Milla Jovovich (born Milica Nataša
Jovović, Serbian: Милица Наташа Јововић/Milica Jovović; December 17, 1975)
is a Russian/Serbian-born American model, actress, musician, and fashion
designer. Over her career, she has appeared in a number of science fiction
and action themed films, for which music channel VH1 has referred to her
as the "reigning queen of kick-butt".
Jovovich began modeling at eleven, when Richard Avedon featured her in
Revlon's "Most Unforgettable Women in the World" advertisements, and she
continued her career with other notable campaigns for L'Oréal cosmetics,
Banana Republic, Christian Dior, Donna Karan, and Versace. In 1988, she
had her first professional acting role in the television film The Night
Train to Kathmandu, and later that year she appeared in her first feature
film, Two Moon Junction. Following more small television appearances like
the "Fair Exchange" (1989) and a 1989 role as a French girl (she was 14 at
the time then) on a Married with Children episode and film roles, she
gained notoriety with the romance film Return to the Blue Lagoon (1991),
the sequel to The Blue Lagoon. She appeared in 1993's Dazed and Confused
alongside Ben Affleck and Matthew McConaughey. Jovovich then acted
alongside Bruce Willis in the science fiction film The Fifth Element
(1997), and later played the title role in The Messenger: The Story of
Joan of Arc (1999). In 2002, she starred in the video game adaptation
Resident Evil, which spawned three sequels: Resident Evil: Apocalypse
(2004), Resident Evil: Extinction (2007) and Resident Evil: Afterlife
In addition to her modeling and acting career, Jovovich released a
critically acclaimed musical album, The Divine Comedy in 1994. She
continues to release demos for other songs on her official website and
contributes to film soundtracks as well; Jovovich has yet to release
another album. In 2003, she and model Carmen Hawk created the clothing
line Jovovich-Hawk, which ceased operations in early 2008. In its third
season prior to its demise, the pieces could be found at Fred Segal in Los
Angeles, Harvey Nichols, and over 50 stores around the world. Jovovich
also has her own production company, Creature Entertainment.
Jovovich was born in Kiev, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union, the daughter of
Bogdan Bogdanovich Jovović (Богић Јововић), a Serbian pediatrician, and
Galina Loginova, a Russian stage actress.
Jovovich's paternal family's estate was at Metohija in Zlopek near Peć in
the northwestern part of province of Kosovo and Metohija, Serbia. Her
paternal great-grandfather, Bogić Camić Jovović, was a flag-bearer of the
Vasojevići clan and an officer in the guard of King Nicholas I of
Montenegro; his wife's name was Milica, after whom Milla got her name. Her
paternal grandfather, Bogdan Jovović, was a commander in the Pristina
military area, and later investigated finances in the military areas of
Skopje and Sarajevo, where he uncovered massive gold embezzlement. He was
punished for refusing to convict a friend of the crime. Later, the
government briefly imprisoned him in Goli otok for refusing to testify.
When he feared that he could be arrested again, he escaped to Albania and
later moved to Kiev. A different version of the story claims that he was
the one who took the gold. Milla's father, Bogich, later joined Bodgan in
Kiev, where he and his sister graduated in medicine. In 2000, her
grandfather, Bogdan Jovović, died in Kiev.[
In 1981, when Jovovich was five years old, her family left the Soviet
Union for political reasons and moved to London. They subsequently lived
in Sacramento, California before settling in Los Angeles seven months
later; Jovovich's parents divorced soon after.
In 1988, as a result of her father's relationship with a woman from
Argentina, Jovovich's half-brother Marco Jovovich, was born. Jovovich's
mother attempted to support the family with acting jobs, but found little
success, and eventually resorted to cleaning houses to earn money. Both
her father and mother provided house cleaning services for director Brian
De Palma. Jovovich's father was incarcerated for participating in an
illegal operation concerning medical insurance; he was given a 20-year
sentence in 1994, but was released in 1999 after serving five years in an
American prison. Jovovich has stated that "Prison was good for him. He's
become a much better person. It gave him a chance to stop and think."
