Milla Jovovich, The “Queen of Kicking Butt”

Milla Bogdanovna Jovovich, known professionally as Milla Jovovich, is an actress, singer, and super-model that has taken on numerous roles in science fiction and action movies. According to a 2004 Forbes report, Jovovich was deemed the highest-paid supermodel and strutted her stuff for the likes of Chanel and Dior.

Milla Jovovich’s photos
Source: Getty Images

The multi-talented actress has starred in over 40 films and recorded songs with Bono, who is a close friend. She is married to screenwriter and director Paul W. S. Anderson. Jovovich’s success in the business led the music channel VH1 to name her the “reigning queen of kick-butt” in 2006.

The Early Stages of Life Begin In Ukraine

On December 17th, 1975, in Kyiv, Ukrainian SSR Jovovich came into the world. She was born to a Soviet Russian actress, Galina (née Loginova), and Bogdan Jovović, a Serbian doctor. One can trace her mother’s ancestry to the Russian city of Tula, and her father’s ancestors hail from the Vasojevići clan in Montenegro.

A studio portrait of Milla Jovovich at the age of twelve wearing a cocktail dress.
Photo by julio donoso/Sygma/Getty Images

Jovovich spent most of her childhood days in Moscow, Russia, but according to the actress, her birth in Ukraine was accidental. While talking about her life, she stated that she doesn’t recall her early years in Ukraine, but she can remember what her life was like in Russia.

Jokovich’s Family Moves to London

In 1980, at age five, Jovovich’s family moved from Russia to London. Subsequently, they all moved to Sacramento, California. Seven months after moving to California, Jovovich and her family decided to move to Los Angeles, where they settled.

A modeling studio portrait of a young Milla Jovovich.
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Shortly after the family arrived in Los Angeles, Jovovich’s parents had a divorce. In 1988, Bogdan Jovović had an affair with an Argentinian woman, and they had a son named Marco Jovovich. As a result of the parents’ divorce, Milla barely saw her half-brother.

Jovovich’s Father, Bogdan, Faces Imprisonment

While they lived in Los Angeles, Jovovich’s mother tried to get acting roles, but she faced challenges due to the language barrier. Eventually, Galina took cleaning jobs to earn money and care for her family. Galina and her ex-husband worked as cooks and housekeepers for director Brian De Palma.

An image of young Milla with her father and mother.
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Jovovich’s father was involved in the most significant health insurance fraud ever investigated in LA, which led to his imprisonment. In 1994, Bogdan was sentenced to 20 years in prison, but the authorities released him in 1999 after serving five years. Speaking of her father’s imprisonment, Jovovich said prison was good for him because he had time to reflect on his life choices and become a better person.

Jovovich Was Fluent In English After Three Months

Young Jovovich attended public schools in Los Angeles, where she learned how to speak English after just three months of learning. She faced her fair share of bullying in school, where her classmates teased her because she came from Russia.

A picture of young Milla Jovovich.
Photo by Paul Harris/Getty Images

Her classmates called her names like “commie” and “Russian spy.” Hence, she felt she was never accepted in the crowd, making it difficult to fit in and make friends. Jovovich left seventh grade to focus more on modeling, and she was a rebellious teenager who engaged in drug abuse, credit card fraud, and vandalism.

The Russian Born Actress Starts Acting at a Young Age

Jovovich’s mother was a Russian actress, and so she had a dream for her beautiful daughter to become a star actress. Galina made sure she enrolled her 10-year-old daughter in acting classes. Thankfully, the lessons started paying off because Jovovich’s acting improved.

A still of Jovovich in a scene from Two Moon Junction.
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When Jovovich’s acting jobs started to pick up, she began attending schools for young actors rather than remaining in regular public schools. In 1988, she got her first professional film role playing the character Samantha Delongpre in the romantic thriller “Two Moon Junction.”

The Teen Actress Lands More Acting Roles

Later in the same year, after Jovovich landed her first role, she appeared in the TV film “The Night Train to Kathmandu.” “Robert Wiemer” wrote and directed the movie, and actors Eddie Castrodad and Pernell Roberts were central characters in the film.

A photo of Jovovich in her teens.
Photo by Steve Eichner/Getty Images

Jovovich also took on prominent roles in television series like “Paradise” in 1988, “Married with Children” in 1989, and 1990’s “Parker Lewis Can’t Lose.” The roles just kept flooding in, and at the age of 15, Jovovich was cast as the lead in 1991’s “Return to the Blue Lagoon.”

