Actress. Born August 30, 1972, in San Diego, California. The daughter of Emilio Diaz, a second-generation Cuban-American oil company foreman, and his wife Billie, who is of Native American, Italian, and German descent, Diaz began modeling when she was 16 years old. Her successful modeling career took her to Japan, Australia, Morocco, and Paris, among other locales, landed her in such magazines as Mademoiselle and Seventeen, and in advertising campaigns for such companies as Calvin Klein, Coca-Cola, and Levi's.
In 1994, Diaz won her first film role in the blockbuster action-comedy The Mask, starring rubber-faced comic Jim Carrey. With no previous acting experience, she had originally auditioned for a supporting character in the film. Twelve callbacks later, however, she was hired to play torch-singing mob moll Tina Carlyle, the female lead. After the success of The Mask, Diaz was touted as the next big thing in Hollywood and wooed by a number of prominent filmmakers to appear in their projects.
While training to star in the live-action film version of the popular martial-arts video game Mortal Kombat, Diaz sustained a wrist injury, which caused her to back out of the film. Instead she made a string of smaller, independent films, including The Last Supper (1995); Feeling Minnesota (1996), costarring Keanu Reeves; She's the One (1996), costarring Ed Burns and Jennifer Aniston; and Head Above Water (1996), costarring Harvey Keitel. She made a successful return to mainstream movies in 1997, winning raves for her portrayal of a sweet bride-to-be opposite Julia Roberts in the playful comedy hit My Best Friend's Wedding.
After starring opposite Ewan McGregor in the uneven romantic comedy A Life Less Ordinary (1997), Diaz made the leap to A-list Hollywood stardom with her savvy comic turn in the unapologetically crude surprise summer blockbuster There's Something About Mary, costarring Ben Stiller and Matt Dillon, and written and directed by Bobby and Peter Farrelly. In 1999, audiences saw two very different sides of Diaz first, she camouflaged her blond beauty to play a dowdy pet-shop worker and puppeteer's wife in the much talked-about existential comedy Being John Malkovich, directed by Spike Jonze and costarring John Cusack, Catherine Keener, and Malkovich. Later that year, she turned in a brazen performance as the glamorous, hard-nosed new owner of a professional football team in Oliver Stone's Any Given Sunday, costarring Al Pacino and Dennis Quaid.
Despite her undeniable box office appeal, Diaz continued to appear in relatively low-budget independent film - including the black comedy Very Bad Things (1998), Malkovich, and the ensemble film Things You Can Tell Just by Looking at Her (2000), which aired on Showtime cable television in 2001 and costarred Glenn Close, Holly Hunter, and Calista Flockhart as well as more mainstream projects. In the fall of 2000, she starred alongside Drew Barrymore and Lucy Liu as one of the three female detectives at the heart of the hit big-screen remake of Aaron Spelling's campy 1970s television show, Charlie's Angels.
In early 2001, Diaz appeared as a free-spirited older sister in The Invisible Circus. She also provided the voice for the spirited Princess Fiona in that summer's animated hit Shrek, also featuring the voices of Mike Myers and Eddie Murphy. The trio revived their roles for the blockbuster sequel in 2004. In 2001, she starred in Martin Scorsese's Gangs of New York, co-starring Leonardo DiCaprio, and Cameron Crowe's Vanilla Sky, co-starring Tom Cruise. The following year, she joined Liu and Barrymore for the sequel Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle. In 2005, she starred in the film In Her Shoes with Toni Colette.
Showing her more serious side, Diaz starred in the 2009 family drama My Sister's Keeper. She played the mother of three in the film who finds herself at odds with her youngest child Anna (Abigail Breslin) over her middle child's medical needs. The film is based on the best-selling novel by Jodi Picoult.
In addition to her work onscreen, Diaz is often in the news for her personal life. Diaz's five-year relationship with video producer Carlos de La Torre ended in 1995. She dated her There's Something About Mary costar Matt Dillon from 1996 to 1998. Diaz became involved with actor Jared Leto in 1999. The couple broke up in 2003, and she started dating singer Justin Timberlake. Diaz and Timberlake dated for several years before calling it quits in 2007. Most recently, she has been linked to model Paul Sculfor.