Kirsten Dunst

"People always tell me, 'Don't work so much', but I can't help it," said actress Kirsten Dunst after completing the hit 2002 movie Spider-Man. "I feel like all the things I've done are important to get to this adult stage and now I'm getting all these adult offers, so it's working. Now, I'm going to be more careful and just take time off and be very selective."

Certainly after completing the role of Spider-Man's love-interest, Mary Jane, Kirsten could afford to be selective. The superhero movie took the record for the biggest debut ever when it netted $114 million in its first three days and propelled the actress into worldwide stardom. It wasn't her first taste of celebrity status, however.

Born on April 30, 1982, in Point Pleasant, New Jersey, USA, Kirsten is a seasoned performer. She began modelling at age three and by the time she was 12 had appeared in more than 100 commercials. After her parents" separation, Kirsten moved with her mother, Inez, a former art gallery owner, and younger brother Christian to Los Angeles in 1993.

A year later, she beat The Addams Family actress Christina Ricci for a standout role opposite Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise in the hit Interview With The Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles. Her stunning performance as an eternally youthful vampiress won rave reviews and earned her a Golden Globe nomination and the MTV Award for Best Breakthrough Performance. Kirsten had arrived.

She followed Vampire up with string of hit movies including 1994's Little Women, Jumanji in the following year, and Small Soldiers in 1998. She also made appearances on TV, most notably with a recurring role in ER. By the end of the decade the actress was again winning rave notices for her role as Lux Lisbon in Sofia Coppola's The Virgin Suicides and a year later confirmed her status as a Hollywood player with the lead in the comedy Bring It On. Her Spider-Man success would only add to that.

But acting hasn't taken over completely. In the summer of 2000 Kirsten graduated from Notre Dame High School, and eventually plans to finish her education by studying literature at college. On the romance front, she has been linked to actor Jake Hoffman, the son of Dustin, with whom she starred in Wag The Dog. There was talk of an on-set romance with her Spider-Man co-star, Tobey Maguire, and her three-year relationship with Jake Gyllenhaal - which ended in December 2005 - made her a popular member of Hollywood's young starlet scene. Since March 2007 she has also been linked to Razorlight's frontman, British rocker Johnny Borrell.

These days, Kirsten lives with her three cats and dog in an apartment close to her mum's home in the San Fernando Valley, California. She brushes off comments that she has been pressured to achieve so much so young. "I love what I do and I don't want to stop," she says. "This is all I've ever wanted."

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