Born in 1980 in Huntington Woods, Michigan, Kristen Bell began performing at age 11 in a local production of Raggedy Ann and Andy, and was appearing in local television commercials by 13. She continued with theater through high school, and after graduating, moved to New York where she studied musical theater at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. While still a student, Kristen made her Broadway debut as Becky Thatcher in the musical The Adventures of Tom Sawyer in 2001. The following year she appeared in the revival of Arthur Miller's The Crucible.
After college, Kristen moved to Los Angeles and began acting in television. After guest appearances in shows such as The Shield, American Dreams, Everwood, Spartan, and Deadwood, as well as the TV movies The King and Queen of Moonlight Bay and Gracie's Choice, Kristen was cast in the title role of the teen drama Veronica Mars in 2004. In it's three seasons, Veronica Mars developed a substantial cult following and proved to be Kristen's breakout role, earning her numerous nominations for her performance.
Following the success of Veronica Mars, Kristen was cast as Elle Bishop in the hit sci-fi series Heroes, and began narrating as the voice of the title character in the show Gossip Girl. She also found success on the big screen in 2008 with a starring role in the comedy Forgetting Sarah Marshall, as well as roles in the 2009 comedies Fanboys, Serious Moonlight, and Couples Retreat. In 2010, Kristen starred in the films When in Rome, You Again, and Burlesque, and reprised her role as Sarah Marshall for a cameo in Get Him to the Greek. After a cameo in 2011's Scream 4 and a role in the drama Big Miracle, Kristen returned to television in 2012 as the female lead in the Showtime comedy House of Lies.
In her personal life, Kristen is an animal lover and avid supporter of various organizations dedicated to protecting animals, as well as various other charity organizations such as Invisible Children Inc. and Do Something. She is currently engaged to actor Dax Shepard, whom she began dating in 2007.