Born on April 3, 1972, in Urbana, Illinois, Jennie Garth dropped out of high school during her junior year to pursue an acting career and moved from Phoenix, Arizona, to Los Angeles. Before long she had landed a role on the TV series Brand New Life and on its heels Beverly Hills 90210, in the role that would change her life. On 90210, she played Kelly Taylor, and Garth found herself on a wildly popular show with all the perks of being a household name. Once 90210 came to the end of its ten-year run, Garth moved on to assorted TV movies and a few starring series roles, such as on The Street and What I Like About You. She has also produced a handful of TV movies and appeared on Dancing with the Stars, where she reached the semifinals.
Born in April 1972 in Urbana, Illinois, Jennie Garth was discovered when she was 15 years old by a talent scout who suggested she pursue an acting career. As a result, Garth dropped out of high school in her junior year and moved to Los Angeles. After four months of acting classes and auditions, Garth landed a role in the TV series Brand New Life, which came to an abrupt end after its first season. That show’s demise may have been the best thing that ever happened to Garth, as she soon landed the role that would essentially define her career: that of Kelly Taylor on Beverly Hills 90210.
The show tackled every teen theme imaginable, and Garth played Kelly through cocaine addiction, nasty breakups, and teen drama set on a new scale, growing in front of America on camera. While fame and scandal regularly touched Garth’s costars, in particular Shannen Doherty, Garth remained unscathed, in a sense playing the role of America’s sweetheart.
While 90210 was in full swing, Garth kept busy in other acting projects as well, making her starring TV-movie debut in 1993 in Star—based on the popular book by Danielle Steel. The following year she starred in the TV drama Lies of the Heart: The Story of Laurie Kellogg, which addressed domestic abuse. Her role in the 1996 TV movie An Unfinished Affair would do more for her personal life than for her career, as she met her future husband, actor Peter Facinelli, on the set. On the film front, Garth also appeared around this time in the HBO feature film Power 98 (1996) and the political drama My Brother's War (1997).
The final episode of Beverly Hills 90210 aired in 2000, and Garth quickly landed a featured role on another show, The Street, but the show was canceled after only a single season. Garth then embarked on roles in TV movies, such as Watching the Detectives, Secret Santa and The Last Cowboy, before being cast as Valerie Taylor on the new TV sitcom What I Like About You (2002–2006). What I Like About You had a solid four-year run, and when it was over, Garth returned to roles chiefly in TV movies: Accidentally in Love (2011), A Christmas Wedding Tail (2011), Village People (2012), The Eleventh Victim (2012), and Holidaze (2013). She also made an appearance in 2007 on season 5 of the hit dance-competition show Dancing with the Stars, where she and partner Derek Hough made it to the semifinals. She starred in her own reality home renovation show on HGTV in 2014, The Jennie Garth Project as well as a short-lived sitcom with former 90210 alum Tori Spelling, Mystery Girls.
Along the way, Jennie Garth has won a Teen Choice Award and two Young Artist Awards and has supported various charities, such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, and the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network.
Jennie Garth and Peter Facinelli married in 2001, and they had three daughters together before the couple filed for divorce in 2012, after 17 years of marriage. In July 2015, Garth married actor-producer Dave Abrams at her home in California. Her daughters Luca Bella (b. 1997), Lola Ray (b. 2002), and Fiona Eve (b. 2006), were bridesmaids at the ceremony.
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