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Jennifer Love Hewitt
Jennifer Love Hewitt LF2.jpg
Hewitt at the premiere of 27 Dresses (2008)
Born (1979-02-21) February 21, 1979 (age 45)
Occupation
  • Actress
  • singer
  • film/television producer
  • director
Years active 1989–present
Known for Party of Five
I Know What You Did Last Summer
Ghost Whisperer
Kids Incorporated
Spouse(s)
Brian Hallisay
(m. 2013)
Children 3
Musical career
Genres
Instruments Vocals
Labels

Jennifer Love Hewitt (born February 21, 1979) is an American actress and singer. Hewitt began her career as a child actress and singer, appearing in national television commercials before joining the cast of the Disney Channel series Kids Incorporated (1989–1991). She had her breakthrough as Sarah Reeves Merrin on the Fox teen drama Party of Five (1995–1999) and rose to fame as a teen star for her role as Julie James in the horror films I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997) and its 1998 sequel, as well as her role as Amanda Beckett in the teen comedy film Can't Hardly Wait (1998).

Hewitt's other notable films include Heartbreakers (2001), The Tuxedo (2002) and the two Garfield live-action films (2004–2006). She has starred as Melinda Gordon on the CBS supernatural drama Ghost Whisperer (2005–2010), Riley Parks on the Lifetime drama series The Client List (2012–2013), Special Agent Kate Callahan on the CBS crime drama Criminal Minds (2014–2015), and since 2018, Maddie Buckley on the Fox first-responder procedural 9-1-1. She was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film for The Client List pilot film (2010).

In music, Hewitt has released four studio albums to date. After her debut album, Love Songs (1992), was released at age 12 exclusively in Japan, she went on to record Let's Go Bang (1995), Jennifer Love Hewitt (1996) and BareNaked (2002), the latter of which became her first album to chart in the United States, peaking at number 37 on the Billboard 200 chart. Her most successful single on the Billboard Hot 100 chart was the 1999 release "How Do I Deal", which peaked at number 59. In addition to music and acting, Hewitt has served as a producer on some of her film and television projects. She has appeared in several magazines' lists of the world's most beautiful women.

Early life

Hewitt was born in Waco, Texas to Patricia Mae (née Shipp), a speech-language pathologist, and Herbert Daniel Hewitt, a medical technician. She grew up in Nolanville in Central Texas, and has close kinship ties in parts of Arkansas. After their parents divorced, Hewitt and her older brother Todd were raised by their mother.

As a toddler, Hewitt was attracted to music, which led to her first encounters with the entertainment industry. At age three, she sang "The Greatest Love of All" at a livestock show. The following year, at a restaurant-dance hall, she entertained an audience with her version of "Help Me Make It Through the Night". By age five, she had tap dancing and ballet in her portfolio. At nine, she became a member of the Texas Show Team, which also toured the Soviet Union.

At age ten, at the suggestion of talent scouts and after winning the title of "Texas Our Little Miss Talent Winner", she moved to Los Angeles with her mother to pursue a career in both acting and singing. In Los Angeles, she attended Lincoln High School where her classmates included Jonathan Neville, who became a talent scout and recommended Hewitt for her role in Party of Five.

Acting career

1989–1994: Early acting credits

After moving to Los Angeles, Hewitt appeared in more than twenty television commercials, including some for Mattel toys. Her first break came as a child actress on the Disney Channel variety show Kids Incorporated (1989–1991), which earned her, as a member of the cast, three Young Artist Award nominations. In 1992, she appeared in the live action video short Dance! Workout with Barbie (1992), which was released by Buena Vista, and obtained her first feature film role in the independent production Munchie, in which she played Andrea, the love interest of a bullied young boy. A year later, she had her first starring role in Little Miss Millions, as a wealthy nine-year old who runs away from her stepmother to find her real mother, and appeared as a choir member in Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit. Hewitt played Pierce Brosnan's daughter in a pilot for NBC called Running Wilde (1993), which featured Brosnan as a reporter for Auto World magazine, whose stories cover his own wild auto adventures, but the series was not picked up and the pilot never aired. Hewitt later had roles in several short-lived television series, such as Fox's Shaky Ground (1992–1993), ABC's The Byrds of Paradise (1994), and McKenna (1994–95).