“Blue Lagoon” Was Controversial for the Nude Scene

Jovovich was still relatively young, and she was very beautiful. Some people compared the young actress to another child model-turned-actress, Brooke Shields, who had starred in the 1980s version of the film “Blue Lagoon.” However, the movie was controversial in one aspect.

A still of Jovovich in a scene from Return to the Blue Lagoon.
Source: YouTube

Just like child actress Brooke Shields, ” Jovovich appeared nude in “Return to the Blue Lagoon.” The movie was controversial mainly because the 1980s version included sex scenes between 14-year-old Shields and 19-year-old Christopher Atkins. Ultimately, the sequel also received a lot of backlashes.

Jovovich’s First Nomination and More Movie Roles

Despite how badly “Return to the Blue Lagoon” performed at the box office, Jovovich still received some commendations for her acting. At the 1991 Young Artist Awards, the teen actress was nominated for Best Young Actress Starring in a Motion Picture.

A still of Jovovich in a scene from Kuffs.
Source: YouTube

However, the 1991 Golden Raspberry Awards nominated her for Worst New Star. In 1992, Jovovich co-starred alongside Christian Slater in the American comedy action film, “Kuffs.” In the same year, she played the role of Mildred Harris in the biological film about Charlie Chaplin called “Chaplin.”

The “Blue Lagoon” Actress Takes a Break From Acting

In 1993, Jovovich starred in Richard Linklater’s coming-of-age comedy film “Dazed and Confused.” Her character was Michelle Burroughs, the girlfriend to Pickford. Shawn Andrews played the Pickford role, and he was Jovovich’s first boyfriend at the time. They got married while on set in 1992.

A promotional still for the film Dazed and Confused.
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Jovovich was not pleased with the film because there was a lot of publicity for her character during the movie promotions. However, she discovered that her role reduced drastically upon the film’s release. Jovovich took a break from acting out of discouragement and moved to Europe.

Jovovich Returns To Acting With a Lead Role

After taking a break from acting, Jovovich returned to the acting scene in 1997. She played the lead role in the French sci-fi action-packed movie called “The Fifth Element.” She co-starred with famous actors Bruce Willis and Gary Oldman.

A still of Jovovich in a scene from The Fifth Element.
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Luc Besson wrote and directed the movie, and Jovovich played the character Leeloo, an alien who helps save the planet. Jovovich claims she “worked like hell” and deprived herself of pleasures like band practice, clubbing, and smoking pot to impress director Besson and acquire the role.

“The Fifth Element” Gave Jovovich Her Career Breakthrough

Aside from the fact that Jovovich deprived herself of her worldly pleasures to land the role, she also co-created and mastered a fictional alien language of 400+ words for her Leeloo character. In addition, she wore a body suit costume designed by Jean-Paul Gaultier made from medical bandages. The body suit bore the name ACE-bandage.

A closeup on Jovovich in a scene from the film.
Source: YouTube

“The Fifth Element” was such a massive success that in 1997, it was selected as the opening film for Cannes Film Festival. The worldwide box office garnered over $263 million, three times its $80 million budget, and the movie received praises for its visual style.

Blockbuster & Action Movie Award Nominations

Jovovich did such a fantastic job in “The Fifth Element” that Blockbuster Entertainment Awards nominated her for Favorite Female Newcomer. Her powerful action scenes won the actress a Best Fight nomination at the MTV Movie Awards.

The Fifth Element director and Jovovich pose for the press at the film premiere.
Photo by Neil Munns/PA Images/Getty Images

The film did so well that it inspired the creation of a video game and a planned Leeloo action figure. Sadly, the action figure was never released due to licensing-related problems. Nevertheless, in a 2003 interview, the proud Jovovich said that Leeloo was her favorite role.

Jovovich Appears In “He Got Game,” Music Video “You Can’t Say No,” and “Joan of Arc”

As the years progressed, so did Jovovich’s movie roles. In 1998, the feisty actress appeared in Spike Lee’s drama “He Got Game,” where she played the role of an abused prostitute named Dakota Burns. Famous actors Denzel Washington and Ray Allen also starred in the same movie.

A still of Jovovich in a scene from He Got Game.
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In 1999, Milla appeared in Lenny Kravitz’s music video for the song “If You Can’t Say No.” That same year, she took on the title role in the action-packed film “The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc.” Luc Besson also directed the movie. Jovovich had to cut her hair short for the role, and she wore armor in many extensive battle scenes.

The Era Of Breakthrough Roles Continue

In 2000, Jovovich appeared in the murder mystery film “The Million Dollar Hotel.” She played the lead female role Eloise, and the film was based on a fictional story by Bono of the U2 band and Nicholas Klein. Wim Wenders directed the movie and cast stars like Jeremy Davies and Mel Gibson.

