Gillian Leigh Anderson (born August 9, 1968) is an American actress. After beginning her career in theater, Anderson achieved international recognition for her role as Special Agent Dana Scully on the American television series The X-Files. Her film work includes The House of Mirth (2000), The Mighty Celt (2005), The Last King of Scotland (2006), and two X-Files films, The X-Files (1998) and The X-Files: I Want to Believe (2008).
Anderson was born in Chicago, Illinois, the daughter of Rosemary Anderson, a computer analyst, and Edward Anderson, who owned a film post-production company. Soon after her birth, her family moved to Puerto Rico for 15 months; she then lived for five years in Roseberry Gardens, Harringay, London, and finally for 15 months in Albany Road, Stroud Green, London, so that her father could attend the London Film School. When Anderson was 11 years old, her family moved again, this time to Grand Rapids, Michigan. She attended Fountain Elementary and then City High-Middle School, a program for gifted students with a strong emphasis on the humanities; she graduated in 1986.
With her English accent and background, Anderson was mocked and felt out of place in the American Midwest and soon adopted a Midwest accent. To this day, her accent depends on her location — for instance, in an interview with Jay Leno she spoke in an American accent, but shifted it for an interview with Michael Parkinson.
Anderson was interested in marine biology, but began acting her freshman year in high school productions, and later in community theater, and served as a student intern at the Grand Rapids Civic Theatre & School of Theatre Arts. She attended The Theatre School at DePaul University in Chicago (formerly the Goodman School of Drama), where she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1990. She also participated in the National Theatre of Great Britain's summer program at Cornell University.
Anderson's brother died aged 30 of a brain tumour in 2011.
Anderson married her first husband, Clyde Klotz, The X-Files series assistant art director, on New Years Day, 1994, on the 17th hole of a golf course in Hawaii in a Buddhist ceremony. They had a daughter, Piper Maru (born September 25, 1994) and they divorced in 1997. In December 2004, Anderson married Julian Ozanne, a documentary filmmaker, in the village of Shella on Lamu, an island off the coast of Kenya. Anderson and Ozanne announced their separation on April 21, 2006.
With Mark Griffiths, Anderson has two sons, Oscar (born November 1, 2006) and Felix (born October 15, 2008). They ended their relationship in 2012.
In March 2012, Anderson told Out magazine about her past relationship in high school with a girl saying, "If I had thought I was 100% gay, would it have been a different experience for me? Would it have been a bigger deal if shame had been attached to it and all those things that become huge life-altering issues for youngsters in that situation? It's possible that my attitude around it came, on some level, from knowing that I still liked boys.". Anderson also revealed the woman died prior to the interview with Out, stating, "I felt like I was honoring her memory in some way simply by admitting its existence.".
In 1996, Anderson was voted the "Sexiest Woman in the World" for FHM's 100 Sexiest Women poll. In 2008, she also placed 21st in FHM's All Time 100 Sexiest Hall of Fame.
In 1997, she was chosen by People magazine as one of the 50 Most Beautiful People in the World. Topsocialite.com listed Anderson as the 2nd sexiest woman of the 1990s. Askmen.com listed her at No. 6 on their Top 7: '90s Sex Symbols.
Anderson serves as NF, Inc.'s honorary spokesperson and is a patron of the UK-based Neurofibromatosis Association. Her support stems from her brother being diagnosed with the disease. She is also a member of the board of directors for Artists for a New South Africa and a campaigner for ACTSA: Action for Southern Africa. Anderson is an active member of PETA, and supports animal rights. She also supports tribal rights charity Survival International leading to her performance in a London stage fundraiser in early 2010. In late 2010, Anderson and other celebrities joined a campaign to boycott Botswana diamonds over the government's treatment of the Kalahari Bushmen. On February 2011, Anderson narrated a short film about recent footage of an uncontacted tribe. The Amazon Indians were spotted from the air on the Brazil-Peru border. Anderson has said, "What comes across powerfully from this amazing footage is how healthy and confident these people appear. I hope they can be left alone – but that will only happen if the loggers are stopped." In June 2011, Anderson became an ambassador for Survival.