What Only True Hallmark Fans Know About Jonathan Bennett

Before he was Jake in Hallmark's "A Wedding of a Lifetime" or Brandon in "The Christmas House," award-winning actor Jonathan Bennett was popular teenage heartthrob Aaron Samuels in the 2004 iconic film "Mean Girls" (via IMDb). And a lot has changed for Bennett since filming "Mean Girls" with the star-studded cast, which included Tina Fey and Lindsay Lohan.

For instance, he's added "Dancing With The Stars" contestant, Food Network baking competition host, and executive producer to his list of already-impressive accomplishments (per Food Network). But for Hallmark fans, perhaps one of his greatest achievements is that he made his way onto the coveted Hallmark channel, portraying several male characters in various films who often simulate his charming real-life personality.

Starring in Hallmark's first LGBTQ-centered Christmas movie, Bennett will grace our screens again on December 11 in the new movie "The Holiday Sitter," Yahoo reported. To gear up for such a historical moment in Hallmark history, let's dive deeper into Bennett's background, revealing a few things you may not know about the star.

He was bullied in high school

Before his passion for acting led him to New York, Jonathan Bennett was a small-town theater kid born and raised in Ohio (per IMDb). Although It may be hard to believe, seeing as though Bennett perfectly portrayed charmingly popular high school student Aaron Samuels in "Mean Girls," he had quite the opposite experience in real life. The actor took to his personal Instagram page to share his daunting high school experience in light of World Theater Day. On March 27, 2021, Bennett opened up about his struggles in school and how theater was his safe space away from bullies, and the emotional torment he endured.

"He's awkward, his teeth are too big for his face, and he lives in fear every single day because he doesn't fit in with the rest of the boys in his class," wrote Bennett in the post, referring to his 16-year-old self. He then goes on to explain how he often got "pushed into a locker" and called derogatory names while walking the halls of his school. Stomach ulcers and dark thoughts developed from the ongoing stress of living in his homophobic town, and he was downright miserable — until theater saved his life.

A celeb outed him as gay before he came out

In 2014, Jonathan Bennett was a fan-favorite contestant on "Dancing With the Stars," where he made it six weeks before his elimination (via ABS News). DWTS judge Julianne Hough initially perceived Bennett as flirty, saying in an interview with Extra that Bennett DM'd her complimenting her "nice butt," and she thought of going on a date with him, Cosmopolitan reported. When asked what happened, she laughed and said, "He's gay! So I was like, that's not going to work."

Whether fans knew Bennett's sexuality or not, many believe it was inappropriate of Hough to publicly comment on it, especially considering he had never been vocal about it to the public at that point (per Cosmopolitan). Others, on the other hand, perceive this as not so much an "outing" as it was an innocent comment on Bennett's orientation that was a "no big deal" situation, and that perhaps Bennett was already out, as Bustle noted. Nevertheless, according to Pride, Bennett publicly came out as gay three years later in 2017 and is now happily married to "Blue Call" actor Jaymes Vaughan.

He was a spin cycle instructor

Back in 2013, Jonathan Bennett was living in Los Angeles, appearing in several films like "The Wrong Woman" and "The Secret Village" (per IMDb). While his day job consisted of delivering lines on movie sets, Bennett was pursuing another gig on the side that you probably wouldn't have guessed — spin cycle instructing. According to HuffPost, the spin cycling company he worked for, L.A. Flywheel, posted on their website that Bennett decided to become an indoor spin cycle instructor "to pay it forward and help others."

His Flywheel bio, which can no longer be located online, but was shared by Women's Health, said: "behind the pedals, Jonathan brings to the cycling world his positive attitude. He strives to bring out the best in all his riders, leaving them feeling accomplished and ready to face the day." Even if you're not the workout type, and have no idea what to expect at your first spin class, breaking a sweat doesn't sound too bad if Jonathan Bennett is leading the class.

He gets mammograms and helps raise funds for breast cancer patients

With October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Jonathan Bennett didn't hold back in showing the importance of breast cancer screenings, even for men, by sharing an Instagram post about it. In the video, Bennett says in a voice-over, "October is breast cancer awareness month, so I'm showing you what it's like to get a mammogram." The video depicts Bennett walking into a doctor's office and getting a few x-rays. "After my husband had a scare a few months ago, and with cancer running in both of our families, screenings are important to us," he explained.

His post also details the fundraiser he is involved with to raise money for breast cancer patients. Bennett teamed up with Wicked Good Cupcakes, a bakery and national cupcake delivery service, who will donate $1 of every "limited-edition Pink for a Purpose Vanilla Sprinkle Cupcake Jar" sold in October. The donations will be sent to the Ellie Fund, a Boston-based organization that provides services to breast cancer patients to "ease the stresses of everyday life," per their website.

He made history with his husband on the cover of a wedding magazine

If you're planning a wedding, know somebody who has planned a wedding, or simply know a thing or two about wedding planning, then you've probably heard of The Knot. Filled with all the advice and information one would need to plan a marriage ceremony, the publication is also big on featuring couples and brides on the cover of their seasonal issues. However, Jonathan Bennett and his then-fiancé, Jaymes Vaughan, made history when they appeared on the cover of The Knot's summer 2021 issue (via Out Traveler).

During an interview with Out Traveler, a publication designed to help the LGBTQIA+ community navigate safe traveling, Bennett and Vaughan were asked about what it meant to be the first gay couple on the cover. Bennett said, "We try to look at moments like that as 'what would this mean to younger us?' And it would have meant so much. For us to see two men in love on the cover of a wedding magazine when we were younger and struggling would have offered so much hope." We're sure 16-year-old Bennett would have felt a massive sense of relief if he could have seen his future self — being adored for exactly who he is.