Parenthood's Mae Whitman, Matt Lauria Talk Amber and Ryan's 'Wonderful' New Romance

Parenthood Season 4 SpoilersFans of Parenthood need not be too eagle-eyed to see that an already sweet romance is in the works between a beloved Braveman, Amber, and an Army vet, Ryan. And to hear their portrayers, Mae Whitman and Matt Lauria, tell it, their love story — which will slowly but surely blossom in the coming weeks — only gets better.

“It’s so wonderful! I love them so much,” Whitman gushes to TVLine. “Amber’s relationship with Ryan is just the best. It’s the first time we’ve ever seen her settled in herself as a person, really. She’s doing music, which she loves, and she’s on her own and doing well, so she’s in that space to receive what could be right for her. And with Ryan, what’s so amazing is just how different they are and the lessons they teach each other.”

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Though things begin slowly enough — a first date happens in this Tuesday’s installment (NBC, 10/9c) — the two immediately share “such a deep connection that it’s hard to ignore,” Whitman reveals. “They’re both so honest and straightforward that their connection is undeniable; it would be hard to keep them apart.”

But all of that comes later. Amber will first need to break through Ryan’s tough exterior — one that developed after years of fighting the war in Afghanistan — and she’ll more than succeed.

“Amber is just disarmingly comfortable,” Lauria explains. “She’s supremely at ease and cool and confident… What I love about [Ryan] is that every moment is a little discovery about who he is right now and how he is fitting into this situation. Everything he knows is Army-related, so how does he integrate back into a social setting back home? And because Amber is so talented in that respect, it’s hard for him not to admire her and really be drawn to that. Hopefully, by association, maybe [he] can be that cool and comfortable.”

For Amber, meanwhile, the feelings come from a much simpler place: He treats her well. “Ryan’s so quiet and there’s a lot of fear for him, but he’s also such a gentleman and really cares about her,” Whitman muses. “She’s just so used to doing whatever she feels like in the moment… and he teaches her how it can be nice to wait and take things slowly, to really live with intention.”

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While the actress concedes that the new relationship is “really heavy” at times (“There are little pieces that are already coming up about him going through something so serious and extreme, so different from anything that anyone who is here could imagine”), she shares that her “favorite thing is that they want to get through it together.

“Amber just sees this guy who she loves,” continues Whitman. “It’s hard for him to remember his place here, but then he finds this girl who is so supportive and loving and fun, and it’s a source of light for him. Ryan is so serious when you first meet him, and then you really start to see him opening up and trusting again… It’s really pretty to see them helping each other in that way.”

Putting it rather poetically, Lauria shares that the two “fill in the blanks [for] each other” as the relationship develops. “There’s a lot of hand-holding for Amber, so it’s an interesting place to see her in; for her to be the one to take someone and guide them in a hopeful or healing direction… He’s challenging her to go to some pretty deep places.”

Romance aside, the Friday Night Lights alum tells TVLine that playing Ryan truly is “the most important thing that I feel like I’ve worked on.” Why? “It’s so topical right now,” he explains. “Everyone’s reading about the suicide rates and PTSD and how [these soldiers] don’t have the right channels to find themselves again. So, I feel [the] immense pressure of really, really wanting to honor them. One of the great things about art is that you can teach an audience empathy; you can elevate their conscience in some way… [Veterans’] needs and their significance just wasn’t on my radar [before this role], and now I’ve been educated. I’m so much more empathetic, and I hope this story will do that.”

Are you loving Lauria on Parenthood? Excited for an Amber/Ryan romance? Hit the comments!

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  1. Elyse says:

    i love them together :) i can’t wait

    • Caro says:

      Me neither! This interview says it all, why them together will prove to be an amazingly beautiful story. I’m really looking forward to that! Parenthood does a great job writing realistic stories that are really day-to-day stories that could happen in real life, but they are not over the top, too soapy. Really well done, so I’m sure the writers will do this new story line justice and it will be played out beautifully by the actors. Parenthood is a piece of art and more people should watch it. It contains so much!

  2. HEATHER says:

    It has made my day that they are FINALLY going to give Amber a relationship that is so good! It is long over due!! Plus I LOVE Matt Lauria from his FNL days! Can’t wait to see these 2 grow!!!

  3. Amanda says:

    Yay! I am SO excited about this! I love Amber (& Mae too!) so much & I’m on board with anything that involves Matt Lauria.

  4. dlonyc4 says:

    I cannot WAIT for this storyline. Matt Lauria was one of my favorite parts of FNL in the later years, and Mae Whitman has been the best young actress anywhere (tv, movies, whatever) for YEARS. This is gonna be so awesome. :)

  5. He signed up for 10 episodes. He’ll practically be in it for the entire season. I’m happy to know this.

  6. Jason says:

    “It’s as Bland as the nose on Plain’s face.”

  7. Murry says:

    I happen to think this is one of the better creative decisions that Parenthood has made (and there have been some really good ones, so that’s saying something). The two characters make a LOT of sense together, and I love how both are portrayed. It’s interesting to see how well Matt is fitting in with the story – they kind of seamlessly integrated him into the show. I would be devastated to see him part ways – PLEASE keep Ryan around, even if he and Amber are apart (though I most certainly think their pairing is inspired and I would love to see have a long-lasting bond).