Jovovich attended public schools shortly after arriving in the United
States, and learned fluent English in three months. During school, many of
the students had teased her because she had immigrated from the Soviet
Union during the Cold War. Jovovich said, "I was called a Commie and a
Russian spy. I was never, ever, ever accepted into the crowd." At age 12
in seventh grade, Jovovich left school to focus on modeling. As a young
teenager, she claimed to be rebellious, engaging in drug use, shopping
mall vandalism, and credit-card fraud.
At the age of nine, she began going to modeling auditions, and was signed
by Prima modeling agency. At eleven, Jovovich was noticed by the
photographer Richard Avedon. Avedon was head of marketing at Revlon at the
time, and chose Jovovich to appear with models Alexa Singer and Sandra
Zatezalo in Revlon's "Most Unforgettable Women in the World"
advertisements. In 1987, photographers Gene Lemuel and Peter Duke took
polaroids of the twelve year old Jovovich, and Lemuel later showed the
photographs to Herb Ritts. Impressed, Ritts re-shot the polaroids for the
October 1987 cover of the Italian fashion magazine Lei; this was the first
of her many cover shoots. In 1988, she made her first professional model
contract. Jovovich was among other models who gained controversy for
becoming involved in the industry at a young age.
Later Jovovich made it to the cover of The Face, which led to new
contracts and covers of Vogue and Cosmopolitan. Since then, she has graced
over one hundred magazine covers, including Seventeen, Mademoiselle,
Glamour, Harper's Bazaar, and InStyle. Her modeling career has included
various campaigns for Banana Republic, Christian Dior, Damiani, Donna
Karan, Gap, Versace, Calvin Klein, DKNY, Coach, Giorgio Armani, H&M, and
Revlon. Since 1998, Jovovich has been an "international spokesmodel" for
L'Oréal cosmetics. She also had a minor cameo in Bret Easton Ellis' novel
Glamorama, a satire of society's obsession with celebrities and beauty.
In an article published in 2002, she was said to be Miuccia Prada's muse
and in an article published in 2003, Harpers & Queen magazine claimed
Jovovich was Gianni Versace's "favourite supermodel". In 2004, Jovovich
topped Forbes magazine's "Richest Supermodels of the World" list, earning
a reported $10.5 million. In 2006, Jovovich was picked up by Spanish
clothing line Mango as their new spokesmodel and is currently featured in
their ad campaigns; she can also be seen in ads for Etro. She has noted
that "Modeling was never a priority" and it instead enables her "to be
selective about the creative decisions she makes". She is now recently
been the face of L'Oréal for many ad campaigns.
Jovovich's mother had "raised her to be a movie star" and in 1985,
enrolled Jovovich in the Professional Actors school in California. In
1988, she appeared in her first professional role in the made for
television film The Night Train to Kathmandu as Lily McLeod. Later that
year she made her debut in a theatrically released picture with a small
role, as Samantha Delongpre, in the romantic thriller Two Moon Junction.
Following roles on the television series Paradise (1988) and Parker Lewis
Can't Lose (1990), Jovovich was cast as the lead as Lilli Hargrave in
Return to the Blue Lagoon (1991). This sequel to The Blue Lagoon (1980)
placed her opposite Brian Krause. Return to the Blue Lagoon led to
comparisons between her and child model-turned-actress, Brooke Shields
(who had starred in the original) – Jovovich was often called by press the
"Slavic Brooke Shields". The role also gained her controversy, much like
Shields gained in The Blue Lagoon, for appearing nude at a young age. For
her portrayal of Lili, Jovovich was nominated for both "Best Young Actress
Starring in a Motion Picture" at the 1991 Young Artist Awards, and "Worst
New Star" at the 1991 Golden Raspberry Awards.
In 1992, Jovovich co-starred with Christian Slater in the comedy Kuffs.
Later that year, she portrayed Mildred Harris in the Charlie Chaplin
biographical film Chaplin. 1993 saw Jovovich in the Richard Linklater cult
film Dazed and Confused, in which she played Michelle Burroughs, on screen
girlfriend to Pickford (played by her then real life boyfriend Shawn
Andrews). Jovovich was heavily featured in the promotional material for
the film, however, upon the film's release, she was upset to find her role
was considerably trimmed from the original script. The bulk of Jovovich's
role was to be shot on the last day of filming, however, she was
misinformed of the date, and ultimately had one line in the film, "No", in
addition to singing a line from "The Alien Song" from her album, The
Divine Comedy. Discouraged, she took a hiatus from acting roles, during
which time she moved to Europe and began focusing on a music career.
