As a child, Izabella Scorupco silently watched her loud-mouth cousin hog all the attention at family gatherings. As an adult, the cover model-turned-pop diva-turned-screen siren never goes unnoticed.
Scorupco was born on June 4, 1970, in Bialystock, an industrial town in northeast Poland, to Madgelena and Lech Scorupco. Her mother, a doctor, and her father, a jazz musician, divorced when she was one (her father died 18 years later). In 1978, Scorupco and her mother relocated to a suburb of Stockholm, Sweden. There, Scorupco took various singing and acting courses and began composing her own plays, which she would bully her classmates into performing. From ages 12 to 13, she visited a Catholic convent to study French. Though she claims to have spent most of her time there frequenting nightclubs, French is one of several languages that she speaks fluently.
Scorupco's big break came at 17 when Swedish film director Staffan Hildebrand stopped at her school while on a promotional tour. Determined to get the filmmaker's attention, Scorupco bombarded Hildebrand with questions and then convinced him that the plot of his next film -- about a child of divorce who wants to travel north to see her father -- mirrored her own life experience. Impressed, Hildebrand cast her in the film, 1988's Ingen Kan Älska Som Vi (There Is No Love Like Ours), which made her a teenage idol.
After graduation, Scorupco traveled throughout Europe, acting in television commercials and modeling (she even appeared on the cover of Italian Vogue). In her spare time, she would sing with friends who were musicians and eventually decided to make a record. In 1989, Scorupco released the ABBA-inspired song "Substitute." The single went gold in Sweden, along with its album, IZA (released in the States as Independence by IZA). In 1991, she followed up her success with a second album and the pop single "Shame, Shame, Shame."
That same year, Scorupco returned to acting for the television miniseries V Som I Viking (The Single Mother). She also met and fell in love with Polish ice hockey player Mariusz Czerskawski. In 1994, after Scorupco finished filming her role in the medieval drama Petri Tårar (The Tears of Saint Peter) (1995), Czerskawski began playing for the National Hockey League and the couple relocated to the United States. Barely a year later, the actress made her Hollywood debut as Bond girl Natalya Fyodorovna Simonova (a Russian computer whiz determined to save the world) opposite Pierce Brosnan in Martin Campbell's GoldenEye (1995).
On Christmas Day in 1996, Scorupco and Czerkawski married at the Little White Chapel in Las Vegas. A year later, Scorupco gave birth to their daughter, Julia. The actress then returned to Poland to star in Jerzy Hoffman's Ogniem I Mieczem (With Fire and Sword) (1998). The historical film, based on Nobel prize-winner Henryk Sienkiewicz's novel, was the country's biggest film production to date.
In 1999, Scorupco became the spokeswoman for the very popular Swedish cosmetics company Oriflame. She then signed onto the cast of the thriller Dykaren (The Diver) (2000). Only four days after Dykaren finished shooting, the actress flew to New Zealand to reteam with GoldenEye director Martin Campbell for Vertical Limit (2000). The action-packed film featured Scorupco as a French Canadian mountain climber who helps Chris O'Donnell rescue his sister after an avalanche buries her in a crevasse. Scorupco took the part in order to work with Campbell again, despite the fact that she had never climbed before and the job required that she hang from ropes almost 1,200 feet from the ground on a set that had to be evacuated several times. Her fearlessness established Scorupco in Hollywood as a credible action hero and she went on to star alongside Matthew McConaughey and Christian Bale as a dragon-slaying helicopter pilot in the sci-fi thriller Reign of Fire (2002).