Erika Christensen

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Erika Christensen
Erika Christensen Paleyfest 2013.jpg
Christensen at the 2013 PaleyFest
Born Erika Jane Christensen
(1982-08-19) August 19, 1982 (age 33)
Seattle, Washington, U.S.
Residence Los Angeles, California, U.S.
  • Actress
  • singer
Years active 1997–present
Spouse(s) Cole Maness (m. 2015)

Erika Jane Christensen (born August 19, 1982)[1] is an American actress and singer whose filmography includes roles in Traffic (2000), Swimfan (2002), The Banger Sisters (2002), The Perfect Score (2004), Flightplan (2005), How to Rob a Bank (2007), and The Tortured (2010). For her performance in Traffic, she won the MTV Movie Award for Breakthrough Female Performance and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture along with her co-stars.

In 2006, she starred on the short-lived drama series Six Degrees on ABC. From 2010 until its ending in 2015, Christensen starred as Julia Braverman-Graham on the NBC family drama series Parenthood. In 2014, she won a Gracie Award for her performance in the role. Christensen portrayed Betty Beaumontaine on ABC's short-lived crime drama series Wicked City.

Early life[edit]

Christensen was born in Seattle, Washington,[1] the daughter of Kathy (née Hendricks), a construction manager, and Steven Christensen, an insurance worker and human resources executive.[2] She has an older half-brother, Nick, and two younger twin brothers, Dane (who appeared in the 2005 film The Upside of Anger) and Brando.[3] She has Icelandic, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Welsh, and Irish ancestry. Christensen was raised in suburban Los Angeles, California.[4] She started out acting on television in commercials for McDonald's.[5] Christensen is a member of the Church of Scientology.[6] Her parents became Scientologists in their 20s and raised her to be a Scientologist. Her parents also decided to homeschool her.[7]


1997–2004: Career beginnings and Traffic[edit]

Christensen began her career with a supporting role in the comedy film Leave It to Beaver, and a one episode guest appearance on the drama series Nothing Sacred, both of which were released/aired in 1997.[8] She went on to guest star in numerous other television series in the late 1990s, including Frasier, The Practice, 3rd Rock from the Sun, and Touched by an Angel.[3][5] She also starred in the Disney Channel original movie Can of Worms in 1999.[9] Also in 1999, she starred as Abigail Winthrop on the short-lived CBS sitcom Thanks.[10] That same year, she featured in Michael Jackson's music video for his song "Childhood", alongside actress Jena Malone.[11]

Christensen at TIFF 2007

For her performance as cocaine addict Caroline Wakefield in Steven Soderbergh's crime drama film Traffic (2000),[12] she received the awards for Breakthrough Female Performance at the MTV Movie Awards,[5] Standout Performance – Female at the Young Hollywood Awards, and Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture at the Screen Actors Guild Awards.[13] Also in 2000, Christensen guest starred in single episodes of Time of Your Life, Movie Stars, FreakyLinks, and The Pretender. In 2001, she had a recurring role on the sitcom The Geena Davis Show. She also appeared in an episode of the Fox sitcom That '70s Show, reuniting her with her Traffic co-star Topher Grace. She was named one of People's "Breakthrough Stars of 2001". The following year, Christensen starred in three feature films: the teen thriller Swimfan,[14] the crime drama Home Room,[15] and the comedy The Banger Sisters.[16]

In 2003, Christensen starred in MTV's television film adaptation of Wuthering Heights, based on the Emily Brontë novel of the same name. She also recorded multiple songs for the film's soundtrack.[17] In 2004, she starred in the teen heist film The Perfect Score,[7] and the horror film Riding the Bullet.[18] In 2005, Christensen recorded a version of "Let's Fall in Love" with John Stevens for his debut album Red.[19][20] Also in 2005, Christensen co-starred in the films The Upside of Anger as Andy Wolfmeyer, co-starring Kevin Costner and Joan Allen;[21] The Sisters as Irene Prior, with Maria Bello and Elizabeth Banks;[22] and Flightplan as Fiona, starring Jodie Foster.[23] The following year, she starred in the series Six Degrees, which debuted on the ABC fall schedule on September 21, 2006.[24] Low ratings caused its cancellation after one season, leaving 5 episodes unaired.[25]

