Hewitt was born in Waco, Texas to Herbert Daniel Hewitt and
Patricia Mae Shipp (who are of mostly English descent). Her
father is a technician and her mother worked as a speech
pathologist. Hewitt grew up in Killeen, Texas. Her first name
was given to her by her brother, after a girl of whom he was
fond as a youngster, while her middle name, "Love", was given to
her by her mother after her best friend in college. After the
divorce of her parents, Hewitt was brought up by her mother.
Along with her mother, she lived with her only sibling, Todd
As a young girl, Jennifer Love 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" by Whitney Houston 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, Jennifer Love 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). In 1992, 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 spinoff, Time of Your Life (1999). Hewitt was also one of the producers, but the show was cancelled after only half a season.
Jennifer Love Hewitt 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 appeal (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 played in the sequel I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998). Other notable film roles included the high-school comedy Can't Hardly Wait (1998). She starred with Sigourney Weaver in the romantic comedy Heartbreakers (2001), which also featured Gene Hackman, Jason Lee, and Ray Liotta.
In 2000, Jennifer Love 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 2002, she was paired with Jackie Chan in the action comedy The Tuxedo.
Since September 2005, Jennifer has starred in the television series Ghost Whisperer. In Australia, Ghost Whisperer has been popular since its introduction; in the United States, it is the highest rated show on Friday nights.
To date, Jennifer Love Hewitt has released four albums with some success, most notably outside the United States in regions such as Europe and Japan. In Japan, as a result of her success in music there, she is widely considered a pop star. Japan is also where Hewitt's first album was released. Her explanation for her success in Japan is that the Japanese "love perky music. The poppier the music, the better."
In March 2005, Jennifer Love Hewitt was featured in Maxim magazine and their Girls of Maxim gallery. In May 2006, the magazine named her #29 in their Hot 100 list.
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