The Stunning Transformation Of Jennifer Garner

Jennifer Garner is one of Hollywood's most likable celebrities. With her sweet smile, cute dimples, and easy charm, it's hard not to be a fan of hers. Both a Southerner and small- town girl at heart, her life seemed normal enough until she moved to New York City to pursue her acting dreams. There, she quickly landed a few small parts before her acting career took off, thanks to her starring role on the hit TV show "Alias."

Flash forward a few years, and Garner quickly topped the A-list, thanks to roles in "13 Going on 30," "Juno," and "Elektra." Her personal life also became tabloid-worthy when she married her "Daredevil" co-star, Ben Affleck. The two would later have three children together and divorce after 10 years of marriage. That following April, Garner topped People's Most Beautiful People list, proving that her relatability and down-to-earth charm continues to attract and enthrall her adoring fans. Now an Instagram star, in addition, thanks to her "Pretend Cooking Show," it's clear that Garner continues to evolve. Let's look back at Jennifer Garner's amazing transformation through the years.

Jennifer Garner is a small-town girl at heart

Jennifer Garner is a southern girl through and through. She was born on April 17, 1972, in Houston, Texas, though she and her sisters were raised in Charleston, West Virginia. Garner recalled her quaint West Virginia upbringing on Kerry Washington's YouTube series, "Street You Grew Up On," describing how she and the kids from the neighborhood would play kick the can and build forts in the local "crazy woods."

Garner also shared in the interview that "there was not money for anything fancy," which meant her mother made everything, including the clothes they wore and the food they ate. "God bless that woman! She made everything," said Garner. "We did not have potato chips unless she was there frying them" (via 12WBOY).

She revealed more about her humble beginnings on the PBS talk show "Tell Me More With Kelly Corrigan." While she acknowledged that her home state "is the bottom of the barrel in education and upward mobility and health," she said growing up in a place where you are "surrounded by people who look after their neighbors" is why she has "such a deep pride to be of and from that stock" (via Yahoo!).

She was in the high school marching band

Everyone has embarrassing memories and photos from their time in high school, and Jennifer Garner is no different. On an episode of "Late Night with Seth Meyers" back in 2016, Garner talked about playing the alto saxophone in her high school marching band. She shared a photo of herself in full uniform alongside her saxophone, Sally the Sexy Saxophone. "But you can call her Sally," she told Meyers.

While she revealed to Meyers she lost Sally, this didn't stop Garner from dressing up in full marching band uniform for her friend Reese Witherspoon's birthday, where she played "Happy Birthday" on a saxophone (which was, sadly, not Sally). She obviously has fond memories of her marching band days, declaring, "Once a band geek, always a band geek" on Instagram when she attended a Texas A&M football game in 2017.

When her eldest daughter, Violet, entered high school, it became clear that Garner remains grateful for her high school experience. She told People, "I love high school football games. I loved any high school game. I'm so excited to have a high schooler and to get to go."

In college, she switched majors and showed off her wild side

It might surprise some to hear that, back in 1990, when Jennifer Garner enrolled at Ohio's Denison University, she was a chemistry major. However, the star soon switched over to theater, as she wrote in a personal essay for, and graduated with her Bachelor of Fine Arts in theater in 1994 (via W Magazine). But, just like any college student, Garner had her mischievous side, too. In an interview with Conan O'Brien, she revealed that, while she wasn't a party girl and didn't drink, she did, in fact, streak during the summers when she worked as a theater apprentice. "I was just in a naked frame of mind," she told the host. "I don't think I was the only streaker, but I might have been the leader of the streakers! And we just all streaked, all summer."

Twenty-five years after she graduated, the actress received an honorary doctorate from her alma mater during a commencement ceremony in which she served as keynote speaker. In her speech, she told graduates, "There is no finish line to cross, no moment when you're just supposed to be happy." She reminded students that, as they wait for the perfect job or relationship, "your life is happening. Isn't it enough?" (via W Magazine).

She took on a bunch of jobs while a struggling actress in New York

After graduating from college in 1994, Jennifer Garner did what most aspiring actors do: move to New York City. There, she landed tiny roles in various TV movies and TV shows like "Law & Order" and "Spin City" (via IMDb). The latter role would offer Garner another source of income when she met Stephen Colbert, another unknown actor at the time, who also had a small role on the same episode. On "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert," the stars talked about meeting at the show's wrap party where they both complained about not having any other work lined up. Colbert mentioned having a baby at home, and Garner offered her babysitting services, which Colbert took her up on.