Jovovich returned to acting in 1997 with a lead in the Luc Besson directed
science fiction action film The Fifth Element, alongside Bruce Willis and
Gary Oldman. She portrayed Leeloo, an alien who was the "supreme being".
Jovovich said she "worked like hell: no band practice, no clubs, no pot,
nothing" to acquire the role and impress Besson, whom she later married on
December 14, 1997, but divorced in 1999. She took part in eight months of
acting classes and karate practice prior to filming. Jovovich also
co-created and mastered an over 400-word alien language for her role. She
wore a costume that came to be known as the "ACE-bandage" costume, a
revealing body suit made of medical bandages designed by Jean-Paul
Gaultier. The Fifth Element was selected as the opening film for the 1997
Cannes Film Festival and its worldwide box office gross was over $263
million, more than three times its budget of $80 million. The Fifth
Element was often praised for its visual style and unique costumes, and
film reviewer James Berardinelli, explained "Jovovich makes an impression,
although her effectiveness has little to do with acting and less to do
with dialogue". Jovovich was nominated for "Favorite Female Newcomer" at
the Blockbuster Entertainment Awards and "Best Fight" at the MTV Movie
Awards. Jovovich's portrayal of Leeloo garnered a video game and a planned
action figure, but the figure was never released due to licensing
problems. In a 2003 interview, Jovovich said Leeloo was her favorite role
In 1998, Jovovich had a role in the Spike Lee drama He Got Game as abused
prostitute Dakota Burns, appearing with Denzel Washington and Ray Allen.
In 1999, she appeared in the music video for the song If You Can't Say No
by Lenny Kravitz. In 1999, Jovovich returned to the action genre playing
the title role in The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc, reuniting her
with director Luc Besson. She was featured in armor throughout several
extensive battle scenes, and cut her hair to a short length for the role.
Jovovich received generally good reviews for her performance, although she
also received a Razzie Award nomination for "Worst Actress". The
Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc did moderately well at the box office,
gaining $66 million worldwide. Afterwards, in 2000, Jovovich appeared as
the troubled Eloise in The Million Dollar Hotel, a film based on a concept
story by Bono of the band U2 and Nicholas Klein. Directed by Wim Wenders,
Jovovich starred alongside Jeremy Davies and Mel Gibson, in addition to
providing vocals on the film's soundtrack. Afterwards, she portrayed bar
owner, Lucia, in the British western film The Claim (2000), and the evil
Katinka in the celebrity cameo laced comedy Zoolander (2001).
In 2002, Jovovich starred in the horror/action film Resident Evil,
released in the United States on March 15, 2002. Based on the CAPCOM video
game series of the same name, she portrayed Alice, the film's heroine who
fights a legion of zombies created by the evil Umbrella Corporation.
Jovovich had accepted the role of Alice because she and her brother had
been fans of the video game franchise, saying, "It was exciting for me
just watching him play, I could sit for 5 hours and we would sit all day
and play this game." Jovovich had performed all the stunts required in the
film, except for a scene that would involve her jumping to a cement
platform, which her management deemed too dangerous, and had trained in
karate, kickboxing, and combat-training. The film was commercially
successful, grossing $17 million on its opening weekend, and gaining $40
million domestically and $102 million worldwide. Later, she portrayed the
manipulative gang wife Erin in No Good Deed (2002), Nadine in the romantic
comedy You Stupid Man (2002), punk rocker Fangora ("Fanny") in Dummy
(2003), and provided a guest voice on the television series King of the
Hill. The role of Fangora in Dummy, allowed Jovovich to act in film with
Oscar-winning Adrien Brody, who was a friend prior to filming. Jovovich
found it easy to identify with this role because she felt Fangora, as
opposed to previous characters, possessed similar qualities to the
actress' own life.
In 2004, Jovovich reprised the role of Alice in the sequel to Resident
Evil, Resident Evil: Apocalypse. The role required her to do fight
training for three hours a day, in addition to the three months prior to
filming in which she had "gun training, martial arts, everything".
