Mary Louise Parker

Parker is the film, TV, and stage actress who has made a name for herself by passing on commercial rom-coms in favor of edgier indies.

Thanks to the fragile, complicated characters she's played in indie flicks and on stage over the years, Parker has become both a critical darling and something of an intellectual sex symbol. Parker earned her first big-screen role opposite a young Vincent D'Onofrio in 1989's Signs of Life and followed up with Prelude to a Kiss, which earned her a Tony nod. It was her role in Fried Green Tomatoes, though, that really put her on the map, and she bounced gracefully from well-received plays (Bus Stop, Proof), movies (Bullets Over Broadway, Boys on the Side, Saved!) to television (The West Wing, Angels in America, Weeds) ever since.

Parker's usually quiet love life became tabloid fodder in 2003 when her longtime boyfriend Billy Crudup-whose baby she was seven months pregnant with-left her for Claire Danes. She lives with her son, William Atticus Crudup, and her daughter Ash, whom she adopted from Africa in 2007. [Image via Getty]