Jennifer Love Hewitt (born February 21, 1979) is an American actress, producer, author, television director and singer-songwriter. Hewitt began her acting career as a child by appearing in television commercials and the Disney Channel series Kids Incorporated. She rose to fame in teenage popular culture in her roles in the Fox series Party of Five as Sarah Reeves Merrin, and films I Know What You Did Last Summer and its sequel as Julie James.
Hewitt starred on the hit CBS television program Ghost Whisperer as Melinda Gordon, for which she won a Saturn Award in 2007 and 2008 for Best Actress on Television. She was also nominated for a Golden Globe Award for her television movie The Client List. In addition to acting, she has served as a producer on some of her film and television projects. As a singer, Hewitt has been signed by Atlantic Records and Jive Records, and is primarily known for her recordings in the pop genre. Her most successful single on the Billboard Hot 100 is the 1999 release "How Do I Deal", which peaked at No. 59. She has also contributed music to the promotion or soundtracks of acting projects. She was identified as the "#1 reader choice" on the November 1999 and May 2009 covers of Maxim. TV Guide named her the sexiest woman on television in 2008.
As of 2012 she is a recurring star on Hot in Cleveland and leads the Lifetime television series The Client List.
Hewitt was born in Waco, Texas, to Patricia Mae (née Shipp), a speech-language pathologist, and Herbert Daniel Hewitt, a medical technician. Hewitt grew up in Nolanville in Central Texas. Hewitt received her middle name after her mother promised her college friend (named "Love") that if she had a daughter, she would name her after her. Her older brother, Todd Hewitt, chose the name "Jennifer" as a homage to a crush he had at the time she was born. After the divorce of her parents, Hewitt and her brother were raised by her mother. Patricia Mae Hewitt died on June 12, 2012, aged 67, following a battle with cancer.
As a young girl, Hewitt was attracted to music, which led to her first encounters with the entertainment industry. At the age of three, she sang "The Greatest Love of All" at a livestock show. Just a year after that, at a restaurant-dance hall, she entertained an audience with her version of "Help Me Make It Through the Night". By age five, she had tap dancing and ballet in her portfolio. At nine, she became a member of the Texas Show Team (which also toured in the Soviet Union).
At age ten, at the suggestion of talent scouts and after gaining the title of "Texas Our Little Miss Talent Winner", she moved to Los Angeles with her mother to pursue a career in both acting and singing. In Los Angeles, she attended Lincoln High School where her classmates included Jonathan Neville, who became a talent scout and recommended Hewitt for her role in Party of Five.