How I Met Your Mother delivered on their promise to reveal “the Mother” on Monday night’s season 8 finale.

For eight seasons, Ted’s (Josh Radnor) children have been patiently listening to their father recount the very long and sometimes sordid tale of how he came to meet their mother. In all of this time, not once have How I Met Your Mother viewers been treated to a full visual of the mysterious woman – until last night.

Cristin Milioti, the Once actress who’s never before been spotted on the CBS sitcom, is the one and only “the Mother.” Milioti, who has had guest starring roles on 30 Rock and The Sopranos, joined the cast in secret after the show’s casting agent turned her on to show creators, Carter Bays and Craig Thomas.

“We got to know Cristin and see her work, the more we realized, Yeah, she’s the right choice,” Bays told Entertainment Weekly. “So that definitely helped, because we didn’t want to do a big casting cattle call — we were going to make it ‘come audition for Barney’s cousin’ or something.”

Mililiot’s musical talents were evident in Once, and ultimately helped her land the role, as it was already established that “the Mother” played bass in the band at Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) and Robin’s (Cobie Smulders) wedding. “Last season, we flashed forward to a little glimpse of her playing bass in that band and that was before we had cast Cristin, so you just sort of saw a face and a shoulder, but we love the idea. For anyone that has gone and seen Once — she’s not in it anymore, obviously — but she has an amazing voice. She’s an amazing musician.”

When How I Met Your Mother returns in the fall for its ninth and final season, Milioti will be a full-time member of the cast, joining Radnor, Harris, Smulders, Jason Segal and Alyson Hannigan.

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