Special to Veterans Advantage
Action heroes can have a military background, too. Jessica Alba, known for her starring role in the Fantastic Four 2005 blockbuster and 2007 sequel, has a father and grandfather who both served our country.
The star of the recently-released Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer was raised – and traveled extensively – in a military family. She grew up in Mississippi, Texas, and California as her Air Force Dad moved the family across country. It wasn't until Jessica Marie Alba was nine that she and her family finally settled in southern California. Taking her first acting lessons at 11, she soon emerged as a gifted actress. Within months, Alba had an agent, and was featured prominently in commercials for JC Penny and Nintendo. At 13, she was hired for a small role in Disney's Camp Nowhere, but her big break came when a girl with a larger role backed out after filming had begun. She quickly landed a recurring role on Nickelodeon's The Secret World of Alex Mack, and at 14, acted in a direct-to-video film with Morgan Fairchild called Venus Rising. While the mid-1990’s found her acting in her second TV series, a redux of Flipper, her breakthrough role came in the Fox TV sci-fi drama Dark Angel (2000-2002).
Alba has reflected often publicly on the influence of growing up in a tight knit family of modest means with a relatively strict upbringing. Her household included her grandparents, as well. Her maternal grandfather was a Marine NCO for thirty years, serving in the Pacific during WWII.
Alba also says that most of her family pursued creative talents and hobbies. Wikipedia reports that her grandfather – who once encouraged his granddaughter to become a nun – was Assistant Drum Major for the United States Marine Band.
But despite the wishes of her Marine grandfather, the self-described rebellious actress continued to pursue her acting dreams.
As a child, she overcame some daunting personal challenges . Among other ailments, Jessica suffered from asthma, a collapsed lung, pneumonia, a burst appendix and a cyst on her tonsils. She has said that she was in the hospital so often, she became isolated from other children, and later received treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorder. And yet through it all, and despite her current pinup girl status, she holds fast to many aspects of her upbringing, such as her refusal to do nudity and a desire to be a mother, "I don't do nudity. I just don't," Alba said, according to People Magazine. "Maybe that makes me a bad actress. Maybe I won't get hired in some things.”
Of the 2005 flare-up in which Playboy magazine published a photo of a bikini-clad Alba on its March cover – suggesting, she claimed, that readers would get a glimpse of all of her inside – Alba now says, "It was against who I am and what I represent... it just wasn't cool." The controversy ended with Playboy publisher Hugh Hefner agreeing to make undisclosed donations to two charities Alba supports, Keep A Child Alive and Until There's A Cure.
About sharing a life with a family, she is equally certain.
"My parents taught me about unconditional love, because you have your ups and downs, but you stick through it. I learned a lot from that, and I know that kind of love is possible. ... My parents made a forever commitment, and I know that's what I want," People Magazine reports.