Impala to a motorcycle rider and trades vehicles – because Sam is dead and he no longer needs a vehicle with a passenger seat. Recently, Misha mentioned the dream too, saying that Jensen had shared it with him and Jared and they had all gotten emotional. At the time he had the dream, I’d had the chance to talk to Jensen about it. Perhaps, I’d said, the dream was not just about Sam losing Dean, but was as much about Jensen thinking about eventually having to say goodbye to Supernatural – to Jared, to Misha, to Bob, to Jerry, to Serge, to the crew he loves. I think that’s why it hit all three of the actors so hard to remember it now, knowing there’s only one more month of filming. It’s not like they won’t see each other or remain friends, but it will inevitably be different. Just like the everyday happenings in the fandom will change, Jensen has to say goodbye not only to Dean, but to Sam and Cas and Jack too.
So this post is a reminder of how much Dean Winchester has meant to me and to so many others, as Jensen and his fellow actors face saying goodbye to their beloved characters (temporarily at least!). A reminder that as hard as it is to say goodbye, Castiel’s words to Jack are still true. We are so lucky to have had this time with these characters – to know them and to love them. So lucky that they were here at all.
Dean Winchester, more than any other fictional character ever, taught me to never give up. That you don’t have to be perfect to be a good person, or win every battle to keep on fighting. You can be flawed, and constantly struggling, and ricocheting back and forth between good decisions and bad ones, and still hang onto the goal of doing what’s right. Of fighting every day with the purpose of saving people, hunting things. That works literally in the show, but figuratively in real life, and has inspired countless people to try to change the world for the better in a million ways.
Dean’s incredible, unshakeable loyalty and the way he fiercely, unabashedly loves those he calls family – perfectly willing to move heaven and hell to save their lives and keep them with him – has been a revelation. I’ve never encountered another character as determined as Dean Winchester. Do not get in between him and someone he cares about, because he will never ever give up making sure they’re safe.
He’s not perfect, and I wouldn’t want him to be. He can be singleminded and obtuse and lashes out when he’s hurt in ways that can hurt others (even those he cares so much about). He started out a product of the way he was raised, brittle and defended and brusque because of it. It took me a whole season to really understand the depth of emotion and vulnerability he was hiding under that gruff no-chick-flicks-moments exterior, and another fourteen seasons to understand how much it eventually cost him to let some of those walls down. His moments of vulnerability have brought me to tears again and again. I’ve been there to see how much those moments cost Jensen the real person in real time, too; how real those tears are. I’m pretty sure that’s why they get to me the way they do.
I am incredibly grateful for Dean Winchester and the inspiration he’s brought me for the past fifteen years. I’m incredibly grateful that Jensen Ackles cared so much about this character that he brought him to life and made him real, and never let him become a caricature. No matter where the story went, Jensen kept Dean being Dean. Because he cared about the closest imaginary friend he’ll ever have, as he recently said. He talks about his relationship with Dean in the chapter he contributed to the new book, There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done, and I’ll hang onto his words whenever I start to miss Dean Winchester too acutely.
I’m sure that next birthday, there will be all sorts of new things to celebrate – because this is Jensen Ackles we’re talking about. He’s talented in so many ways, and perhaps more importantly, he’s a kind and caring person who always gives 100%. There will be other acting roles, perhaps more directing. Already there’s that incredible Radio Co. album full of songs, and I’m sure that’s only the tip of the iceberg. After that dream sequence recently, maybe we’ll see him struttin’ his stuff on Dancing With The Stars (sorry, Jensen, couldn’t resist…) I’ll celebrate Jensen’s future successes and be excited for every step of his journey. This year, though, I’m wishing Jensen a happy birthday and celebrating the fifteen years he’s put into crafting the most amazing, inspiring, heroic, entirely human fictional character I’ve ever had the pleasure of ‘meeting’.
Happy birthday, Jensen.
Thank you for Dean Winchester.
You can read what Jensen and many
other actors (and fans) have to say about
the legacy of Supernatural in There’ll Be
Peace When You Are Done – preorder
links on the home page!
30 thoughts on “Happy Birthday Jensen Ackles!”
This brought tears to my eyes – what a loving tribute.
