But the British actress first made headlines after engaging in a lesbian kiss on the UK-based soap opera, Brookside. She was hailed as the next big thing, a billing she sort of lived up to across the Atlantic when she appeared in popular films such as Goal! and Rogue Trader.
However, it wasn't the sort of success initially predicted for Friel. And she was open about her frustration when it came to landing big roles:
"Every time it's me and another person down to the final two for a big, big movie, the other person gets it because they're the bigger name. Which, to be honest, totally pisses me off," the actress said a couple years ago.
Of course, her personal life has had its share of excitement: Friel has dated hunks George Clooney and Robbie Williams. But neither relationship went very far.
It wasn't until she started seeing long-time friend David Thewlis that Anna finally found someone that she could envision herself marrying. The two, while still not hitched, are committed to one another. They had their first child in 2005.
As for those professional predictions of stardom? Give Pushing Daisies a few weeks - and they'll all ring true.
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