1995–1999: Rise to stardom

Hewitt rose to teen idol status after landing the role of Sarah Reeves Merrin on the popular Fox show Party of Five (1995–99). Originally cast for a nine-episode arc in season two, reception from producers and audiences was so positive that she became a series regular, continuing to play the character until the show's sixth and final season. Co-creator Amy Lippman once stated: "She was a crazy professional. You didn't have to ask yourself, ‘I don't know if she'll be able to work up a head of steam here, I don't know if she'll be able to cry.' She wasn't running to her trailer [between takes] to smoke cigarettes or play with a toy poodle. She was reading material and trying to plot her career". For her performance, Hewitt garnered nominations for a Kids' Choice Award, a Teen Choice Award and a YoungStar Award.

Hewitt became a film star with the release of the horror film I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997), in which she starred opposite Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe and Freddie Prinze, Jr, portraying Julie James, the final girl. She was cast in the role based on her "ability to project vulnerability," which the producers, director Jim Gillespie, and writer Kevin Williamson unanimously agreed upon. While the film received mixed reviews, an Entertainment Weekly columnist praised Hewitt's performance, noting that she knows how to "scream with soul". Budgeted at US$17 million, the movie made US$125 million globally. For her role, she received a Young Artist Award nomination for Best Performance in a Feature Film — Leading Young Actress and the Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Female Newcomer. She appeared in the sequel I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998), which, though not as successful as the first film, took in more money on its opening weekend.

Hewitt starred as Amanda Beckett, the most popular girl in school and the senior class prom queen, in the teen comedy Can't Hardly Wait (1998). Critic James Berardinelli asserted that Hewitt was "so likable that it's hard not to have at least a minor rooting interest" in her character, and with a US$25.6 million gross at the North American domestic box office, the film emerged as a moderate commercial success. Telling You, another 1998 teen comedy, featured Hewitt as the annoyingly sweet ex-girlfriend of a college student working in a pizza joint. In 1999, she played a record company executive in the independent comedy The Suburbans and starred in and produced Time of Your Life, a Party of Five spin-off following her character as she moved to New York City to learn more about her biological parents. Despite Hewitt's popularity at the time, the show received a lackluster viewership and was cancelled after only half the season had aired.

2000–2004: Steady film work

JenniferLoveHewitt
Hewitt in 2002

In The Audrey Hepburn Story (2000), a biographical drama television film based on the life of actress and humanitarian Audrey Hepburn, Hewitt starred as the title role and served as an executive producer. She had been recommended for the role by director Steven Robman, who had previously directed her in Party of Five. The production aired as a three-hour film on ABC on March 27, 2000, and drew mixed reviews. Entertainment Weekly wrote that Hewitt had "guts" to take on the role and called her "excellent at conveying Hepburn's studied modesty", while The Baltimore Sun review stated: "What's impossibly wrong with this film is that Hewitt has no physical grace while Hepburn was the very embodiment of it".

Hewitt starred alongside Sigourney Weaver in the romantic comedy Heartbreakers (2001), playing a mother-daughter team setting up an elaborate con to swindle wealthy men out of their money. Roger Ebert noted that Hewitt "spends the entire film with her treasures on display, maybe as product placement for the Wonderbra", while BBC.com asserted: "Hewitt though, lacks the necessary duplicity for her character and is too patently agreeable to ... convincingly, ultimately reducing her to eye-candy among the professionals. Still, she has the right cleavage for the role, and there's sure to be legions of men thankful for that alone". The film made a moderate US$57.7 million globally.

Hewitt starred as a genius scientist with aspirations of field work, alongside Jackie Chan, in the action comedy The Tuxedo (2002). Robert Koehler of Variety noted that Hewitt "has displayed a Chan-like sweetness herself in past roles" and was disappointed that her character is "a haggling, high-strung shrew who's instantly repellent" rather than an amusing sidekick as Chan has had in other Hollywood films. The film made US$104.4 million worldwide. In 2002, she also lent her voice for two direct-to-DVD animated films —The Hunchback of Notre Dame II and The Adventures of Tom Thumb and Thumbelina.

In 2004, Hewitt starred as a musician in the romantic fantasy drama If Only, the love interest of Ebenezer Scrooge in the television film A Christmas Carol, and Dr. Liz Wilson in the live-action comedy Garfield. With a worldwide gross of US$200 million, Garfield became Hewitt's highest-grossing film to date.