2007–present: Continued film roles and Parenthood[edit]

In 2007, she appeared in the comedy-drama film Gardener of Eden,[26] and the independent crime comedy How to Rob a Bank.[27] In 2008 and 2009, she guest starred as a special agent on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, a college student with multiple personality disorder on Lie to Me,[28] and a victim of domestic abuse on Mercy. Christensen made a cameo in the Joaquin Phoenix-directed music video "Tired of Being Sorry" for Balthazar Getty's band Ringside.[29] In 2009, she was part of the cast of the film adaptation of Veronika Decides to Die,[30] and starred in the romantic drama Mercy alongside James Caan and Dylan McDermott.[31] In 2010, Christensen co-starred with Jesse Metcalfe in the horror-thriller film The Tortured.[32]

Christensen at the 2013 PaleyFest for Parenthood

Christensen was a regular cast member on the NBC drama television series Parenthood, which debuted on March 2, 2010 and concluded on January 29, 2015.[33] She portrayed the role of Julia Braverman-Graham, the youngest daughter of the Braverman family.[34] She won the 2014 Gracie Award for Outstanding Female Actor in a Supporting Role in a Drama Series for her performance in the series.[35] In 2013, she starred in the musical film How Sweet It Is, directed by Brian Herzlinger,[36] and was a guest judge on 2 episodes of the cooking competition series Knife Fight.[37] The following year, she appeared on the celebrity game show Hollywood Game Night,[38] and lead the cast of the Hallmark Channel television film My Boyfriends' Dogs, based on the Dandi Daley Mackall novel of the same name.[39]

In February 2015, she was cast in the short-lived ABC crime drama series Wicked City as Betty Beaumontaine, a single mother who becomes romantically involved with a serial killer.[40] Also in 2015, she partnered with food company Lean Cuisine to launch their brand overhaul.[41] Christensen then led the cast of the Hallmark Channel television film Anything for Love alongside Paul Greene, which was released on February 14, 2016. She will next be seen as part of the all-star cast of HBO's courtroom drama film Confirmation, directed by Rick Famuyiwa and co-starring Kerry Washington, Greg Kinnear, Wendell Pierce, Eric Stonestreet, and Jennifer Hudson.[42] She will also star in Jon Abrahams' directorial debut drama film Two for One.[43]

Personal life[edit]

In November 2014, Christensen became engaged to cyclist Cole Maness, with whom she had been in a relationship since 2012.[44] They married on September 5, 2015, in Palm Springs, California,[45] and reside in Los Feliz, Los Angeles.[46]



Year Title Role Notes
1997 Leave It to Beaver Karen
2000 Traffic Caroline Wakefield
2002 Home Room Deanna Cartwright
2002 Swimfan Madison Bell
2002 The Banger Sisters Hannah Kingsley
2004 The Perfect Score Anna Ross
2004 Riding the Bullet Jessica Hadley
2005 The Upside of Anger Andy Wolfmeyer
2005 The Sisters Irene Prior
2005 Flightplan Fiona
2007 Gardener of Eden Mona Huxley
2007 How to Rob a Bank Jessica
2008 Struck Bus Stop Girl Short film
2009 Mercy Robin
2009 Veronika Decides to Die Claire
2010 Melon Catherine Video short
2010 The Tortured Elise Landry
2013 How Sweet It Is Sarah Cosmo
2016 Two for One Tiffany Fontinella In post-production


