Is Young Sheldon based on a true story?

Daisy Phillipson
Iain Armitage as Sheldon in Young SheldonCBS

With Young Sheldon Seasons 1-5 set to hit Netflix very soon, let’s delve into the world of the Big Bang Theory spinoff as we answer the question: is the show based on a true story?

It’s been a big week if you’re a Young Sheldon fan – as well as its imminent arrival on Netflix US for your binge-watching pleasure, there’s also the news that the series is set to end after the upcoming Season 7.

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Don’t fret, as there’s still 14 more episodes to look forward to, as well as another Big Bang Theory spinoff in development. The news of the spinoff arrived earlier this year, with the sitcom’s co-creator Chuck Lorre helming the project. 

Until then, you’ll soon be able to relive all of the best bits from the series, as Young Sheldon is hitting Netflix US soon. But the question remains: is the show based on a true story?

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Is Young Sheldon based on a true story?

Although Young Sheldon is a work of fiction and therefore not based on a true story, Lorre previously revealed that the central character – a younger version of The Big Bang Theory’s Sheldon Cooper – was inspired by the real-life nephew of Jim Parsons.

Parsons portrays the older version of Sheldon in The Big Bang Theory, while Iain Armitage plays him in Young Sheldon. But it was the former who helped Lorre to come up with the idea for the spinoff. 

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In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter last year, the co-creator was asked why he chose to tackle Young Sheldon next, to which he replied: “The beginning was a phone call from Jim Parsons, who sent me a video of his 10-year-old nephew in Texas who is a prodigy – brilliant, extraordinary, off the hook, crazy smart kid. 

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“And Jim asked, ‘Is there anything we can do with this?’ I said, ‘Well, if we wanted to do a show about a young man who is brilliant – a comedy – we have that built into our show. That’s the backstory of Sheldon Cooper.’ 

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“Over the years of Big Bang, we learned about his mother, we learned about his upbringing in Texas, his sister and brother. We had the backstory in place. It was just a matter of whether to execute it as its own show. It was pretty simple for me. But if Steve [Molaro] had said no, I wouldn’t have done it.”

Prior to this, Parsons told Entertainment Weekly in 2017: “We had been asked by [CBS] executives, ‘Would you look into your own life? Because those pitch well.’ So we were looking at my family and one of my nephews, my sister’s kids, her oldest, he’s very smart. 

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“Not like in a Sheldon way, but they frequently say, ‘Where did he come from?’ So we were like, this sounds like a good idea. And the more we talked – they’re in Texas – and it was, like, this relates.”

So Parsons pitched the idea to Lorre, and the rest, as they say, is history. 

Young Sheldon Seasons 1-5 arrive on Netflix US on November 24, and you can check out more of our coverage below:

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About The Author

Daisy is a Senior TV and Movies Writer at Dexerto. She's a lover of all things macabre, whether that be horror, crime, psychological thrillers or all of the above. After graduating with a Masters in Magazine Journalism, she's gone on to write for Digital Spy, LADbible and Little White Lies. You can contact her on daisy.phillipson@dexerto.com