“There’s something so interesting about the combination of vulnerability and being completely in control at the same time. Women should run everything—it’s about time.”
Jennifer Garner is the definition of girl next door. You want to be her best friend, borrow her clothes, and ask her for advice when needed. But this wholesome beauty has a few secrets of her own; read on to find out!
27. Finding Her Niche
Garner had small roles in Spin City and Law & Order before she landed in the hit show Felicity. A producer from Felicity then cast her as CIA agent Sydney Bristow in J.J. Abrams’ Alias. Alias lasted for five seasons, and earned Garner a Golden Globe in 2002 for Best Actress.
26. You Don’t Mess With the Garner
During her time on Alias, Garner learned martial arts and taekwondo, and performed many of the action sequences herself. Her stunt double, however, would take care of the more dangerous scenes, especially during explosions or more complex fights.
25. …Unless You’re a Set of Wires
Because of her commitment to stunt work, Garner had a serious incident while filming Daredevil. She became tangled in wires, was unable to move her arms while doing a flip, and went careening towards a wall head-first. Lucky for her, co-star (and later husband) Ben Affleck came to her rescue before any serious injuries came about.
24. …or a Sword
While filming Elektra, she was sliced along her knuckles (by accident!) by Will Yun Lee. After getting all fixed up, it happened again. In the same spot.
23. Her Arms Must Have Been Tired!
Things got a bit nutty during the filming of Daredevil, as she was also in the middle of filming for Alias. She spent Monday through Friday in Los Angeles for the show, then flew to New York on weekends for the movie. At least her combat training was all taken care of!
22. Change Your Mind, Then Change it Again
When she was growing up, Garner had dreamt of becoming a teacher or an author, but then attended Denison University in Ohio to study chemistry. It was there that she graduated with a degree in theatre in 1996. It’s worth noting that her dad was a chemical engineer and her mom was an English teacher. This is all a bit of a departure for the Garner family!
21. Odd Jobs Indeed
Garner once cleaned toilets as a summer job (ew!) and also once babysat for Stephen Colbert when she was a struggling actress. The two had met while doing cameos on Spin City: The Competition.
20. Love What You Do, and Do What You Love
She didn’t get into acting for the money (though we’re sure that’s not a terrible perk of the job). Garner enjoys the challenges and preparations required for a role, and just loves acting in general. She believes that loving what you do leads to more success.
19. Coming Through!
Her Alias director J.J. Abrams once gave her a pink bicycle for her birthday, and because she was usually first on set, she would greet the crew by ringing the bells on the handlebars. Super cute!
18. A Modest Upbringing
Garner has previously joked that she grew up almost Amish, as she was raised in a pretty strict home. Her parents instilled a lot of morals and principles in their three daughters, with their mom never placing too much stock in her own looks. But at the same time, Garner knew and felt how much her parents loved her and how they provided a warm and loving environment.
17. Opinions Expressed are Solely Her Own
Her upbringing may have been conservative, but her political views are not. She’s donated to past Democratic campaigns and has spoken at rallies, but she doesn’t force her opinions or views on anyone.
16. Live, Love, and Learn
The actress has been married twice. The first was to fellow Felicity star Scott Foley, which lasted four years, and the second to Affleck, with whom she has three children. Garner and Affleck announced their separation in 2015, after ten years of marriage. In early in 2017, People magazine reported they were trying to work things out. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen and they formally filed for divorce a month later.
15. Wedding for Three
Affleck and Garner married in June of 2005 in the Caribbean, and the marriage was officiated by her Alias co-star and friend Victor Garber. In fact, it was just those three present for the nuptials (if you exclude the baby Jennifer was four months pregnant with at the time)! Affleck had proposed on Garner’s 33rd birthday that April.
14. Sister for Life
The actress is a member of the sorority Pi Beta Phi. We wish we could’ve talked out our boy troubles with her during college!
13. Natural Beauty
She’s also a spokesperson for Neutrogena. Makes sense, since she still has absolutely glowing skin.
12. Go Go Power Rangers!
Garner has said that she is often mistaken for fellow actress Amy Jo Johnson (most notably known for portraying the pink Power Ranger). She’s even been asked to sign photos of Johnson! Then again, we bet Johnson gets confused for Garner even more. Bonus fact: Johnson was also on Felicity.
11. She Was Keeping Her Options Open
As a child, Garner loved dancing and performing, so much so that she spent nine years studying ballet. In high school, she also played the saxophone in the school’s band, and named her musical instrument “Sally the Sexy Saxophone.”
10. Just Call Her Bookworm
Garner has a major love of reading. When she and a friend were living in San Francisco, during the time she was just starting out in Hollywood, she got a lot of reading in. “We’d tell each other: ‘Instead of panicking, go read,'” she told Oprah.com. “You won’t have another chance in your whole life to dive into books.’ I got a lot of books read during those years.”
9. A Wiz in the Kitchen
She also loves cookbooks. “I read cookbooks like they’re novels,” she said in the same Oprah.com interview. “I take them to bed at night. I rediscover one in my collection, and I pore over it.” Can we come over for dinner sometime?
8. When Art Meets Reality
Following in the footsteps of her character in Alias, Garner appeared in a recruitment video for the CIA after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
7. A Young Doppelganger
The same young actress played a younger version of Garner in two films. Christa B. Allen portrayed her in 13 Going on 30 and in Ghosts of Girlfriends Past.
6. Pillow fight!
Garner really got into character while prepping for her role in 13 Going on 30. She even had a sleepover with a bunch of 13-year-old girls prior to filming for the 2004 movie. Sounds like fun research.
5. Taking One (or Two) for the Ears
Garner had to have her ears pierced in 2006 specifically to wear the $250,000 diamond chandelier-style earrings she wore to the Oscars that year (none of the Garner children were allowed to pierce their ears growing up). She let her ears heal over once it was all over.
4. Third Time’s the Charm
She had her ears pierced for the third time (the first being in 1999) in 2009 when she was with one of her sisters. “My sister Melissa had been thinking about getting her ears pierced for a while, but was a bit nervous about having them done—She’d never had them done even though she’s thirty-nine, and was worried about it hurting,” Garner once said. “She watched me get my ears pierced, and then she finally got hers done too.”
3. Fighting for Their Rights
She’s a huge proponent of celebrity children being left alone, and was even one of the celebrities who helped get a bill passed in September 2013 that protects children from being harassed by photographers.
2. Fighting For Her Own
Garner’s longtime stalker was deemed insane in 2010, and her former husband Ben Affleck was finally prompted to buy a gun after the stalker had shown up at their daughter’s school.
1. The Humanitarian
She’s not just an actress: Garner is also an artist ambassador and trustee for Save the Children. She also traveled to Houston, Texas (where she was born) after Hurricane Harvey hit, and met some pretty good kids. “One boy told me how his mom had put the kids in a kiddie pool in chest-high waters, and she had gone under because she couldn’t swim,” she told People magazine admiringly of the spirit people displayed throughout the disaster. “He’d said, ‘Throw Mama a rope!’ and saved her.”
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