The Stunning Transformation Of Emily VanCamp

Whether you know her from "Everwood," "Revenge," the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or one of the other many shows or films she's done, you've probably seen Emily VanCamp somewhere before. Born on May 12, 1986, VanCamp has been acting since her teens and has worked steadily since making her television debut at the turn of the millennium on Nickelodeon's "Are You Afraid of the Dark?"

Many of you may have grown up watching VanCamp on TV. If you've followed her career over the past few decades, then you're already well aware that she has grown up in front of your very own eyes. Still, fans will be fascinated to learn just how much she's grown and changed over the years. From her childhood in Canada where she dreamed of becoming a dancer to becoming a wife and a mom, here's a closer look at Emily VanCamp's life and her stunning transformation.

Emily VanCamp had a rugged upbringing in Canada

Emily VanCamp had a humble upbringing in Canada where she shared a tight bond with her family, in spite of the fact her mother would punish her and her siblings by locking them out of the house — sometimes in cold temperatures. Ever the outdoorswoman, VanCamp told InStyle (via the Daily Mail) that she and her three sisters "come from tough stock" and that even in "freezing" weather, "you'd just see little snowsuits running around." She doesn't think of it as a harsh punishment, however, but rather as a fond memory, saying, "It was part of my childhood that shaped me."

The actress told GQ she's a "tomboy," and it's clear that growing up in a small town in Ontario, Canada, had a big impact on who she is today. A country girl at heart, VanCamp recounted to Women's Health how she and her sisters enjoyed "run[ning] around and [play]ing in the fields" as kids. How idyllic!

Her childhood dream was to become a professional dancer

While Emily VanCamp is a huge Hollywood star these days, she grew up with her mind set on a different art form: dance. She was well on her way to being a ballet star, too, moving away from her family at the age of 12 to attend a ballet academy in another Canadian province.

It was her sister who inspired VanCamp to start acting. As she explained to Behind the Lens, her sister — also a dancer — was on a film set VanCamp visited where she "just fell in love with what I was seeing." VanCamp decided to study acting "for fun" but soon found she had a passion for it and even preferred it to dancing.

While she may have left her dancing dreams behind, she said they did prepare her for life as an actress. "I guess coming from a ballet background you understand hard work," she told Collider.

She nearly turned down her breakthrough role on Everwood

Emily VanCamp started her acting career at the age of 14. The first role on her acting resume is a three-episode arc on Nickelodeon's "Are You Afraid of the Dark?" in 2000. That same year, she portrayed a young Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis in the biopic "Jackie Bouvier Kennedy Onassis." Other early screen credits of VanCamp's include roles on the shows "Dice" and "Glory Days," but it was her role as Amy Abbott on the teen drama "Everwood" from 2002 to 2006 that really helped her make her mark on the industry.

The role established VanCamp as an up-and-coming young actress, but, interestingly, she very nearly passed on the part. She explained to The TV Addict that she had been away from home for a while filming "Glory Days" and that she wanted to return home to see her friends. She recounted being "really homesick" and considered turning down the role on "Everwood," which was filmed in Park City, Utah — quite a distance from her home in Canada. Thankfully for fans, she took the opportunity with the WB show after all, and the rest is history.

The actress didn't have to audition for her role on Brothers & Sisters

After "Everwood" wrapped in 2006, Emily VanCamp was ready for her next role, and she found it in another TV drama, "Brothers & Sisters." In fact, she'd done such an amazing job as Amy Abbott on "Everwood" that she didn't even have to audition for her next major TV role. Instead, the part of Rebecca was offered to her. Showrunner Greg Berlanti knew what VanCamp was capable of after having worked with her on "Everwood," as noted by Televisionista.

VanCamp remained on the show for three years, leaving the cast in 2010. "I really feel like Rebecca has run her course," she told Entertainment Weekly, adding that, while she loved her time on the show, she was ready for "other opportunities" and "just felt like it was time to move on."

VanCamp explained further to Entertainment Weekly that her decision to leave was a creative one, which she came to after "a lot of soul-searching." While quitting the show was a risky move, it turned out to be a smart decision because it freed VanCamp to pursue other roles, including one of her most famous television roles to date.

