Born in London, Kathrin Romary "Kate" Beckinsale is the daughter of Richard, an actor and Judy Loe, an actress.
Kate made her first television appearance at age 4 in an episode of "This Is Your Life." She was only five years old when her father died of a heart attack in his sleep. As she told People, "It stayed with me, the incredible shock and huge loss. I started expecting bad things to happy, that friends will leave, that loved ones will die. It kept building until I had a nervous breakdown when I was a teenager."
She attended Godolphin and Latymer School in London. She has described herself as a late bloomer and developed anorexia at the age of 15, falling to only 70 lbs. and underwent psychoanalysis, five days a week for four years.
Kate Beckinsale then attended New College, Oxford University majoring in French and Russian literature and was involved with the Oxford University Dramatic Society. She left college to concentrate on her acting career. She said, "It was getting to the point where I wasn't enjoying either thing enough because both were very high pressure. I was burning out and I knew I had to make a decision."
Kate Beckinsale landed a few small parts in television roles, and made her film debut in "Much Ado About Nothing." She ended up in New York auditioning for American films and starred opposite Chloe Sevigny in "The Last Days of Disco," and opposite Claire Danes in "Brokedown Palace."
She rose to fame in her role as Nurse Johnson in the 2001 film "Pearl Harbor," directed by Michael Bay. Beckinsale followed with roles in "Serendipity," and "Laurel Canyon." But it was "Underworld," that put Beckinsale on the map as an action heroine. She's since appeared in numerous films, including "Contraband," "Whiteout," "Snow Angels," and the remake of "Total Recall." She told Playboy regarding her "Van Helsing" costume, "I was desperate to burn it the minute I put it on. The boots alone took 20 minutes to put on. It was buckle after buckle."
Aside from acting, Kate Beckinsale has worked as a model, advertising for Diet Coke, Gap, Absolut Vodka and Lux shampoo.
Kate Beckinsale had an eight-year relationship with Michael Sheen and has a daughter, Lily Sheen. In an interview with Allure, she said, "I was brilliant at breastfeeding, I was like an overproducing cow. I miss it a bit." She said of her relationship with Sheen, "We were very lucky in that we didn't have an acrimonious split." Beckinsale married director Len Wiseman in Bel-Air in 2004. They reside in Brentwood, California.