Kate's Notes

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Jennifer Garner

Jennifer Garner

Jennifer Anne Garner (born April 17, 1972) is best known as the multi-disguised action-hungry CIA agent, Sydney Bristow on “Alias.” Since the shows inception, this Golden Globe Award-winning and Emmy Award-nominated American film and television actress, and producer, has successfully moved from television to the big screen with several starring movie roles, including Elektra, where she met her future husband, and father of her child, Ben Affleck, and Catch and Release, a romantic comedy starring Timothy Olyphant, and Kevin Smith.

She is frequently in the tabloids; this is mostly because of her relationship with Affleck who ruled the supermarket gossip rags with his ex-fiance, Jennifer Lopez, and subsequently carried over some of the media attention to his current relationship with Gardner. However, they are usually seen simply getting coffee, or taking their baby daughter, Violet, on a walk.

Early Life

Garner was born in Houston, Texas and raised in Charleston, West Virginia, after her father's job relocated her family when she was only four years old – she resided their until after she graduated from high school. Her mother Patricia Ann English, was a teacher, and her father, Billy Jack Garner, was a chemical engineer who worked for Union Carbide; she is the middle child between two sisters, Melissa Garner Wylie and Susannah Garner Carpenter, and her family is Methodist.

At three years old, Garner began taking ballet lessons which she continued throughout her youth. Although she admitted that she loved dancing, but never had ambitions to become a classical ballerina.

In 1990, Garner graduated from George Washington High School in Charleston, where she played the saxophone. She then enrolled at Denison University to study chemistry; however, she soon realized that she enjoyed stage acting more than science, and Garner changed her major to drama. She graduated from Denison in 1994, and hoped to continue her drama education at Yale University. However, she forwent her plans when she visited a friend in New York City in 1995 and decided to take her chances in theatre.


In New York City, Garner earned $150 a week as an understudy in a play. She was then cast in her first television role, a part in the made-for-television movie, Zoya, based on the Danielle Steel novel. Her next acting jobs were in two short-lived television series, “Significant Others” and “Time of Your Life,” as well as in two Hallmark Hall of Fame movies, including the 1997 film, Rose Hill, based on the best selling book For The Roses by Julie Garwood. In 1996, she appeared in an episode of the NBC drama “Law & Order.” She played a college student who was engaged in an affair with Det. Rey Curtis.

Subsequently, Garner moved to Los Angeles, California, and got a job as a hostess at a restaurant before being cast as Hannah Bibb on the WB series, “Felicity.” On the set, she met her first husband, Scott Foley. Garner played his character's girlfriend. In 1999 she played a small role in the episode "Pool" of the TV series “The Pretender.” In 2000, Garner appeared in the comedy Dude, Where's My Car?, playing Ashton Kutcher's girlfriend. In 2001, she appeared as a nurse in the big-budget epic Pearl Harbor, co-starring with Kate Beckinsale and Garner's future husband Ben Affleck.

She was named one of People magazine's 'Breakthrough Stars of 2001, one of the 50 Most Beautiful People, by People magazine in May 2002 and #1 sexiest woman of 2001 by Maxim men's magazine.

Later in 2001, J. J. Abrams (who produced “Felicity”) approached Garner about starring in a new show he was working on for ABC. Her interest was aroused by his description of the show -- called "Alias" - and she enrolled in martial arts classes in preparation for her audition. Garner’s perseverance paid off, and a month later she was cast in the leading role of Sydney Bristow, a CIA agent who juggles multiple identities as well as a host of slinky getups.

The series became a success and Garner won the award for "Best Actress in a Television Series - Drama" at the January 2002 Golden Globes. “Alias” had just begun a few months beforehand, and Garner won the award with only half the season's episodes aired. The series was successful, concluding in May 2006 after a fifth, abbreviated season (due to Garner's pregnancy, a development that was written into the storyline of the fifth season). Garner's salary for the show began at $45,000 an episode, rising to $150,000 per episode by the series' end. During the show's run, Garner received four consecutive Golden Globe nominations for her lead performance. She also received four consecutive Emmy nominations for "Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series." Garner won the "Actor Award" from the Screen Actors Guild in 2005. In March 2005, Garner directed the fourth-season “Alias” episode, "In Dreams," which aired in May. Garner received producer credit during the series' final season. After the initial success of “Alias,” Garner returned to her film career with a small role in the Steven Spielberg film Catch Me If You Can, and starred alongside Ben Affleck as Elektra Natchios in the action movie Daredevil, an adaptation of the comic book. She reprised her role as "Elektra" in the 2005 spin-off to Daredevil, entitled Elektra.

Garner showed her comedic side in the romantic comedy 13 Going on 30, which was a financial success and established her as a leading feature film actress.