Thanks also for including the snap of JA with the Lawrence sign. I hadn’t realized he’d been by here last fall, but I’m glad he got a glimpse of the actual Lawrence, KS just once, since it’s so enmeshed in Supernatural.
Happy birthday Jensen hope you have a great day x
Happy Birthday Jensen. Thank you and the whole cast for giving me 15 years of enjoyment. Dont know what Im going to do without having you and everyone in my homw every week. Just letting you know you and all are loved so much by me and my family. We are truly going to miss you. Love always. Hope we get to see you again
Dean Dean Dean. What will we do without you? Jensen’s put so much into This character that he is truly embedded into his consciousness and ours too. I’m so grateful to the show for many reasons. It has taught me to Always Keep Fighting, to be myself, to accept myself and how to appreciate a show that could and did!
Happy birthday Jensen Ackles. May you keep Dean always close to your heart.
Happy Birthday Dean! 👍❤🙏
This show has jelped me in ways I didn’t
realize. My life has been nothing but ups and downs in a major ways! I found that every episode had some kind of Lesson in it for me, because I looked for them. This show tells stories that can help people with everyday life, I know it can because it helped me! Thank You So Much!!😢 I will watch these shows for a long time to come, I have them all, and I will carry a different lesson away from them each time!❤🙏😘
15 years of thrills and spills, laughs and tears. Thank you Jensen for sharing 15 years of you life in one place, with us. I like to think that, given the breaks , you are the man Dean Winchester would have been and that when you finally take off his boots , he too will have found the peace you have, in the heart of your family.
Good luck for the future, take care of Dean for us. We won’t forget either of you and we will carry the lessons you both taught us into our futures. Happy Birthday.
Happy Birthday Jensen…Enjoy every moment. Also Thank you for 15 years for being Dean Winchester. I have watched you boys grown from day one. The laughs, thrills, the tears, the heartbreaks…I feel you boys r like my own. Thank you for the best years of Supernatural….my heart breaks that it’s coming to an end…we all will miss you guys but wish you all the best. Always remember your show was about Family..Thank you Dean, Sammy, got to call him Sammy…lol n Bobby, n Cass. n Crowley for the best years ever😥😥😥❤❤❤❤❤
Happy birthday!! I watched every show like it was thrilling and made me happy.. I hope you have a great birthday and a life that is thrilling and happy as you’ve given your fans!! I’m a 65 yr. old fan and I absolutely am heartbroken for me andyour fans.. but I know when it was time for you and “Sam” to go.. please know how valued you are and the other cast as well… but you feel it’s and I respect that!! Enjoy your life with your family.. I’ll be watchin the re runs .. and loving them !! Love .. laughter excitement family joy… and deep respect and thankful wishes you!
Happy Birthday, Jensen, and I hope it’s a joyful one. I will always carry the character of Dean in my heart as an inspiration, and am so very grateful that you brought him to the point of manifestation that you did. Job well done. And a big thank you for being willing to give 15 years to this wonderful show. It has meant so much to me – and I am someone with a very full and rich life, but the show was good enough that it became a part of my life in a way that no other show has ever been. We all are so glad you were born.
Such a great analysis of the ending and its significance to Jensen and all of us. I hated Jensen’s dream when I first read about it because it felt like he could imagine Dean going on without Sam, and that felt so wrong to me. But your analysis helped me realize that it’s really about Jensen’s personal journey with his character and the show that has defined him for 15 years. He’ll be as sad to see it end as any of us, maybe more. What a lovely tribute to this dedicated, sensitive actor!
Happy Birthday Jensen, I watched you from day one, I watch your seasons every day. Oh how I’m gonna miss you and Sam every week. God Bless you and your Family. Margaret Fulton, Jersey City
Lovely tribute. Truly enjoyed reading it.
In true Dean Winchester form ,that was AWESOME!!! Thank you for writing this article. You put into words the way so many fans feel. And thank you Jensen for being such an amazing person. And bringing Dean to life.
