This Is What Happened To Topanga From Boy Meets World

You may not recognize the name Danielle Fishel, but if you grew up in the 90's, chances are you've heard of Topanga. That's the character Fishel famously played on the TGIF sitcom Boy Meets World for seven seasons, beginning when she was 12 years old. Topanga started the show as the hippie girl at school and turned into protagonist Cory Matthews' love interest, winning all of our hearts in the process. The series came to an end in 2000 with Topanga and Cory married and moving to New York. 


Obviously, Fishel has done some growing up since then. In fact, she's become one of those actresses who is a constant reminder of how old we are. But you may be surprised her resume contains more than simply her child star legacy. From studying psychology to working at Bloomingdales, she had a good run living as a "regular person." We all know she came back to her iconic role in the Boy Meets World reboot, Girl Meets World, but what else has she been up to?

Good roles were hard to come by

With Boy Meets World in the rear view mirror, Fishel now had the time and freedom that she didn't have before to explore exciting new projects. What she found, however, was mostly unexciting TV cameos, made for TV movies, and straight-to-DVD films. 


Fishel made cameos on the sitcoms Nikki and Yes, Dear and appeared in the boy band-heavy Longshot with just about every other teen star from the '90s. In the special effects-challenged Game Box 1.0, she played two roles, one of which was a video game character. And she co-starred in both of National Lampoon's Dorm Daze films, showing a raunchier side that we hadn't seen before. 

What would Mr. Feeny say?

She dished on fashion and entertainment

Fishel wasn't exactly thrilled with the jobs being sent her way after Boy Meets World, which is why she decided to take on the part she was born to play: herself. 

"If you're a girl just off of a young kid show and now you're 18, everyone wants you to be in their movie and take your top off. And that's just not what I wanted to do." Fishel told My Entertainment World. "So I took a lot of time off, traveled a lot and really figured out if this was really something I wanted to do. And eventually I ended up getting into hosting."


Fishel worked as a correspondent on The Tyra Banks Show in 2007, occasionally appearing on the talk show to discuss topics such as the Hollywood casting couch and her romance with NSYNC's Lance Bass. And that led to her her gig as host of The Dish in 2008.

Described as a female-focused version of The Soup, The Dish allowed Fishel to show off her goofy personality and playfully zing reality TV shows and celeb fashion faux pas. "I thought this was a great thing for me to do where I still got to be a little bit of an actor but also got to be a lot more of myself," Fishel told My Entertainment World.

Regular jobs aren't just for regular people

If someone told you they saw Fishel at Bloomingdale's, you might believe them. That seems like the kind of place a celebrity would shop. But if someone told you they saw Fishel working at Bloomingdale's, you probably wouldn't believe them.


And yet, Fishel was in fact an employee at the ritzy department store. Most importantly, she had a blast doing it. "For the last two years from October to December I worked at Bloomingdale's wrapping presents," Fishel told LAist in 2008. "I worked on Christmas Eve for the last two years. I wrapped so many presents, it was so fun. People come in and say 'you know what's so funny, you look so much like that girl from...'" See, even people who saw her with their own eyes didn't believe it. She also revealed, "I taught school for a year. Special needs 1-3 year olds. I also want to be a waitress. Really bad." Not a fancy place, though. Somewhere like Ruby's. Can you say down-to-earth?

She had a run-in with the law

Fishel was back in the news in 2007, and not in a good way. She was arrested on a drunk driving warrant in Orange County and released from jail shortly after, leading to headlines such as "Boy Meets World Star Meets Jail Cell," "Former Child Star Danielle Fishel Meets Cops," and "Boy Meets World's Topanga Meets DUI Charge."


If this TMZ story is to be believed, Fishel broke out the water works during her court hearing in 2008 and it reportedly worked! The judge let her off the hook with probation only. The report said the judge warned her she would get 25 days in jail if she screwed up again. It appears she has had no serious run-ins with the law since then, so "Fishel Meets Lesson Learned?"

Her post-Nutrisystem body wasn't maintainable

Fishel did and said all the right things as a spokesperson for Nutrisystem in 2007. She lost 28 pounds with the weight loss service and raved about it in the press, telling OK! magazine she used to feel uncomfortable in her own skin but now felt "a-mazing." And there was the Nutrisystem ad that featured Fishel talking about losing out on roles after she gained weight and then showed a slimmed down Fishel prancing around the beach in a bikini. 


While there are various obvious problematic messages in this ad regarding body image, that's not the only issue. While she made it sound like she was in it for the long haul in the ad, she later revealed it was all for show. Once the bikini shoot was over, Fishel told People, "I had a grilled cheese, fries and a milkshake. It was not a maintainable weight for me." She put back on some, but not all, of the weight, and stopped stressing out so much about her figure. "I've learned to be comfortable in my own skin," she said.

She didn't let the stares get in the way of her degree

You're never too old to go back to school. Just ask Fishel, who did just that following years of false starts and highly recommended it to anyone thinking of doing the same. 

"After my 27th birthday, I made the decision to stop letting fear be a factor in fulfilling my dreams and living the life I wanted, so with a little encouragement from friends and family, I enrolled," Fishel wrote on her Tumblr page. "Yes, I was sometimes the oldest person in class, I was whispered about many times, and I did forget how to do a few math equations. But I persevered..."


She sure did. Fishel graduated Summa Cum Laude from Cal State-Fullerton with a degree in Psychology in 2013, according to her personal website. Apparently she also knows a thing or two about math because she became a math tutor during that time as well. 

She got married and then divorced

In 2013, Fishel married her boyfriend of nearly five yearscraft-beer sales specialist Tim Belusko, with over 200 friends and family members looking on, including her TV hubby Ben Savage. Not on hand was TV pal Rider Strong, who also happened to walk down the aisle at his own wedding that weekend.