Apocalypse received even more negative reactions from the critics than the
first film. Following the release of the film, Jovovich was unhappy with
the results and director Alexander Witt's effort. She noted during an
interview that year that her large action films take care of the
commercial part of her career, while she acts in "independent little films
that never come out" to appease her artistic side, and "It's a good
balance". The following year, she was featured in Gore Vidal's faux
trailer remake of Caligula, as Drusilla. In 2006, Jovovich's film, the
science fiction/action thriller Ultraviolet, was released on March 3. She
played the title role of Violet Song jat Shariff, a role that also
involved heavily choreographed fight sequences and Gun Kata, a fictional
martial art combining statistical analysis and gunplay. It was not
screened for critics, but when reviewed, it was critically panned,
grossing $31 million worldwide. That year Jovovich also starred in .45, as
Kat, the revenge driven girlfriend of an illegal gun and drug dealer with
English actor and DJ Matt Maurice.
In 2007, Jovovich reprised her role as Alice in Resident Evil: Extinction,
the third of the Resident Evil series. The film grossed an estimated US$24
million in 2,828 theaters on its opening weekend, topping the box office
gross for that week. It opened stronger than its predecessor, Resident
Evil: Apocalypse, which opened with $23 million in 3,284 theaters (over
450 more theaters than Extinction). In a March 2006 interview, Jovovich
said that she would not appear in another action film "for a long time",
expressing a desire to portray more diverse roles, but she added that
talks of another sequel in the Resident Evil franchise were a "real
possibility". According to the March 9' issue of interview magazine, Milla
has hinted that she will indeed be back to reprise her role as "Alice" in
the fourth installment. During a trip to Chateau Marmont, Jovovich told
paparazzi that she was going to start shooting "number 4" at the end of
the year, hinting at the fourth Resident Evil film.
Jovovich was set to portray Amalia Bezhetskaya in Azazel in 2007, however,
with the announcement of her pregnancy early that year, the film was
postponed until Summer 2008. Also in 2009, Jovovich starred in David
Twohy's A Perfect Getaway with Kiele Sanchez, Timothy Olyphant, and Steve
Zahn. The film is a thriller about a newlywed couple (Milla and Zahn) on
their honeymoon in Hawaii. Filming began Spring 2008.
Jovovich is set to play Lucetta, the wife of a jailed arsonist (played by
Edward Norton) in Stone, a psychological thriller starring Robert De Niro.
Filming began in May 2009 at the recently closed Southern Michigan
Correctional Facility in Jackson, Michigan.
Jovovich played the part of Dr. Abigail Tyler in the sci-fi thriller The
Fourth Kind and will star in the psychological thriller Faces in the
Crowd, which is written and directed by Julien Magnat; in the latter film,
she plays the survivor of a serial killer’s attack that leaves her
suffering from a condition called prosopagnosia, which renders her unable
to recognize faces.
Jovovich will return for her role as Alice, in the fourth movie of the
Resident Evil series Afterlife, who is directed by her husband Paul W. S.
Jovovich had begun working on a music album as early as 1988, when she was
signed by SBK Records after the company heard a demo she recorded. In
August 1990, she asserted in an interview that the then-forthcoming album
would be "a mix between Kate Bush, Sinéad O'Connor, This Mortal Coil, and
the Cocteau Twins". After it was initially presented by SBK strictly as a
pop album, Jovovich protested, insisting on using her personal poetry for
lyrics and recording her own instrumental material. Jovovich had written
the songs when she was fifteen, with the exception of a Ukrainian folk
song, "In a Glade", that she covered. In April 1994, billed under her
first name, she released The Divine Comedy, a title that was a reference
to the epic poem by Dante Alighieri of the same name. Jovovich had chosen
the title after seeing Russian artist Alexis Steele's proposed cover
artwork sketch for the then untitled album. Jovovich found that the sketch
had "all the struggle that I'm singing about. It IS the divine comedy".
The Divine Comedy was well received by critics, and featured pop-infused
traditional Ukrainian folk songs that led to comparisons with musicians
Tori Amos and Kate Bush. John McAlley of Rolling Stone called the album
"remarkable", "strikingly mature and rich in invention", and as featuring
"angst-laced poetry with vivid melodies and arrangements that find a
common spirit in synth pop, European folk and psychedelic dream rock".
