Clay Jensen

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Clay Jensen
Thirteen Reasons Why character
Clay Jensen.png
Dylan Minnette as Clay Jensen
First appearanceNovel:
Thirteen Reasons Why (2007)
"Tape 1, Side A" (2017)
Created byJay Asher
Portrayed byDylan Minnette
RelativesMatt Jensen (father)
Lainie Jensen (mother)
Justin Foley (adoptive brother)

Clay Jensen is a fictional character created by author Jay Asher. He is the main character in Thirteen Reasons Why, a novel written for teenagers where a girl, Hannah Baker commits suicide. Clay is also the main character in the Netflix television series adaption of Asher's story, 13 Reasons Why, where he is portrayed by Dylan Minnette.[1]

Clay is one of the major protagonists in the series and his major storylines have included his friendships with Hannah Baker and Tony Padilla. Other major storylines have included his reactions to the tapes and the targeting of him by those who do not want the tapes to get out.


In the Netflix series, Clay is a white, middle class, American high school student who is both a friend and brief love interest of Hannah, one of Clay's schoolmates. Clay's race is never specified in the book. Both in Asher's novel and in the Netflix series, the story of Hannah's experiences at her high school is told through Clay's eyes as he reacts to the content of Hannah's cassette tapes which explain why she committed suicide. Although Hannah leaves explicit instructions before her suicide that Clay should listen to the tapes, she makes it clear that Clay is not one of the reasons for killing herself but rather she wanted him to know exactly why she took her own life.


Clay Jensen is a junior at Liberty High School. Clay is the subject of Tape 5, Side A, although not as a reason for Hannah's suicide, unlike all the other tapes. At the end of his tape, she explains that Clay is not the reason for her suicide, but that she felt he needed to know the reasons behind why she took her life. Clay is considered to be socially awkward and usually doesn't talk much. He is a very good kid and doesn't usually give into peer pressure. He is known for kindness and good behavior. He works at The Crestmont movie theater On his first shift there, he tells Hannah that he has lived in the town of Crestmont for his entire life. He was previously rumored to be gay by other classmates at Liberty High School but these rumors appear to have died down before the events of "13 Reasons Why". Due to Clay's introverted character, he is known to not attend parties. At Hannah's House party, Kat tells Hannah that the last time she saw Clay at a party was at her birthday party in the 4th grade, actually betting against Clay attending the party. Clay may also have a history of depression or anxiety as his parents offer him Duloxetine in Tape 1, Side B which he has taken before for an unknown reason. Duloxetine is an antidepressant used to treat people who suffer from depression or general anxiety disorder which suggests Clay may have been in a bad state previously, potentially down to previous rumors of him being gay.


It was announced in June 2016 that Dylan Minnette was cast in the role of Clay Jensen.[1] In an article on website "People", it was noted that Minnette had a connection with his character. He also said in an interview with them "my life wasn’t escaping the character — you can’t really escape it. At the same time, I started to see so much of myself in Clay, and see so much of Clay in me that sometimes I’d be on set and it would affect me a lot more"[2]

Minnette said in an interview about Clay's role in season two "When season two starts, we find Clay trying to move on with his life. He's trying to be happy and he's trying live a normal life, but I think he realises pretty quickly that that is not possible. He still has to live with the memory of Hannah, which is very personal to him, and it takes him down some pretty dark roads. He tries to fight it, but he knows he can't."[3] In another interview about Season Two, Minnette went to say there wouldn't be many scenes in season two between his character Clay and Hannah.[4] He also revealed that Skye and Clay could have a potential relationship.[4]


The Express said that the actor had won "legions of fans in the role of Clay".[5] In the article on the website "People", they noted how Minnette's followers had "ballooned", especially on Instagram.[2] A reviewer for IGN said "Minnette does a fine job in what's often a difficult role, though the show does rely a little too much on shots of Clay gazing wistfully into the distance as he reminisces about his interactions Hannah" about Clay's character.[6] The reviewer also commented about the actors of Clay and Hannah by saying "Langford and Minnette are often at their best together, channeling just the right sort of warm but awkward chemistry you'd expect from two teens who can't quite admit to their feelings for one another."[6]

A Daily Mirror article expressed disappointment when it came to Clay's tape in the series by saying "It turns out Clay's 'reason' isn't even a reason why, and in so many ways that makes it even more devastating. It feels like that's the end."[7]


  1. ^ a b Andreeva, Nellie (June 8, 2016). "'13 Reasons Why' Netflix Series: Dylan Minnette & Katherine Langford Lead Cast". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved June 2, 2017.
  2. ^ a b "my life wasn't escaping the character — you can't really escape it. At the same time, I started to see so much of myself in Clay, and see so much of Clay in me that sometimes I'd be on set and it would affect me a lot more". People. 26 April 2017. Retrieved 17 May 2018.
  3. ^ "13 Reasons Why's Clay will go through "a lot of shit" in season 2". Digital Spy.
  4. ^ a b "Dylan Minnette Spills 6 Secrets From "13 Reasons Why" Season 2". Seventeen. 14 May 2018. Retrieved 17 May 2018.
  5. ^ Johnson, Amy. "13 Reasons Why cast: Clay Jensen star Dylan Minnette's impressive acting past revealed".
  6. ^ a b "13 REASONS WHY: SEASON 1 REVIEW". IGN. 5 April 2017. Retrieved 17 May 2018.
  7. ^ "What tape is Clay on in 13 Reasons Why? The devastating truth behind what he did to Hannah". Daily Mirror. 6 April 2017. Retrieved 17 May 2018.