Wow such a great tribute to Jenson. He is one of the most incredible diverse actors I’ve ever seen on the screen. I’d love to have a cheeseburger and a beer with him someday. Ya know a bucket list wish. Happy Birthday Jenson keep on keeping on.. CARRY ON MY WAYWARD SON.. they’ll be peace when you are done, don’t ya cry no more
Such an emotional and rewarding tribute to our Dean & Jensen. 2005 was the year SUPERNATURAL entered my life and will never truly exit. Jensen”s talent has not fully been recognised but I am sure that will change for the better. Thank you Jensen/Dean for all your great memorable work. Its been an awesome ride.. look after Baby. Have never met him but feel I know him . We all love him & his beautiful family . Best wishes for your future happiness. Happy Birthday Jensen ❤❤❤❤❤
Hope you had a great birthday Jensen x
That was so well written. I’m sure this was an emotional birthday for Jenson.
Yes, he will always be Dean to us who have watched Jenson build his character. I’m right up there with others in that they will never be gone if I don’t watch the last season. I watch on Netflix anyway so it will be a bit before I can see it anyway.
I will miss all the characters!
Beautifully written. Even though I’m a fairly new fan, since 2018, these characters have changed my life in innumerable ways as well. I’m sure everyone involved in this very special universe they’ve created will continue to make magic in some way, shape or form.
Happy Birthday to one of the best actors I have had the pleasure of following all of these years. You have actually helped me in some rough times. I will miss watching you. I remember when you played on Days of Our Lives. And many more shows.
happiest of birthdays to you Jensen! This is so moving and emotional. Thank you for sharing yourself with us for the past 15years! Dean will always be apart of me and I know so many others. I wish you all the best and hope one day we will see Dean and Sammy again! Carry on and again happy birthday xoxoxo
Happy Birthday Jenson!!! And many more!! Thank you so much for 15yrs. Of dedication to Supernatural. T.v. won’t be the same without you!!! And of course Dean Winchester who you made such an AWESOME character to enjoy. P.s. I’ve been crushing on you both for 15 wonderful yrs…* GOD BLESS*
Happy Birthday Jensen love you and Jared forever. Sad were losing Supernatural. Hope to see you two in a movie and Misha.
Happy Birthday Jensen (DEAN). You are the best ever and I will miss you guys on Supernatural. I’ve watched it from day one. Want to watch the end and I’m sure I will cry my eyes out when it ends. Happy Birthday
Mr. Jensen Ackles/Dean Winchester. How do you sum up 15 of action,laughs,tears,fights,monsters,breakups,makeups,hotel rooms,books,computers,whiskey,rock & roll, angles, demons,friends, hugs, love, and family. I can’t speak for anyone else but you have made this one of the best series ever done by allowing youself to become Dean Winchester and projecting that any one of us can be Dean Winchester(Don’t give up on family ever!) Truly God bless you and you family and I hope you enjoyed your birthday. I will miss you, but I know only good things in store for such a kind caring and giving man as you. Love you much.
This really hit home. I’ve followed his career for 22 years and have no intention of stopping. I’m so excited to see what he does next, but terrified to see the end. I’m desperately hoping they don’t kill them both. I love Jensen and Dean for different reasons and I’m not looking forward to the end of the story, I want an open ending…
Dean Winchester hope b-day is great and u are one of the finest sexyest baddest monster killing man that ever took a breath…………..
This is 2 days after your Birthday What can I say but that me & my daughter love watching Supernatural for 15 years Happy Belated Birthday Jensen We truly Love U your a Beautiful, Amazing, Wonderful, Brilliant, Caring Father & Actor U will be truly missed I have to say I shop at Hot Topic and they had these Supernatural dolls so of course we got all 3 of them Dean, Sam & Castiel when I purchased them from that day they sleep with me I will always sleep with them even when Supernatural is gone that will be my way of always having them with me FOREVER I WILL ALWAYS LOVE DEAN, SAM & CASTIEL I just want to THANK YOU JARED & MISHA FOR 15 BEAUTIFUL, AMAZING YEAR’S I know your Birthday was 2 days ago HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY
going to miss you all you mean so much
The only boys that take pride of place on my tv unit ❤️ Happy birthday to you Jensen , and can I just say thanks to supernatural for the many years of entertainment in our household. Also my 17 year old daughter would like to say thanks for the given knowledge that when I die she will now salt and burn my ass so I don’t come back and haunt her for eternity 😂