Jovovich released the track "Gentleman Who Fell", with an accompanying
music video, as the sole single from the album. The music video was
originally directed by Lisa Bonet and featured Harry Dean Stanton, but
Jovovich was unsatisfied with the results and decided to film another
version. The second version of "Gentleman Who Fell", a homage to Maya
Deren's short film Meshes of the Afternoon (1943), was subsequently played
on MTV. Jovovich toured the United States during most of 1994 to promote
the album, opening for Toad the Wet Sprocket and Crash Test Dummies, as
well as playing smaller acoustic sets. Jovovich had opted to perform in
smaller and more intimate settings, turning down a musical appearance on
Saturday Night Live. Milla has also been collaborating musically with
longtime friend and musician Chris Brenner, who co-wrote with her on the
Divine Comedy Album and who was the musical coordinator for the supporting
tour. She and Brenner met in 1993 and have been working creatively on
different ventures ever since. Following The Divine Comedy, she expressed
interest in releasing a second album, having had ten songs ready for a
future recording that was intended for a Summer 1996 release. However,
Jovovich has yet to release a second album.
In May 1999, Jovovich along with Chris Brenner formed an experimental band
called Plastic Has Memory, in which she wrote the songs, sang, and played
electric guitar. The band was "much heavier and darker than the vaguely
Ukrainian folk-sounding elements of her first album" and had a similar
sound to a grunge and trip hop Portishead. Plastic Has Memory played about
a dozen shows in Los Angeles and New York City for a potential Virgin
Records album release, one of which Mick Jagger had attended. Though
Plastic Has Memory was featured on Hollywood Goes Wild, a benefit
celebrity compilation album, the group never formally released a record
and is no longer together.
Jovovich has contributed tracks to several of her film soundtracks,
including The Million Dollar Hotel (2000) and Dummy (2002), and has also
provided songs for the soundtracks of films in which she has not acted
such as Underworld (2003) produced by musician Danny Lohner who was the
bass player in Nine Inch Nails for many years. In 2001, Jovovich was one
of many celebrities whose vocals were featured in a cover of "We are
Family" to raise money for the American Red Cross. She has appeared as
guest vocalist on the song "Former Lover" on Deepak Chopra's album, A Gift
of Love II: Oceans of Ecstasy (2002) and Legion of Boom (2004) by The
Since 2003, Jovovich has worked with musician Maynard James Keenan, of
Tool and A Perfect Circle, on his Industrial side project Puscifer,
contributing vocals to the track "REV 22:20", which was featured on
various film soundtracks in its original or a remixed form. As of January,
2009, she can be heard collaborating with Maynard and Danny Lohner on the
Puscifer track called, "The Mission." She also performed the song at the
first live Puscifer performance on February 13, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Danny Lohner, and longtime music collaborator Chris Brenner currently
continue to record and perform with Jovovich who has made several highly
praised appearances in recent years.
Jovovich continues to write songs which she refers to as "demos", and
which are provided for free in MP3 format on her official website. She
provides license to freely download and remix the tracks, but reserves the
right to sell and issue them.
Jovovich and fellow supermodel Carmen Hawk launched a line of clothing
called Jovovich-Hawk in 2003. The pair opened a showroom in New York
City's Greenwich Village on September 13, 2005, and the line lasted for
four years. Many of the dresses for the Jovovich-Hawk line were designed
by the head designer Gerardo Reyes for the duo for their third collection,
the most critically acclaimed. The atelier is based in Los Angeles, but
pieces could be found at Fred Segal in Los Angeles, Harvey Nichols, and
over 50 stores around the world. Vogue has praised the line for its
"girl-about-town cult status most designers spend years trying to
In November 2006, the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) and
US Vogue nominated Jovovich-Hawk for the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Award.
Jovovich-Hawk was nominated as a finalist, although Doo-Ri Chung took the
In 2007, Jovovich and Hawk designed the costume for Jovovich's character
in Resident Evil: Extinction. The shorts Alice, her character, wears are a
variation on the 'Alice Star' Shorts from the Spring 2007 collection. In
late 2007, Jovovich-Hawk signed a deal to design a diffusion collection
for Target's Go International campaign, following in the footsteps of
Luella, Paul & Joe and Proenza Schouler.
