Portia de Rossi was born on January 31, 1973 in Geelong, Victoria, Australia. Born with the name Amanda Lee Rogers, she began her career modeling for print and television ads as a child. She adopted her current name at 15; in a later interview, she said that it’s because of her struggle about her homosexual orientation. She studied at the University of Melbourne, taking up a law degree, but later left to pursue an acting career.
Her first significant acting role was in the 1994 film Sirens, playing the role of impressionable model Giddy. She then flew to Los Angeles, taking on small roles in film and television, until she joined the cast of the comedy Nick Freno: Licensed Teacher. Her breakthrough role came in 1998, when she joined the cast of the series Ally McBeal as lawyer Nelle Porter. She remained with the show until its end in 2002.
In 2003, she signed on for the critically-acclaimed comedy series Arrested Development. She gained more international acclaim for her portrayal of the promiscuous “activist” Lindsay Funke. Upon the show’s end in 2006, she joined the cast of the drama series Nip/Tuck, playing the lesbian lover of Julia McNamara (Joely Richardson). She appeared as Carolyn Kennedy, the wife of John F. Kennedy Jr. (Kristoffer Polaha), in the television movie America’s Prince. She also continued to appear in films such as Who is Cletis Tout?, I Witness and Cursed.
de Rossi is perhaps also known for her personal life. She was initially married to documetary filmmaker Mel Metcalfe, but admitted to being gay in 2005 after much speculation in the press. By the time, she was already dating comedian and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, a relationship which culminated in their marriage in August 2008, in light of California’s allowing of same-sex marriages in the state. She later joined the cast of Better Off Ted, portraying the character Veronica Palmer.
Geelong, Victoria, Australia
- Portia is able to play and enjoys playing the guitar.
- Portia has a pet dog named Bean.
- Portia is rumored to only eat while standing up. She tries to stick to a strict diet of egg whites, vegetables and chicken, with no sauces.
- Portia is currently dating comedian Ellen DeGeneres.
2012: Arrested Development - Lindsay Bluth Fünke
2009-2010: Better Off Ted (TV series) - Veronica Palmer
2007-2009: Nip/Tuck (TV series) - Olivia Lord
2009: The Shift (video) - Denise Moore
2003-2006: Arrested Development (TV series) - Lindsay Bluth Fünke
2005: Cursed - Zela
2004: Dead & Breakfast - Kelly - The Bride
2003: The Night We Called It a Day - Hilary Hunter
2003: I Witness - Emily Thompson
2003: Mister Sterling (TV series) - Lauren Barnes
2003: America's Prince: The John F. Kennedy Jr. Story (TV movie) - Carolyn Bessette Kennedy
2003: Two Girls from Lemoore - Blind Woman
2002: The Twilight Zone (TV series) - Laurel Janus
2002: The Glow (TV movie) - Jackie Lawrence
1998-2002: Ally McBeal (TV series) - Nelle Porter
2001: Who Is Cletis Tout? - Tess Tobias
2001: Women in Film - Gina
1999: Ally (TV series) - Nelle Porter
1999: Stigmata - Jennifer Kelliho
1999: American Intellectuals - Sarah
1999: The Invisibles - Joy
1998: Perfect Assassins (TV movie) - Lana Collins
1998: Girl - Carla Sparrow
1998: Astoria (TV movie)
1997: Scream 2 - Sorority Sister Murphy
1997: Veronica's Closet (TV series) - Carolyn
1996-1997: Nick Freno: Licensed Teacher (TV series) - Elana Lewis
1996: The Woman in the Moon - Shauna
1995-1996: Too Something (TV series) - Maria Hunter
1993: Sirens - Giddy
"When i was 15, i changed it legally in retrospect, i think it was largely due to my struggle about being gay. Everything just didn't fit, and i was trying to find things i could identify myself with, and it started with my name."
"I picked Portia because i was a Shakespeare fan. de Rossi because i was Australian and i thought that exotic Italian name would somehow suit me than Amanda Rogers. When you live in Australia, Europe is so fascinating, so stylish and cultured and sophisticated."