Hilary Duff Breaks Down How ‘Lizzie McGuire’ Ended Up in ‘How I Met Your Father’

Warning: This story contains spoilers from “A Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Valentine’s Day,” the March 7 episode of “How I Met Your Father,” now streaming on Hulu.

Does Lizzie McGuire grow up to be Sophie Tompkins? It sure looks like. During Tuesday’s episode of “How I Met Your Father,” the group reflects on their past Valentine’s Day experiences. When it’s Sophie’s (Hilary Duff) turn, she has a flashback to when she was 13. Then, a clip of the Season 2 premiere of “Lizzie McGuire,” which aired in Feb 2002, is shown, during which she’s talking on the phone to her boyfriend while Miranda (Lalaine) is at her side.

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So, does that mean that Sophie and Lizzie are the same person? “I’m not confirming that, but it felt like a really fun thing for us to do,” executive producer Elizabeth Berger tells Variety. “We got a temperature check from Hilary, who has such good sense of humor. Then it was just about finding the right clip. We loved that we got to bring Lizzie into our world for a minute.”

Duff recalls getting a phone call from Berger and executive producer Isaac Aptaker, who checked to see if she would be up for the flashback. “I was like, ‘Of course I’d be okay with it!’ Lizzie makes people happy. The fact that we could tie it into this show, I was obsessed with it. I loved it,” she says. “Someone asked if Sophie would have been a ‘Lizzie McGuire’ fan, I was like, ‘Heck yes, Sophie watched Lizzie McGuire. She came home from school and watched.'”

Duff admits that “it’s hard not to see the similarities” between Lizzie and Sophie, adding, “They’d definitely be friends.”

LIZZIE MCGUIRE, from left: Adam Lamberg, Hilary Duff, Lalaine, 2001-2004. © Walt Disney Enterprises / Courtesy Everett Collection
“Lizzie McGuire”

“Lizzie McGuire” aired for two seasons on the Disney Channel from 2001 to 2004. “The Lizzie McGuire Movie” was released in 2003. Although a revival series of the Emmy-nominated show was in the works at Disney+ in 2019, it came to a halt the following year as Duff and original creator Terri Minsky wanted to make the show older while Disney+ wanted it to remain family friendly. Ultimately, the project was scrapped.

Luckily, “How I Met Your Mother” was able to honor Lizzie — and another past project for Duff. John Corbett, who portrayed the actor’s teacher in 2004’s “Raise Your Voice,” joined Season 2 as a new love interest for Sophie.

“At first it took me by surprise and then I was like, ‘Yes of course, why not?’ He’s great and such a good looking guy — an older gentleman. It took a second for me to wrap my head around it and I was like, great were all actors. Just doing our job,” Duff says. “We have great chemistry, who would have known? He’s a big guy with big ideas and I loved it. He did not want to leave. He had never done multi-cam and was sad to go.”

New episodes of “How I Met Your Father” drop on Hulu every Tuesday.

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