Children of the ‘90s will recognize Jennifer Love Hewitt for her iconic roles in shows like Party of Five and movies like I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997), Can’t Hardly Wait (1998), and Heartbreakers (2001). Along with other ‘90s it-girls like Sarah Michelle Gellar and Katie Holmes, Jennifer was one of the most in-demand actresses in the business at the time. Teenager girls wanted to be her, while teenage boys wanted to date her.
Although Jennifer’s acting work isn’t as high-profile as it used to be, the celebrity has continued to keep herself busy through television roles. From 2005-2010, she played the lead in the TV drama Ghost Whisperer. Since then, she’s had roles in shows including Criminal Minds, The Client List, and 9-1-1-. In addition to her acting chops, which have garnered her various awards and nominations, she’s been routinely praised by the media for being one of the most attractive women in Hollywood.
Jennifer has also been keeping busy in her private life. In 2012, she went public with her relationship with actor Brian Hallisay. The following year, the couple married and welcomed their first child, daughter Autumn. In 2015, the couple welcomed their second child, son Atticus. Keep reading to see just how different life was for Jennifer before she became a mom-of-two.
20 She's Been Acting Since She Was A Kid
Although Jennifer didn’t become a household name until the mid-90s, the actress has been in the business since she was a young child. Her mother, Patricia Mae Hewitt, moved her to LA at the age of 10 to pursue work in show business.
Jennifer’s first role came when she was 10-years old on the Disney Channel show Kids Incorporated, which she was on from 1989-1991. In the early ‘90s, she had roles in TV shows including The Byrds of Paradise, Shaky Ground, and McKenna, all while under the age of 16.
She finally made a statement on the big screen at the age of 18-years old when starred in the teen flick I Still Know What You Did Last Summer. From there, the roles just kept coming.
19 She Was Closest To Her Mom Growing Up
Jennifer’s parents separated when she was young, and after their divorce, she and her brother lived with their mother full-time. When the future celebrity’s mom realized she had a knack for singing and acting, she moved her kids to LA. Because of her upbringing, Jennifer said she was always extremely close to her mom.
“I become more like my mom every day,” she’s said to Working Mother about her mom who passed in 2012. “My mom was pretty extraordinary. I’m going to have fun doing to my kids what my mom did to me as a teenager. If my mom threatened to show up at a party in a bathrobe with curlers in her hair, she would do it. And I grew up in Hollywood. My mom would come rolling up to a party of kid actors and be like, ‘I told you I was going to show up here.’”
18 She Wasn't In A Good Place In The '90s
In this photo, Jennifer is posing with fellow ‘90s star Katie Holmes back when they were in their early twenties. And although Jennifer seemed to have it all back in her most famous decade- fame, fortune, and friends- the actress has since revealed that it’s only in recent years that she’s started to feel content with her life.
“What’s evolved for me is being a mom, being married, having lost my mom — everything about me, emotionally, is different. The reasons that I do things are different, how I feel about them, how I honour her,” she wrote on social media last year. “Watching all those things has made me a more open person. In acting, it’s easier to access those things.”
Jennifer continued, “I feel like I’m in a much more honest pace, which is great. I’ve figured myself [out] a little bit. I’m going to be 40 in February and you just get there and you go ‘Oh, that’s who I am.’”
17 She Didn't Want To Work After Baby No. 2
When Jennifer got pregnant with her first child, she was more than ready to go back to work on The Client List. When the show was canceled, she quickly snagged a recurring role on Criminal Minds, which she continued until right before her second child was born in 2014.
However, once her second child was born, Jennifer said she just couldn’t see herself rushing back to work. “They were like, ‘You’re in the middle of a [job]; you can’t do that,’” she said about leaving the spotlight. “But I was like, ‘I can because that’s what’s in my heart.’ I have so much admiration for women who can have their babies and go straight back to work. But I needed to work on myself, get into a different place before being able to do that.”
16 She Met Her Husband On Set
From 2012-2013, Jennifer starred on the Lifetime series Client List, which instantly became a hit with fans. Although the show may have eventually ended on bad terms, we’re sure the actress doesn’t regret the role since it’s where she met her now-husband Brian Hallisay, who portrayed the character Kyle Parks on the show.
The couple started dating shortly after they began filming in 2012. The following year, the couple announced they were engaged and expecting their first child. Brian is known to fans for his roles in television shows The Inside, Strong Medicine, and The CW’s Privileged. He’s also made appearances in shows like Bones, Cold Case, CSI: NY, and Ringer.
15 She Was Fired Over Baby Daddy Drama
Jennifer has always seemed polite and professional in interviews, but that doesn’t mean the celebrity doesn’t butt heads at work. The actress’s 2010 Lifetime movie The Client List performed so well that the network turned it into a television series with Jennifer as the lead.