Emily VanCamp almost didn't get her now-iconic role on Revenge

It's impossible to imagine "Revenge" without Emily VanCamp. The ABC drama saw VanCamp play the lead role of Emily Thorne throughout the show's run from 2011 to 2015. Based on the 19th-century novel "The Count of Monte Cristo," Geek Frontiers notes that Emily Thorne is really Amanda Clark, a young woman whose life was shattered after her father was framed for a crime. Amanda, disguised as Emily, "plots her own strategy for revenge ... in order to extract vengeance on those who incriminated her father. "

"Revenge" was must-watch television in its four years on the air, but VanCamp was initially thought to be too wholesome to play the part of the devious lead character. VanCamp told Women's Health that the audition was made even more stressful, as she "didn't have a lot of time to prepare," she said, "and I'm a very nervous auditioner."

The part was clearly meant to be VanCamp's, though, and she, of course, landed the role, telling Variety she was intrigued by the script as soon as she read it, even thinking to herself, "I could do something with this." As anyone who has ever watched "Revenge" knows, she was right.

Fans weren't too happy when she locked lips with Captain America

One of Emily VanCamp's most high-profile roles is that of Sharon Carter in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. She first joined the MCU in "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" in 2014, returning in 2016 for "Captain America: Civil War." She reprised the role in the 2021 mini series "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier" and voiced the role the same year in an episode of "What If...?"

Sharon is the niece of Peggy Carter, Captain America's crush before he becomes frozen for decades. Sharon is his love interest in "Captain America: Civil War," which, at the time, left some fans with a bad taste in their mouths after they kissed in the film, since Chris Evans is kind of a big deal to many fans who pictured him as their future husband. "I mean, look, you have to laugh," she told Variety of the backlash. "Some of these storylines play and some of them don't."

Controversy over the kiss aside, VanCamp has loved being a part of the MCU, telling Mama's Geeky, "Being a part of this universe is really a special thing especially with the movies that they're making and how good they are."

She keeps her relationship with fellow actor Josh Bowman pretty private

Getting started in show business at such a young age means that Emily VanCamp's love life has been in the public eye since she was in her teens. She's been attached to some famous names over the years, notes PopSugar, including Captain America himself, Chris Evans. But, since 2011, she's been involved with her "Revenge" co-star, Josh Bowman. The two first got together during the show's first season, per People, and married in 2018.

VanCamp and Bowman may have a high-profile relationship, but they do their best to keep their private life as under wraps as they can. While she posts the occasional couple pic on Instagram, she's pretty tight-lipped on the details of their relationship, once telling Elle Canada, "Josh and I keep it all very separate. I barely talk about him in interviews, to be honest."

In an interview with People, VanCamp revealed the two are opposites in some ways, saying she's "a little bit more on the broody side" and "more of the realist," while Bowman is "more of an idealist." It works out for the best, though, in her opinion. "It's very nice to have that as a balance," she said.

Becoming a mom was a dream come true for Emily VanCamp

In 2021, Emily VanCamp's dreams came true when she and her husband, Josh Bowman, welcomed their first child into the world. VanCamp announced the exciting news in an Instagram post, featuring a black-and-white closeup of her baby's tiny hand gripping a finger, as well as some snaps of her rocking her baby bump. "Welcome to the world our sweet little Iris," she wrote in the caption. "Our hearts are full."

Per Us Weekly, the arrival of the baby came as quite a surprise to fans, as VanCamp had kept her pregnancy a secret from the public. What wasn't a surprise, though, was her excitement to be a mom. VanCamp had made it clear for years that she looked forward to having children, saying on the "Meredith Vieira Show" in 2014 (via The Arizona Republic) that she was "happy being an auntie" to her sisters' kids but that she looked forward to the day her schedule was calm enough that she could "be the kind of mom I want to be." Clearly, good things are worth waiting for!

