- Milica Natasha Jovovich
December 17, 1975 (age 45)
- Supermodel, Fashion Designer, Singer, Actor, Musician
- Shawn Andrews
- Bogdan Jovovich, Galina Jovovich
Milla Jovovich (born Milica Jovovich; December 17, 1975) is an American model, actress, musician, and fashion designer. She has appeared in numerous science fiction and action-themed films, earning her the sobriquet "reigning queen of kick-butt" from the music channel VH1 in 2006.
Born in the Soviet Union, Jovovich immigrated with her parents to the United States when she was five. In 1987 she began modeling at the age of 12 when Herb Ritts photographed her for the cover of the Italian magazine Lei ("She"). Richard Avedon featured her in Revlon's "Most Unforgettable Women in the World" advertisements. In 1988, Jovovich had her first acting role in the television film, The Night Train to Kathmandu, and that year also appeared in her first feature film, Two Moon Junction.
Jovovich gained attention for her role in the explicit 1991 romance film Return to the Blue Lagoon, as she was then only 15. She was considered to have a breakthrough with her role alongside Bruce Willis and Gary Oldman in the 1997 French science-fiction film The Fifth Element, written and directed by Luc Besson. She and Besson married that year but soon divorced. She starred as the heroine and martyr in Besson's The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc (1999).
In 2002, Jovovich starred in the science fiction horror film Resident Evil, adapted from the video game of the same name. It was disliked by critics, but was commercially successful. She reprised her role in four sequels, all in the apocalyptic fiction action horror genre, made between 2004 and 2012.
Jovovich released a music album, The Divine Comedy, in 1994. She continues to release demos for other songs on her official website and contributes to film soundtracks. In 2003, she and model Carmen Hawk created the clothing line Jovovich-Hawk. Jovovich has her own production company, Creature Entertainment.
Early life and family
Milla Jovovich was born in 1975 in Kiev, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union.
In 1980, when Milla was five years old, her family left the Soviet Union for political reasons and emigrated to London. They subsequently immigrated to Sacramento, California, settling in Los Angeles seven months later. Milla's parents divorced soon after their arrival in Los Angeles.
In 1988, her father had a relationship with an Argentine woman, and they had a son, Marco Jovovich. Due to her parents' divorce years before, Milla saw little of her half brother.
In Los Angeles, Galina Jovovich tried to get acting jobs, but found little success because of language barriers, and eventually resorted to cleaning houses to earn money. Both parents served as cooks and housekeepers for director Brian De Palma. Milla's father was convicted and imprisoned for participating in an illegal operation concerning medical insurance; he was given a 20-year sentence in 1994, but was released in 1999 after serving five years. According to Milla, "Prison was good for him. He's become a much better person. It gave him a chance to stop and think."
Milla attended public schools in Los Angeles, becoming fluent in English in three months. In school, she was teased by classmates for coming from the Soviet Union: "I was called a commie and a Russian spy. I was never, ever, ever accepted into the crowd." At age 12, Milla left seventh grade to focus on modeling, which she had started at age nine. She has said she was rebellious during her early teens, engaging in drug use, shopping mall vandalism, and credit-card fraud. In 1994, she became naturalized as a U.S. citizen at the age of 19.
When Milla was eleven and living in Los Angeles her mother Galina wanted a new set of head shots for her, they were recommended to a male model turned photographer Carlos Reynosa. He became intrigued by her deep presence. After the shoot Carlos Reynosa recommended Galina take young Milla to the modelling agency he was represented by in Los Angeles called Prima / East West. Milla was signed to the agency upon arrival. A few days later, after shooting her first test, her pictures were shown to famed photographer Herb Ritz who immediately recognized the child Milla's beauty and strong persona. The next day Ritts booked the 11-year-old Milla for the cover of Italian magazine Lei, and London style magazine The Face. The covers gave the young Milla her launch and soon after legendary photographer Richard Avedon hired her for the American Edition of Mademoiselle. When the magazine became aware of Milla's age they refused to run the cover insisting that the magazine was a Women's magazine. Avedon threatened to stop shooting for the publication if they did not honor his artistic choice and the magazine relented and ran the cover, making eleven-year-old Milla the youngest model to ever appear on the cover of an American Women's Fashion Magazine. Avedon was also head of marketing at Revlon at the time, and chose young Milla to appear with established models Alexa Singer and Sandra Zatezalo in Revlon's "Most Unforgettable Women in the World" advertisements.
It was Milla's early work with Ritz, Avedon and Peter Lindbergh that led to her success in advertising, bringing the young model contracts and covers for both Vogue and Cosmopolitan. Since then, she has been featured on more than 100 magazine covers, including all the major fashion magazines in the US. She has been part of campaigns for Banana Republic, Christian Dior, Damiani, Donna Karan, Gap, Versace, Calvin Klein, DKNY, Coach, Giorgio Armani, H&M, and Revlon. Since 1998, Jovovich has been an "international spokesmodel" for L'Oréal cosmetics. She was referred to in a minor cameo in Bret Easton Ellis' novel Glamorama, a satire of society's obsession with celebrities and beauty.
