Stephen Amell hasn’t always made positive headlines throughout this rise to stardom.
Amell came to prominence while playing Oliver Queen on The CW superhero series Arrow from 2012 to 2020. Off camera, Amell has frequently offered glimpses of his growing family with wife Cassandra Jean.
As his career took off, Amell found himself in in hot water more than once over the years. He raised eyebrows in 2020 for continuing to promote his podcast amid the Black Lives Matter movement. Three years later, Amell defended his remarks about the SAG-AFTRA strike after voicing frustrations over not being able to promote his show Heels amid the labor dispute.
“I understand the strike on an intellectual level — striking is not the only form of negotiating. If there is a positive thing to take away from this — and I’m searching for the positives right now — because the past day or so has not been the most fun. If there is a positive here, I would like to think that in some shape or form I can encourage people to get back to the table and negotiate,” he told TMZ in August 2023. “One of the silver linings that [has] come out of this is [that] I’m going to get the opportunity later today to speak with SAG leadership to show them how much I support them and want to stand with them.”
Amell concluded: “I love my coworkers, I love my wife, and I love my kids very much. That doesn’t mean that I always agree with the choices that they make. But I will never, ever leave them in a time of need and I won’t do that to my union.”
Scroll through the gallery below to revisit Amell’s ups and downs through the years:
Breaking Into the Industry
Amell got his start in Hollywood in 2004 by booking a two-episode arc on Queer as Folk. Following a guest star role on ReGenesis, Amell won a Gemini Award in 2007 and was later nominated for Rent-a-Goalie. He continued to find success on The Vampire Diaries, Hung, 90210, New Girl and Private Practice.
Finding The One
Amell was married to his first wife, Carolyn Lawrence, from 2007 to 2010. He later moved on with Jean, whom he wed in 2012. The couple welcomed daughter Maverick in 2013 and son Bowen in 2022.
Joining The CW’s Superhero Universe
In 2012, Amell was cast as Oliver Queen in The CW’s Arrow, a TV series based on the DC Comics superhero of the same name. Amell continued to appear in the network’s various spinoffs including The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, Batwoman and Supergirl.
On the big screen, Amell appeared in the 2016 film Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows. He also scored roles in American Ninja Warrior and Mi Madre, My Father.
Since 2014, Amell has hosted fundraising campaigns for charities including F—k Cancer, Paws and Stripes, Stand For The Silent and children’s hospice Emily’s House.
Social Media Controversy
Amell took a break from social media in September 2015 after sharing a controversial tweet about Muslim student Ahmed Mohamed. (The then-14-year-old student was arrested for bringing a homemade clock to school, which was presumed to be a bomb.)
“Stereotyping Texas isn’t any better than stereotyping Ahmed. Just so we’re clear,” Amell initially tweeted about the situation.
He didn’t delete the post but later clarified his point via Facebook Live, saying, “Didn’t mean to offend anyone today. Wasn’t trying to equate things that are very, very different. Was simply trying to say that two wrongs don’t make a right. I think I did offend people. I think the best thing to do in these scenarios is to go away for a little bit. So be well, I’ll be back, that’s it.”
A Professional Segue Into Wrestling
Amell turned his interest in professional wrestling into an opportunity when he campaigned for a guest appearance on WWE’s weekly Raw program in 2015. He took part in several matches — including a team win for the Ring of Honor in 2017. Amell’s last appearance in the ring was in 2019 for All Elite Wrestling’s Revolution.
Dealing With Personal Problems
“I’m mentally exhausted. I’ve cried twice today. My wife forced me to go to the doctor today because she was worried that something was actually wrong with me,” he said on the episode. “I just need a f—king break. I want to be a dad, I want to be a husband and I don’t even really want to talk to my friends that much. I just need a break.”
He later took to Twitter to offer more details on the health scare, writing that same month, “I did Rosey’s podcast after Arrow ended. We had to cut it short because I had a full on panic attack. It wasn’t pretty. I came back a few weeks ago to chat about it. I was in a really bad spot and I’m happy to report that I’m doing much better. Listen please :)”
Addressing Allegations of Racism
Amell stirred up controversy in June 2020 when he decided to keep hosting his podcast “How’d You Do It?” amid the Black Lives Matter protests.
