Jessica Marie Alba was born on April 28, 1981, in Pomona, Calif., to Mark Alba and Cathy Jensen. Her dad was Mexican-American, while her maternal grandfather was Danish and her maternal grandmother was French, English and Italian.
Her parents were devout Catholics, and she lived with them, her grandparents and her brother Joshua until she was 16. Jessica was also a huge sports fan. Her father was in the Air Force, which moved the family to Mississippi and Texas before they settled back in California when Jessica was nine.
As a child, Jessica suffered from various physical problems, including asthma, a collapsed lung, pneumonia, a burst appendix and a cyst on her tonsils. She has said that she was in the hospital so often, she became isolated from other children.
However, she was interested in acting from the age of five, and took her first acting class at 12. Nine months later, she was signed by an agent.
Jessica is also a PADI certified scuba diver, and was taught to swim at a young age by her lifeguard mother.
Jessica’s first part was in the movie “Camp Nowhere,” as Gail. She was originally hired for two weeks, but ended up being signed on for two months after one of the lead actresses dropped out, and Jessica’s hair color happened to match hers.
Jessica was also featured in commercials for Nintendo and J.C. Penney, as well as several independent films. Then in 1994 she won a role as snobby Jessica in “The Secret World of Alex Mack.” Next, Jessica played the role of Maya on the first two seasons of the TV show, “Flipper.” In 1995 she played Young Eve in the movie “Venus Rising.”
Jessica graduated high school at 16, and then went on to study acting at the Atlantic Theater Company with William H. Macy and his wife Felicity Huffman. In 1998, Jessica played Melissa Lauer in an episode of “Brooklyn South,” Leanne in two episodes of “Beverly Hills, 90210” and Layla in an episode of “The Love Boat: The Next Wave.”
In 1999, she was featured in the comedy, “P.U.N.K.S.” That same year she played a snobby clique member in “Never Been Kissed” alongside Drew Barrymore, and had the lead female role in “Idle Hands” with Devon Sawa.
Soon Jessica won the lead role in the TV series, “Dark Angel.” She played Max Guevera, a genetically engineered super-soldier, and was chosen out of a pool of 1,200 candidates for the part.
The show was cancelled after two seasons, but it won Jessica national recognition, and she was nominated for a Golden Globe for her work.
After that came some of Jessica’s most notable roles, including an aspiring dancer in “Honey,” Sue Storm in “The Fantastic Four” and Nancy Callahan in “Sin City.” In 2005 she starred in “Into the Blue” with Paul Walker.
Jessica was previously engaged to “Dark Angel” co-star Michael Weatherly, but it was called off. In 2005, she started dating Cash Warren, whom she met when he was a director’s assistant on “The Fantastic Four.”
Jessica has a no-nudity clause in her contract. Her strict Catholic grandparents wouldn’t even allow her to wear a bathing suit around the house when she was growing up.
In March 2006, Playboy magazine named Jessica its sexiest star of the year, and featured her on their cover without her consent. Initially Jessica pursued litigation, but dropped the suit after Playboy owner Hugh Hefner personally apologized and donated money to two charities that Jessica supports.
In December 2007, Alba announced that she was pregnant and engaged to Warren, the baby's father. The couple was married in May 2008 in a courthouse ceremony the actress called "very romantic," and they welcomed a daughter, Honor Marie Warren, on June 7, 2008.
The actress told Fit Pregnancy magazine that "I don't want to be my child's best friend. I want to be a mom. But I do want my child to come to me when they have problems and need to talk, so it's going to be about treading that line."
The Love Guru (2008) — Jane Bullard
The Eye (2008) — Sydney Wells
Awake (2007) — Sam Lockwood
Bill (2007) — Lucy
Good Luck Chuck (2007) — Cam
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007) — Sue Storm
The Ten (2007) — Liz Anne Blazer
Into the Blue (2005) — Sam
Fantastic Four (2005) — Sue Storm
Sin City (2005) — Nancy Callahan
Honey (2003) — Honey Daniels
The Sleeping Dictionary (2003) — Selima
Paranoid (2000/I) — Chloe
Idle Hands (1999) — Molly
Never Been Kissed (1999) — Kirsten
P.U.N.K.S. (1999) — Samantha Swoboda
Venus Rising (1995) — Young Eve
Camp Nowhere (1994) (as Jessica Marie Alba) — Gail
"Dark Angel" (2000-2002) — Max Guevera
"The Love Boat: The Next Wave" (1998) — Layla
"Beverly Hills, 90210" (1998) — Leanne
"Brooklyn South" (1998) — Melissa Hauer
"Flipper" (1995-1997) — Maya Graham
"ABC Afterschool Specials" (1996) — Christy
"Chicago Hope" (1996) — Florie Hernandez