She's that under-the-radar actress who makes people leaving the theater ask, "Where have I seen her before?" As talented as she is beautiful, Kelly Reilly is quickly on her way to becoming the big-time movie star she has never aspired to be.
The love interest to Denzel Washington's alcoholic-in-denial pilot in "Flight," Reilly plays a lost soul named Nicole who has been "every kind of masseuse" and is just half a mile ahead of her man on the road to sobriety.
But the actress who portrays Nicole knows who she is and what she wants -- and it's not to stare back at people from magazine covers or license her name to perfume companies. Here are some fascinating facts about this anti-celebrity.
1. Her grandparents are Irish but she was raised in England. You couldn't think of a more Irish sounding name than Reilly, so it's not a huge surprise that her ancestors are from the Emerald Isle. She has red hair and porcelain skin, and her father is even a police officer. But the actress was born and raised in Surrey, England, during which time she got her start acting in school plays as a shy teenager.
2. She is not interested in being a celebrity. Reilly claims fans do not recognize her when she's out in public, though that could change after her knockout performance in a powerhouse film like "Flight." Still, the 35-year-old insists she is not chasing fame. "I just don't invite it into my world because I don't really want it or need it," she told a reporter. She may even view her star status in Hollywood as more of a hindrance than a help. A few years ago she said, "Being at the pinnacle of my career is not to turn up in some multiplex blockbuster. This career ladder thing is such an illusion. What's at the top? Twenty-million dollars a movie and paparazzi in the hedge?"
3. Helen Mirren predicted she would be a successful actress. The red carpet stunner scored her first professional role at age 17 on the British police procedural "Prime Suspect," a popular TV drama on which Mirren played detective Jane Tennison. When she bumped into the British acting legend six years later in the movie "Last Orders," the "Queen" actress told her, "I knew I'd see you again."
4. She's an "overnight success" who has been acting since her teens. Though more famous on the other side of the pond for most of her career, Reilly has appeared in some big name movies like "Sherlock Holmes," "Pride and Prejudice" and "Eden Lake." The multiple acting award winner and frequent nominee (she won this year's Hollywood Film Festival Spotlight Award for her performance in "Flight") spent many years honing her craft in the theater and on British television, playing fiancé Elaine to Kathleen Turner's Mrs. Robinson in the 2000 London stage version of "The Graduate."
5. She's a newlywed. Falsely rumored to be the cause of Guy Ritchie's divorce from Madonna, Reilly claims she never had any kind of romance with her "Sherlock Holmes" director. A self-proclaimed serial monogamist, she cops to serious relationships with JJ Field and Jonah Lotan before marrying Kyle Baugher this year. The new bride is so fiercely private about her personal life, we could not find a single online photo of her posing with her husband.
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