Childhood & Early Life
She was born as Ashley Tyler Ciminella in Granada Hills, Los Angeles, U.S.A. Her parents are Michael Charles Ciminella, a marketing analyst and Naomi Judd, a country music singer.
After her parents divorced in 1972, she was raised by her mother in Kentucky, where he spent much of her childhood. She also lived for a brief period in Marin County, California.
She went to many schools because her family kept moving. She attended about 13 schools including, Sayre School, Paul G. Blazer High School and Franklin High School.
She enrolled at the University of Kentucky, where she studied French, art history, anthropology, theatre and women’s studies. She went to France to major in French.
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In 1993, she got her breakthrough role in the film, ‘Ruby in Paradise', which was directed by Victor Nunez. In the film, she played the title role of 'Ruby Lee Gissing'.
In 1995, she played the role of 'Charlene Shiherlis' in the Michael Mann crime film, ‘Heat’. The same year, she was seen in the films 'Smoke' and 'The Passion of Darkly Noon'.
In 1996, she played the title role as ‘Norma Jean' in the film, 'Norma Jean & Marilyn'. Subsequently, she also acted in the American crime drama film, 'Normal Life'.
In 1997, she was seen in the American crime thriller film, ‘Kiss the Girls', which was based on the novel of the same name. The same year, she also played the role of ‘Kitty’ in the film, ‘The Locusts'.
In 1998, she played the role of 'Rebecca Wenteworth' in the film 'Simon Birch'. The following year, she was seen in the films 'Double Jeopardy' and 'Eye of the Beholder'.
In 2000, she was seen in the drama romance film, 'Where the Heart Is', which was directed by Matt Williams. The next year, she was seen in the film, ‘Someone Like You'.
In 2002, she acted in the biographical film, ‘Frida’, in which she played the role of ‘Tina Modotti'. The same year, she was seen in the films, 'High Crimes' and 'Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood'.
In 2004, she earned a Golden Globe nomination for her role as 'Linda Porter' in the biographical film, 'De-Lovely'. The same year, she also played the role of 'Jessica Shepard' in the film 'Twisted'.
In 2006, she was seen in the film,'Come Early Morning'. She was subsequently seen in the films, 'Bug', 'India's Hidden Plague', 'Helen’, 'Tooth Fairy' and 'Crossing Over'.
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In 2011, she played the role of 'Lorraine Nelson' in the family drama film, 'Dolphin Tale'. The same year, she also appeared in the Rob Minkoff film, 'Flypaper’.
From 2012, he starred in the mystery thriller TV series, ‘Missing’, which was created by Gregory Poirier. She played the role of 'Rebecca BeccaWinstone' in the series.
In 2013, she played the role of 'First Lady Margaret Asher' in the American action thriller film, 'Olympus Has Fallen', which was directed by Antoine Fuqua. Her upcoming films include, 'Big Stone Gap', ' Divergent' and 'Dolphin Tale 2'.
Personal Life & Legacy
In 2001, she married racer Dario Franchitti. They got divorced in 2013.
Around 2007, she stayed at the Shades of Hope Treatment Center in Buffalo Gap, Texas, after she suffered from bouts of depression, sleeplessness and co-dependency.
In 2008, she supported Barack Obama in his Presidential campaign.
In 2010, she obtained a masters degree in public administration, mid-career, from the Kennedy School of Government.
In 2011, she came out with her autobiographical book, ‘All That Is Bitter and Sweet'.
She is involved in a lot of humanitarian work. She is an ambassador for YouthAIDS, a prevention program under Population Services International.
In 2011, she became a part of the Leadership Council of the International Center for Research on Women. She has also worked and supported many charities and foundations.
She is a self-proclaimed feminist.