Courtney Henggeler

Courtney Henggeler in Cobra Kai.

Curtis Bonds Baker/Netflix
Ralph Macchio and Courtney Henggeler

Ralph Macchio and Courtney Henggeler in Cobra Kai.

Mark Hill/Netflix
Ralph Macchio and Courtney Henggeler

Ralph Macchio and Courtney Henggeler in Cobra Kai.

Bob Mahoney/Netflix

Courtney Henggeler

Victoria Stevens
Fill 1
Fill 1
December 30, 2021
Online Originals

Defining Moment

Actress Courtney Henggeler delivers all the right moves as Cobra Kai’s Amanda LaRusso. No dojo required.

Courtney Henggeler, who plays Amanda LaRusso on Cobra Kai, Netflix's reboot of The Karate Kid, keeps hoping the producers will let her character have a karate moment. "She's been married to Daniel [Ralph Macchio] for so many years," Henggeler says. "There's a dojo in her backyard. I think Amanda knows at least one move!"

While she hasn't dropped anyone with a roundhouse kick, Amanda did get to deliver one of the series' most satisfying moments: slapping villainous sensei John Kreese (Martin Kove) across the face in season three. "To this day he says, 'You're the only woman I ever let slap me,'" Henggeler laughs.

Viewers of the popular series — which returns with a fourth season on December 31st — know Amanda as the pragmatic wife and mom who helps run the couple's auto dealership. She's also quick to give Daniel a reality check whenever his battles with high school rival Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) get too ridiculous.

"She's the voice of the audience," Henggeler observes, "who sees how absurd it can all be. Like, there's this insane rivalry happening in the San Fernando Valley, where karate is the most important thing... and does anyone else think it's weird that there's this old sensei in his seventies who's come back to torture us?"

Henggeler has nothing but praise for her co-star Macchio, who she says is "always kind, always inclusive, always looking out for me."

Cobra Kai has given Henggeler the most high-profile role of her career. None of it seemed possible just four years ago, when the actress — discouraged by twenty years without a starring role — was on the verge of quitting the business. "Acting wasn't there for me," she admits. "I told my husband, 'I don't think I can do this anymore.'" Then came the audition that changed her life.

"I went from a hired gun, puttering my way from guest-star to guest-star, to having the [illusion of] security," Henggeler says. "That alone gives you a little room to breathe. A bit more confidence to figure out what you really want your life to look like."

Henggeler is already filming Cobra Kai season five. About season four, all she'll reveal is that, "Amanda will make an unlikely alliance... and we'll learn more about her back story."

Henggeler grew up in Pennsylvania and later, on Long Island. At an early age, she discovered she liked making people laugh and being, as she says, "front and center, performing." She attended the State University of New York but dropped out, eventually heading west to Los Angeles, where she began booking commercials. Her many television credits include The Big Bang Theory, Criminal Minds and Fuller House.

In 2020, Henggeler added "screenwriter" to her resume, writing and co-executive producing the Lifetime thriller The Secret Life of a Celebrity Surrogate. Eventually, she says she'd like to create a show of her own, preferably a comedy. "You never have much control over anything as a working actor," she notes. "But with writing — I love making people say what I want them to say."

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