2005–2010: Return to television

Hewitt portrayed Melinda Gordon, a woman with the ability to see and communicate with ghosts, on the CBS television series Ghost Whisperer, which ran on CBS for five seasons and 107 episodes, from September 23, 2005, to May 21, 2010. She also served as a producer and directed three episodes, including the 100th episode. In his review for the first season, David Bianculli, of New York Daily News, wrote: "If [television] really wants a success built around this actress, someone in Hollywood should pay attention to her chameleonic and comedic role in Heartbreakers, and give her a role that plays to those strengths, instead of something this translucent". Nevertheless, the series emerged as a ratings success and earned Hewitt two Saturn Awards for Best Television Actress. In 2005, she played a happily married English woman in the romantic comedy The Truth About Love, and a 28-year-old advertising executive more concerned with being a well-known socialite than being a good person in the television film Confessions of a Sociopathic Social Climber.

Hewitt reprised her role as Dr. Liz Wilson for Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties (2006), which, though it did not perform as well as its predecessor, achieved a strong box office gross. Her next film release was the comedy Shortcut to Happiness, in which she starred as The Devil, opposite Anthony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin. Filmed in NYC in early 2001, the film became an asset in a federal bank fraud trial when investor Jed Barron was convicted of bank fraud while the film was in production. The film was eventually acquired by The Yari Group and was finally released in 2007. In 2008, she made a cameo appearance in the successful action comedy Tropic Thunder, and reunited with Freddie Prinze Jr. in the animated production Delgo which, when released, was a massive box office bomb, taking in only US$694,782 in North America.

..... While a reviewer felt that Hewitt did "a surprisingly credible job of acting seen-it-all exasperated and emotionally mature without once going giggly-girly" in Café, Entertainment Weekly's Ken Tucker felt that the actress was able to sell The Client List to the audiences due to her "talent for communicating sincerity and charm". She received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film for the latter.

2011–present: Continued television roles

Hewitt starred as a journalist, opposite Betty White, in the Hallmark Hall of Fame film The Lost Valentine (2011). While reviewers unanimously praised White's performance, Variety wrote: "The same can hardly be said of Hewitt, who —in her current TV movie phase— was put to better use as a mom turned hooker in Lifetime's The Client List. With 14.53 million viewers, the film won its time period and represented the most-watched Hallmark movie in four years.

Jennifer Love Hewitt (40605995140) (cropped)
Hewitt in 2018

..... Based on the 2010 television film of the same name, the series ran for two seasons and featured Hewitt as a different character in a premise that was slightly different from the film.

Between 2014 and 2015, Hewitt played the regular role of Kate Callahan, an undercover agent who joins the BAU, in the tenth season of Criminal Minds. She left the series at the end of the season due to her second pregnancy, and decided to take a career hiatus for the next three years. In an interview with Elle magazine, Hewitt remarked: “I was looking in the mirror, talking with myself, going, ‘Hey, we started something, remember? We were gonna take a step back. So let's do that.'"

Beginning in 2018, Hewitt has played Maddie Buckley, an ER nurse working as a 9-1-1 operator after leaving an abusive relationship, on the Fox police procedural 9-1-1. Describing her character, she stated: "Maddie has a toughness to her. But she's also empathetic and sensitive. People will see her composed on the phone, but fully dealing with the pain and anguish of the callers [once she hangs up]".

Other endeavors

Music

Hewitt was one of the backing vocalists on Martika's number-one single, "Toy Soldiers" (1989). At age 12, Meldac funded the recording of Hewitt's debut studio album, Love Songs (1992). The album was released exclusively in Japan, where Hewitt became a pop star. Her explanation for her success in Japan is that the Japanese "love perky music. The poppier the music, the better." She was subsequently signed to Atlantic Records, who released her next two albums —Let's Go Bang (1995) and Jennifer Love Hewitt (1996). The albums, along with their singles, failed to chart and Atlantic dropped Hewitt, who did not return to the music scene for three years.

Hewitt recorded the single "How Do I Deal" (1999) for the I Still Know What You Did Last Summer soundtrack, which became her first charting single, climbing to No. 59 on the Hot 100 and No. 36 on the Top 40 Mainstream. It reached No. 8 in Australia. She also recorded a cover of the Gloria Gaynor song "I Will Survive", which is featured briefly in the film.

Hewitt appeared in the LFO video for "Girl on TV" (1999), a song which band member Rich Cronin band wrote for her while the two were dating. She also appeared in the music video for the Enrique Iglesias song, "Hero" (2001), as the singer's love interest.

