Busy Philipps Dishes on Her Secret to Balancing Fame and Family

Busy Philipps was born Elizabeth Jean Philipps on June 25, 1979 in Oak Park, Illinois. She grew up in Scottsdale, Arizona with her parents, Barbara and Joe Philipps. Busy was the middle child, with two sisters, Leigh Ann and Lizzy.

Busy showed an interest in performing from an early age. She was outgoing and enjoyed putting on shows for her family. As a child, she was enrolled in tap, ballet, and jazz dance lessons. She attended Chaparral High School in Scottsdale, where she was a member of the cheerleading squad and school choir. Outside of school, she participated in community theater productions.

Career Beginnings

Busy Philipps got her start as an actress in the late 1990s, appearing in several small television roles. Her very first acting credit was in 1996 in a single episode of the show Homeboys in Outer Space. The following year, she guest starred in an episode of the series The Secret Lives of Men.

Her breakthrough came in 1999 when she was cast as Kim Kelly in the critically acclaimed coming-of-age series Freaks and Geeks. Though only appearing in 18 of the show’s episodes, Philipps made her mark with her performance as the rebellious but vulnerable teenager. Her talent was evident and she stood out even among the show’s ensemble cast of young actors who would go on to stardom, like James Franco, Jason Segel, and Seth Rogen.

Despite the acclaim for Freaks and Geeks, the show was short-lived and canceled after only one season. But Philipps’ memorable performance as Kim opened doors for the young actress. In the early 2000s, she landed small roles in films like The Smokers, White Chicks, and Made of Honor. She also made guest appearances on television shows such as Dawson’s Creek, Malcolm in the Middle, and How I Met Your Mother. Though still early in her career, Philipps was gaining experience and exposure that prepared her for bigger parts to come.

Breakout Role on Freaks and Geeks

Busy Philipps had her breakout role playing Kim Kelly on the cult classic TV series Freaks and Geeks. Though the show only lasted one season from 1999-2000, it became massively influential and launched the careers of many young actors.

Philipps stood out for her portrayal of the rebellious but vulnerable Kim, who was part of the “freaks” group in high school. Her performance showed both a sarcastic exterior and inner complexity. Kim was a troubled teen who came from a dysfunctional family, providing an emotional counterpoint to many of the lighter “freak” characters.

As one of the few female characters among the “freaks,” Philipps brought a unique presence and energy to the group dynamic. She had great comedic chemistry with stars Linda Cardellini, James Franco, and Jason Segel. Though only 18 at the time, Philipps capably handled both comedic and dramatic moments on the show.

Even though Freaks and Geeks was canceled after just one season, it gained a dedicated cult following over the years. Philipps’ role as Kim Kelly became one of her most iconic and fondly remembered early performances. It immediately set her up for a successful career built on her talent for blending humor and vulnerability.

Supporting Film Roles

Busy Philipps got her start in Hollywood with a number of supporting roles in hit comedy films in the early 2000s. Some of her most notable performances were in films like White Chicks and Made of Honor.

In the 2004 comedy White Chicks, Philipps played one of the main antagonist characters, Karen. She acted alongside stars Marlon Wayans and Shawn Wayans as a member of a wealthy socialite clique who bullied the characters played by the Wayans brothers. Her performance as the mean girl Karen showed Philipps’ talent for comedy and marked an early breakout role.

Philipps also had a memorable turn as the character Melanie in the 2008 romantic comedy Made of Honor. She played the ex-girlfriend of the lead character played by Patrick Dempsey. Her role helped set up the plot and romantic dynamic between Dempsey’s and Michelle Monaghan’s characters. Made of Honor gave Philipps the opportunity to showcase her skills in a popular romantic comedy film.

Through supporting parts in hit comedies like White Chicks and Made of Honor, Busy Philipps demonstrated her comedic timing and ability to connect with audiences. These roles helped establish her as a rising star in Hollywood and opened up doors for larger comedic parts on television. Her work in box office successes showed her versatility and talent as a supporting actress.

Cougar Town Fame

Busy Philipps is best known for her starring role as Laurie Keller on the ABC/TBS sitcom Cougar Town. She played the fun-loving, free-spirited neighbor and friend of Courteney Cox’s character on the show. Philipps appeared in all 102 episodes of Cougar Town from 2009-2015, demonstrating her comedic chops and rapport with the ensemble cast.

Her portrayal of Laurie earned Philipps critical acclaim and award nominations. She received a Critics’ Choice Television Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series in 2011. Philipps also shared in Cougar Town’s TV Land Award nomination for Favorite Cable TV Ensemble in 2012. Her character was beloved by fans for bringing humor and hijinks to the Cul-de-Sac Crew. Philipps’ performance stood out thanks to her improvisational skills and ability to deliver witty punchlines.