Year Title Role Notes
1997 Nothing Sacred Romy Carrol Episode: "House of Rage"
1998 The Practice Melissa Episode: "The Pursuit of Dignity"
1998 Frasier Teenager Episode: "Frasier's Curse"
1998 3rd Rock from the Sun Brianna Episode: "Collect Call for Dick"
1999 Can of Worms Katelyn Sandman Television film
1999 Thanks Abigail Winthrop 6 episodes
1999 Touched by an Angel Ivy Episode: "Voice of an Angel"
2000 Time of Your Life Flynn Halloway Episode: "The Time She Turned 21"
2000 Movie Stars Tawny Episode: "La Vida Loca"
2000 The Pretender Leigh Wright Episode: "Corn Man"
2000 FreakyLinks Cassie Episode: "Subject: Coelacanth This!"
2001 The Geena Davis Show Isabel 3 episodes
2001 That '70s Show Stacey Episode: "Red and Stacey"
2003 Wuthering Heights Cate Earnshaw Television film
2005–09 Robot Chicken Various characters 3 episodes
2006–07 Six Degrees Mary Alice "Mae" Edwards 13 episodes
2008 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit SA Lauren Cooper Episode: "Signature"
2009 Lie to Me Various characters Episode: "The Core of It"
2009 Mercy Dana Harper McPhearson Episode: "Destiny, Meet My Daughter, Veronica"
2010–15 Parenthood Julia Braverman-Graham 102 episodes
2013 Knife Fight Herself (Guest Judge) 2 episodes
2014 Hollywood Game Night Herself (Panelist) Episode: "We'll Need to See Your TV ID"
2014 My Boyfriends' Dogs Bailey Daley Television film
2015 Wicked City Betty Beaumontaine 8 episodes
2016 Anything for Love Katherine Benson Television film
2016 Confirmation Shirley Weigand Television film

Music videos[edit]

Year Title Artist Role
1995 "Childhood" Michael Jackson Girl Playing Baseball

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Work Result
1998 YoungStar Awards Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Drama Series Nothing Sacred Nominated
2001 Young Hollywood Awards Standout Performance – Female Traffic Won
Teen Choice Awards Film – Choice Breakout Performance Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture Won
Online Film & Television Association Awards Best Youth Performance Nominated
MTV Movie Awards Breakthrough Female Performance Won
2014 Gracie Awards Outstanding Female Actor in a Supporting Role in a Drama Series Parenthood Won


