Jennifer Love Hewitt (born February 21, 1979) is an American actress and singer-songwriter. She is well-known for her television and film roles in the Fox television series Party of Five, as Sarah Reeves, and also starred in I Know What You Did Last Summer and its sequel, as Julie James. Hewitt can currently be seen on the CBS television series Ghost Whisperer, as Melinda Gordon, a young newlywed who communicates with the dead.
Hewitt was born in Waco, Texas, the daughter of Patricia Mae (née Shipp), a speech-language pathologist, and Herbert Daniel Hewitt, a medical technician. Hewitt grew up in Nolanville, Texas; after the divorce of her parents, Hewitt and her only sibling, Todd Hewitt, were brought up by her mother. Her first name was given to her by her brother, after a girl he was fond of as a youngster, while her middle name, "Love", was given to her by her mother after her best friend in college.
As a young girl, Hewitt was attracted to music which led to her first encounters with the entertainment industry. At the age of three, she sang "The Greatest Love of All" at a livestock show. Just a year after that, at a restaurant-dance hall, she entertained an audience with her version of "Help Me Make It Through the Night". By the time she was five, Hewitt already had tap dancing and ballet in her portfolio. At nine, she became a member of the Texas Show Team (which also toured in the Soviet Union). At the age of ten, at the suggestion of talent scouts, she moved to Los Angeles, California, with her mother to pursue a career in both acting and singing.
After moving to Los Angeles, Hewitt appeared in more than twenty television commercials. Her first break came as a child actor on the Disney Channel variety show Kids Incorporated (1989 – 1991), where she was credited as just Love Hewitt. During this time she danced in and sang all the songs for a live action video called "Dance! Workout With Barbie" released by Buena Vista.
In 1993, she played Pierce Brosnan's daughter in a pilot for NBC called Running Wilde, which featured Brosnan as a reporter for Auto World magazine whose stories cover his own wild auto adventures, but the series wasn't picked up and the pilot never aired. She later played on television in several short-lived series, such as Fox's Shaky Ground (1992 – 1993), ABC's Byrds of Paradise (1994), and McKenna (1994 – 1995). Finally, Hewitt became a young star after landing the role of Sarah Reeves on the popular Fox Television show Party of Five (1995 – 1999), joining the cast during its second season. She continued the same role in the short-lived Party of Five spin-off, Time of Your Life (1999). Hewitt was also one of the producers, but the show was cancelled after only half a season.
She made her film debut in the independent film Munchie (1992). Hewitt became a film star after a lead role in the horror film I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997). The film had great box-office success (125,000,000 U.S. dollars worldwide), and Hewitt became one of the most popular young stars in the USA (together with her co-stars: Freddie Prinze Jr., Ryan Phillippe, and Sarah Michelle Gellar). She also appeared in the sequel I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998), which was not as successful as the first film but brought in more money than the first on its opening weekend. Other notable film roles included the high-school comedy Can't Hardly Wait (1998) and a starring role with Sigourney Weaver in the romantic comedy Heartbreakers (2001).
In 2000, Hewitt appeared in The Audrey Hepburn Story. That same year, she was the "most popular actress on television" due to her Q-rating (a measurement of a celebrity's popularity) of thirty-seven. For that reason, Nokia chose her to become its spokesperson, because of her "fresh image", and her being "a symbol of youthfulness and wholesomeness".
In 2001, she appeared in the music video for the Enrique Iglesias song, "Hero", as the singer's love interest.
Hewitt wrote I'm Gonna Love You for the movie The Hunchback of Notre Dame II because, although she was a well-known singer at the time, her character Madellaine was the only character who didn't sing in the movie. The song won an award for Best Song on DVD Awards.
Since September 2005, Hewitt has starred in the television series Ghost Whisperer. In Australia, Ghost Whisperer has been popular since its introduction; in the United States, the show averages 9-11 million viewers for each new episode. Hewitt has also auditioned for many roles. She lost the role of "Juliet" in Romeo + Juliet to Claire Danes at the last moment. She also had to give up the role of "Darlene" in Brokedown Palace because of scheduling conflicts. Hewitt also auditioned for the role of "Elektra" in Daredevil.
Jenifer Love Hewitt confirmed that she would not pose nude or do nude scenes in movies.
Hewitt is widely considered one of the most beautiful women of the past ten years. The following results in several contests illustrate this:
* 91 in FHM's 100 Sexiest Women In The World (1997)
* 91 in FHM's 100 Sexiest Women In The World (1998)
* 31 in FHM's 100 Sexiest Women In The World (1999)
* 1 in Maxim's Sexiest Women In The World (1999)
* 13 in FHM's 100 Sexiest Women In The World (2000)
* 50 in FHM's 100 Sexiest Women In The World (2001)
* 15 in FHM's 100 Sexiest Women In The World (2002)
* 7 in FHM's 100 Sexiest Women In The World (2003)
* 12 in FHM's 100 Sexiest Women In The World (2004)
* 19 in FHM's 50 Sexiest Women from 1995-2004
* 12 in FHM's 100 Sexiest Women In The World (2005)
* 16 in FHM's 100 Sexiest Women In The World (2006)
* 29 in Maxim's Hot 100 List (2006)
* 14 in FHM's 100 Sexiest Women In The World (2007)