A still of Ben Stiller and Jovovich in a scene from Zoolander.
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The movie soundtrack was done by U2, with Jovovich on vocals alongside many other musicians. That same year, she also took on the bar owner Lucia in the British western film “The Claim.” In 2001, Jovovich was the evil Katinka in the “Zoolander” comedy.

The Beginning of Jovovich’s International Success Story

Jovovich’s acting career improved; soon enough, it was time to make waves on the international scene. Jovovich starred in the horror-action movie “Resident Evil,” released in the United States on March 15th, 2002. The film was inspired by the video game series, Capcom.

A still of Jovovich during an action scene in Resident Evil.
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She portrayed the lead role of Alice, the film’s heroine. Alice battles a legion of zombies created by the Umbrella Corporation. According to Jovovich, she accepted the role because she and her half-brother, Marco, were huge fans of the video game.

Jovovich Performs Action Stunts In “Resident Evil”

The beautiful actress, known for her strong action roles, did not cease to impress in “Resident Evil.” Jovovich did her part by successfully performing all the stunts needed in the movie. However, she did not perform a stunt for one scene that required her to jump onto a cement platform.

A still of Jovovich in Resident Evil.
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Though Jovovich had received extensive training in karate, kickboxing, and combat training, her management deemed it too dangerous and did not allow the actress to do that scene. The film was commercially successful, packing in $17 million on its opening weekend. The movie eventually made $40 million in the U.S. and $102 million worldwide.

Some Other Movie Roles After “Resident Evil”

After “Resident Evil,” in 2002, Jovovich played the manipulative gang wife Erin in the movie “No Good Deed.” In the same year, she played Nadine in the romantic comedy “You Stupid Man.” In 2003, Jovovich was the punk rocker Fangora, aka Fanny, in “Dummy.”

A still of Jovovich in No Good Deed.
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She moved on to the television series “King of the Hill,” where she provided the guest voice. Jovovich’s role in “Dummy” allowed the actress to act in a movie also starring Oscar-winning actor Adrien Brody, who was her friend before filming. Jovovich could quickly identify with the role of Fangora because they had similar lives.

“Resident Evil” Sequel, “Resident Evil: Apocalypse”

In 2004, Jovovich replayed the character Alice in the sequel to “Resident Evil,” “Resident Evil: Apocalypse.” To effectively take on the role, the actress had to practice fight training for three hours daily. Also, three months before filming, she had “gun training, martial arts, everything.”

A promotional portrait of Jovovich in Resident Evil: Apocalypse.
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The “Resident Evil” sequel received more negative feedback from critics compared to the first release. Despite the negative reviews, the movie was a tremendous commercial success and ranked number one at the box office. Jovovich was unhappy with the negative publicity and director Alexander Witt’s effort.

Jovovich Strikes a Balance in Her Acting Career

In a 2004 interview, Jovovich noted that her large action films reflected the commercial aspect of her career. On the other hand, she acts in more petite independent movies that never come out to appease her artistic side, and for her, “It’s a good balance.”

A still of Jovovich holding a sword in Ultraviolet.
Source: Moviestillsdb.com/ Copyright: Sony Pictures

The following year, Jovovich featured as Drusilla in Gore Vidal’s faux trailer remake of “Caligula.” On March 3, 2006, the stunning actress released her science fiction/action thriller film “Ultraviolet.” Her title character was Violet Song jat Shariff, a role that required Jovovich to perform heavily choreographed fight scenes.

The Return Of “Resident Evil” – “Extinction”

In 2007, Jovovich replayed her character Alice in “Resident Evil: Extinction,” which is the third part of the Resident Evil series. Again, the movie topped the box-office list for that week after garnering an estimated $24 million on its opening weekend.

A backstage photo of Jovovich during filming.
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Subsequently, the superstar actress co-starred in David Twohy’s, “A Perfect Getaway,” alongside Kiele Sanchez, Steve Zahn, and Timothy Olyphant. Reviews for the movie were majorly positive, but The Hollywood Reporter stated that Jovovich gave an average performance. Nevertheless, The Globe and Mail said Jovovich and Kiele Sanchez effectively executed the dramatic tension in the scared girlfriend scenes.

Milla Jovovich Marries On-Screen Boyfriend Shawn Andrews

In 1992, Jovovich married Andrews, her then-boyfriend whom she met on the set of “Dazed and Confused.” At the time, Shawn was 21, and Jovovich was 16. Due to their vast age difference, the marriage did not last long.