  1. ^ a b "Erika Christensen". TV Guide. Retrieved September 6, 2015. 
  2. ^ Palmer, Alan (September 20, 2002). "Profile: Erika's Fatal at Traction; Swimfan Has Taken Erika Christensen Into the Major League". Daily Mirror. Retrieved December 9, 2007. 
  3. ^ a b "Speed Demon: Real-Life Golden Girl Erika Christensen Stops Traffic as a Drug Addict". People. March 5, 2001. 
  4. ^ Mills, Nancy (October 17, 2014). "Erika Christensen says roles helped her mature". The Columbus Dispatch. 
  5. ^ a b c Smith, Luke (September 5, 2002). "Christensen rises up from McDonald's ad". The Michigan Daily. Retrieved July 4, 2010. 
  6. ^ "Erika Christensen Defends Scientology: We Don't Worship Rabbits". The Huffington Post. January 17, 2013. 
  7. ^ a b "An Interview with Erika Christensen". IGN. January 29, 2004. 
  8. ^ Arthur, Kate (April 17, 2014). "Erika Christensen's Journey From Teen Star To "Parenthood"". BuzzFeed. 
  9. ^ Eidell, Lynsey (April 28, 2015). "15 Celebs You Forgot Were in Disney Channel Original Movies". Glamour. 
  10. ^ Pierce, Scott D. (June 28, 1999). "CBS gives 'Thanks' for a Pilgrim sitcom". Deseret News. 
  11. ^ Hundley, Jessica (January 1, 2001). "Erika Christensen, Stopping Traffic". Paper. 
  12. ^ ""Traffic": Topher Grace & Erika Christensen Interview". December 11, 2000. 
  13. ^ Blackman, Lori (March 14, 2001). "'Traffic's Erika Christensen". CNN. 
  14. ^ Fischer, Paul (September 2, 2002). "Erika Christensen for "Swimfan"". Dark Horizons. 
  15. ^ Holden, Stephen (September 5, 2003). "Home Room (2003) FILM REVIEW; Girls From Opposite Cliques Bond After a Shared Horror". The New York Times. 
  16. ^ Sauter, Michael (February 7, 2003). "The Banger Sisters". Entertainment Weekly. 
  17. ^ "TELEVISION REVIEW; But Who Says the Heights Have to, Like, Wuther?". The New York Times. September 13, 2003. 
  18. ^ Chang, Justin (October 14, 2004). "Review: 'Stephen King's Riding the Bullet'". Variety. 
  19. ^ "Music Review: John Stevens, "Red"". The Trades. Retrieved July 4, 2010. 
  20. ^ "Former idol croons on 'Red'". Daily Evergreen. Retrieved July 4, 2010. 
  21. ^ Travers, Peter (January 27, 2005). "The Upside of Anger". Rolling Stone. 
  22. ^ Ebert, Roger (May 18, 2006). "The Sisters". Roger Ebert. 
  23. ^ "Erika Christensen and Sean Bean join 'Flight Plan'". MovieWeb. August 4, 2004. 
  24. ^ Heffernan, Virginia (September 21, 2006). "Serendipitous Connections in the City of Separate Lives". The New York Times. Retrieved July 4, 2010. 
  25. ^ Bergman, Cory (April 12, 2007). "'Six Degrees' canceled, episodes move online". Adweek. 
  26. ^ "Lukas Haas, Giovanni Ribisi and Erika Christensen Toplining 'The Gardener of Eden'". MovieWeb. December 15, 2005. 
  27. ^ Holden, Stephen (February 8, 2008). "Movie Review: How to Rob a Bank (2007)". The New York Times. 
  28. ^ Ausiello, Michael (July 20, 2009). "'Lie to Me' exclusive: Erika Christensen to juggle four roles". Entertainment Weekly. 
  29. ^ "Joaquin Phoenix Lifts Ringside Clip From Pretender To Contender". MTV News. Retrieved July 4, 2010. 
  30. ^ Fleming, Michael (May 16, 2008). "Das Films teams for adaptation". Variety. Retrieved May 17, 2008. 
  31. ^ "Dylan McDermott, Erika Christensen Show Some "Mercy"". Artistdirect. May 22, 2008. 
  32. ^ Miska, Brad (June 30, 2008). "Sheen Out, Christensen In For Untitled Twisted Pictures Project". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved December 19, 2013. 
  33. ^ Dos Santos, Kristin (January 29, 2015). "Parenthood Finale: Why the Show Ended That Way, and Scoop On the 7 Biggest Surprises". E! Online. 
  34. ^ "'Parenthood' premiere leaves room for growth". Hofstra Chronicle. Retrieved July 4, 2010. 
  35. ^ Seikaly, Andrea (May 21, 2014). "'Scandal,' Angie Harmon, Wanda Sykes Honored at Gracie Awards". Variety. 
  36. ^ Dickey, Josh L. (May 2, 2012). "4 thesps discover 'How Sweet It Is'". Variety. 
  37. ^ Nededog, Jethro (October 8, 2013). "'Parenthood's' Erika Christensen Gets an Eyeful of Cod Sperm on Esquire's 'Knife Fight' (Exclusive Video)". TheWrap. 
  38. ^ Aguilera, Leanne (January 24, 2014). "Hollywood Game Night Sneak Peek: Mel B Is the Weak Link on Her Team—Watch Now!". E! Online. 
  39. ^ Dunham, Nancy (October 19, 2014). "Downside of puppy love in Hallmark movie". The Washington Times. 
  40. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (February 24, 2015). "Erika Christensen Joins ABC's 'L.A. Crime'". Retrieved February 28, 2015. 
  41. ^ "Erika Christensen: Bonds forged on 'Parenthood' are 'unbreakable'". AOL. July 10, 2015. 
  42. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (June 5, 2015). "Erika Christensen, Cobie Smulders, Dylan Baker & Grace Gummer Join HBO Movie 'Confirmation'". 
  43. ^ Jasper, Christopher (August 6, 2015). "New film being shot in Buffalo". The Buffalo News. 
  44. ^ Leon, Anya (November 17, 2014). "Erika Christensen Is Engaged to Cole Maness". People. 
  45. ^ Mercedes Lara, Maria (September 5, 2015). "Erika Christensen Marries Cole Maness". People. 
  46. ^ Christopher, Stephen. "Erika Christensen Interview by Stephen Christopher". Genlux. 

External links[edit]