"I was hesitant because he's seven years younger," Fishel said about Belusko in an interview with People. "But he's so mature." She also admitted to being attracted to his Mortal Kombat tattoo in an interview with Maxim (via People) which, hey, to each their own. Sadly, the marriage only lasted about two years. Fishel quietly filed for divorce from Belusko in 2015.

Cory and Topanga, together again

For a while, school became Fishel's main focus, which is why she applied for grad school. Her plan was to receive her master's in marriage and family therapy. "In my mind, acting and Hollywood were in the past and I was totally fine with that," Fishel told Laughing Place. "It wasn't like I was sad or disappointed. I loved school, loved psychology. I wasn't even thinking about it when suddenly I got the call..."


That "call" turned out to be an offer to reprise her role as Topanga in Boy Meets World's long-rumored sequel for Disney Channel, Girl Meets World. Fishel put grad school on hold and jumped on board along with Savage to play parents on the sitcom. "I had gotten used to my quiet little life in Orange County and now everything is so out there," Fishel told People about the response to the show.

The series premiere earned an impressive 5.2 million viewers in 2014, but as is often the case with nostalgia, the novelty eventually wore off and audiences tuned out. Girl Meets World was canceled after three seasons. Oh well. It was nice to see so many of the Boy Meets World characters together again — even Minkus.


Kissing and telling

They say you have to strike while the iron is hot and that's exactly what Fishel did when she released her memoir, Normally, This Would be Cause for Concern: Tales of Calamity and Unrelenting Awkwardness, shortly after Girl Meets World premiered. 


The 2014 book is by no means a juicy tell-all. There are no TMZ-worthy stories about Fishel feuding or partying hard with castmates. But Fishel did reveal that her first kiss took place on camera. "I looked over at Ben, and he had gone completely white," she wrote about Savage (via the Hollywood Reporter). The on-screen couple proceeded to kiss practically every week for seven years. Though Fishel and Savage never dated IRL, Savage revealed on THR's Off the Cuff podcast that they actually did go out on one date — but Savage didn't know it was a date at the time so he totally blew it.

In other shocking revelations, Fishel also wrote in her book that she initially got passed over for the role of Topanga, but later landed the job because the actress who got the part was unable to follow the director's notes. That's right, Fishel was plan B.


She gave love another chance

Fishel and Jensen Karp were only "acquaintances" when they both attended Calabasas High School in Calabasas, Calif. But after Fishel's divorce, the two would become so much more. They began dating in 2017, the same year that Karp, who has had quite the eclectic career, helped launch Drop the Mic with James Corden. Not coincidentally, Fishel appeared on Drop the Mic in 2018 to face off against Jerry Maguire actor Jonathan Lipnicki. Remember him? Prior to Drop The Mic, Karp worked as a rapper under the name Hot Karl, served as a producer for WWE and released his interestingly titled memoir Kanye West Owes me $300.


The couple isn't shy about their relationship, posting photos together in Thailand and at NBA All-Star weekend, among other fun places. "You are my partner," Fishel wrote on Instagram, "the only man with whom I'd hold hands while he's wearing socks and sandals..." Now that's love.

That's Mrs. Karp to you

Fishel and Karp got engaged in 2018, though the proposal didn't exactly go as planned. She wrote on Instagram that she "proceeded to screw up a very romantic marriage proposal by being too efficient (this is very on brand for me)," without going into detail. Seven months later, the couple walked down the aisle in Los Angeles with Boy Meets World co-stars Ben Savage, Will Friedle and Rider Strong looking on. Her Girl Meets World co-star Sabrina Carpenter served as a bridesmaid and Karp's pal John Mayer sang at the reception, covering Beyonce's XO during the first dance.


Following the wedding, Karp wrote on Instagram "Today I married my soulmate. We were surrounded by family and friends and it was the best day of my life. I also ate 3 donuts after dinner. Unrelated." Fishel took to social media as well, tweeting "That's Mrs. Karp to you."

She's preggers

Baby alert: Fishel announced on Instagram that she's pregnant, or as she put it "I'm eating for two." Not wanting to be unprepared for baby Karp, Fishel — who is having a boy due in July 2019 — said she's been buying baby shoes and clothes and hitting the baby books, as well as downloading baby apps. "I'm a walking cliché." She also admitted that she has become more emotional, crying during commercials and feeling both confident and inadequate at times. And there have been pregnancy cravings, mostly of the salt-related kind, which is in contrast to the sweet tooth she had before getting pregnant.


Proud-dad-to-be Karp posted a photo from the ultrasound on Instagram, claiming "my baby straight up jumped during an ultrasound" and that "the doctor had never seen that" before in his decades in the profession. Naturally, Karp is now preparing himself for life as a basketball dad. 

Taking a seat in the director's chair

Fishel has gone from in front of the camera to behind it. After sitting in the director's chair for four episodes of Girl Meets World in 2016 and 2017, she moved on to directing fellow Disney Channel shows Raven's Home and Sydney to the Max. Fishel called the directing experience on the latter a dream come true on Instagram: "If you're not already, I hope every single one of you pursues the dream you have to do what you LOVE, even when it takes hard work and a long time to get there."


According to her personal website, Fishel is pursuing directing full time, in addition to pitching kid-focused projects to networks that she co-wrote. One project that she's pitching will be of interest to Boy Meets World fans — a show she's shopping with former co-star Will Friedle. "‪Danielle and I are actually, looks like, maybe doing something in the future," Friedle revealed at New York Comic Con in 2018 (via Vulture). Stay tuned!