Michelle Monaghan

Instantly recognizable to fans of TV's "Boston Public" as idealistic high school teacher Kimberly Woods, Iowa farm girl turned Hollywood starlet Michelle Monaghan has parlayed that exposure to win some big-time roles -- most notably Tom Cruise's love interest in Mission: Impossible III (2006).

Born March 23, 1976, in Winthrop, Iowa, Monaghan was studying journalism at Chicago's Columbia College when she dropped out to pursue a full-time modeling career -- a profession she'd taken up to pay for her schooling. Modeling soon led to acting, and by 2000, she was landing small parts on TV and in films such as Adrian Lyne's Unfaithful.

After the cancellation of "Boston Public" in 2003, Monaghan continued to win choice roles in films such as The Bourne Supremacy, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, North Country and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (her first leading role).