Jennifer Garner is an American actress best known for her role as CIA agent Sydney Bristow on the television series Alias, appearing in 105 episodes from 2001-2006.
Garner was born in Houston, Texas, to Patricia Ann English, a teacher, and Billy Jack Garner, a chemical engineer who worked for Union Carbide; she is the middle child between two sisters, Melissa Garner Wylie and Susannah Garner Carpenter. 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 realising that she enjoyed stage acting more than science, Garner changed her major to drama.
Garner graduated from Denison in 1994 and hoped to continue her drama education at Yale University. However, keen for experience, she visited a friend in New York City in 1995 and decided to take her chances in theatre.
In New York City, Garner earned $150 a week as an understudy in a play. She was then cast in her first television role, a part in the made-for-television movie, Zoya, based on the Danielle Steel novel.
Her next acting jobs were in two short-lived television series, Significant Others and Time of Your Life. Garner appeared in the comedy film Dude, Where's My Car?, playing Ashton Kutcher's girlfriend, in 2000.
In 2001, she appeared as a nurse in the big-budget epic Pearl Harbor, co-starring with Kate Beckinsale and Garner's 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, she directed the fourth season Alias episode, "In Dreams," which aired in May. She received producer credits 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 reprised her role as "Elektra" in the 2005 spin-off to Daredevil, entitled Elektra.
Garner showed her comedic side in the romantic comedy 13 Going on 30, which was a financial success and established her as a leading feature film actress.
Garner is known for performing her own stunts, and in January 2005 was forced to bow out of some publicity duties for Elektra, due to 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.
Garner entered the Forbes' "Power 100" list of celebrities in 2005 in 70th place. From June 2004 to June 2005, she earned an estimated $14-million.
During the 2006 Academy Awards ceremony, Garner stumbled on her flowing dress (designed by Michael Kors) as she came onto the stage to present the award for Sound Editing. She did not fall, but lost her balance, and jokingly commented, "I do my own stunts!"
In 2006 she appeared in the romantic comedy Catch and Release. Garner has formed a production company named Vandalia Films, which will produce its first two films in 2007: Sabbatical and Be with You.
She will also appear in the Jason Reitman-directed comedy/drama feature Juno, which begins filming in February 2007 in Vancouver, British Columbia.
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 rumours 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 in March 30, 2004.
Garner is notoriously 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 rumours 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 was also very low-key, which started in July 2004. It was months into their relationship before a paparazzo managed to take a shot of these 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-carat 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. Finally, their publicists confirmed the marriage and pregnancy.
At the time, Garner was pregnant with the couple's first child. Officiating at the ceremony was her Alias co-star Victor Garber. 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. They currently divide their time between Santa Monica, California and Cambridge, Massachusetts.
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.