According to E! News, when the star became pregnant in 2013, it was initially reported that her pregnancy was going to be written into the show, which had just finished its second season. However, she and the show creators couldn’t decide who would be the onscreen father of her character’s baby.
Jennifer is said to have wanted her real-life husband’s character to be the dad, while the creators preferred Colin Egglesfield’s character. Since they couldn’t decide on the fictional father, Lifetime ended up canceling the series.
14 She Was Engaged Once Before
Jennifer may not have made it down the aisle until she was well into her thirties, but Brian Hallisay isn’t the only man the actress has been engaged to. While she was still starring on Ghost Whisperer, Jennifer got engaged to actor Ross McCall, of Scotland, who’d made several appearances on her show.
The couple began dating in 2005 and eventually became engaged in 2007 during a vacation to Hawaii. However, in 2008, People broke the news that the couple had called it quits. Sources at the time said those close to the couple were just as surprised as fans were.
“They broke up over the holidays and have ended their engagement,” one insider told the publication. “They’re both really sad about this. Even their friends are surprised; they seemed really happy. Everyone just wants the best for both of them.”
13 She's Apologized For How She Looks
Jennifer has always been adored for her beauty — girls want to be her and boys want to be with her. So for many fans, it’s hard to imagine the celebrity feeling insecure about her looks. That’s why many fans weren’t sure how to take it when Jennifer apologized last year for not looking her best on the red carpet.
After a red-carpet appearance at the Fox UpFront event, Jennifer took to social media to say she was sorry for how tired she looked. “It has been a really intense couple of days,” she wrote. "I just have to apologize for how ... I look in all the pictures that have come out. I was literally melting. By the time I got to the red carpet, I was honestly melting.”
Many fans told the mom-of-two in the comments to never feel the need to apologize for her looks. For one, she always looks gorgeous to us. And two, when you work full-time and have two kids, no one can blame you for looking a bit disheveled.
12 She Broke Up With Her BF On Howard Stern
Here’s a photo of Jennifer with her ex-boyfriend Carson Daly back in the ‘90s. The couple dated from 1997 to 1998, until Jennifer is said to have ended it with him via her publicist. In 2000, Carson revealed he didn’t learn they were no longer together until he heard Howard Stern announced it.
However, Jennifer proved that she and Carson are on good terms nowadays after she posted a throwback photo of them attending the 1998 VMAs last year. "In honor of the VMA red carpet tonight. This was my VMA moment," she captioned the photo "Someone said that hair was cute. We are no longer friends lol. Wow, that was a long time ago.”
Jennifer later clarified in the comments that she didn’t mean she and Carson were no longer friend. "Guys I didn't mean Carson and I are not friends! I meant in a joking way the person who told me my hair looked good lol," she wrote.
11 She Can't Stand Travelling With Her Kids
Given that Jennifer hasn’t slowed her professional life down since becoming a mom of two, we imagine the actress has to travel a lot for work commitments. Last year, she revealed just how painful it can be travelling with kids under seven. By the sound of it, she can’t stand it!
In a social media post, the star revealed she’d looked tired during a recent red carpet appearance because she hadn’t “slept all night” thanks to her kiddos. "Traveling with toddlers…wow. I had no idea. I mean, I waited this long because I knew that it was going to be hard,” she wrote.
“First of all, let me say: My kids were ballers. Amazing! They did a great job,” she continued, adding her husband pitched in a lot. "My husband is a saint. He really held it all together."
10 "Your Body Is A Wonderland" Is About Her
We told you that Jennifer has dated a lot!
For a short time, the actress was in a relationship with notorious dater John Mayer, who went on to write his famous 2002 hit “Your Body Is A Wonderland” about Jennifer. The couple had dated for under a year in 2002, and remained mum on their relationship to the press following their public split.
In 2018, Jennifer said on the Inside Of You podcast with Michael Rosenbaum that she doesn’t believe the song was directly written about her. However, she added that she’s fine with fans continuing to think it’s about her. “Because that’s a real compliment,” she explained.
9 She's Always Dealt With Anxiety
One thing fans love about Jennifer is how raw and real she always is. Whether it’s during an interview or in a social media caption, the celebrity has never been afraid to get honest about how she’s feeling in the moment. One topic she’s never shied away from is discussing her battle with anxiety.
“My anxiety kicked into overdrive, and I was having these dreams—me being at work and, almost like a movie, children running around like, ‘My mother doesn’t love me!’” She once told Working Mother about her fears over juggling motherhood and work.
In the end, she says her kids didn’t even notice when she went back to work. “They had no reaction. Like, ‘Bye! Do I get ice cream when you get home?’” she continued. “They miss me, but it hasn’t turned our whole life upside down like I thought it was going to.”