A promotional picture of Jovovich and Shawn Andrews in Dazed and Confused.
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Jovovich’s mum felt they were not mature enough to take on a lifelong commitment, so she did not support the relationship. Two months after the two tied the knot, Jovovich’s mother annulled the marriage. Not long after the annulment, Jovovich moved to Europe.

Her Relationships With Bassist Stuart Zender and Director Luc Besson

Jovovich did not travel alone to Europe. She took a trip to London with her musician friend Chris Brenner. It was there in London that she met her next boyfriend. From May 1994 to October 1995, Jovovich lived with her new boyfriend, ex-Jamiroquai bassist Stuart Zender.

Luc Besson and Jovovich attend an event.
Photo by Pool ARNAL/CATARINA/CHARRIAU/GERAL/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images

After her relationship with Zender ended, Jovovich wasted no time marrying the “Fifth Element” director Luc Besson in 1997. The two tied the knot in Las Vegas, where they went skydiving immediately after the wedding ceremony ended. Sadly, they got divorced in 1999.

Jovovich Falls in Love Again In 2000

The divorce in 1999 did not stop Jovovich from continuing her quest to find her prince charming. In 2000, she dated the former Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante for a short period. Six years before they started dating, the gorgeous actress was already head over heels in love with Frusciante after she heard his albums “Niandra LaDes” and “Usually Just a T-Shirt.”

Jovovich and Frusciante attend an event.
Photo by Dave Hogan/Getty Images

Between 1998 and 2001, Jovovich was great friends with the young poet and musician Anno Birkin, and they both inspired each other to compose beautiful songs. Before Birkin died in a car accident on November 8, 2001, the two were in a romantic relationship.

Jovovich Finally Finds Her Prince Charming – Paul W. S. Anderson

While working on the set of the 2002 movie “Resident Evil,” Jovovich met the famous scriptwriter and director Paul W. S. Anderson. Anderson was the one who wrote and directed “Resident Evil,” and while working together, the two developed feelings for each other.

Paul W.S. Anderson and Jovovich pose for the press.
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Anderson wasted no time and proposed to Jovovich in 2003. The couple had an on-and-off engagement for four years but finally became an official couple in early 2007. They got married on August 22, 2009. Jovovich and Anderson had their first child, daughter Ever Anderson, on November 3, 2007.

Jovovich and Anderson Have Two More Children Together

The couple had their second child, daughter Dashiel Edan, on April 1, 2015. In 2019, Jovovich told the world she was pregnant with her third daughter after facing two miscarriages two years before her conception. Jovovich was 44 then, and she was excited to finally have another baby.

Paul W.S. Anderson and Jovovich pose with their daughter, Dashiel, during an event.
Photo by Kevin Tachman/amfAR/Getty Images

On February 2, 2020, they welcomed their third daughter, Osian Lark Elliot. According to the actress: “she’s our miracle baby, and we’re all so grateful to have her and completely obsessed with her!” Due to past loss and a difficult pregnancy, the actress waited a bit before going public.

The Fourth Film “Afterlife” – “Resident Evil” Series

In case you thought “Resident Evil” was over, it’s not. In 2010, Jovovich returned to the “Resident Evil” series and played Alice in the fourth movie “Afterlife.” The movie was directed by her husband, Paul W.S. Anderson. Alice was quite an interesting character that resonated with “Resident Evil” fans.

A promotional still of the film.
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In the movie, Alice rescues the remaining survivors in Los Angeles after the T-virus outbreak. The film was released in theaters on September 10, 2010. Although there were negative reviews, the movie made $60 million in U.S. and Canada. “Afterlife” received a worldwide gross total of $300 million, making it the highest-grossing series at that time.

Movie Awards Received by Jovovich

Jovovich is a highly talented and sassy actress who does a fantastic job executing any role. She has received many nominations, but here are the actual awards: Jovovich won Best Science Fiction Actress in “Resident Evil: Extinction” in 2008. In 2010, she won the Spotlight Award.

A portrait of Jovovich on a red carpet.
Photo by Momodu Mansaray/WireImage/Getty Images

In the same year, Jovovich won Best Actress for the movie “Stone.” Again, the badass actress won Best Science Fiction Actress for “Resident Evil: Afterlife” in 2011. Whether she faces criticism or compliments, she always allows her work to do the talking.

Jovovich Opens up About Sexual Abuse and Feeling Worthless

In a 2021 interview with Louise Gannon, the Ukrainian-born actress talked about embarrassing sex scenes, dealing with drug problems, and Hollywood pests. Beginning her acting career at a young age was not easy for Jovovich because she felt a lot of pressure.