Between gigs, Garner also worked as a hostess on the Upper West Side alongside another future star, Elizabeth Banks, who waitressed at the same restaurant. During this time, Garner landed a life-changing role in the TV show "Alias," which, according to Banks, inspired her to keep going in her own career. "I was like, 'She did it man!' She's no longer a f—ing hostess! Like I might not always be a waitress! It might work out!' I got super encouraged," as Banks revealed at the Elle Women in Hollywood event (via Us Weekly).

The actress married Scott Foley after meeting on the show Felicity

As an unknown actress, Jennifer Garner guest-starred on the popular TV series "Felicity" in 1998. This would be a fateful opportunity for her both personally and professionally. Professionally, the role would lead her to connect with J.J. Abrams who would later create and cast her in the TV series "Alias."

On a personal level, her guest spot on "Felicity" would lead her to meet her first husband, Scott Foley, who starred on the show. During an episode of Sirius XM's "Andy Cohen Live," Foley recalled hitting it off instantly with Garner. Two years later, in 2001, the year "Alias" hit TV screens, Garner and Foley got married. InStyle's Isabel Jones shed some light on the early days of their relationship. "I like to think they thrived in the years before either of them hit the A-list. During the early 'Felicity' years, they were both just humble up-and-comers and it was all very exciting and romantic," she said.

However, their marriage would be short-lived, as the two officially divorced in 2004. More on that in a bit.

Jennifer Garner's life was never the same after Alias

How we know the Jennifer Garner we know today is from her breakout role in the hugely successful TV series "Alias." The spy drama was unlike anything seen before on TV, especially since it starred a female protagonist, CIA agent Sydney Bristow. "She had a vulnerability and a kindness in her that was undeniable," producer J.J. Abrams told The Hollywood Reporter of Garner, "and of course you couldn't take your eyes off of her." Not surprisingly, she was almost instantly catapulted to the A-list. On the series' 20th anniversary, Garner recalled the moment she knew her life would never be the same again: She went Christmas s​​hopping during the show's first season, and when she walked into the store, "every person in the store stopped to talk to me. I'd been acting a long time professionally and never [experienced that]," she shared with Access Hollywood.

In 2002, Garner won a Golden Globe for her work on the first season of "Alias," and she was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Best Actress that same year (in addition to three more nominations). Her role on the show, undoubtedly, raised her profile and helped land her parts on the big screen — including "Catch Me If You Can," directed by Steven Spielberg, and "Daredevil" with Ben Affleck — alongside A-list actors and directors (via IMDb).

Fame led to her divorce from Scott Foley

Jennifer Garner was a huge star by 2004, which is the same year she officially divorced Scott Foley. Looking back on their marriage at the time, Foley told TV Guide, "Jennifer became a huge celebrity. She became a huge star, and she deserved everything she got."

When the two broke up, Garner started dating her "Alias" co-star, Michael Vartan, which fueled rumors that their relationship had been the cause of the split. However, Foley shot down those reports with TV Guide. "There was no other relationship, there was no infidelity, nothing," he said. During this time, Garner had hit the big screen with her own starring vehicles, including her own "Elektra" spinoff (not one of her favorite projects) and the popular movie "13 Going on 30." These movies, undoubtedly, helped her transition from TV star to movie star. By the time "Alias" ended in 2006, Garner had starred in numerous films, including "Catch and Release" and "The Kingdom."

13 Going on 30 had a large impact on her and women everywhere

As famous as Jennifer Garner is for her role in "Alias," she became even more well known from her starring role in the 2004 rom-com "13 Going on 30" as Jenna Rink. The movie continues to garner fans (no pun intended), both young and old, including famous fans like Ariana Grande, who paid tribute to the movie in her "thank u, next" music video, with tons of references and by wearing the character's famous green dress.

There was even a mash-up video of Garner's 2021 movie "Yes Day," with "13 Going on 30" paying tribute to the same necklace she wears in both movies that featured costumes designed by Susie DeSanto (via Us Weekly). The film has continued to impact audience members years later, with one writer commemorating the movie, describing it as a film that "isn't actually about life at 13 or at 30. It's about our perceptions of what constitutes an 'adult.'" That's something everyone turning 30 can relate to.

Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck were co-stars who became husband and wife

Another big transformation in Jennifer Garner's life happened when she met and fell in love with actor Ben Affleck. The couple first met on the set of "Pearl Harbor" in 2001 when Garner was still married to Scott Foley. The two reunited on the set of "Daredevil" in 2004. Although Garner was still with Foley at the time and Affleck was dating Jennifer Lopez, Affleck admitted they fell in love on the set (via Playboy). By 2004, Garner and Foley were divorced, and Affleck and Lopez were done.

By October 2004, Garner and Affleck were photographed at the World Series in Boston, at which point they were officially dating; within a year, they were engaged. In June 2005, the two were married in an intimate ceremony officiated by Garner's good friend and "Alias" co-star, Victor Garber. It was clear Garner was head-over-heels about her union with Affleck, calling her husband "sexy and kind" to Parade, adding, "but he's also a riot. We can be very goofy together."

The actress became a mom to three kids

Like many moms can attest, Jennifer Garner's life was transformed when she became a mom. She and Ben Affleck welcomed their first daughter, Violet, in December 2005. Four years later, they welcomed their second daughter, Seraphina (via People).

The couple later had a son, Samuel, on February 27, 2012, in Santa Monica, California. While Garner acknowledged it would be "so weird to have a boy," she also said it would be "cool and different" (via People). But don't think Garner's pregnancy was chic just because she's a celebrity. She told InStyle she wished she was "one of those cute pregnant girls who wear skinny jeans throughout their pregnancies. But I just gain weight."

Time and again, despite her A-list status, Garner has shared how she's just like any other mom when it comes to her kids and parenting. On the "Today" show, she said she was grateful to play more mom roles because "there's no more rich time in women's lives than when you have your babies, and when you're trying to figure out how to parent them and balance everything."

She divorced Ben Affleck and realigned her life

Jennifer Garner's life transformed yet again when she and Ben Affleck filed for divorced in 2015 after 10 years of marriage. At the time, the couple said in a statement to People:  "After much thought and careful consideration, we have made the difficult decision to divorce. We go forward with love and friendship for one another and a commitment to co-parenting our children whose privacy we ask to be respected during this difficult time."

When Garner was feeling the fresh wound of her divorce in 2016, she told Vanity Fair, "My heart's a little on the tender side right now, and it's always easier to focus on the ways that you feel hurt, but I know that, with time and some perspective, I'll have a clearer sense of where I let the system down." She also lamented about not dancing with Affleck at their daughters' weddings one day. But, in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter in 2021, she indicated she was in a better place with Affleck, saying, "When our kids get married, we'll dance, I know that now. We'll boogaloo and have a great time. I don't worry about that anymore."

The star is a philanthropist dedicated to helping kids

Another important part of Jennifer Garner's life is her commitment to charity work. Mothers and children are very dear to her heart, having served as an Artist Ambassador for Save the Children for over a decade. She also paired ​​with Huggies and Baby2Baby in 2016 to help mothers in need of diapers. At the time, she told Romper, "The thing that hits me the hardest is that I see these babies and they have dirty diapers. And I think, 'Wow, this mom must be so stressed. Diapers must be on such short supply around here that the mom would not give the baby a fresh diaper.'"

She also blended her love of children by founding her nutrition company, Once Upon a Farm, an organic baby food company, which, in 2021, paired with Save the Children, combining both of her favorite charitable endeavors. "I loved the idea of being part of a business that could have a meaningful impact on Save the Children's work because I've worked there forever," Garner told People. "In the very first meeting I said, 'If you really want to connect my heart and soul, connect Once Upon a Farm to Save the Children.'"

Jennifer Garner is a breakout Instagram star

These days, Jennifer Garner is showing off her trademark charm and relatability on Instagram where she's quickly become a star with 12 million followers. Her feed is a sweet mix of all sorts of things she loves, including everything from cooking to dancing to throwbacks from her movies and TV shows.

While Garner says she's a "pretend" chef on her "Pretend Cooking Show," her followers are treated to funny moments and a delicious recipe. She also likes to share cute photos of her adorable pets, like Hennifer, her chicken, and Birdie, her golden retriever. There's definitely something for everyone on Garner's social media feed, which offers a glimpse into her life, allowing her fans to connect with her more.

Garner has continued to transform over the years, and we are excited to see where this kind-hearted and beautiful star goes next — hopefully, with even more fun Instagram posts to share!