Jennifer Love Hewitt (born February 21, 1979) is an American actress, singer-songwriter, film and television director and producer. Hewitt began her acting career as a child by appearing in television commercials and the Disney Channel series Kids Incorporated. She rose to fame in teenage popular culture in her roles in the Fox series Party of Five, as Sarah Reeves, and films I Know What You Did Last Summer and its sequel, as Julie James.
As a singer, Hewitt has been signed by Atlantic Records and Jive Records. She is primarily known for her recordings in the pop genre. Her most successful single on the Billboard Hot 100 is the 1999 release "How Do I Deal", which peaked at No. 59. In addition, she has contributed music to the promotion or soundtracks of acting projects.
Hewitt's appearance has been the subject of media attention throughout her career. She has been lauded as one of the most attractive women in the entertainment industry by publications such as Maxim, in which she was named the sexiest woman in the world in 1999, and TV Guide, which named her the sexiest woman on television in 2008. In 2007, paparazzi photos of Hewitt on a beach led to a much-publicized matter in which she defended her weight, and was supported by other celebrities. These incidents received coverage from People magazine.
In addition to acting, Hewitt has also served as producer on some of her film and television projects. In 2010, Hewitt wrote a book on relationships entitled The Day I Shot Cupid. She also starred on the hit CBS television program Ghost Whisperer as Melinda Gordon, a young woman who can communicate with ghosts. She won a Saturn Award in 2007 and 2008 for Best Actress on Television. She was nominated for a Golden Globe for her television movie The Client List.
Hewitt was born in Waco, Texas, and is the daughter of Patricia Mae (née Shipp), a speech-language pathologist, and Herbert Daniel Hewitt, a medical technician. Hewitt grew up in Nolanville, Texas. After the divorce of her parents, Hewitt and her older brother, Todd Hewitt, were brought up by her mother.
As a young girl, Hewitt was attracted to music, which led to her first encounters with the entertainment industry. At the age of three, she sang "The Greatest Love of All" at a livestock show. Just a year after that, at a restaurant-dance hall, she entertained an audience with her version of "Help Me Make It Through the Night." By the time she was five, Hewitt already had tap dancing and ballet in her portfolio. At nine, she became a member of the Texas Show Team (which also toured in the Soviet Union). At the age of ten, at the suggestion of talent scouts and winning the title of Texas Our Little Miss Talent Winner, she moved to Los Angeles, with her mother to pursue a career in both acting and singing. In Los Angeles, Hewitt attended Lincoln High School where her classmates included Jonathan Neville, who became a talent scout and recommended Hewitt for her role in Party of Five.
After moving to Los Angeles, Hewitt appeared in more than twenty television commercials. Her first break came as a child actor on the Disney Channel variety show Kids Incorporated (1989–1991), where she was credited as just Love Hewitt. During this time she danced in and sang all the songs for a live action video called Dance! Workout with Barbie released by Buena Vista.
In 1993, she played Pierce Brosnan's daughter in a pilot for NBC called Running Wilde, which featured Brosnan as a reporter for Auto World magazine whose stories cover his own wild auto adventures. However, the series was not picked up and the pilot never aired. Hewitt later had roles in several short-lived television series, such as Fox's Shaky Ground (1992–1993), ABC's The Byrds of Paradise (1994), and McKenna (1994–1995), and finally became a young star after landing the role of Sarah Reeves on the popular Fox Television show Party of Five (1995–1999). She assumed the role of Sarah after joining that show during its second season and continued it on the short-lived Party of Five spin-off, Time of Your Life (1999), which she also co-produced. The show was cancelled after half a season.
Hewitt made her film debut in the independent film Munchie (1992). She appeared as a choir member in "Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit" (1993) with Whoopi Goldberg and Lauryn Hill. She became a film star after a lead role in the horror film I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997), which enjoyed great box-office success ($125,000,000 USD). The film gained Hewitt and her co-stars Freddie Prinze, Jr., Ryan Phillippe, and Sarah Michelle Gellar popularity. She appeared in the sequel I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998), which, though not as successful as the first film, took in more money on its opening weekend. Other notable film roles include the high-school comedy Can't Hardly Wait (1998) and a starring role with Sigourney Weaver in the romantic comedy Heartbreakers (2001).
In 2000, Hewitt appeared in The Audrey Hepburn Story. That same year, she was the "most popular actress on television" due to her Q-rating (a measurement of a celebrity's popularity) of 37. For that reason, Nokia chose her to become its spokesperson, because of her "fresh image," and her being "a symbol of youthfulness and wholesomeness."
In 2001, she appeared in the music video for the Enrique Iglesias song, "Hero," as the singer's love interest. She also appeared in the LFO video for "Girl on TV"
Hewitt wrote "I'm Gonna Love You" for the movie The Hunchback of Notre Dame II because, although she was a well-known singer, her character Madellaine was the only character who did not sing in the movie. The song won Best Song at the DVD Awards.
She also starred alongside Jackie Chan in the 2002 film The Tuxedo.
In September 2005, Hewitt starred in the television series Ghost Whisperer. In Australia, Ghost Whisperer has been popular since its introduction; in the United States, the show averaged 7.75 million viewers for its final season on CBS, which canceled the series in 2010. ABC expressed interest in picking up the show and has asked the writers of Ghost Whisperer not to take new jobs, as the series has a good chance in returning on ABC but later decided not to renew the show.
