Jon Huertas

Jon Huertas

On this date in 1969, actor Jon Huertas (né Jonathan William Scott Hofstedt) was born in New York City to a Caucasian mother and Puerto Rican father. Raised Catholic by his grandparents, Huertas calls himself Afro-Latino because he says 90% of the slaves brought from Africa to the New World ended up in the Caribbean, Mexico and Central and South America.

He attended Catholic elementary school until eighth grade. “I was pushed into the theater as an outlet because I was getting into trouble. The nuns decided, ‘If he’s going to act out, put him on stage.’ That’s where I caught the bug for entertaining and performing.” (Authority Magazine, Feb. 8, 2024)

He was an inquisitive child: “I started asking questions from a very young age.” At about age 8, adults started letting him off the hook on things he grew up with like the tooth fairy, Santa Claus and the Easter bunny. “Once they started to be unveiled, I then thought maybe this whole Jesus, Mary and Joseph and God thing was also something I should be let off the hook for.” (“Dirty Rotten Church Kids” podcast, Dec. 7, 2022)

And while he had pretty much stopped believing what the church was teaching, he kept serving as an altar boy because “you got all these privileges, so I would take advantage of that.” One task was counting out the communion wafers, about half of which went into his pocket to snack on later, arguably the height of irreverence. (“Freethought Matters,” May 19, 2022)

After high school and a year of college, he served eight years in the U.S. Air Force as an aircraft nuclear/conventional weapons specialist and participated in Operation Just Cause and Operation Desert Storm. Then, in his mid-20s, he headed to California and landed a few small TV roles. Larger recurring ones gradually followed, including six episodes of “Undressed” on MTV and 12 on ABC’s “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch” in 1999.

Huertas’ breakout role came in “Generation Kill” (2008), a seven-part HBO series in which he played Sgt. Tony “Poke” Espera in a drama about the 2003 invasion of Iraq. From 2009-16, Huertas starred as Detective Javier Esposito in ABC’s police procedural “Castle.”

From 2016-22 he played Miguel Rivas on the NBC drama “This Is Us.” His directorial debut came in the Season 5 episode “The Ride.” After the series ended, Huertas and his co-stars and creator Dan Fogelman formed the Somos Nosotros Fund to award scholarships supporting Latinx students. Actor Ricardo Montalbán’s arts advocacy group Nosotros collaborated. Montalbán and actor John Leguizamo are two of Huertas’ role models.

He married his longtime girlfriend Nicole Bordges, a business development and marketing executive, in 2014 in Tulum, Mexico. He participates in secular Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) events and keynoted one held by Atheists United in 2021 in Los Angeles, titling his speech “From Heartsick and Holy to Happy Heathen.”

He resists calling himself an atheist and prefers nontheist or humanist. “For me it’s better not to use it personally because as soon as I use it, it might turn someone off to a conversation we might be able to have about our beliefs.” (Ibid., “Freethought Matters”)

Freedom From Religion Foundation