8 Her Kids Know She's Famous
Jennifer's eldest child may only be 7-years old, but the celebrity recently admitted that her kids already have somewhat of an understanding of what she does. At least they know that mom has been in a lot of movies.
“Somebody at my daughter’s school said she watched Garfield and Garfield 2. So she came home and said, ‘Mommy, there’s this movie I heard about. It’s about a funny cat and I want to watch it,’ ” Jennifer told the publication about when daughter Autumn discovered her mom was an actress.
The mom-of-two continued, “She watched the whole movie, said nothing and at the very end she was like, ‘You were very good, Mommy.’ So we’ve been watching it for the last three days.”
7 Acting Has Always Scared Her
Given how long she’s been in front of the camera, it’s hard to imagine that Jennifer would get nervous when delivering her lines. After all, if you’ve been doing this since you were a kid, it’s got to feel like second nature. But the celebrity recently admitted that she still gets nervous about going to work.
"It's crazy after almost 30 years of doing something to still get scared," she wrote during a candid social media post. "I think still wanting to do this job and knowing you guys still care, is special. Thank you from the bottom of my heart."
6 Her Husband Is Her Onscreen Hubby, Too
Despite being busy with motherhood, Jennifer is still acting to this day. The celebrity has had a recurring role on the procedural drama 9-1-1 since its debut in 2018. The show follows a group of emergency first responders and dispatchers who have to balance the pressures of their jobs with their demanding personal lives.
Jennifer plays the character, Maddie Buckley. But what fans will find interesting is that her real-life husband, Brian Hallisay, was cast to play her onscreen husband, Doug Kendall (also known as Jason Bailey). In the show, Maddie’s husband isn’t known to be very kind to her, which we’re guessing is the complete opposite of Brian and Jennifer’s relationship IRL.
5 She Got Married In Secret
In this throwback photo, Jennifer was posing with her then-boyfriend Carson Daly. Although the celebrity dated a lot throughout the years, she rarely seemed serious about settling down with any of her beaus. Many fans thought she’d be unattached forever. That is, until she met Brian Hallisay.
Not one for the public eye, it was no huge surprise when the couple decided to elope rather than throw a big wedding for friends and family. According to E! News, the couple married only five days before the birth of their first child.
"I wore the only thing in my closet that fit me!" she told the publication of what she wore to the shotgun wedding. "Which was a really nice cotton maxi dress and that was it!"
4 She Needed A Break From Hollywood
Following the birth of her second child, son Atticus, Jennifer was noticeably absent from television screens and the silver screen. In recent years, the star admitted that having her second child allowed her to take a much-needed break from the spotlight. Hey, this girl has been acting since she was under 10, so it’s totally understandable!
“I needed to be a person for a while,” she told People of her decision, adding she’d been acting non-stop for “almost 29 years.” “I needed to have new things to bring back to my craft. I feel like I’ve done that now. It was really important for me to have children and be there,” Jennifer continued. “They’re these full-functioning, beautiful people now, and it’s great.”
3 She's Private About Her Family On Social Media
Although Jennifer is always ready to flash a big smile for the camera on the red carpet (just like in this throwback photo!), the celebrity is a bit more private when it comes to her social media habits.
Her followers will have noticed that the star rarely posts photos featuring her children’s’ faces. Rather, her kids often have their back turned to the camera in order to respect their privacy.
"I have to say that, by nature, I'm like a 90-year-old woman, so the whole internet […] all of that, I'm very new to," she said to Collider about her online habits. "But, I am quite [surprised] at how much fun it is to be able to reach out to people, on a daily basis, and keep content out there, and how much it actually really does help promote things, in such a different way."
2 She Quit Criminal Minds For Motherhood
Jennifer did not pause long before signing onto a new show following the end of her show The Client List (and even though she’d just gotten married and had her first child!). In 2013, it was announced the actress would be joining Criminal Minds as a regular for its tenth season.
Fans were excited to see the celebrity take part in the beloved show. But midway through filming the season, Jennifer announced she was expecting her second child. The show writers decided to give her character an exit in the season finale, though it left open the possibility for her to come back.
However, following the season’s air, Jennifer revealed she’d chosen not to return and was instead focusing on her young family.
1 She Ate Everything During Pregnancy
Jennifer seems like she is completely in love with motherhood. Not only has the celebrity said it gave her a reason to take a step back from her professional life, but it also gave her an excuse to treat herself to whatever yummy foods she wanted. #PregnancyCravings
"I've been an actress for 25 years, and have had to be hungry at times for my [job], so being pregnant is completely freeing," she told Am. Baby in 2015. "When I was expecting Autumn, I ate everything I saw! I told myself, 'Oh there's a donut—I should have that.' Now with this second pregnancy, I know the baby really doesn't 'need it.' So I eat healthy foods in general, but I also indulge in little things that I crave."