Katherine Heigl was born on November 24, 1978 and raised in New Canaan, Connecticut, an affluent suburb near New York City. Her older brother, Jason, died in a car accident in 1986. Despite their grief, the Heigls decided to donate his organs, and Katherine remains a strong proponent of organ donation to this day.
Katherine can thank her aunt for jump-starting her modeling career -- at age 9. After the New Yorker sent her niece's photos to modeling agencies, with the permission of Katherine's parents, the young Heigl signed as a child model.
Television jobs soon followed, including a national spot for Cheerios. By 1992, she made her first movie appearance in That Night. Even as a teen, that experience made her realize her passion for acting. Her first leading role, in My Father The Hero (1994) brought her even more recognition.
Heigl continued to attend New Canaan High School throughout her early acting career, and graduated with her classmates in 1996. Right around that time, Heigl's life changed drastically as she moved to Los Angeles and her parents divorced. Her mother then became her manager.
Despite regular film roles, Heigl achieved stardom on the small screen as Isabel Evans on the science fiction TV drama Roswell. The show debuted in 1999 and her role grew in each of the next two years. She appeared on the covers of TV Guide, Maxim, Teen and FHM to promote the show.
Heigl continued to work on films during Roswell's production: 100 Girls (2001), an independent film, Valentine (2001), a horror film, and Ground Zero (2003), a film about a college student who helps to build a nuclear device that ends up in terrorist hands. The movie was shelved following the attacks of September 11, 2001, and released two years later under the title Critical Assembly.
When Roswell was cancelled in 2002, Heigl returned to movies full time. Most recently, she was cast opposite Johnny Knoxville in The Ringer (2005) and played Romy in Romy and Michele: In The Beginning (the prequel to the 1997 film Romy and Michele's High School Reunion).
Katherine was engaged to former Roswell co-star Jason Behr from 2003-2004, and also dated Joey Lawrence once upon a time when that guy was actually famous. She has recently been linked romantically to Josh Kelley, a folksy Georgia singer-songwriter who has been likened to Jack Johnson, John Mayer, and Ben Harper.