Childhood & Early Life
Jessica Capshaw was born on 9 August 1976 in Columbia, Missouri, to Robert and Kate Capshaw. Both her parents were students at the University of Missouri.
While her father worked in various capacities, such as a sales manager, marketing director, business executive and high school principal, her mother was drawn to acting. The family consequently moved to New York where Kate pursued her career in modelling and eventually acting.
When Jessica was barely four, her parents divorced. Kate Capshaw eventually married Steven Spielberg in 1994, who adopted Jessica as his step-daughter. Jessica is one of the 10 biological and adopted children in the family.
Since an early age, Jessica was drawn to the glittery world of Hollywood that her parents were a part of. She soon developed a passion for acting and decided to pursue it professionally.
On the academic front, Jessica attended Harvard-Westlake School after completing her preliminary education. Upon graduating in 1994, she enrolled at Brown University and in 1998 attained a degree in English. After completing her studies, Capshaw attended acting classes at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA) in London.
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Jessica Capshaw started her career in films in 1997 with the film, ‘The Locusts,’ in which she played the role of Patsy aka Delilah Ashford Potts. Despite it being her debut venture, the film explored Capshaw’s inherent acting talent as she played the character of an elderly woman who was a charmer and lured young men.
In 1999, shestarred in the romantic comedy, ‘The Love Letter’. In the same year, she also made her debut on television with a guest role in ‘ER’ as Sally McKenna.
From 1999 to 2000, she was cast as Aunt Jordan in the series, ‘Odd Man Out’ that aired on ABC Network. Jessica starred in 13 episodes of the sitcom. She also acted in the television film, ‘The Back Page’ and short film, ‘Big Time’.
In 2001, she returned to the big screen with ‘Valentine’. The slasher film was based on a novel of the same name. Though the film was critically panned, it received great admiration from the audience and was a hit at the box office. Capshaw played the character of Dorothy Wheeler in it.
After ‘Valentine’, Capshaw was cast as a series regular for season 7 and 8 in the television legal drama, ‘The Practice’. She played the character of Jamie Stringer. The seasons lasted until 2004. During this period, she appeared in movies, ‘Minority Report’ and ‘View From The Top’
Between 2006 and 2007, she appeared on the TV shows, ‘Bones’ and ‘The L Word’. She also had roles in films, ‘The Groomsmen’ and ‘Blind Trust’.
Jessica Capshaw’s career took a spectacular leap in 2009 when she was cast in the extremely popular television series, ‘Grey’s Anatomy,’ which was running its fifth season. Initially planned for just three episodes, Capshaw’s character of Arizona Robbins, a paediatric surgeon, ended up becoming a permanent fixture in all of the season’s remaining episodes.
By the time the sixth season of Grey’s Anatomy set in, Capshaw had become a series regular. She was established as a love-interest for orthopaedic resident Callie Torres (Sara Ramirez). The two actors sizzled on screen and their chemistry was simply outstanding. She soon became a ‘fan favourite’. Capshaw was a fresh welcomes to the series and was lauded for her acting abilities both by the critics and the audience.
Capshaw’s association with ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ was a long-standing one. She was a regular cast since 2009 and has starred in about 214 episodes. It was in March 2018 that Capshaw opted out of the series due to creative differences.
Capshaw’s last collaboration with a film was in 2014 when she voiced for a Duck in the animated film, ‘The Hero of Color City’.
Family & Personal Life
Jessica Capshaw tied the knot with Christopher Gavigan on 22 May 2004 at her family's East Hampton estate. Immediately after her marriage, she took her husband's last name, thus becoming Jessica Brooke Capshaw Gavigan.
The Gavigans have been blessed with four children, including one son, Luke born in 2007; and three daughters - Eve, Poppy and Josephine born in 2010, 2012 and 2016 respectively.