Keira Knightley is widely regarded as one of the most successful actress of her generation. On screen since the tender age of 8, the world has watched her blossom from a child star to one of Hollywood's most popular and bankable actresses.
Born Keira Christina Knightley on March 26, 1985.
Knightley grew up in Teddington, London with her mother Sharman Macdonald - an award-winning playwright - her father Will Knightley - a theatre and television actor - and her elder brother Caleb.
Having famously asked her parents for an agent as a child, she starred in a series of British television dramas from the age of 8 to thirteen.
Her first major role was in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace in which she played Sabé.
In 2001 she starred in The Hole, but it was Bend It Like Beckham in 2002 that won her worldwide fame and proved to be her breakthrough role.
In 2003 she was cast as Elizabeth Swann in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. Produced by Hollywood stalwart Jerry Bruckheimer, she starred alongside Jonny Depp and Orlando Bloom. This hugely successful franchise - of which there were a further two films - made Knightley a household name on both sides of the Atlantic.
Knightley's next major role was in Richard Curtis' 2003 feel-good film Love Actually in which she played Juliet, a newly-wed who discovers her husband's best friend is in love with her.
In July 2004 she made her Vogue cover debut.
From 2004 onwards, Knightley's career began to focus on period dramas and film adaptations, such as King Arthur in 2004, Pride & Prejudice in 2005, Atonement in 2007 and The Duchess in 2008.
Her performance as Elizabeth Bennet in Pride & Prejudice earned her Best Actress nominations at the Academy Awards and the Golden Globes, while her portrayal of Cecilia Tallis in Atonement won her Best Actress nominations at the Golden Globes and BAFTAs.
In 2006 she was named as the face of Chanel's perfume Coco Mademoiselle. "We think Keira is the perfect Coco Mademoiselle woman because she is always incredibly alluring and seductive," Christine Dagousset, executive vice president of fragrance and beauty for Chanel, told WWD.
In 2007 she appeared on the cover of British Vogue for the second time.
2008 saw star alongside actress and Vogue cover girl Sienna Miller in Dylan Thomas' biopic The Edge of Love. The two young actresses sparked an off-screen friendship prompting Miller to tell Vogue: "Don't be fooled and think she is a goody-goody. She can be a bloody good laugh".
In the same year she was named the second highest-earning actress in Hollywood in 2007, in a survey by Forbes magazine (Cameron Diaz came first). The survey attributed her fortune to her roles in the Pirates of the Carribbean trilogy and her advertisements for Chanel's Coco Mademoiselle perfume. She was the only Brit to make the list.
In 2009, she made her West End debut in The Misanthrope alongside Damian Lewis. Her performance was received well, with The Independent calling it "not only strikingly convincing but, at times, rather thrilling in its satiric aplomb."
Knightley spoke to Vogue about her experience on stage, saying: "On film you learn your lines and then come together to shoot a scene. Here we sat and rehearsed as a group and I loved that process."
The same year she was nominated for the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actress and the Natasha Richardson Award for Best Actress at the Evening Standard Awards for her turn in the play.
2010 saw Knightley appear in the drama Last Night with Eva Mendes, London Boulevard with Colin Farrell, and an adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro's dystopian novel, Never Let Me Go, alongside Andrew Garfield and Carey Mulligan.
In January 2011 Knightley appeared on her third British Vogue cover, shot by Mario Testino. She told editor-at-large Fiona Golfar of her life off camera: "I really do have baking days. I make all sorts of cakes and breads."
In 2011 she was cast in David Cronenberg's historical drama A Dangerous Method. She starred alongside Viggo Mortensen and Michael Fassbender in the film, which portrayed the relationship between Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud.
Knightley nearly turned down the role due to explicit spanking scenes with Fassbender's character, but was persuaded after speaking with Cronenberg: "As soon as I got my head around the S&M mentality, I said, 'OK, let's do it!'" she told GQ magazine.
Cronenberg praised Knightley's performance: "I have directed some of the best actresses who've ever lived - and Keira is as good as any of them."
2012 will see the release of Anna Karenina - directed by Joe Wright - with Knightley in the title role, starring alongside Jude Law and Aaron Johnson.
Famously guarded about her private life, Knightley's personal style is effortlessly chic. In the past she has confessed to preferring a casual approach to red-carpet glamour: "As long as I do it rarely, then I enjoy it," she told Stylist magazine. "It's nice to have an occasion to wear a silly frock and get dolled up but I'm not really that sort of person."
When she is not filming in various locations around the world, she lives in London. In 2011 she began dating musician James Righton of indie band The Klaxons - the couple announced their engagement in May 2012.