Jovovich was said to be designer Miuccia Prada's muse in 2002; a 2003 article claimed she was Gianni Versace's "favourite supermodel". In 2004, Jovovich topped Forbes magazine's "Richest Supermodels of the World" list, earning a reported $10.5 million.
Early work (1985–1993)
Jovovich's mother had "raised [her] to be a movie star." In 1985, Galina enrolled Jovovich at the age of 10 in the Professional Actors School in California.
In 1988, Jovovich appeared in her first professional role as Lily McLeod in the made-for-television film The Night Train to Kathmandu. Later that year, she made her debut in a feature film as Samantha Delongpre in the romantic thriller Two Moon Junction. She had several roles in television series, including Paradise (1988), Married... with Children (1989) and Parker Lewis Can't Lose (1990).
At age 15, she was cast as the lead as Lilli Hargrave in Return to the Blue Lagoon (1991), opposite Brian Krause. Given her age and beauty, she was often compared to Brooke Shields, a child model-turned-actress who had starred in the original Blue Lagoon. The role was controversial, as Jovovich appeared nude in the film, as had Shields in The Blue Lagoon.. For this role, Jovovich was nominated both for "Best Young Actress Starring in a Motion Picture" at the 1991 Young Artist Awards, and "Worst New Star" at the 1991 Golden Raspberry Awards.
In 1992, Milla Jovovich co-starred with Christian Slater in the comedy Kuffs. Later that year, she portrayed Mildred Harris in the Charlie Chaplin biographical film Chaplin. In 1993 she acted in Richard Linklater's film Dazed and Confused. She played Michelle Burroughs, on-screen girlfriend to Pickford (played by her then-boyfriend Shawn Andrews). Strongly featured in promotions for the film, Jovovich was upset to find her role much reduced in the released film. Discouraged, she took a hiatus from acting roles, moving to Europe. She started to work at music.
Jovovich returned to acting in 1997 with a lead role in the French science fiction action film The Fifth Element, alongside Bruce Willis and Gary Oldman. This was written and directed by Luc Besson. She portrayed Leeloo, an alien who helps to save the planet. Jovovich said she "worked like hell: no band practice, no clubs, no pot, nothing" to acquire the role and impress Besson. They married on December 14, 1997, but later divorced.
Jovovich co-created and mastered an alien fictional language of over 400 words for her role. She wore a costume that came to be known as the "ACE-bandage" costume; the body suit designed by Jean-Paul Gaultier was made of medical bandages. The Fifth Element was selected as the opening film for the 1997 Cannes Film Festival and its worldwide box office gross was over $263 million, more than three times its budget of $80 million. The Fifth Element was often praised for its visual style; critic James Berardinelli wrote, "Jovovich makes an impression, although her effectiveness has little to do with acting and less to do with dialogue". Jovovich was nominated for "Favorite Female Newcomer" at the Blockbuster Entertainment Awards and "Best Fight" at the MTV Movie Awards. The film inspired a video game and a planned Leeloo action figure, but the figure was never released due to licensing problems. In a 2003 interview, Jovovich said Leeloo was her favorite role.
In 1998, Jovovich appeared in Spike Lee's drama He Got Game, as abused prostitute Dakota Burns; she acted with Denzel Washington and Ray Allen. In 1999, she appeared in the music video for the song "If You Can't Say No" by Lenny Kravitz. That year she returned to the action genre playing the title role in The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc, under direction of Luc Besson. She cut her hair short and wore armor in several extensive battle scenes. Jovovich received generally good reviews for her performance, although she also received a Razzie Award nomination for "Worst Actress". The historical drama did moderately well at the box office, gaining $66 million worldwide. In 2000, Jovovich appeared as the troubled Eloise in The Million Dollar Hotel, a film based on a concept story by Bono of the band U2 and Nicholas Klein. Directed by Wim Wenders, Jovovich starred alongside Jeremy Davies and Mel Gibson; she provided vocals on the film's soundtrack. That year she also played bar owner Lucia, in the British western film The Claim (2000). This was followed by a cameo as the evil Katinka in the comedy Zoolander (2001).
International success (2002–2006)
In 2002, Jovovich starred in the horror/action film Resident Evil, released in the United States on March 15, 2002 and based on the CAPCOM video game series of the same name. She portrayed Alice, the film's heroine, who fights a legion of zombies created by the Umbrella Corporation. Jovovich had accepted the role because she and her brother Marco had been fans of the video game franchise. Jovovich had performed all the stunts required in the film, except for a scene that would involve her jumping to a cement platform, which her management deemed too dangerous, and had trained in karate, kickboxing, and combat-training. The film was commercially successful, grossing $17 million on its opening weekend, and gaining $40 million domestically and $102 million worldwide. Later, she portrayed the manipulative gang wife Erin in No Good Deed (2002), Nadine in the romantic comedy You Stupid Man (2002), punk rocker Fangora ("Fanny") in Dummy (2003), and provided a guest voice on the television series King of the Hill. The role of Fangora in Dummy allowed Jovovich to act in film with Oscar-winning Adrien Brody, who was a friend prior to filming. Jovovich found it easy to identify with this role because she felt Fangora possessed similar qualities to the actress' own life.
