Julia Stiles was once a promising teen movie queen, but the actress is all grown up now. The 10 Things I Hate About You star has always put personal development before Hollywood fame—but even if she failed to ride the momentum of the early 2000s, she was still destined for career success.
Stiles, now in her forties, is enjoying a new chapter as a TV star across the pond, and she’s thrilled that she got there on her own terms. Get the details on her latest projects, and find out how the Julia Stiles of today compares to the high school rom-com star of yore.
Stiles Started To Worry About Her Career After Initial Success
Stiles rose to fame after co-starring with the late Heath Ledger in 1999’s 10 Things I Hate About You. The teen rom-com’s success naturally led to parts in similar films like Down to You and Save the Last Dance.
Yet while she may have been selective about the projects she accepted, she couldn’t avoid having an existential crisis.
“I felt like I was sort of jumping from job to job that I wasn’t really connected to, and worried about where my career was going,” Stiles told the Daily Beast in 2019. “I think a few years ago my frustration was feeling like nobody knew what to do with me. You know, I had had some success in my twenties and now I’m in a different place in my life and I didn’t really fit anywhere.”
One decision that may have saved her was taking the early 2000s to invest in herself. She enrolled at Columbia University and graduated with a degree in English literature in 2005. She still shot the occasional film while matriculated, but the partial hiatus from Hollywood was good for her.
“Academic professionals don’t really give a sh*t about me being in a movie or having to go the MTV Movie Awards,” she noted in her Daily Beast interview. “But then also people in the entertainment industry don’t really care about university. That helped me a lot.”
She Never Stopped Acting
Even though she’s armed with an Ivy League degree, Stiles is grateful to have an acting career as a backup. And it’s not like she ever totally disappeared.
With the exception of a single year (2011), she has credited work every year since 1996. Some of the roles were forgettable, but others—like Silver Linings Playbook and the Jason Bourne series—sustained her legitimacy.
Stiles’ biggest role recently has been playing Georgina Clios in Riviera, a British TV series that aired on Sky Atlantic. The program, which ran from 2017 to 2020, was one of the network’s most successful original series. (It also aired on Ovation in the U.S., but it’s a much bigger success abroad.)
Despite its popularity, the future of the show remains up in the air. While it hasn’t been officially canned, it also hasn’t been renewed for a fourth season.
“I loved making that show. The pandemic kind of put a wrench in us doing any … there were talks about doing another season, and then the world shut down,” Stiles told RadioTimes.com in August 2022. “It was just going to be too expensive and complicated to make another one.”
“But I would totally be open to like maybe a movie version of it or something. It was really fun show to work on,” she added.
What Julia Stiles Is Doing Now
Stiles is continuing to get plenty of acting work. In 2022 she starred in the Prime exclusive series The Lake, reprised her role as Tricia Albright in the horror film Orphan: First Kill, and lent her vocals to the animated kid series Dragons: The Nine Realms.
While not on set, Stiles is a busy mom of two young children, Strummer and Arlo, whom she shares with her husband Preston Cook. The pair wed in 2017 and still appear very much in love.
While she seemed unsure of things when she was young, Stiles seems satisfied with where her career and life are currently at. And even if she’s far past the person she was while starring in 10 Things I Hate About You, she appreciates the love she gets for it.
“I don’t take it for granted that people are talking about the movie 20 years later,” Stiles told People in 2019. “It’s an affirmation that even back then the things, the stories, and the roles that I was drawn to, other people were interested in as well. That was the first time I really read a female character, especially as a teenager, who was feisty and opinionated and unapologetic.”