Born: February 25, 1966
Birth Name: Elizabeth Téa Pantaleone
Date of Birth: February 25, 1966
NYC-born Tea Leoni took her first stab at acting in the sixth grade when she participated in a class production of Gilbert & Sullivan's H.M.S. Pinafore. But by the time Leoni enrolled at Sarah Lawrence College to study anthropology and psychology, a career in entertainment was the farthest thing from her mind. Dropping out at 22 and spending the next several months traveling, she returned to the States and moved to Boston, where she planned to enroll at Harvard.
Showing up for a casting call at a local mall on a dare where a talent agency was screening young ladies to star in Aaron Spelling's Charlie's Angels spin-off, Angels '88, Leoni walked away from the mall with her first acting job. Promptly relocating to Los Angeles where filming for Angels '88 was scheduled to take place, a writers' strike killed production on the show almost before it had begun.
Leoni stayed on in Hollywood, paying the bills by working as a model and making commercials. She won her first feature-film role in director Blake Edward's 1991 comedy Switch. Despite being a bomb, Leoni earned a tad more exposure with a small role in the baseball flick A League of Their Own. She got her first shot at small-screen stardom by starring as the slinkier half of the sitcom Flying Blind. Though Fox pulled the plug after 22 episodes, Leoni made the most of the limited exposure, winning raves from critics for her knack for screwball comedy.
Next came a starring role in 1995's Bad Boys, a Will Smith-Martin Lawrence actioner. Panned by critics across the nation, it nonetheless made piles of cash at the box office. Leoni managed not to be completely overshadowed by her co-stars and five months later, popped back up on the small screen, in the starring role of the ABC series The Naked Truth. Those longing for her acerbic wit since the cancellation of her last show applauded Leoni's return to television. ABC mistakenly refused to renew it, only to have it snapped up by NBC. By May 1997, Leoni had the fourth-highest-rated show on television.
Meanwhile Leoni's personal life stole headlines when she began an affair with the show's married executive producer, Chris Thompson. The couple separated when the show switched networks, and shortly thereafter, Leoni hooked up with The X-Files' sexy costar David Duchovny. Their whirlwind romance soon took them down the aisle in May 1997.
Though her series ended in 1998, she secured roles in The Family Man (2000) opposite Nicholas Cage and a role in the third installment of the Jurassic Park series, which came out in summer 2001. She followed that up with a starring role in Woody Allen's Hollywood Ending (2002).
She and Duchovny welcomed their first child, a daughter named Madelaine West Duchovny, into the world on April 24, 1999. Their second child, a son named Kyd Miller Duchovny, was born in Los Angeles on June 15, 2002. They have since separated due to Duchovny's confessed "sexual addiction." She continues to work in films such as Tower Heist (2011) opposite Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy.