Jessica Alba became a breakout actress in the early aughts thanks to roles on TV like Dark Angel and in films like Honey. Soon, she became a bonafide blockbuster star with her roles in the Fantastic Four, Sin City, and Machete franchises.
Lately, though, it may seem like Alba is living a more low-profile life. Look a little closer, though, and you’ll see that she is busier and happier than ever before. And in order to understand the new direction in her career and her life, you need to know the details of her stunning transformation.
A girl that never fit in
Jessica Alba doesn’t exactly come from Hollywood royalty. Her mother was a fry cook and a bartender, and her father was a cook after leaving the Air Force. In other words, she comes from a solidly middle-class background.
Even from a young age, though, Alba felt like she didn’t fit in. As The Guardian reports, she once said, “I always thought I was born into the wrong family, that I was… royalty, and nobody knew it but me.”
It didn’t help that Alba had trouble fitting in outside her home as well as inside it. This extended from rebellion against her teachers at school to rebellion against her religion.
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One reason Alba had trouble fitting in was because of her conservative upbringing. She was raised in a Catholic household, but her religion came to an end over an unexpected issue: her clothing!
She dressed very modestly, as befitting her Catholic background. But Alba still received unwanted advances from creepy older men. In her pain and confusion, she turned to her youth pastor for advice.
Instead of comforting Alba, the pastor blamed her. As TooFab reports, she once said, “Older men would hit on me, and my youth pastor said it was because I was wearing provocative clothing when I wasn’t.”
Continuing, she said, “It just made me feel like if I was in any way desirable to the opposite sex that it was my fault, and it made me ashamed of my body and being a woman.” This incident caused her to leave the Church.
Acting from a young age
Jessica Alba knew she wanted to be an actor at age five. And at 11, she convinced her mom to enroll her in a Beverly Hills acting competition.
She won the competition and began taking acting classes. Only 10 months later, she landed a role in the 1994 film Camp Nowhere. At this time in her life, Alba was balancing acting, commercial, and modeling jobs.
It was a mixed blessing when she was cast in the TV series Flipper. While the exposure was great and the Australian setting was beautiful, Alba began receiving strange phone calls that she dismissed as nothing serious.
This was a mistake. According to The Mirror, Alba was abducted directly from the set. And while she was found 14 hours later, the scene was traumatic: she was bound and gagged and stuffed in the trunk of a car.
Alba braved this traumatic incident, and it wouldn’t be much longer before she got her big break.
Romance and her big break
James Cameron actually considered a thousand different actresses for his TV show Dark Angel. He ended up choosing Alba, and the Fox show became her breakout role when she was just 18 years old.
Even though it only lasted two seasons, Dark Angel helped Alba earn a Golden Globe nomination.
It also gave Alba her first real heartbreak, as she began dating her co-star Michael Weatherly, 12 years her senior. After a year of dating, they became engaged in 2001. But by 2003 the relationship ended.
“It just didn’t work out. I was so young, 18, when I started dating him,” she told Cosmopolitan in 2005. “It’s really, really, really difficult to have the same occupation as the person you’re with—especially when you’re both actors. . . . I’ve decided I’ll never date an actor again.”
But despite the heartbreak, a career-defining move was around the corner.
Things get ‘fantastic’
In 2005, Alba played the role of Sue Storm, the Invisible Woman, in Fox’s Fantastic Four. While the movie wasn’t beloved by critics, Alba was the breakout star, earning MTV Movie Award nominations for Best Hero and Best On-Screen Team. And the film did well enough to warrant a sequel, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, in 2007.
But for Alba, the most important part of Fantastic Four was meeting a production assistant named Cash Warren. She didn’t know it at the time, but this moment would end up defining her life!
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New romance and new beginnings
Alba and Warren ended up having a passionate relationship. But it didn’t exactly follow a conventional trajectory.
“It was kind of a love-at-first-sight thing, but I met him when I was dating someone else, so it started off as a friendship,” Alba told Cosmopolitan in 2005. “The first week that we kind of got together, he gave me a note and
signed it with a dollar sign, because his name is Cash. It just said ‘I really, really like you.'”
Alba seemed to realize right away that she and Cash were destined to get married.
“Right after I met [Cash], I called my best friend and was like, ‘I met this guy and I feel like I’ve known him forever and I’m gonna know him for the rest of my life,” she told Cosmopolitan in 2010.
In 2008, the happy couple got married and announced that Alba was pregnant. Alba and Warren now have three children: daughter Honor, born in 2008; daughter Haven, born in 2011; and son Hayes, born in 2017.
But it wouldn’t be long after the birth of Honor before Alba’s career changed directions in a major way.
Disillusioned with Hollywood
So, why have you not seen Alba on the big or small screen that much lately? The short answer is that she became very disillusioned with Hollywood.
Despite her fame and success, she ran into a problem: no one was taking her seriously, including directors. In fact, SyFy reports she said Fantastic Four director Tim Story told her not to look ugly when she cried in a scene.
“The director was like, ‘It looks too real. It looks too painful. Can you be prettier when you cry? Cry pretty, Jessica,'” Alba said. “And so I just said, ‘F–k it. I don’t care about this business anymore.’”
Alba did not fully leave the industry, appearing in some films and TV shows in recent years. You may have noticed her starring in the 2019 Spectrum Originals series L.A.’s Finest. She’s also made cameos playing herself in the Entourage film and VH1’s reality TV show parody Barely Famous.
But Alba has largely avoided major roles in favor of a new career.
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A new career
What is Alba doing when she isn’t acting? Creating a billion-dollar company, of course!
In 2011, she founded The Honest Company to create ethical baby products, inspired by her own children. Capitalizing upon her success, she wrote a best-selling book in 2013 called The Honest Life about both family and entrepreneurship. And in 2015, she expanded the “Honest” line with the Honest Beauty company, which focuses on toxin-free beauty products. Her company is now estimated to be worth $1.7 billion.
Alba is also involved in many different charities. She works closely with the 1Goal movement providing education to African children and is on the board of nonprofit organization Baby2Baby, which provides diapers and other baby supplies to needy families in Los Angeles.
But Alba still finds time for her biggest focus: her husband Cash Warren and their three children.