Born on June 15, 1964, in Birmingham, Alabama, Courteney Cox Arquette was brought up a Southern Belle, someone who belonged to all the right clubs and societies. But when her father, building contractor Richard, and her mum, also called Courteney, divorced and remarried increasing the number of her siblings from four to 13 the young Courteney suddenly revealed a wilder streak.
"Children just adapt but it left me with the sensation that nothing was necessarily permanent," says Courteney of the break-up in her parents' relationship, adding: "Only David Arquette has changed that."
She dropped out of the architecture course she was enrolled on at her mother's alma mater after falling for her step-father's nephew, Ian Copeland, a famous music agent 15 years her senior. Initially the relationship thrived and, with Ian's support, Courteney set her sights on becoming a model, despite being only 5ft 5in tall.
After landing a series of successful TV ads she appeared in spots for Noxzema, and Tampax, becoming the first person to use the word "period" on American TV the raven-haired beauty decided to follow Ian's advice and pursue a career in acting. Using the money earned by her commercials, she invested in drama classes and elocution lessons to eradicate her Alabama drawl.
Considering her efforts to change her accent, it was ironic that when Courteney's break finally came in 1984, it was in a non-speaking role. She appeared on-screen for a mere 21 seconds as the sylph-like girl pulled from the crowd in Bruce Springsteen
's Dancing In The Dark
video, but it was enough to bring her into the public eye.
Combined with an increased faith in herself "Her confidence caught up with her drive," said Ian later it was enough to launch Courteney's career in earnest. A stint as Michael J Fox's girlfriend on Family Ties
and roles in modest 1987 films Masters Of The Universe
and Down Twisted,
Her relationship with Ian over, she became involved with Batman
star Michael Keaton after telling a mutual friend how much she enjoyed his work. Their first date took place at her house, where the two spent five hours talking, and from that point on, they were inseparable. But like so many Hollywood partnerships, the relationship was doomed to failure and it eventually foundered, ending in 1994.
In April of that year Courteney accepted the part of neurotic chef Monica on the TV show Friends
having originally auditioned for the role of Rachel. The show's phenomenal success opened doors to silver screen roles which had previously eluded her, and on the set of the 1996 movie Scream
sparks flew when she met co-star David Arquette. By the time they made the sequel the pair were sharing a trailer, and in 1999 David proposed to his "Cece" on bended knee.
The two tied the knot on June 12 of that year, and - despite undergoing preventative marriage counselling, constant rumours about the rocky nature of their union, and the sad upheaval of a miscarriage in spring 2001 - remain emphatically committed to each other. On June 13, 2004 they happily announced the birth of daughter Coco.
By 2010, however, their union had soured - and in September they announced that they had decided upon a "trial separation" months earlier. David shocked Hollywood when he phoned Howard Stern's radio show to open up about their split - and admitted to an affair with a waitress. "Part of the terms of our separation was that I was allowed to see other people and so was she," he explained.