In 2004, Jovovich reprised the role of Alice in the sequel to Resident Evil, Resident Evil: Apocalypse. The role required her to do fight training for three hours a day, in addition to the three months prior to filming in which she had "gun training, martial arts, everything". Apocalypse received even more negative reactions from the critics than the first film, but it was an even greater commercial success, ranking number one at the box office unlike the first film. Following the release of the film, Jovovich was unhappy with the critical results and director Alexander Witt's effort. She noted during an interview that year that her large action films take care of the commercial part of her career, while she acts in "independent little films that never come out" to appease her artistic side, and "It's a good balance". The following year, she was featured in Gore Vidal's faux trailer remake of Caligula, as Drusilla. In 2006, Jovovich's film, the science fiction/action thriller Ultraviolet, was released on March 3. She played the title role of Violet Song jat Shariff, a role that also involved heavily choreographed fight sequences. It was not screened for critics, but when reviewed, it was critically panned, grossing $31 million worldwide. That year, Jovovich also starred in .45, as Kat, the revenge driven girlfriend of an illegal gun and drug dealer with Scottish actor and DJ Angus Macfadyen.
Jovovich has been noted for her careers as a model, singer and actress. Music channel VH1 has referred to her as the "reigning queen of kick-butt" for her roles in various sci-fi and action films and Rebecca Flint Marx of Allmovie said that despite the negative critical response for the Resident Evil films, the franchise has turned Jovovich into an "A-list action star". Her action roles have given her a geek following for which MTV said she was "Every Geek's Dream Girl".
In 2004, Jovovich was ranked No. 69 on Maxim magazine's "Top 100 Hot List", ranked No. 82 in 2005 and ranked No. 21 in 2010. Maxim also named her No. 11 on their list of "Hottest Nerd Crushes". In 2008, she was ranked No. 90 on Ask Men's Top 99 Women of 2008 List. In 2011, Jovovich attended and sang at the birthday celebration of Mikhail Gorbachev. The actress also gave a speech in which she thanked Gorbachev, saying that when she and her family left the Soviet Union in 1980 they were sadly sure that they would never see their relatives again and that thanks to him they have been reunited.
Jovovich was born in the Ukrainian SSR of the former Soviet Union to a Russian mother and a Serbian father. She has stated that her native language is Russian, and that she never learned to speak Serbian well. In addition to Russian and English, she speaks some French. She had referred to the role the Russian culture played in her life when she stated in 2005: "I have a Russian mother, she was a famous actress in the USSR (Galina Loginova). And the first books, which I read, were in Russian. I was raised in the atmosphere of the Russian classical theatre school. The art, built on the system of Stanislavsky – that's the most realistic art. And the modern cinema stands on the same principle. A Russian person wants to find the truth. This is the base of the Russian culture. I never forget it, especially since I have Russian roots". Jovovich established a charitable foundation in 2005 to help Ukrainian children. At the time she referred to herself: "I am a strong Ukrainian girl, that is why I work a lot".
Jovovich currently resides in homes in Los Angeles and New York with her husband, film writer and director Paul W. S. Anderson, whom she married on 22 August 2009. The two met while working on the 2002 film Resident Evil, which Anderson wrote and directed, and in which Jovovich starred. Anderson proposed to Jovovich in 2003, but the two separated for a period of time before becoming a couple again. On November 3, 2007, Jovovich gave birth to her and Anderson's first child, a daughter, Ever Gabo. The child was born at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California. On April 1, 2015 their second daughter, Dashiel Edan, was born.
Prior to her relationship with Anderson, Jovovich married on-screen boyfriend Shawn Andrews in 1992 while filming Dazed and Confused together. Andrews was 21, while Jovovich was 16; the marriage was annulled by her mother two months later. Shortly after the annulment, Jovovich moved to Europe with her friend and musician Chris Brenner where she met and then lived with her new boyfriend, ex-Jamiroquai bassist Stuart Zender, in London from May 1994 to October 1995. From 1995 to 1997, she dated photographer Mario Sorrenti. In Las Vegas, she married The Fifth Element director Luc Besson in 1997 where they went skydiving directly after the ceremony; they divorced in 1999. Between 1998 and 2001, she befriended the young poet and musician, Anno Birkin, and each was the other's inspiration behind many of their compositions. Jovovich became involved with Birkin romantically just before his death in a car accident on November 8, 2001. Jovovich also dated former Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante, for seven months in 2000.
In addition to being a former smoker, Jovovich has advocated the legalization of cannabis, and appeared in a spread and on the cover for High Times. In an article published in 1994, she admitted that her only vices were cigarettes and cannabis. She practices yoga and meditates often in attempts to live a healthy lifestyle; although not affiliating with any specific religion, she prays and considers herself a "spiritual person". She avoids junk foods and prefers to cook for herself. She practices Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in addition to other varieties of martial arts. Jovovich also enjoys playing the guitar, and writing poems and lyrics for songs.