  8. robinepowell says:

    Watched it last night at 9:00 (a better time for this great show). It was a really good episode and it had Haddie in it too.

  9. sarah says:

    I adore this show and keep saying that it deserves 22-24 episodes!
    Amber is one of my favorites characters if not my fave so I am so happy to see that she will get a good relationship finally!!!! So excited about this!

  10. TV Gord says:

    Another terrific episode! They seem like naturals together, especially how the date goes. Without giving anything away, I loved Max’s storyline the most this week!

  11. YowzaPowza says:

    Am I the only person not loving this season of Parenthood? It’s become so overly schmaltzy and typical. It used to actually be a funny/touching show, and has since become ordinary. I used to tell all my friends to watch this because it wasn’t what they thought it was, but this season I’ve stopped recommending it for a reason. This whole Amber love story seems like it will be incredibly boring to me. Christina getting cancer is so redundant. This show was never about your typical family drama stuff, and this season it seems like they’ve run out of ideas, 7th Heaven style. And when is Drew going to come out of the closet already? I mean seriously.

  12. YowzaPowza says:

    I still watch and enjoy it. To me, it’s just not as good as previous seasons. They still do a great job with what they have and I continue to think Monica Potter deserves an Emmy nod. I’m just not a fan of many of the story lines this year, as I feel like I have seen all of them before on different shows.

  13. Diane says:

    I love them both, but especially love that Zeke is the reason that they met. #ZekeMatch.Com

  14. Kevin says:

    They’re like a young version of Zeek and Camille. He’s the big, tall, grizzled war vet and she’s the artsy grounded type in both cases. It would be neat to see this relationship grow and perhaps eventually even see them get married.

    • Z. says:

      You are soo right! They are like a Zeke and Camille 2.0.. That is just too cute… I knew i liked them, now even more then before!

    • Court says:

      You are so right! Let’s hope then they’ll last as long as Zeke and Camille have. I think the Amber/Ryan relationship has the potential to be something really special. I’m loving those two together.
      Like most people have said, I miss FNL. Luke Cafferty filled the Matt Saracen whole in my heart. It’s great to have Lauria on TV again!

  15. Christian says:

    Did I miss an episode? I don’t remember them interacting and now we’re talking about a seemingly imminent epic love story between the two characters.

  16. Jeri says:

    Love this show, I trust their decisions & I’m willing to follow where-ever they take me.

  17. A says:

    Already seen the latest ep. thanks Canada!

  18. NBC says:

    Who else is hoping they end up getting married?

  19. Kat says:

    LOVE THEM ALREADY! Can’t wait to see their love bloom. What they’ve given us so far, and what they talk about in this interview, is very promising indeed. And so glad Matt has joined the cast…loved him on FNL too. He and Mae are just lovely together and it’s really nice to see Amber with someone so different and yet similar from her all at the same time. Makes them really interesting and compelling to watch.

  20. Joyce Berman says:

    I love all characters..Amber, Drew, Zeke and Camille are my favorites. So happy to see Matt Lauria and miss FNL terribly. The Amber-Ryan story will be a welcome addition to the storyline. Shall we call them RyBer or AmbRy?

  21. jackie2830 says:

    OMG, I commented 2 weeks ago regarding the acting/storyline from the “family cancer sharing”……….they all deserve to win Emmy’s for that episode. However, between the continuation of the Cancer story this week, the Max campaign win [tears dripping down both of our faces here] and……… the new poignant, and WONDERFUL Amber/Ryan budding relationship…………THE BEST SHOW ON TV!!!! Come on Tuesday!!!

  22. Kathleen says:

    I LOVE Parenthood and can’t wait to watch each and every episode. I was so happy when it returned this season and hope it continues for years to come! ♥

  23. Cc says:

    I love this season, Its not as awkward, everyone is growing. The Amber/Ryan story line is already one of the best they’ve done. Even if they don’t last as a couple, I think he will help Amber love herself.

  24. B says:

    I just adore them together. Such a sweet couple, and Mae Whitman is the bee’s knees. It’s about time Amber had a good man who treats her right.

  25. A says:

    This is the best show I’ve ever watched. I look forward to it every week! I never knew a tv show could matter so much to me! Please never leave Parenthood!!!! I love the touching and honest stories, the realistic interactions, and the amazing characters! Best show on television!

  26. sm galloway says:

    Matt Lauria is cast perfectly in this role. I’ve watched Parenthood on and off over the seasons, but I’m gripped right now because of this story line. I can tell Lauria has done his research for the role; he handles it well with the right sensitivity and respect. I applaud the writers for bringing in this topic and I really hope the writers don’t write Lauria off too quickly. As an Iraq veteran myself, this captivates and captures my heart. Though it’s a tv show, seeing these two characters work it out and stick together really gives hope for the rest of us in similar situations, and watching this couple seek understanding does a wonderful service to increase the public awareness.