“While I adored most of the actors [on Freaks and Geeks], I became especially close with Jason Segel. He played Nick, the drummer freak who is Lindsay’s love interest,” Lin wrote in her memoir, End Credits: How I Broke Up With Hollywood, which was released on Tuesday, August 29. “Only 19 at the time, he wasn’t the type that made girls swoon, but he was cute. He had warm brown eyes, a goofy smile and a tall, lanky frame — like, basketball player tall. In fact, he used to play basketball, just like his character.”
Lin, who would go on to write on shows like Friends, Desperate Housewives and Breaking Bad, recalled her time on Freaks and Geeks’ sole season — her first gig as a full-time staff writer — as an overall positive experience. That was partially credited to showrunner Judd Apatow and the friendships she made with several cast members including Seth Rogan and Busy Philipps. However, she found herself most drawn to Segel while on set.
“It was impossible not to like Jason. He had a positive attitude and did his job without any complaints. Not only was he an intuitive actor but a budding writer and musician as well,” Lin wrote of the actor, adding that he was “also a pothead” like her.
“That was something we had in common,” she continued. “While shooting [the episode I wrote called] ‘Girlfriends and Boyfriends’ we sussed out our mutual interest and became stoner buddies.”
Lin recalled a particular night after shooting where the twosome ate dinner at an Outback Steakhouse and “toked up” in Segel’s car while bonding over “deep thoughts.”
“That was when I started having feelings for Jason, despite our nine-year age gap and the fact that I already had a boyfriend,” she confessed. “We talked about acting and writing, our career goals, his fear of fame, our love of privacy and the need for solitude. It was the kind of conversation that makes you fall in love with someone. Judd [Apatow] once told me he’d had a conversation like that in the car with the actress Leslie Mann, when they were working on the Cable Guy. They ended up married.”
As Segel stopped at a hotel so Lin could use the bathroom, the pair made quips about the Ritz-Carlton being designed for “rich Hollywood guys to have affairs” — and the conversation took a “suggestive” turn.
“I had a wild impulse to ask Jason to spend the night with me at the hotel where I had taken a leak,” Lin said, adding that she “stamped out the urge to kiss him and gave him a hug instead.”
She noted feeling “intoxicated” by Segel’s attention “even though I knew it was wrong.” The writer continued to long for something to happen between them — until it became clear he was interested in someone else.
“My birthday came later that week. [My boyfriend] Carl had to go out of town for work, so I used that as an excuse to make dinner plans with Jason,” Lin explained. “All day long I toggled between guilt and anticipation. Then I noticed Jason flirting with Linda Cardellini, the actress who played Lindsay.”
When the trio ended up going out for dinner to celebrate Lin’s birthday, she recalled making “a silent wish” as she blew out her candles that Segel would kiss her at the end of the night. However, “all I got when he dropped me off was a brotherly hug,” she wrote.
Lin claimed that she confessed her wish to Segel the following day, but the actor ultimately turned her down due to not wanting to “ruin” her boyfriend’s life.
“I was crushed like a lovesick teenager. Maybe Jason was being honest, and if so, his moral code was impressive for a guy his age. But I had a feeling that whatever had been brewing between us was barely a blip compared to what was going on with Linda,” Lin shared of her heartbreak. “And I was right: before long, they were a couple, their union deemed by everyone as cute and inevitable. Linda was beautiful and talented, not to mention a cool person. I never stood a chance.”
Segel and Cardellini sparked a romance after Freaks and Geeks was canceled in 2001. After their split in 2007, Segel was linked to Bojana Novakovic and later Alexis Mixter, whom he dated from 2013 to 2021. Cardellini, for her part, shares daughter Lilah-Rose, 11, with fiancé Steven Rodriguez, to whom she’s been engaged since 2013.