Remember Natalie Teeger, the patient and witty assistant to the ever-particular Adrian Monk? Played by the charming actress Traylor Howard, Natalie was the calming force in the storm of Monk’s obsessive-compulsive quirks, navigating murders, meltdowns, and mountains of hand sanitizer with grace and humor. But what happened to Traylor Howard after Monk’s curtain call in 2009?
Born on June 14, 1966, in Orlando, Florida, Traylor Elizabeth Howard, daughter of Peggy and Robert Howard, the president of the Howard Fertilizer and Chemical Company, she carries her mother’s maiden name as her first name.
Howard attended Lake Highland Preparatory School in Orlando and later graduated from Florida State University in 1984 with a degree in communications and advertising. Eventually moving to Los Angeles to join her then-boyfriend, an aspiring actor, Howard shifted from a budding advertising career to acting, finding it more engaging and enjoyable.
Traylor Howard’s acting career took off in 1994 with a series of AT&T commercials titled “You Will,” directed by David Fincher and narrated by Tom Selleck. That same year, she had a minor role in “Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman” and later found her big break on the TV show “Boston Common,” where she played Joy Byrnes, the love interest of Anthony Clark’s character, Boyd Pritchett, for two seasons
Following “Boston Common,” Howard joined “Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place,” which was later renamed “Two Guys and a Girl.” The ABC sitcom, which ran for four seasons, starred Ryan Reynolds, Richard Ruccolo, and Howard as Sharon Carter, a popular college student who becomes a spokesperson after graduation.
Traylor Howard would play the character of Joy Byrnes on Boston Common from 1996 to 1997. The show ran for two seasons across 32 episodes on NBC.
Howard also appeared in two popular comedy films: the 1998 Norm MacDonald film “Dirty Work” and the 2000 Jim Carrey comedy “Me, Myself, & Irene.”
Traylor Howard’s next notable role was as Natalie Teeger in the USA Network series “Monk,” where she played the assistant to the show’s lead detective, Adrian Monk, portrayed by Tony Shalhoub. Howard joined the cast in the third season and appeared in 87 episodes over five seasons. Intriguingly, the show mirrored aspects of Howard’s life in her character’s background, making Natalie the daughter of Robert and Peggy Davenport from Davenport Toothpaste, paralleling Howard’s real-life parentage from the Howard Fertilizer and Chemical Company.
Howard recounted on a podcast how she landed the role of Natalie Teeger. She had previously worked with showrunner Randy Zisk on “Lois and Clark,” which helped her start her career.
Career after Monk
After her successful run on “Monk,” Traylor Howard retired from acting to focus on her family, which she revealed on the Randy Disher Podcast. She also spoke highly of her time on the series and the people she worked with. She did however express openness to returning for the right project. She emphasized her desire to work at a high level with great people, preferring not to act otherwise.
What is Traylor Howard doing now?
Traylor Howard has remained relatively quiet in the acting world, with her most recent project being a 2020 Monk sketch. In this 4-minute Zoom sketch, she reprised her role as Natalie Teeger, alongside the original cast, including Tony Shalhoub as Adrian Monk. The sketch humorously depicted Monk’s struggles in adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic, including his exaggerated social distancing practices even during a Zoom call.
However, fans of Howard will be pleased to know that she is set to return to the screen in the upcoming movie “Mr. Monk’s Last Case: A Monk Movie.” This film, a revival of the beloved “Monk” series, features Howard alongside other original cast members like Tony Shalhoub, Ted Levine, and Jason Gray-Stanford. The movie, produced by the original “Monk” team, is scheduled to premiere on Peacock on December 8, reigniting excitement among the series’ followers
Traylor Howard has been married three times: first to Cameron Hall in February 1991, ending in divorce in March 1993; then to Christian Navarro in April 2003, with whom she had her first son, Sabu, before divorcing in 2006; and finally to Jarel Portman in early 2011, with whom she has her second son, Julien.
Jarel Portman, born in 1962, is the CEO of JPX Works, a real estate development company known for constructing luxury apartments in Atlanta, Georgia.