Courtesy of Niles Fitch/Instagram

This Is Us star Milo Ventimiglia proved he will always be Jack Pearson at heart by attending the college graduation of his on screen son Niles Fitch.

Ventimiglia, 46, showed up to support Fitch, 22 —who played teen Randall on the NBC drama — at the University of Southern California’s Tuesday, May 21, ceremony alongside Hannah Zeile, who portrayed teen Kate. The trio posed for a candid picture together, with Fitch standing in the center in his cap and gown while Ventimiglia and Zeile, 26, flanked him on each side.

“Congratulations @nilesfitch,” Zeile wrote via her Instagram Story alongside the sweet snap and various celebration emojis that included a graduation cap, a bottle of champagne and a red heart.

While the Pearson matriarch, Mandy Moore, wasn’t there in person to see her TV son get his diploma, she did send her love via Fitch’s Instagram. “Go Niles! Unbelievable. #proudfakemom,” she commented under a photo from the graduation, which Fitch captioned, “Dad, I did it.”

This Is Us ran from 2016 to 2022 and focused on siblings Kevin (Justin Hartley), Kate (Chrissy Metz) and Randall (Sterling K. Brown). Jack (Ventimiglia) and Rebecca Pearson (Moore), were also at the center of the series in both present time and flashbacks, where Fitch and Zeile would often appear alongside Logan Shroyer, who played teenage Kevin.

Fitch’s ceremony was particularly touching for This Is Us fans thanks to how Jack’s fate played out on the show. The patriarch died after saving the family from a housefire in season 2, just four weeks before his kids’ high school graduations.

“MILO VENTIMIGLIA WENT TO NIELS’ [sic] graduation (he played young randall on this is us) I’M CRYING,” one user wrote via X. Another added, “Jack attending Randall’s graduation in another universe.”

“If you know you know,” a third person said. “And Mandy Moore is probably somewhere looking for Kevin!”

When the series — which earned 39 Emmy nominations and four wins throughout its run — came to an end after six seasons, the cast was often candid about the difficulty of saying goodbye to one another. Speaking exclusively to Us Weekly in 2023, Ventimiglia said he would be thrilled to reunite with his costars again in the future.

“Everybody from This Is Us is wonderful,” he told Us. “Reuniting with him or anyone else from the cast — or anyone from any number of films I’ve done in the last 28, 29 years — I’m sure that’d be a blast.”

As for who he missed most, the actor admitted it was hard to part ways with Moore.

Milo Ventimiglia, Niles Fitch, Hannah Zeile
Courtesy of Instagram/Hannah Zeile

“There’s so much truth to her performance, day in and day out,” he told E! News in 2022. “I never felt like Mandy and I were performing. We were just existing as Rebecca and Jack, able to grow within this marriage of who these two people were. So I think I’d miss her the most.”

The duo became so synchronized and in tune with their characters, in fact, they functioned as pseudo parents on set. “I’m definitely the father, [Mandy Moore’s] definitely the mother. But I think we both feel protective of our group,” Ventimiglia told Us in December 2017. “Not just our cast but our entire group. There is a level of looking out for everyone. I know Susan [Kelechi Watson, who plays Beth Pearson] has called me ‘Papa Pearson’ or ‘Papa Bear’ before. So if she says it it must be true.”

For Ventimiglia, who has had a decades-long career with roles on shows like Gilmore Girls, Heroes and more, becoming Jack Pearson felt instinctual from the very start.

“I know Jack, I know his reactions. They’re instinctual. They’re not planned,” he explained. “I know who this man is. I know who he became. I know where he came from. So nothing is a surprise to me, but what that means is I get to really lean into these experiences of playing him and playing him, maybe even with a little more wealth of character having experienced him for so long.”


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