What happened to Julia Stiles

Julia Stiles
Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Tribeca Festival

Emmy and Golden Globe Award nominee Julia Stiles was one of the most prominent faces amongst her peers during the height of her fame. After all, she starred in one of the most popular teen romantic comedies of all time in 10 Things I Hate About You. In recent years however, the actress seems to have disappeared from the spotlight, and has shied away from mainstream media.

Stiles began her journey into acting at age 11 while performing with the La MaMa Theatre Company in New York. She made her film debut in a minor role in the 1996 film I Love You, I Love You Not. The next three years saw Stiles booking more roles, as she began to build a repertoire for herself.

Stiles’ breakthrough came when she scored the lead role in the 1999 high school rom-com 10 Things I Hate About You alongside Heath Ledger. The film was such a huge success, and her role as the antisocial Kat Stratford is still referred to as the best performance in her career. Stiles also won the MTV Movie Award for Breakthrough Female Performance for her role in the film. Stiles also starred in two Shakespearean adaptations: Hamlet in 2000, and O (Othello) in 2001, both released to mixed reviews from critics. The 2001 dance film, Save The Last Dance, revived Stiles’ career, earning her an MTV Movie Award nomination for Best Female Performance, and a Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie: Actress.

Stiles took a break from the screen to focus on her education, enrolling in Columbia University to study English Literature. She revealed to PEOPLE that while she was able to focus on her studies, there were some moments where her career and education would clash.

I think very quickly, I was able to focus on school. It would put things in perspective a lot. So my peers were all studying to become doctors, so that’s humbling. And then, yeah, there were some really funny, weird moments. Like a limo for the MTV Movie Awards pulling up in front of my dormitory with my name on it.

Stiles would eventually go on to play a variety of characters in films suc as The Business of Strangers, the Bourne films, Mona Lisa Smile, and much more. She later made her directorial and writing debut with the short film for Elle Magazine, titled Raving in 2007.

It wasn’t until 2010 that Stiles’ career received another boost when she signed on to star in the Showtime series Dexter. For her role as Lumen Pierce in the series, she received a Golden Globe and Emmy Award nomination. The following year, Stiles was cast in the British TV series Riviera. The show was a great success, eventually premiering on the U.S channel Ovation in 2019.

Stiles later landed a riveting role in the film acclaimed drama, Hustlers, which she revealed to The Daily Beast, is her most favorite movie of her career. In the interview, she also spoke about her early success, and the partial hiatus she took from acting to study. 

 I felt like I was sort of jumping from job to job that I wasn’t really connected to and worried about where my career was going. I think a few years ago my frustration was feeling like nobody knew what to do with me. You know, I had had some success in my twenties and now I’m in a different place in my life and I didn’t really fit anywhere. Academic professionals don’t give a shit about me being in a movie or having to go to the MTV Movie Awards. But then also, people in the entertainment industry don’t really care about university. That helped me a lot.

What Is Julia Stiles Up to Now?

Earlier in 2022 Stiles announced the birth of her second child with husband, Preston J. Cook. Although she has taken some time off to be with her family, she is set to star in the sequel of the 2009 horror film, Orphan, titled Orphan: First Kill.  She also lent her voice to portray the character, Olivia Kullersen, in the animated series DreamWorks Dragons: The Nine Realms. Stiles is also the recipient of the prestigious John Jay Award for professional achievements after being selected by the Columbia College Alumni.