Garner is known for performing her own stunts, and in January 2005 was forced to bow out of some publicity duties for Elektra, due to what was first thought to have been a viral infection but was revealed to be the effects of nerve damage to her back, caused by a stunt during the filming of the fourth season of “Alias.” Garner entered the Forbes' "Power 100" list of celebrities in 2005 at 70th place. From June 2004 to June 2005, she earned an estimated US $14 million.

During the 2006 Academy Awards ceremony, Garner stumbled on her flowing dress (designed by Michael Kors) as she came onto the stage to present the award for Sound Editing. She did not fall, but lost her balance, and jokingly commented, "I do my own stunts!"

In January 2007, Garner starred in the romantic comedy Catch and Release. She also did voice work for the 2006 version of Charlotte's Web. Garner has formed a production company named Vandalia Films, which will produce its first film in 2007. She will produce the company's upcoming films Sabbatical and Be with You. Garner takes her first role as part of an ensemble in The Kingdom alongside Jamie Foxx and Jason Bateman. Box office analysts have commented the choice was smart on Garner's part, as her other projects with her as the sole lead are risky gambles. Garner was set to star in Zach Braff's directorial feature of Open Hearts but backed out of the project so she could spend more time with her family. Garner has also been cast to appear in the Jason Reitman-directed comedy/drama feature Juno, which began filming in February 2007 in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Personal Life

Garner has had her share of media attention; however, instead of all night partying of drunken antics, her paparazzi attention is usually garnered because of her low-profile relationships with high-profile men.

On October 19, 2000, Garner married actor Scott Foley, who she met on the set of “Felicity” in 1998. They separated in March 2003, and Garner filed for divorce in May 2003, citing irreconcilable differences. Dismissing rumors of infidelity, Foley stated that the reason behind their separation was Garner's increasing fame after the success of “Alias.” Similarly, Garner claimed that their Hollywood lifestyle led to their failed marriage and they "really were victims of Hollywood." The couple was officially divorced in March 2004.

Garner is notoriously known for being private about her personal life. This is reflected in her relationships with Michael Vartan, her co-star in the “Alias” series, and Ben Affleck, whom she met on the set of Daredevil. Over the course of her relationship with her Alias co-star Michael Vartan, she never made any public appearances with him. Garner began dating Vartan in mid-2003, and though rumors of their break-up began in March 2004, Garner only confirmed the end of their relationship in August 2004; nonetheless, they have been able to still remain close friends.

Garner's relationship with her Daredevil co-star Ben Affleck was also very low-key. Even though their relationship officially began in July 2004, it was months before paparazzi managed to take a shot of these two as a couple. Both stars' publicists denied their relationship until a public appearance at a Boston Red Sox game. When there were rumors of Garner being pregnant, there were repeated denials of the pregnancy.

On Garner's 33rd birthday, Affleck proposed to her with a 4.5-carat diamond ring from Harry Winston; the couple married on June 29, 2005 in a surprise ceremony at the Parrot Cay resort on the Turks and Caicos Islands.

After that, their publicists finally confirmed the marriage and pregnancy. At the time, Garner was pregnant with the couple's first child. Officiating at the ceremony was her “Alias” co-star Victor Garber. Her pregnancy was incorporated into the plot of “Alias,” with the season's episode order reduced from the initial 22 to 17 in order to let Garner go on maternity leave. On December 1, 2005, she gave birth to their daughter, Violet Anne Affleck. They currently divide their time between Santa Monica, California and Cambridge, Massachusetts. Garner enjoys cooking, gardening, hiking and kickboxing (a hobby picked up during training for her Alias character). She is also best friends with actress Jean Louisa Kelly, who interviewed Garner for the June 2005 issue of Self magazine. On January 24, 2007, Garner stated on the “Live with Regis and Kelly” show that she nearly lost a diamond ring that her husband, Ben Affleck, gave her after their daughter Violet was born.

She had an issue after her daughter was born: Garner wouldn’t go out in public because she thought she looked fat. She had said in the past that she couldn’t even look at herself after giving birth to Violet Affleck, because she thought she looked fat. She’s also said that she refused to do a scene in a bikini for her new movie Catch and Release, because of her issue: “It got a little ridiculous and I got on the treadmill and I lost weight. It’s that simple. I stopped stuffing my face and I started running and lost weight. I cut out bagels and croissants and muffins and all the good stuff and went back to having a salad once a day with some protein. I can’t do a crash diet. I know that if I do that I’ll just gain more back… There were actually a couple of bikini scenes in ‘Catch & Release,’ where I said, ‘I can’t get ready for a that quickly; take it out.’”

Charity Work

She's supports the charities (RED), A-T Children's Project, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Clothes Off Our Back, Make Poverty History, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and Pediatric Epilepsy Project.


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