Michelle Monaghan grew up in Winthrop, Iowa and she is of German and Irish descent. She was raised Catholic and has two older brothers, but her family brought up twelve foster children over a period of twelve years.
In high school, Michelle was the class president and was active in theatre. She said, “You don’t grow up in a town of 700 thinking you’re going to be an actress. I loved doing plays, but it was just something to keep me busy.” After graduation, she studied at Columbia College Chicago and modeled on the side. Modeling took her to Milan, Singapore and Tokyo, among other places.
She left college to pursue acting in New York when she only had one semester left. She said, “There I was three years into a journalism degree with plans to become an investigative television reporter when I found out I was going to have to start out in a small market like Iowa. So I left.”
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Michelle Monaghan landed small roles in “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," among other projects. She had a nude scene in “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang." She said, “I modeled for years, so I’m not really freaked out about showing my body.”
As for her career, she said, “All of this scares the hell out of me. I’m frightened and uneasy and sometimes my heart skips a beat. But hey, it got me out of Iowa, right?” She added in a later interview, “I come from a very working class background. My dad worked in a factory for 40 years. We all put ourselves through school. So I’ve never felt entitled to anything.”
She holds a “Class A” driver’s license, which permits her to drive an 18-wheeler truck. She got it while preparing for her role in “Trucker.”
She has a child from her relationship with Peter White: Willow Katherine White, born in November 2008. She is expecting her second child, per a report from People magazine in 2013. She also had a cancerous mole on her leg removed.
Michelle Monaghan and her family reside in New York City. She is notably absent on social media.