Smallville's Tom Welling Opens Up About Relationship With Jon Kent Actor

Smallville star Tom Welling explains what it was like working alongside his onscreen patriarch John Schneider, revealing what their relationship was like both on and off the show's set. Welling portrayed a young Clark Kent on the show as he learned how to cope with the unique powers, troubles, and responsibilities associated with becoming Superman. The television series lasted for ten seasons, depicting Clark growing from an unpopular high school student to becoming a successful journalist and superhero.


Schneider starred alongside Welling as Clark's father Jonathan Kent for five seasons of Smallville. In the series, Jonathan is shown as an honest and passionate man, eager to protect his family and neighbors from those that threaten their wellbeing. Sadly, Jonathan's protective instincts eventually lead to his death on Smallville when he suffers a fatal heart attack during an altercation with Lionel Luthor over exposing the identity of his son. Following his demise, Clark struggles with the loss of his father's moral guidance and eventually learns to carry on Jonathan's legacy by living out the traits he had instilled in him.

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Schneider's insightful advice did not stop when the cameras cut off. In a recent episode of Talk Ville Podcast, Welling revealed to Schneider that he viewed the actor as a father figure offscreen as well. During the segment of the show, Welling went on to explain to Schneider how he mentored him in the midst of their time together. Read a short excerpt from Welling's address to his costar below:

"I remember I felt like I could always [ask] you questions, and you wouldn't always answer the question. You'd say something, but it wasn't a direct answer. It was always something to guide me to sort of come up with it on my own. It was very fatherly, very mentorship-wise. It wasn't just like, 'Hey, it is going to rain today.' It was like, 'Well, let's talk about it and how we figure that out together.' You know, that kind of stuff..."

Schneider Used Unconventional Situations To Teach Life Lessons

jonathan kent death smallville

Schneider responded to Welling's Smallville recollections by bringing up a scenario in which he used an unusual situation with a horse on set to teach Welling a life lesson. He went on to explain that the horse was in control on set because it held power by being revered and respected for what it was. The duo also mentioned how Schneider once followed Welling home to ensure the safety of the young actor since he was so fatigued from the overbearing work schedule. Schneider even advocated for a permanent driver to relieve Welling of this additional burden.

Jonathan's death on Smallville marked a major turning point for the show. It had its obvious effects on the characters and plot, but it may have curtailed the future of the show, too. Following Schneider's exit in season 5, Smallville's ratings began to decline. Although the drop can be contributed to a number of factors, such as increasingly convoluted storylines and the eventual exit of original actors like Michael Rosenbaum, a bit of Smallville's homey feel and familiarity died with Jonathan Kent. Luckily, like his onscreen counterpart, Schneider's teachings continue to live on through Welling.