She exited The Resident to focus on her family

While Emily VanCamp hasn't retired from acting since becoming a mom, she did take a step back to enjoy the new addition to the family. After four years of portraying nurse Nic Nevin on "The Resident," she exited the show, with her character being killed off at the beginning of Season 5. "I think there comes a moment in every woman's life — in every person's life — where it becomes less about work and more about family, and that's what happened while I was making the show," she told Deadline.

VanCamp was already pregnant while she filmed her final episodes of the drama, but it wasn't just impending motherhood that made her decide to leave the series. She said the COVID-19 pandemic was also a factor. "It really solidified for me that family is where my heart is at the moment," she said.

VanCamp offered up a heartfelt tribute to her time on the show in an Instagram post. "Thank you to everyone who came on this journey with me and this wonderful character," she wrote. VanCamp also included a shoutout to real-life nurses, writing, "And mostly — thank you to all of the nurses out there working tirelessly for your patients."

Emily VanCamp doesn't plan on any plastic surgery in the future

Although she's decades into her acting career, Emily VanCamp is still quite young — those are the perks of starting your career as a teenager! She has a vision of what her life will look like as she gets older, though, and it includes embracing her changing appearance. In an interview with Fashion Magazine, she spoke against the widespread use of cosmetic surgery and other procedures, like botox, meant to keep people looking young. "I think actors get addicted to youth but it seems so exhausting to me," she said.

VanCamp blamed a lot of the obsession on youth on the acting industry, saying it doesn't make sense to her. "How can you act if your face is frozen?" she asked, adding that she thinks it is "really tragic and sad that women feel that they can't age and still work in film."

Her stance makes even more sense when you consider something she told Women's Health: One thing she most appreciates about her longtime partner, Josh Bowman, is that he loves it when she takes her makeup off and is completely natural. "I'm at my most confident when I'm in nature and I don't have to dress up," she said.

Her family has kept her grounded throughout her stunning career

While becoming famous at such a young age might make some people lose sight of who they are, Emily VanCamp has remained incredibly grounded throughout her decades in show business. She explained to Elle Canada that she has her family to thank for this, as they have always supported her and helped her remain true to herself even as her fame grew. "Let's be honest: People can get kind of weird in this business, so I'm lucky to have my family," she said. "They're no bulls***."

In an interview with Women's Health, VanCamp said her family has always treated her like a normal person, not as a star, and that this has helped provide her with a solid anchor. "When I go home, no one's thinking about all these glamorous events I go to," she said. "They knew me as a kid."

As she's gotten older, she's learned how to let go

Growing up onscreen has taught Emily VanCamp some important life lessons, which she shared with Behind the Lens. The actress told the outlet that her career "taught me to be ever present in my life and observant of the people around me." She explained that, as an actress, she is "constantly watching and observing and trying to understand behavioral patterns of people" and thinks this has given her a better understanding of people and also helps her to connect with others on a "much deeper and ... much richer" level.

As she's gotten older, she's also learned how to loosen up a bit. VanCamp explained to Backstage how, early in her career, she "had a tendency to be incredibly hard on myself." If she could tell her younger self one thing, it would be to show herself more grace and to "let yourself fail." She added that, while she still struggles "to an extent" with failure, she has learned to be easier on herself and to let things go more. "You have to learn and grow through the process," she told Backstage.

Could we see Emily VanCamp move behind the camera?

What's next for Emily VanCamp? While it's clear she plans to spend a lot of time focusing on her family in the future, she's definitely not quitting show business any time soon. In addition to her role in the MCU, which could bring her back for several projects in the foreseeable future ("Marvel, when they call, you always answer," she told Variety), there's a chance we might see her step into the director's seat.

VanCamp told People that her husband, Josh Bowman, is breaking into the field and that it's something she'd like to do as well, saying, "I could definitely see myself working alongside him, getting involved in with him, it's exciting."

One thing we probably won't see, though, is a "Revenge" reunion. While she said she'd be a fan of the show getting another iteration, VanCamp doesn't think she'd have a part in it. Similarly to how she feels about her other past roles, she seems to only want to look forward rather than back. "I do feel that, you know, in terms of [my character] her story really did come to an end," she told Variety. "But again, you never know."