Jennifer Esposito found herself in the headlines this week after an off-the-cuff remark on an Instagram photo of her ex-husband Bradley Cooper and his A Star is Born co-star Lady Gaga went viral. What came as a surprise to many fans of the film, for which Lady Gaga won a best song Oscar on Sunday night, is that the NCIS actress was once married to the popular leading man. An author, entrepreneur and actress with a 25-year acting career under her belt, Jennifer has a story of her own – here's what you need to know about the star.
Jennifer as Sergeant Phoebe Baker alongside her co-star Ice T, in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
1) A familiar face since launching her career in 1995, Jennifer has appeared in such acclaimed films as Crash and Summer of Sam, co-starred in Blue Bloods and Spin City, and also appeared as Special Agent Alexandra Quinn on the CBS series NCIS. Most recently we've seen her in a stint on Law & Order Special Victims Unit.
She discussed her book Jennifer's Way, detailing her struggles as a celiac, at Build Studio in New York City in 2017
2) While starring on Blue Bloods the actress collapsed on set and was diagnosed with celiac disease. After being written out of the show, she became an entrepreneur with a cause, opening Jennifer's Way Bakery – a shop selling gluten-free sweets created for fellow celiacs – in NYC. The name of the shop also served as the title for her 2014 book, Jennifer's Way, which detailed her struggle with the disease.
Bradley Cooper and Jennifer in 2006, the year that they got married. The union lasted five months
3) Hollywood actress Jennifer fell for fellow actor Bradley Cooper and the lovebirds tied the knot in a low-key ceremony, reportedly in the south of France, in December 2006, just as the up-and-coming actor's profile was kicking off with appearances in projects like The Wedding Crashers and Alias. The two called it quits, however, just five months later. "It was just something that happened," he told Howard Stern of the brief marriage and breakup. "The good thing is, we both realized it… Sometimes you just realize it."
The actress was also married to British model Louis Dowler
4) As far as romances, Jennifer got engaged to tennis champ Mark Philippoussis, but the pair never walked down the aisle. She found love again in 2014, announcing her engagement to British model Louis Dowler, once linked to Oscar-winning actress Kate Winslet. The couple tied the knot that year but the union was short-lived. The two went their separate ways in 2016.
"The reason for my success is sheer perseverance," Jennifer has said of her 25-year career
5) Jennifer has been straightforward about her career struggles in Hollywood. "When I started working professionally I was told everything from you're too ethnic, you're not ethic enough, you sound like from your NY, your teeth aren’t straight and was even told my a few agents, 'I don’t get it' – 'it' meaning ME," she told Glutendude.com. "The reason for my success [is] sheer perseverance. I’m not good with people telling me who and what I am, as well as telling me how and what I can do with my life."