Julia Stiles completely stole the show as Kat Stratford in 1999’s 10 Things I Hate About You at the age of 18. In the years that followed, she was very honest about navigating her Hollywood career in her 20s and finding roles that were right for her. Today, her life looks a whole lot different. 

What Happened to Julia Stiles? 

Julia got her start in the acting world by appearing in the children’s television series Ghostwriter from 1993 to 1994. Two years later, she made her film debut in I Love You, I Love You Not with several other young stars on the rise, including Claire Danes, Jude Law and James Van Der Beek. The New York native starred in 1998’s Wicked and Wide Awake before joining the cast of 10 Things I Hate About You.

Julia Stiles Now: Where the Former Teen Icon Is Today 

The romantic comedy has only gained popularity over time with an unbeatable cast consisting of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Larisa Oleynik and the late Heath Ledger. The Gil Junger-directed film served as Julia’s big break, leading to several Teen Choice Award and MTV Movie Award nominations. 

“It was such a fun summer and such a pure experience of working on a movie where we were all — this was our first big break,” she recalled about filming the cult classic during a November 2014 interview with Us Weekly. “We were really open and invested and it was really fun being in Seattle.”

The talented performer continued to land roles in Down to You, Hamlet, Save the Last Dance and The Prince and Me through the early 2000s. In 2010, Julia began portraying Lumen Ann Pierce in Dexter, a role that earned her both Emmy and Golden Globe nominations. And while Julia never completely walked away from Hollywood, she admitted that there were points she grew frustrated with her career path. 

“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,” the Between Us actress told The Daily Beast in September 2019. 

Acting still remained one of her biggest passions, even through the difficult periods in her life. 

“I think a few years ago my frustration was feeling like nobody knew what to do with me,” she continued. “You know, I had had some success in my 20s and now I’m in a different place in my life and I didn’t really fit anywhere.”

Where Is Julia Stiles Today?

In 2017, Julia snagged the role of Georgina Clios in Riviera, a Sky Atlantic drama series she never expected to break records with over 10 million downloads. 

“I guess I was surprised. That’s not because I doubted the show but because I try to manage my expectations,” she told Forbes in November 2020 of the show’s success. “Whenever you’re making something, you hope that it finds an audience. I’ve been acting long enough that I’ve seen movies and TV shows have success and also, you know, disappear into oblivion. I usually don’t try to predict what the reception is going to be.”

Julia Stiles Now: Where the Former Teen Icon Is Today 

The Columbia University graduate also experienced some big changes in her personal life, marrying her husband, Preston Cook, in 2017. One month later, they welcomed their first child together, son Strummer Newcomb. Their second child, Arlo, arrived in January 2022. Julia also joined the cast of Hustlers in 2019, portraying Elizabeth, a role she was adamant about fighting for during her career revival.

“In terms of my career, I was kind of bouncing around from project to project without a rudder,” she explained in a September 2019 interview with Katie Couric Media. “And then when Hustlers came along, it was so important for me to seize that opportunity and say, I really want to fight for this.”

Above all, the film veteran is happy with where her career has taken her after getting her start in acting at such a young age.

“A movie like Hustlers to me is such an affirmation that like I have a place in the film industry and stories that I’m interested in are being told,” she said. “If you had talked to me two or three years ago, I might have been more nervous or more frustrated, but I’m really, really happy where I am now.”

In April 2024, Julia revealed that she and her husband secretly welcomed their third child together.

“I’m kind of like a bundle of emotions, because I have a 5-month-old baby and I went into directing my first movie,” she said in an interview with The New York Times. The comment was made in reference to making her directorial debut with the film Wish You Were Here.

As for why she decided to keep her third pregnancy a secret, Julia said, “I didn’t really talk about it.” In a lot of ways, being a mom prepared her for her directing debut.

“You have to think 10 steps ahead but also be in the present moment. You have to be good at time management. You have to be sensitive to people’s needs and guide them, but also hold a boundary,” she added.