Beyond Bravo

This Former Star of My So-Called Life Is Now a Countess and You Can Visit Her Castle

A.J. Langer presides over Powderham Castle in the English countryside.

My So-Called Life catapulted Claire Danes and Jared Leto to enduring fame after it aired on ABC from 1994 to 1995. One of the most memorable characters on the series was Rayanne Graff, played by A.J. Langer, who was the best friend to Danes' Angela Chase character. The fictional Rayanne was quite the wild teenager; she fronted the band called Frozen Embryos and almost had a fatal overdose at her own party.

Langer plays Rayanne Graff in My So-Called Life in 1995.

Langer in 1995.

Despite her crazy character, Langer, now 43, grew up to be a noblewoman in the English countryside. Actually, she's a straight up Countess, according to PEOPLE. She's been married for 12 years to Charles Courtenay, the 19th Earl of Devon, who she met at a bar in Las Vegas after leaving Los Angeles.

"We just caught eyes and smiled and it was so cliché," she told the publication. "But clichés happen, as I've learned. And then he moseyed over and ordered me this gross drink."

The pair have two children (Joscelyn, 10, and Jack, 8). And she is not formal at all.

Langer in 2001 at the All Star Summer Press Tour.

Langer in a scene for ABC's Private Practice, Season 5.

“Countess is a work title,” she insisted. “We’re still A.J. and Charlie.”

These days, Langer has assumed a leadership role at their estate, Powderham Castle, since moving to England in 2015, when Courtenay's father died and passed on the title. Powderham is open to the public for seasonal visits, special events, and even yoga and dance classes. Langer was born and raised in California, but her video interview for PEOPLE shows off an accent that's been distinctly affected by her new surroundings.

Langer says she didn't know that Courtenay was a lord and that his family had a castle until he took her there.

"Where I come from, this is not normal," she remembers telling him. "So you might need to fill me in a little bit."

Photo: Langer in 2005 at ABC's Winter Press Tour Party.

It was quite the bolt of culture shock moving to the UK, she admits.

“Then it was, ‘Welcome to the patriarchy,’ which I had never experienced,” she revealed. “People only asking me questions about the kids and the house, me talking to a bank manager and him responding to my husband. We did walk into a culture that had been very Downton Abbey.

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