Actress Katie Holmes first caught national attention as Josephine Potter on the WB series “Dawson’s Creek” in 1998.

“Joey” was the beloved girlfriend of the title character, and the show became the talk of teen households for six straight seasons.

Holmes was born Katherine Noelle Holmes on Dec. 18, 1978, in Toledo, Ohio, to lawyer dad Martin and stay-at-home-mom Kathleen. Katie was the youngest of the Holmes’ five children: girls Tamera, Holly and Nancy and brother Martin.

A straight-A student at Notre Dame Academy, an all-girls Roman Catholic school in Toledo, Katie showed an early interest in drama at school. She also began modeling and enrolled in Margaret O'Brien's Modeling School in Toledo.

Katie performed for the International Modeling and Talent Association in New York City in 1996, and was discovered by talent scout Al Onorato, who encouraged her to go to Los Angeles to audition for producers during "pilot season," when execs look for new talent for their new shows.

At 17, Katie Holmes headed to Hollywood, but she didn’t get any parts in TV pilots. What she did score was a part in Ang Lee’s “The Ice Storm,” opposite Tobey Maguire and starring Kevin Kline and Sigourney Weaver.

At the end of filming, she returned to Toledo and continued to submit tapes to L.A. producers while she finished high school.

It was Kevin Williamson, who wrote “Scream” and “I Know What You Did Last Summer,” who wanted her for a new series in development, “Dawson’s Creek.”

Even though Katie turned down the offer to come back to L.A. to audition because she was starring in her high school production of “Damn Yankees,” she got the part anyway and deferred her acceptance to New York’s Columbia University.

During the first few seasons of "Dawson's Creek," Katie won parts in movies like “Disturbing Behavior,” for which she won Best Female Breakthrough Performance at the MTV Awards, “Go” and “Teaching Mrs. Tingle.” All three of her characters in those movies were major departures from Joey’s spunky tomboy.

In 1999, Katie was chosen as one of Teen People Magazine's “21 Hottest Stars Under 21.”

For the first season and part of the second of “Dawson’s,” Katie dated co-star Joshua Jackson, the heartthrob of the show. But it was her boy-meets-girl-next-door relationship with hunky young actor Chris Klein in 1999 that won her even more fame, especially when Klein’s “American Pie” hit the screen.

Meanwhile, Katie had continued her film career alongside her TV career in movies featuring stars like Michael Douglas (“Wonder Boys”) and Cate Blanchett (“The Gift”).

She followed those films with "Phone Booth" with Colin Farrell and "Abandon" in 2002.

Holmes and Klein were engaged in 2003, about the same time “Dawson’s Creek” went off the air. Katie hit the ground running with “The Singing Detective” and “Pieces of April."

“First Daughter” soon followed, but was eclipsed by “Chasing Liberty,” a similar teen drama starring Mandy Moore that was out earlier in the year.

Most of Hollywood’s press corps felt sure that Klein and Holmes would tie the knot after several years together, until their surprise breakup came in March 2005.

Even more unexpected was the pairing with Tom Cruise, which began a few weeks after her breakup with Klein.

Legend has it that Cruise asked Katie to meet with him in Los Angeles in early April 2005 about a possible part in "Mission: Impossible 3," and asked her out after several hours of conversation. The two began dating and publicly appeared together April 27, 2005, in Rome, and were dubbed “TomKat” by the tabloids.

After a brief whirlwind courtship that perplexed the media, the couple became engaged June 17, 2005, making all-too-ironic her proclamation to Seventeen magazine years earlier, “I used to think I was going to marry Tom Cruise.”

Cruise also shocked and amused the public by jumping on the couch on "Oprah," proclaiming his love for Katie.

In October it was announced that Katie was expecting Tom’s baby, and some controversy followed when Tom announced he'd bought a sonogram machine so the two could monitor their child together.

The American College of Radiology issued a statement shortly thereafter warning the machine should be used only by medical professionals for medical purposes.

Even more so, word that Cruise expected fiancée Katie to give birth in silence per Scientology beliefs alarmed the press, and rumors have continued to surround the couple regarding their legitimacy and public behavior.

On April 19, 2006, in Los Angeles, Katie gave birth to their baby girl, whom the couple named Suri. The name has both Hebrew and Persian origins, meaning "princess" or "red rose," respectively. She weighed in at 7 lbs., 7 ounces and was 20 inches long at birth. The couple is said to have "joyously welcomed the arrival" of their daughter.

Katie and Tom exchanged wedding vows in a Scientology ceremony in a 15th century castle in Bracciano, Italy, on Nov. 15, 2006.

The wedding was widely publicized and attended by a bevy of Hollywood stars.

Filmography:

1997 "The Ice Storm"-Libbets Casey
1998 "Disturbing Behavior"-Rachel Wagner
1999 "Go"-Claire Montgomery
1999 "Muppets from Space"-Joey Potter
1999 "Teaching Mrs. Tingle"-Leigh Ann Watson
2000 "Wonder Boys"-Hannah Green
2000 "The Gift"-Jessica King
2002 "Abandon"-Katie Burke
2003 "Phone Booth"-Pamela McFadden
2003 "The Singing Detective"-Nurse Mills
2003 "Pieces of April"-April Burns
2004 "First Daughter"-Samantha Mackenzie
2005 "Batman Begins"-Rachel Dawes
2006 "Thank You for Smoking"-Heather Holloway