Became a model at age 14 after being spotted rollerskating by a photographer; worked in France and Japan before quitting the business and deciding to be an actor.
Received three Daytime Emmy nominations for Outstanding Ingenue in a Drama Series for her work on the NBC soap Santa Barbara (1986-88); also chosen as Outstanding Heroine by readers of Soap Opera Digest in 1988.
Her wedding to Sean Penn was attended by Marlon Brando, Jack Nicholson, Warren Beatty, Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon, and the best man was producer Art Linson (Fast Times at Ridgemont High).
Shortly after marrying Penn in 1996, was carjacked in their Santa Monica driveway; neither she nor their children were hurt, and both perpetrators were apprehended.
Was a juror at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival; ex-husband Sean Penn was the jury's president in 2008.