“Full disclosure: Grant Gustin was supposed to be the guest this morning,” Amell said in a video shared via Twitter. “He very politely and calmly texted me yesterday and said that with everything going on in Los Angeles that maybe this wasn’t the appropriate time to spend 45 minutes talking about how he became such a giant, lovable television star.”
Amell was subsequently called out by comic book writer Tee Franklin for his “racist ass ways” on social media. “You totally nailed me,” he responded via Twitter. “Hope that makes you feel better. I just followed you… so if you need something or you want to help me better understand, hit me up and we can chat!”
Saying Goodbye to Oliver Queen
Following eight seasons on The CW, Amell confirmed that Arrow would be coming to an end. The hit series aired its final episode in 2020. Amell, for his part, reprised the role of Oliver Queen during The Flash‘s final season three years later.
Making a Scene
In June 2022, Stephen was escorted off a plane from Austin to Los Angeles following a disagreement with his wife. He offered an explanation shortly after the news made headlines.
“My wife and I got into an argument Monday afternoon on a Delta flight from Austin to LA. I was asked to lower my voice and I did. Approximately 10 minutes later I was asked to leave the flight,” he wrote via Twitter at the time. “And I did so immediately. I was not forcibly removed.”
Two months later, Stephen elaborated about what led to the incident.
“I had too many drinks in a public place, and I got on a plane,” he explained on the “Inside of You with Michael Rosenbaum” podcast in August 2022. “I was pissed off about something else that had nothing to do with Cass, my wife, and I picked a fight. Just I picked a fight because I wanted to be loud and upset.”
Stephen added: “My wife said one thing the entire time,” Stephen recalled. “‘If you don’t lower your voice, they’re going to ask you to get off the plane.’ I referred to it as an argument between my wife and I. It was not an argument. This is 100 percent my fault. I feel like I went the better part of 10 years without being an a–hole in public. I was an a–hole in public. [Cassandra] was frankly even more pissed when I said ‘argument’ as opposed to ‘pick a fight.'”
Stephen and Jean filed a lawsuit in September 2022 requesting that a Los Angeles court shut down an animal rescue group next to their home. In the filing, Stephen and Jean claimed their neighbors were running a “large illegal animal kennel operation” on residential plots of land without a permit.
Two months later, the pair lost their legal battle and addressed claims they were visibly angry in the courtroom over the decision.
“I didn’t so much as open my mouth in that courtroom or make eye contact with the defendants,” he said in a text message to Page Six, alleging that the opposition was trying to “smear” him. “If there were a shred of truth to this I wouldn’t be sending this text.”
Questioning the SAG-AFTRA Strike
Stephen made headlines in July 2023 when he publicly opposed the actors union’s decision to strike following a labor dispute with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.
“I feel like I’m insulated in Hollywood, because that’s where I live … [but] I feel like a lot of people in this room aren’t aware of the strike,” he told fans at GalaxyCon. “I support my union, I do. And I stand with them. I do not support striking. I don’t. I think that it is a reductive negotiating tactic. I find the entire thing incredibly frustrating. I think that the thinking as it pertains to shows like [Heels], the show that I’m on that premiered last night, I think it’s myopic.”
Amid the backlash, Stephen attempted to walk back his statement about the strike, writing via Instagram that same month, “As I said from the jump, I want to ensure that my thoughts and intentions are not misconstrued. This situation reminds of the proverb, ‘the road to hell is paved with good intentions,’ which apparently, after reading a limited amount of the commentary, is a place many of you would like me to visit. However, at least for the foreseeable future, I choose to stand with my union. When you see me on a picket line please don’t whip any hard fruit.”
Stephen’s longtime friends showrunner Carina MacKenzie and actress Aisha Tyler revealed that his reaction to the BLM movement fractured their friend group.
“I wanted to believe people I love could listen and evolve — this is a repeat of that so clearly there was no listening and no evolving … well, fool me twice,” MacKenzie, who was the original creator of Roswell, New Mexico, wrote via Twitter following Amell’s comments about the WGA and SAG strikes. “People change. *I* changed. Values shifted in different directions. That’s the last I’ll speak of him.”
Tyler, for her part, replied, “Word.”
After expressing his frustration about not being able to promote Heels during the SAG strike, Amell’s Starz show got canceled in September 2023 after two seasons.