Talk Show Host

Busy Philipps had long dreamed of hosting her own talk show. After establishing herself as an actress and entertainer, she finally got the opportunity with the launch of Busy Tonight in 2018. The late-night talk show aired on E! and allowed Philipps to showcase her quirky hosting style and fun banter with celebrity guests.

Busy Tonight stood out from other late night shows with its relaxed, informal vibe. Filmed in Philipps’ own home, the set looked like a living room which put guests at ease. Philipps conducted interviews sitting on a comfy couch rather than from behind a desk. Her conversations felt more like chats with friends over wine, filled with plenty of laughter.

While Busy Tonight covered some celebrity gossip and pop culture, Philipps focused more on uplifting stories and highlighting women. She featured emerging talent and diverse voices. The show ran for one season before being cancelled due to low ratings, but it allowed Philipps to fulfill her dream of hosting and connect with fans in a new way. Her fun, frank style earned praise and showcased her skills as an engaging host.

Other Television Work

Busy Philipps has had a prolific career in television beyond her starring roles. She has been in demand as a guest star on many popular shows. Some of her notable guest appearances include Dawson’s Creek, ER, How I Met Your Mother, Arrested Development, New Girl, The League, and Key & Peele.

Philipps has lent her voice acting talents to animated shows like Family Guy, American Dad!, and The Life & Times of Tim. She voiced the lead character of McKenzie Fox on the Disney Channel animated series Bizaardvark from 2016-2019.

Reality show fans have seen Philipps compete on programs like Celebrity Poker Showdown and Celebrity Name Game. She also served as a panelist on several episodes of Chelsea Lately’s late night talk show. In 2022, Philipps participated as a contestant on the hit competition series The Masked Singer.

Whether it’s live-action, animation, or reality programming, Philipps has proven herself as a versatile and in-demand talent across many television genres. Her quick wit and charm translates well to any medium.

Writing and Podcasting

Busy Philipps has branched out into writing and podcasting in recent years. In 2018, she published a memoir titled This Will Only Hurt a Little, which became a New York Times bestseller. The book is an honest and humorous collection of personal essays chronicling her journey in Hollywood as well as insights into her friendships and relationships.

Philipps has also found success in the podcasting world. In 2015, she launched Busy Philipps Is Doing Her Best, a weekly podcast where she shares stories about her life, her family, and her work. The podcast provides an intimate, unfiltered glimpse into Philipps’ world. In 2020, Philipps hosted a limited podcast series titled Busy Philipps Is Doing Her Best For The Holidays focused on holiday-themed content.

Outside of her own podcast, Philipps has also made appearances on popular podcasts like WTF with Marc MaronArmchair Expert, and Anna Faris Is Unqualified where she has candid conversations about her career and personal life. Her sharp wit and honesty have resonated with podcast audiences, further endearing her to fans.

Personal Life

Busy Philipps met her future husband, screenwriter Marc Silverstein, in 2007 when they were set up on a blind date by her friend Linda Cardellini. The couple dated for a year before getting engaged in 2008. Philipps and Silverstein tied the knot in 2007 at her parents’ home in Arizona. They have two daughters together, Birdie Leigh, born in 2008, and Cricket Pearl, born in 2013.

Philipps is an advocate for women’s health and reproductive rights. She has been open about having an abortion at age 15 and discusses her experience to remove the stigma around the procedure. She is also an outspoken supporter of Planned Parenthood.

The actress has formed close friendships with several of her female co-stars over the years, including Michelle Williams from Dawson’s Creek and Christa Miller from Cougar Town. Her BFF is actress Linda Cardellini, whom she has known since their days on Freaks and Geeks. Philipps co-hosts a podcast with Cardellini called We Need to Talk that discusses female friendships and women’s issues.

Philipps seems to have a natural chemistry and rapport with many of her co-stars. She maintains long-lasting bonds and relationships from her various projects over the years. The actress leads a full family life while still cultivating her friendships and advocating for causes she believes in.

Award Nominations and Honors

Busy Philipps has received several award nominations and honors throughout her career for her acting work in both television and film. Some of her key nominations include:

  • Critics’ Choice Television Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for Cougar Town (2011)

  • Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series for Cougar Town (2011)

  • Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Entertainment Talk Show Host for Busy Tonight (2019)

  • Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Informative Taalk Show Host for Busy Tonight (2020)

  • Webby Award for Best Web Personality/Host for Busy Tonight (2019)

Though she has yet to win these major awards, Philipps has been praised by critics for her comedic timing and charm on screen. Her podcast Busy Philipps is Doing Her Best won a Webby Award for Best Interview/Talk Show in 2021. She also won the Streamy Award for Ensemble Cast for A Ghost Story in 2017.

Philipps’ nominations are a testament to her versatility as an entertainer across mediums from film to late night television. She continues to impress audiences with her wit and candor.

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