In 2002, Hewitt signed to Jive Records and recorded her fourth studio album, BareNaked, with singer, songwriter, and producer Meredith Brooks. The first single, "BareNaked" (2002), became her biggest radio hit to date when it peaked at No. 24 on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 chart, No. 31 on the Adult Top 40 and No. 25 on the Top 40 Mainstream. It climbed to No. 6 in Australia, remaining there for two weeks, and reached No. 33 in the Netherlands. The song later featured in two episodes of Ghost Whisperer: "The Vanishing" (Season 1, episode 20) and "The Collector" (Season 2, episode 20). The moderate success of the single propelled the album to peak at No. 37 on the Billboard 200 and No. 31 in Australia. However, it only remained on the chart for three weeks. The second single, "Can I Go Now" (2003), failed to chart in the US, while managing to peak at No. 8 in the Netherlands and No. 12 in Australia.

Since 2004, Hewitt has remained mostly inactive in the music industry, but she released the compilation albums Cool with You: The Platinum Collection (2006) in Asia and Hey Everybody (2007) in Brazil. In 2013, she recorded a cover of "I'm a Woman" to promote the second season of The Client List and shot a music video for the song, which reached the top ten in the iTunes Music Video chart.

Writing

In November 2009, Hewitt made a foray into comic books, when writer Scott Lobdell scripted the five-issue anthology, Jennifer Love Hewitt's Music Box (2009–2010), based on Hewitt's ideas. The series was published by IDW Publishing and was collected in a trade paperback.

She wrote a book titled The Day I Shot Cupid (2010), in which she speaks of her experiences with love and dating. While promoting the book during a January 2010, interview on Lopez Tonight, Hewitt said that there is a chapter in it about "vajazzling" (decorating a woman's pubis with crystals or rhinestones). This became a big internet hit with the video going viral, widespread news coverage and the term "vajazzling" becoming one of the most searched terms on Google the next day. She has since been credited for the popularization of this trend. Helium.com gave the book a positive review, stating: "Jennifer Love Hewitt's book provides some good guidelines for those that need to work on clarifying their relationship desires before trying to establish their relationships". It was commercially successful upon its release, becoming a New York Times bestseller within a week.

Personal life

Relationships and family

Between the 1990s and the 2000s, Hewitt dated several high-profile figures, including Joey Lawrence, Will Friedle, Carson Daly, Rich Cronin, Patrick Wilson, John Mayer and Jamie Kennedy.

In 2005, Hewitt began dating Scottish actor Ross McCall after he made an appearance on Ghost Whisperer. They became engaged in November 2007, while vacationing in Hawaii. People magazine reported that Hewitt called off their engagement in late 2008.

In June 2013, Hewitt announced that she was engaged and expecting her first child with co-star, Brian Hallisay. On November 20, 2013, Hewitt and Hallisay married. Their daughter was born a few days later on November 26. In June 2015, the couple had a boy. In August 2021, Hewitt and Hallisay welcomed their third child.

Stalking incident

In 2002, at the Grammy Awards, Diana Napolis, a conspiracy theorist and former social worker, "verbally confront[ed]" Hewitt and attempted to pose as a friend of hers in order to enter the premiere of The Tuxedo; she was then arrested for stalking and uttering death threats against Hewitt and Steven Spielberg. Napolis was charged with six felonies related to the incidents. After a year of involuntary commitment, Napolis pleaded guilty and was released on probation with a condition that she was barred from any contact with both Spielberg and Hewitt.

Filmography

Film

Year Title Role Notes
1992 Dance! Workout with Barbie Workout Dancer Short film
Munchie Andrea Kurtz Credited as Love Hewitt
1993 Little Miss Millions Heather Lofton
Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit Margaret Credited as Jennifer "Love" Hewitt
1996 House Arrest Brooke Figler
1997 Trojan War Leah Jones
I Know What You Did Last Summer Julie James
1998 Can't Hardly Wait Amanda Beckett
Telling You Deb Freidman
Zoomates Helen Voice role; short film
I Still Know What You Did Last Summer Julie James
1999 The Suburbans Cate
2001 Heartbreakers Page Conners
2002 The Hunchback of Notre Dame II Madellaine Voice
The Adventures of Tom Thumb and Thumbelina Thumbelina
The Tuxedo Del Blaine
2004 If Only Samantha Andrews
Garfield: The Movie Liz Wilson
2005 The Truth About Love Alice Holbrook
2006 Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties Liz Wilson
2007 Shortcut to Happiness The Devil
2008 Tropic Thunder Herself
Delgo Princess Kyla Voice
2011 Café Claire
2012 Jewtopia Alison Marks
2021 Pups Alone Gidget Voice
2022 Betty White: A Celebration Herself Documentary

