A Beautiful Mind star Jennifer Connelly seemed to come out of nowhere when she made the Academy Awards' Best Supporting Actress short list for 2002. But the dark-haired beauty with a somehow familiar face who finally scooped the gong had actually been making films for two decades in a career which has taken her from child star to Oscar winner.
Born on December 12, 1970, Jennifer began modelling aged ten, appearing in magazine and TV adverts. Within a year or so, she had launched her film career with a role as a young ballerina in Robert De Niro
\'s Once Upon A Time In America,
and was soon cast as the lead in the Jim Henson fantasy Labyrinth
alongside David Bowie
Though she never stopped working in the Eighties she made six films in as many years Jennifer never found her name on the Hollywood child star A-list. "I began working when I hadn\'t yet come into my own, when I was this walking puppet," she reflected in one interview. "Some of the movies I did... I look back and cringe." She would later add: "I don\'t think I was this fantastic actress who was being neglected I had the career I deserved at the time."
Jennifer graduated from high school and went on to study English at Yale University and then drama at Stanford. Around this time, her career and personal life transitioned into adulthood when she was cast as the leading lady in another adventure story, 1991\'s The Rocketeer.
She fell in love and became engaged to her co-star Billy Campbell, who currently headlines US TV show Once And Again.
Five years later, the pair broke off their wedding plans.
Not long after the split Jennifer began seeing photographer David Dugan and the two had a son Kai in 1997. Though the pair are no longer an item, they raise Kai "together", and the three have dinner as a family once a week.
The Golden Globe winner, who took Kai with her onto the set of A Beautiful Mind
every day, calls motherhood and work a "balancing act" and credits the little boy with bringing a new perspective on her life and career. "I don\'t think I would be doing this quality of work if it hadn\'t been for my son," she says. "He\'s changed me. He\'s helped me to understand myself and find my place in the world."
Jennifer\'s new approach to her career, which has brought her acclaimed roles in award-winning films Requiem Of A Dream
as well as A Beautiful Mind,
has also put her firmly on the A-list she missed out on as a kid. However, the New York-based actress, who married her A Beautiful Mind
co-star Paul Bettany in January 2003, says being a full-time mum means she\'s not accustomed to being a full-time Hollywood star. "I have a very different existence at home that keeps me kind of out of the loop of how the politics in this industry works. So this is all kind of new to me."
Jennifer and Paul welcomed their first child together, a boy named Stellan, on August 6, 2003. Seven years later they announced they were expecting a second baby, to born in the summer of 2011.