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Christina Applegate: An Insider‘s Look at a Beloved Pop Culture Icon

Age 51 years old
Born November 25, 1971 in Los Angeles, CA
Spouse Martyn LeNoble (m. 2013)
Children 1 daughter, Sadie (b. 2011)
Twitter @1capplegate
Instagram @1capplegate

As a fan who grew up watching Married… with Children, I‘ve always admired Christina Applegate‘s comedic genius and courageous spirit. She‘s brought us decades of laughs, delivered iconic performances, and inspired so many with her health advocacy.

Here‘s an in-depth look at this beloved pop culture icon‘s remarkable life and career.

A Showbiz Upbringing

Born in Hollywood in 1971, Christina literally grew up in the spotlight. Her father was a record producer and her mother was an actress, so she was on sets from a young age.

At just 3 months old, she landed a cameo on the soap opera Days of Our Lives. As a baby, Applegate had already conquered daytime TV!

Discovered as a Child Star

Applegate‘s first major role came at age 11 when she portrayed a young Grace Kelly in the biopic Grace Kelly. She beat out hundreds of other young actresses for the part.

The ambitious child actor was soon booking steady TV guest appearances on shows like Father Murphy, Silver Spoons, All is Forgiven, and Still the Beaver.

Married…with Children: Teenage Fame

In 1987, Applegate‘s life changed when she landed the role of promiscuous teen Kelly Bundy on Fox‘s raunchy new sitcom Married…with Children.

She beat out more experienced actresses by sticking her tongue out at the casting director. But behind the scenes, taking on such a sexualized role at 15 years old wasn‘t easy. Applegate credits her close-knit family for keeping her grounded.

Playing Kelly turned Applegate into a pop culture phenomenon, with posters of the blonde bombshell plastered on walls across America. Though controversial, the show ran for 10 wildly successful seasons.

In 1988, 17-year-old Applegate received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series – making her the youngest nominee ever in that category.

Transitioning to Film

While still filming Married…with Children, Applegate began taking on movie roles, though she found the transition difficult:

"I was on a sitcom for 10 years and that‘s pesky casting. Movies were so different to me because you were the only one there for your character."

Some of her early films included Dance ‘Til Dawn (NBC TV movie), Vibrations, Across the Moon, and Streets.

Applegate began to gain notice as a comedic movie actress with roles in Don‘t Tell Mom the Babysitter‘s Dead and The Big Hit. But her biggest film role of the 1990s was in the 1996 action-comedy hit Mars Attacks!

Beyond Kelly Bundy

Once Married…with Children ended in 1997, Applegate actively looked for roles that showed off her range beyond stereotypical "dumb blondes."

She starred as sassy single mother Jesse Warner in the NBC sitcom Jesse. Though the series only ran for two seasons, it cemented Applegate as a TV favorite who audiences loved watching every week.

Applegate wowed critics with her turn in the 2004 film Surviving Christmas. She held her own against heavyweights James Gandolfini and Ben Affleck.

Broadway Debut

In 2005, Applegate realized a lifelong dream when she was cast as Charity Hope Valentine in the Broadway revival of Sweet Charity. She said she auditioned for the role because:

"I had been working my whole life, so I didn’t feel I was entitled to the role. I wanted to earn it."

The high-energy musical showcased Applegate‘s singing, dancing, and comedic talents. She received rave reviews, a Theatre World Award, and a Tony nomination – capping off a successful Broadway debut.

Triumph Over Tragedy

In 2008, Applegate was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a double mastectomy. Recalling that period, she said:

“Sometimes, you get slapped in the face with this thing called life…I needed to face it for my daughter, my future, my own sanity.”

After recovering, Applegate channeled her energy into advocating for MRI scans and founding the nonprofit Right Action for Women. She‘s also worked closely with Stand Up 2 Cancer, spreading awareness about screenings and cancer resources.

Recent Acclaim

Even amidst health struggles, Applegate continued acting, starring in Going the Distance, Cats Dancing on Jupiter, Bad Moms, and her current hit Netflix series Dead to Me with Linda Cardellini.

On Dead to Me, Applegate shines as a grieving widow trying to solve her husband‘s murder. Her layered performance balances humor and raw emotion, earning her an Emmy nomination.

A Comedic Genius

From child actor to pop culture icon to acclaimed dramatic actress, Christina Applegate has always brought warmth and humanity to every role. She‘s cemented her place in TV history with portrayal of Kelly Bundy and comeback performances like Dead to Me.

Applegate often jokes that she started out as a "dumb blonde" but eventually showed the world her serious acting chops. After 41 years in the business, her comedic genius and resilience are unmatched.