In late 2008, Jovovich and Hawk mutually agreed to end the business due to
increased demands on their time. Jovovich explained, "I'm an artist. I'm
not someone who can deal with shipping rates and taxes."[
Jovovich has been noted for her careers as a supermodel, singer, and
actress. Music channel VH1 has referred to her as the "reigning queen of
kick-butt" for her roles in various sci-fi and action films and Rebecca
Flint Marx of Allmovie said that despite the negative critical response
for the Resident Evil films, the franchise has turned Jovovich into an
"A-list action star." Her action roles have given her a "geek" following
for which MTV said she was "Every Geek's Dream Girl."
In 2004, Jovovich was ranked #69 on Maxim magazine's "Top 100 Hot List"
and ranked #82 in 2005. Maxim also named her #11 on their list of "Hottest
Nerd Crushes." In 2008, she was ranked #90 on Ask Men's Top 99 Women of
Jovovich currently resides in homes in Los Angeles and New York with her
husband, film writer and director Paul W. S. Anderson, whom she married on
22 August 2009. The two met while working on Resident Evil, which Anderson
wrote and directed, and in which Jovovich starred. Anderson proposed to
Jovovich in 2003, but the two separated for a period of time before
becoming a couple again. The couple have stated that they "would love to
get married, but maybe after the baby." On November 3, 2007, Jovovich gave
birth to her and Anderson's first child, a daughter, Ever Gabo Anderson.
The child was born at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles,
California, one day before Jovovich's due date of November 4. Ever, a male
Scottish name, was given to reflect Anderson's Scottish heritage, while
the middle name of Gabo (pronounced "Gabeau") was a combination of
Jovovich's parents' names — the first two letters of mother Galina and the
first two letters of father Bogdan's. Wim Wenders, who directed Jovovich's
film The Million Dollar Hotel, is the baby's godfather. Jovovich has
stated that she would like to have three children, saying through means of
adoption as well. She has two miniature Maltese dogs, Bubble and Madness,
and a Giant Schnauzer named Oliver Cromwell.
Prior to her relationship with Anderson, Jovovich married on-screen
boyfriend Shawn Andrews in 1992 while filming Dazed and Confused together.
Andrews was 21, while Jovovich was 16; the marriage was annulled by her
mother two months later. Shortly after the annulment, Jovovich moved to
Europe with her friend and musician Chris Brenner where she met and then
lived with her new boyfriend, Jamiroquai ex-bassist Stuart Zender, in
London from May 1994 to October 1995. From 1995 to 1997, she was serious
with noted photographer Mario Sorrenti. In Las Vegas, she married The
Fifth Element director Luc Besson in 1998 where they went skydiving
directly after the ceremony; they divorced in 1999. Between 1998 and 2001,
she befriended the young poet and musician, Anno Birkin, and were each
other's inspiration behind many of their compositions. Jovovich became
involved with Birkin romantically just before his death in a car accident
in late 2001. Jovovich also dated former Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist
John Frusciante, for seven months in 2000.
In 2006, Jovovich mentioned her interest in publishing her private diaries
as an autobiography. She had kept a diary since childhood, writing about
the locations she has traveled and "all the mad things that she's done".
Jovovich has stated that she views publication as a way to "get it all
into a book—like an autobiography", and it would have a "diary feel to
it". However, she also commented that she was "...not sure how interested
anyone would be in publishing it, or reading it, for that matter."
In addition to being a smoker, Jovovich has advocated the legalization of
cannabis, and appeared in a spread and on the cover for High Times. In an
article published in 1994, she admitted that her only vices were
cigarettes and cannabis. She practices yoga and meditates often in
attempts to live a healthy lifestyle; although not affiliating with a
certain religion, she prays and considers herself a "spiritual person".
She avoids junk foods and prefers to cook for herself. She practices
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in addition to other varieties of martial arts.
Jovovich also enjoys playing the guitar, writing in a diary, and writing
poems and lyrics for songs.
Jovovich is multilingual—she can speak English, Serbian, French, and