Jennifer Anne Affleck (née Garner;
born April 17, 1972), known professionally as Jennifer Garner, is an
American actress. She is best known for her role as CIA agent Sydney
Bristow on the ABC thriller drama series Alias. She is also known for her
roles in the films Juno, Dude, Where's My Car?, 13 Going on 30, Catch Me
if You Can, Daredevil, Elektra, Catch and Release, The Kingdom and The
Invention of Lying.
Garner was born in Houston, Texas, the daughter of Patricia Ann (née
English), an English teacher from Oklahoma, and William John Garner, a
chemical engineer who worked for Union Carbide in Texas. She is the middle
child between two sisters, Melissa Lynn Garner Wylie (born February 5,
1969, resides in Boston, Massachusetts) and Susannah Kay Garner Carpenter
(born January 24, 1975 in Texas, resides in Charleston, West Virginia).
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, she never had ambitions to become a classical
ballerina. When she was four years old, her father's job with Union
Carbide relocated her family to Princeton, West Virginia, then to
Charleston, West Virginia, where Garner resided until her college years.
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. Upon realizing that she enjoyed stage
acting more than science, Garner changed her major to drama. While at
Denison, Garner was initiated into the sorority Pi Beta Phi. Garner
graduated from Denison in 1994 and continued her drama education at the
National Theater Institute in Waterford, Connecticut where she was trained
by fight choreographer David Chandler, and told she was a natural in stage
combat. Keen for immediate experience, she visited her friend, Clayton
Kirlew, in New York City in 1995 and decided to take her chances in New
In New York City, Garner earned $300 a week as an understudy in the play A
Month in the Country for Roundabout Theatre Company in 1995. She was then
cast in her first television role, a part in the made-for-television movie
Zoya, based on the Danielle Steel novel. In 1996 she appeared in an
episode of Spin City as the character James' high school sweetheart and in
an episode of Law & Order as a temporary love interest of Benjamin Bratt's
character. Her next acting jobs were in two short-lived television series,
Significant Others and Time of Your Life, and a recurring role in the
series Felicity. 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
future husband Ben Affleck.
Later in 2001, J. J. Abrams (who produced Felicity) approached Garner
about starring in a new show he was working on for ABC. Garner auditioned
for and was cast in the role of Sydney Bristow in the spy drama Alias. 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 showed her comedic side in
2004's 13 Going on 30, a romantic comedy whose commercial success
established her as a leading feature film actress, and reprised her role
as "Elektra" in the 2005 spin-off to Daredevil titled Elektra. Garner is
known for performing her own stunts and in January 2005 was forced to bow
out of some publicity duties for Elektra because of 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.
Catch and Release, a romantic comedy, opened on January 26, 2007. Garner
took a role as part of an ensemble in The Kingdom alongside Jamie Foxx,
Jason Bateman and Ashraf Barhom. Box office analysts have commented that
the choice was a smart move 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 appeared in the Jason Reitman-directed comedy/drama feature Juno.
After that film's premiere at the Toronto Film Festival, Entertainment
Weekly declared Garner's role the best female supporting performance of
the festival, saying "The star of Alias and The Kingdom does no
butt-kicking in this sweet comedy. Instead, as a young wife desperately
hoping to adopt, she's funny, a bit tough, and unbelievably touching."
In 2008, Garner appeared as a presenter at the Oscars. However, for
Garner, this part of the evening was somewhat overshadowed in the next
day's press by discussions of the unexpected interruption of her Red
Carpet interview by Gary Busey. Busey later publicly apologized for the
incident, saying that he merely wanted to congratulate Laura Linney, who
was being interviewed along with Garner, and didn't realise that they were
being interviewed at the time. In 2009, she appeared in the films Ghosts
of Girlfriends Past and The Invention of Lying.
Garner played Roxanne in Cyrano de Bergerac at the Richard Rodgers Theatre
on Broadway from November 1, 2007 alongside Kevin Kline who was in the
title role. This was her Broadway debut. The show was originally set to
run until December 23, 2007, but it was extended through January 6, 2008
due to the Broadway stagehand strike in late 2007. For this role Garner
won the 9th Annual broadway.com Audience Award for Favorite Actress in a
Garner has formed a production company named Vandalia Films which will
produce its first film in 2011.
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
She earned an estimated $3 million for her first film role in 13 Going on
30. The actress then received a bump up to a $5 million paycheck for
Elektra and a similar sum for Catch and Release. She negotiated a reported
$7 million for The Kingdom. Instead of demanding an A-list salary for the
small independent film Juno, she settled on percentage points. This
gesture of goodwill earned her over $8.5 million when the film became a
runaway success at the box office.
Garner enjoys cooking, gardening, hiking and kickboxing (a hobby picked up
during training for her Alias character). She is close friends with Reese
Witherspoon and also close to actress Jean Louisa Kelly, who interviewed
Garner for the June 2005 issue of Self magazine.
In December 2007, Garner was named The Charleston Sunday Gazette-Mail's
2007 West Virginian of the Year "for her dedication, work ethic and unique
role as role model and ambassador for West Virginia."
She has a yellow Labrador Retriever named "Martha Stewart" (after the
television personality of the same name), which appeared with her on the
television show Martha on January 24, 2007.
On October 19, 2000, Garner married actor Scott Foley, whom she met on the
set of Felicity in 1998. After separating from Foley in March 2003, 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 two were
officially divorced on March 30, 2004.
Garner is known for being private about her personal life. This is
reflected in her relationships with Michael Vartan and Ben Affleck. Over
the course of her relationship with her Alias co-star Michael Vartan, she
never made any public appearances with him and was late to confirm their
relationship in August 2003. 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.
Garner's relationship with her Daredevil co-star Ben Affleck, which
started in July 2004, was also very low-key. It was months into their
relationship before a paparazzo managed to take a shot of the two as a
couple. Both stars' publicists denied their relationship until a public
appearance at a Boston Red Sox game. When there were rumours of Garner
being pregnant, there were repeated denials of the pregnancy. On Garner's
33rd birthday, Affleck proposed to her with a 4.5 carats (900 mg) diamond
ring from Harry Winston and the couple married on June 29, 2005 in a
surprise ceremony at the Parrot Cay resort on the Turks and Caicos
Islands. Officiating at the ceremony was her Alias co-star Victor Garber.
Finally, their publicists confirmed the marriage and pregnancy. 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. On July 17, 2008, her Alias co-star Victor Garber
stated that Garner and Affleck were expecting their second child and that
Garner was five months pregnant. On January 6, 2009, she gave birth to
their second daughter, Seraphina Elizabeth Affleck.