Milla Jovovich has been in demand since appearing on her first magazine cover aged 11. By the time she was 24 she had a modelling career, a record and a movie debut under her belt as well as a teen elopement, an annulment, a second husband and a divorce. "I never do things that are stupid," she says. "Well, not in my professional life."
Milla Natasha Jovovich was born December 17, 1975, the daughter of Bogich Jovovich, a Yugoslavian doctor, and Golina Loganiva, a Soviet actress. Born in Kiev, Ukraine in what was then known as the USSR, she and her family left their financially-stable life to head to the US when she was just five years old.
The family settled in California, where Bogich and Golina worked as housekeepers for famed director Brian De Palma. "My parents, like every immigrant, started from scratch... doing whatever they could to make money," says Milla. "My mom put me in acting class and they sort of put all their attention into me, making sure I was educated."
Growing up in the US, she says, "I could have died and gone to heaven in Toys 'R' US and I discovered french fries." But while Milla enjoyed childhood pleasures like toys and junk food, her striking blue eyes and feline features led her to a modelling career in the very adult world of fashion.
She became the world's youngest cover model, and was named one of "Revlon's Most Unforgettable Women in the World" before her 12th birthday. Earning $3,500 a day, she appeared on thirteen magazine covers as a pre-teen.
"I don't even bother to count my covers," said a 13-year-old Milla. "When it comes to models my age, I think I'm it." Later, in retrospect, the model admitted she was a "brat". "I was so young starting in this industry," she says. "I did my first shoot when I was eleven, acting like a sexy 20-year-old woman. Everything went to my head."
Often compared with former child model Brooke Shields, within three years she launched a Hollywood career with films including Return to the Blue Lagoon.
Aged 15, she was an international model with $1 million in the bank, while at the same time a typical rebellious teen, pulling stunts such as bleaching her eyebrows to irk her mum. Her parents, however, were shocked when she suddenly eloped in 1993 aged 16.
The marriage, to her 21-year-old Dazed And Confused
co-star Shawn Andrews, was annulled after two months. Milla says she was "lost", while her mother explains: "She didn't know how to break away from the chains of being a child."
She married 38-year-old Fifth Element
director Luc Besson four years later, but the union ended in divorce after 18 months. Milla was once again ready to take the plunge, however, when she got engaged to Geordie film director Paul Anderson, with whom she worked on 2002's Resident Evil.
Their daughter, Ever Gabo Anderson, was born on November 3, 2007 and the couple finally found time to tie the knot in 2009. They exchanged vows in an intimate sunset ceremony which took place in the back garden of their Los Angeles home.
All glamour in her modelling career, Milla takes a different route in films, starring as a bio-engineered creature in The Fifth Element,
sporting 50 lbs of armour in Joan Of Arc
and playing a commando unit leader in Resident Evil.
"I'm a very physical person," she says. "I like to sort of say that maybe I could be the young Sigourney Weaver of my generation. A lot of people might argue with me but, you know, I like to pat myself on the back and say that."
The former child model who was forced to grow up early knows exactly how to handle the hit-and-miss world of Hollywood and it's a lesson she seems to apply to life in general.
"It's all about making mistakes," she says. "It's not like I'm Jodie Foster or Meryl Streep
. I'm just Milla. To be able to make a mistake is the most wonderful thing in the world. To have no fear to do whatever. You fall in the mud, and you take a shower and do it all over again."
Though she's shared the screen with heavy-hitters Bruce Willis
and Denzel Washington
, acting isn't the Zoolander
star's first calling. "Music is my thing," says the singer-guitarist, who released her debut album in 1994.
"It represents my personality. Nice, but with a weird, paranoid, depressive side." She has also broadened her career with her acclaimed fashion line, Jovovich-Hawk, which she started with her friend of ten years and former model Carmen Hawk.