Television

Year Title Role Notes
1989–1991 Kids Incorporated Robin Main role (seasons 6 & 7)
1992 Shaky Ground Bernadette Moody Main role
1994 The Byrds of Paradise Franny Byrd
McKenna Cassidy McKenna
1995–1999 Party of Five Sarah Reeves Merrin Main role (seasons 2–6)
1998 Boy Meets World Jennifer Love Fefferman Episode: "And Then There Was Shawn"
Saturday Night Live Guest host Episode: "Jennifer Love Hewitt/Beastie Boys"
1999 Hercules: The Animated Series Medusa Episode: "Hercules and the Gorgon"; voice
Time of Your Life Sarah Reeves Merrin Main role
2000 The Audrey Hepburn Story Audrey Hepburn Television film
2001 The Weekenders Herself Episode: "My Punky Valentine"; voice
2002 All That Herself Episode: "Jeffrey Licon/Jennifer Love Hewitt"
Family Guy Episode: "Stuck Together, Torn Apart"; voice role
Groove Squad Chrissy Voice role, Television film
2004 American Dreams Nancy Sinatra Episodes: "The 7-10 Split" & "Old Enough to Fight"
In the Game Riley Reed Unsold pilot
A Christmas Carol Emily Television film
2005 Confessions of a Sociopathic Social Climber Katya Livingston
2005–2010 Ghost Whisperer Melinda Gordon Main role
2009 Yes, Virginia Mrs. Laura O'Hanlon Television film; voice role
2010 The Client List Samantha "Sam" Horton Television film
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Vicki Sayers Episode: "Behave"
2011 The Lost Valentine Susan Allison Television film
Love Bites Herself Episode: "Firsts"
2011–2012 & 2014 Hot in Cleveland Emmy Chase Episodes: "The Emmy Show", "Love Is Blind" and "Elka Takes a Lover"
2011 Vietnam in HD Anne Purcell Miniseries; voice role
2012 RuPaul's Drag Race Guest judge Episode: "DILFs: Dads I'd Like to Frock"
2012–2013 The Client List Riley Parks Main role
2014–2015 Criminal Minds Kate Callahan Main role (season 10)
2018–present 9-1-1 Maddie Buckley Kendall Main role (season 2–present)

As a director

Year Title Notes
2009–2010 Ghost Whisperer 3 episodes
2012–2013 The Client List

As a producer

Year Title Notes
1999–2000 Time of Your Life TV series
2000 The Audrey Hepburn Story Television film
2002 One Night Short film
2004 If Only Theatrical film
2005–2010 Ghost Whisperer TV series
2010 The Client List Television film
2011 The Lost Valentine
2012 Jewtopia Theatrical film
2012–2013 The Client List TV series

Discography

Studio albums

  • Love Songs (1992)
  • Let's Go Bang (1995)
  • Jennifer Love Hewitt (1996)
  • BareNaked (2002)

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Work Result
1990 Young Artist Awards Outstanding Young Ensemble Cast Kids Incorporated Nominated
1993 Outstanding Young Ensemble Cast in a Youth Series or Variety Show
1994 Outstanding Youth Ensemble in a Cable or Off-Primetime Series Won
1996 Best Professional Actress/Singer Herself Nominated
1998 Best Performance in a Feature Film — Leading Young Actress 'I Know What You Did Last Summer
Blockbuster Entertainment Awards Favorite Female Newcomer Won
1999 MTV Movie Award Best Female Performance Can't Hardly Wait Nominated
1999 Blockbuster Entertainment Awards Favorite Actress — Horror I Still Know What You Did Last Summer Won
Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie Actress
Young Artist Awards Best Performance in a Feature Film — Leading Young Actress Can't Hardly Wait Nominated
2000 Kid's Choice Awards Favorite Television Actress Party of Five
People's Choice Awards Favorite Female Performer in a New Television Series Time of Your Life Won
2003 Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Female Butt Kicker The Tuxedo
DVD Premiere Awards Best Original Song The Hunchback of Notre Dame II
2006 Saturn Awards Best Actress on Television Ghost Whisperer Nominated
Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Television Actress
People's Choice Awards Favorite Female Television Star
2007 Saturn Awards Best Actress on Television Won
Teen Choice Awards Choice TV Actress: Drama Nominated
People's Choice Awards Favorite Female Television Star
2008 People's Choice Awards Favorite Female Television Star
Saturn Awards Best Actress on Television Won
TV Land Awards Favorite Character from the "Other Side" Nominated
2009 Saturn Awards Best Actress on Television
2010 Saturn Awards Best Actress on Television
People's Choice Awards Favorite TV Drama Actress
2011 Golden Globe Awards Best Actress in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made For Television The Client List

See also

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