Milo Ventimiglia may have been the primary subject of recent and upcoming This Is Us episodes, but he's not taking any credit without giving it right back to co-star Mandy Moore.
Ventimiglia, who plays Jack Pearson on the NBC drama, says Moore, who plays Jack's wife Rebecca, makes his job easier thanks to her incredible acting chops.
"I say this often, but thank God for Mandy Moore, because there is no level of imagination I need to drum up as Jack. I look at her and I'm right there and in Jack's heart and in his head and I'm with my wife. So thank God for Mandy Moore," Ventimiglia told The Hollywood Reporter.
After a season's worth of intrigue surrounding Jack's death, viewers finally watched after the Super Bowl as Jack survived the fire that destroyed the Pearsons' home, only to die of a heart attack hours later from complications of smoke inhalation. Moore's incredible performance as someone who just lost her partner after she thought he was out of the woods didn't go unnoticed by Ventimiglia, who said that as beautiful as job she did, it was still "painful" to see.
"At the same time, it's painful to watch her or listen to her go through such anguish of losing her husband. That was always very hard. Mandy is a rock," Ventimiglia said. "She's someone that, scene after scene, she delivers this beautiful performance of this woman who has had so much taken away from her with her partner and so much weight put on her after that by her family. I'm in awe of Mandy always."
Those who thought they might be through the most emotional part of the season after seeing Jack's death might be wrong, as Ventimiglia says Tuesday night's episode is "still a doozy."
"Imagine there's the immediate knowledge and shock of a hearing of a loved one's passing and then you know that you need to prepare yourself for the funeral. That's pretty much what you're up against," he hinted.
Ventimiglia said that he's "100 percent relieved" to have his death scene finally out there for the world to see.
"I'm happy that the audience now knows because they've asked the question for so long now, but at the same time my heart breaks," he said, adding that there are still secrets about Jack left to uncover — so don't expect him to be a less significant character any time soon.
"And now everybody's asking the question of, 'Well, wait a minute, where are we going now? What's Jack up to now? What's happening? I don't understand. Are you still on the show?' So I'm happy that a larger piece of that is out of the way, but there are still secrets to uncover and things to know about this man, this patriarch of the family," he said vaguely.
"It's been a question, what Jack's younger life was like, what his influences on having a positive family experience were," the actor said. "A lot of that relies on his relationship with his brother and what they experienced in the house they grew up in."
"For Jack and Nicky, I think a lot of that probably will be played not so much on younger child actors that are playing those parts that will rely on myself and another actor stepping into the shoes of Nicky — their time as young men, their time in Vietnam, the knowledge that maybe Nicky didn't quite make it," Ventimiglia shared.