Hewitt and Jamie Kennedy starred in Cafe, an indie drama from writer-director Marc Erlbaum. Alexa Vega, Madeline Carroll, Daniel Eric Gold and Hubble Palmer appear as part of an ensemble of Philadelphia residents who frequent the local West Philly Grounds coffee shop where Hewitt's character Claire works.
On January 14, 2011, It was announced that Hewitt will direct the film Wait Till Helen Comes based on the novel by Mary Downing Hahn. This will be Hewitt's feature film directorial debut, she previously directed three episodes of Ghost Whisperer.
On January 30, 2011, Hewitt starred with Betty White in the Hallmark Hall of Fame film The Lost Valentine, shown on CBS in the US. She was also a co-producer of the film.
In 1991, Meldac funded the recording of Hewitt's first album Love Songs, when she was 12. The album was only released in Japan in 1992 where Hewitt became a pop star. Her explanation for her success in Japan is that the Japanese "love perky music. The poppier the music, the better."
After she joined the cast of Party of Five in 1995, she signed to Atlantic Records, who rushed her first single and second album, Let's Go Bang, out in October.
Juggling her music career with her acting career, she recorded her follow-up in 1996. The first single, "No Ordinary Love", failed to chart and led to the album doing the same. Atlantic dropped Hewitt, who did not return to the music scene for three years.
In 1999, she recorded the single "How Do I Deal" for the I Still Know What You Did Last Summer soundtrack. The song became Hewitt's first charting single by climbing to No. 59 on the Hot 100 and No. 36 on the Top 40 Mainstream. It reached No. 8 in Australia.
In 2002, Hewitt signed to Jive Records and recorded her fourth album with singer, songwriter and producer Meredith Brooks. The first single, "BareNaked", became her biggest radio hit to date when it peaked at No. 24 on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 chart, No. 31 on the Adult Top 40 and No. 25 on the Top 40 Mainstream. It also climbed to No. 6 in Australia and No. 33 in the Netherlands. The moderate success of the single propelled her album of the same name to peak at No. 37 on the Billboard 200 and No. 31 in Australia. However, it only remained on the chart for three weeks. The second single, "Can I Go Now", failed to chart in the US, while managing to peak at No. 8 in the Netherlands and No. 12 in Australia.
Since 2003, Hewitt has not actively done anything in the music industry, but a compilation called Cool with You: The Platinum Collection was released in Asia.
In addition to starring in the 2004 film If Only, Hewitt co-wrote and performed two songs for its soundtrack: "Love Will Show You Everything" and "Take My Heart Back". She appeared in the 2004 made-for-television musical version of A Christmas Carol, performing the singing role of Ebenezer Scrooge's fiance Emily.
In May 2009, she confirmed she was working on a country album. The album is due for a 2011 or 2012 release date; a country label has not been announced yet. As of October 2010, no information has been released about the album and its status is unknown.
In November 2009, Jennifer Love Hewitt made a foray into comic books. Veteran writer Scott Lobdell scripted the 5-issue anthology, Jennifer Love Hewitt’s Music Box, based on Hewitt's ideas. The series has been published by IDW Publishing, and has been compiled in a trade paperback.
Hewitt is an honorary godparent of the Audrey Hepburn Children's Fund.
She dated Carson Daly, singer-guitarist John Mayer, professional kayaker Brad Ludden, actor Joey Lawrence, musician Rich Cronin, and actor Will Friedle among others. Cronin, the leader singer of the LFO, wrote the group's 1999 hit single, "Girl on TV", for Hewitt. She also appeared in the music video for the song.
Hewitt was engaged to Scottish actor Ross McCall, whom she met when he made an appearance on Ghost Whisperer in late 2005. After two years of dating, they became engaged in late 2007, while vacationing in Hawaii. However, on January 5, 2009, People magazine reported that Hewitt called off their engagement in late 2008. She began a relationship with Ghost Whisperer co-star Jamie Kennedy in March 2009; the two were reported to be engaged July 21, 2009, but the couples' representatives and Kennedy himself later stated that this had not happened. In March 2010, Jennifer and Jamie Kennedy ended their relationship. Hewitt is currently dating actor/director/writer Alex Beh.
Paparazzi photographs secretly taken of Hewitt on vacation in a bikini led to harsh criticism of her body by bloggers. Hewitt responded: "I've sat by in silence for a long time now about the way women's bodies are constantly scrutinized....What I should be doing is celebrating some of the best days of my life and my engagement to the man of my dreams, instead of having to deal with photographers taking invasive pictures from bad angles." She posed on the cover of Us Weekly 10 weeks later, having lost 18 lb since the photos were taken. She said she had lost the weight to boost her energy levels, while her trainer claims that she said the weight loss had nothing to do with critical comments. Hewitt later defended Jessica Simpson for receiving similar criticism saying, "It gets silly. We're all supposed to look how we're supposed to look. We're made to be different people."
Hewitt wrote a book released in March 2010, called The Day I Shot Cupid, in which she writes of her experiences with love and dating. While talking about the book during a January 2010 interview on Lopez Tonight, she said that there is a chapter in it about "vajazzling" her "vajayjay" (decorating her vulva with Swarovski crystals). She said it looked "cute", revealed that she was currently vajazzled with "hot pink" crystals and recommended to all women that they also "vajazzle their vajayjays". This became a big internet hit with the video going viral, widespread news coverage and the term "vajazzling" becoming one of the most searched terms on Google the next day.
On The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, Hewitt admitted to being a Celtic F.C. fan.