Jovovich attends an event.
Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic/Getty Images

At the tender age of 15, Jovovich had to engage in underage sex scenes in “Return of the Blue Lagoon.” Knowing that she received roles based on her looks made her feel worthless. She was not a natural actress, so acting was traumatizing for her.

She Almost Gave Up Acting in the Early Stage

“I was so young; I was uncomfortable. I was shy. I wasn’t a natural actress,” she said. Because everything was difficult, the young actress lacked confidence on set and would often be seen trembling. Sadly, the negative reviews made Jovovich feel worse about herself because she was insulted and obliterated.

A picture of Jovovich in her teens.
Photo by Fred Duval/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Jovovich’s backlash for her acting made her almost give up on the craft for good. In response to the bruising remarks and her mother’s controlling behavior, Jovovich fell in with the wrong crowd and engaged in underage drinking, drugs, and shoplifting.

Jovovich Almost Died From a Drug Overdose

At the time, the green-eyed beauty felt she could prove to her mother that she could have fun and achieve great success. However, she was very wrong because it got to the point that she was doing so many drugs in her teens that she almost died.

Jovovich appears on a magazine cover at the time.
Photo by Michael Tighe/Donaldson Collection/Getty Images

“My friends and I were doing drugs and I did too much. I thought I was going to die. I actually prayed, I said: ‘God, if you let me wake up tomorrow, I’ll never do this again.’” When she was at this stage of her life, Jovovich imagined her mother killing herself if she found out and how she would have ended up wasting her life.

Prey to Older Men at a Tender Age

Considering how young Jovovich was when she started acting and modeling, it’s no news that sleazy older men would try to prey on her young blood. In the same interview with Gannon, the actress affirmed that older men hit on her and she got together with them occasionally.

A portrait of Jovovich at age 13.
Photo by Paul Harris/Getty Images

At the time, Jovovich did not feel like a victim because she felt she was having fun and experiencing new people. After reading “Balzac and Nana” (the story of a high-class prostitute by Emile Zola) at the age of 13, Jovovich said, “I was playing characters in my head and meeting sophisticated older men was a game.”

Jovovich and the #Me Too Movement

Jovovich said she never chose to share her story as part of the #Me Too movement and to encourage women who have had traumatic experiences with predatory males. Jovovich has always been secure in her sexuality and very strong, “No one drugged or beat me.”

Jovovich poses for the press.
Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

Though the actress fully supports the #MeToo victims, she never felt her story was similar to theirs because she didn’t fall into the traumatized women category. It was more important for the other women’s voices to be heard.

The Actress Worries About Her First Daughter, Ever Anderson

With all that Jovovich has experienced, there’s no doubt she was deeply concerned when her daughter, Ever, decided she wanted to be an actress. In 2016, at the age of nine, her dad Paul Anderson cast her as the younger version of Alicia in his movie “Resident Evil: The Final Chapter.”

A portrait of Ever Anderson.
Photo by Arnold Jerocki/Getty Images

The following year, she played “Wendy” alongside Jude Law in a new version of “Peter Pan.” Jovovich tried to dissuade her daughter from acting, but “Ever just loves it.” Mini-Milla was only five years old when she wanted to act, and despite efforts to discourage her, the child was determined.

Paul Anderson Made the Family Stable

Ever is currently 14 years old and stands a better chance than most in the movie industry because of her parents. Jovovich credited her husband Paul Anderson for their newfound family stability. Anderson is the reason Jovovich has changed for the best.

Anderson and Jovovich attend an event.
Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images

Jovovich said she feels privileged because Anderson is her role model. “He’s smart, calm, logical… I love that.” The “Resident Evil” star told Gannon that she is prouder of her marriage and family than anything else she has ever experienced.

Jovovich: “Beauty Doesn’t Mean Anything If You Don’t Know Who You Are”

In all honesty, Jovovich confessed that marriage isn’t always a bed of roses. In the early stages, there’s a lot of passion and sex, but as the years go by, you wonder, “Where’s it gone?” There were times when the Russian-born actress had misunderstandings with Anderson that could have ended the marriage, but the couple chose to stick with each other.

A picture of Jovovich and Anderson during an event.
Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/GC Images/Getty Images

One would assume that based on her dashing looks, Jovovich doesn’t need to put in the effort to keep the passion alive, but for her, “Passion has nothing to do with looks, but mystery, keeping something back.” Though she is married, Jovovich keeps herself busy with her music, painting, and other things. Finally, she stated that beauty is fleeting and is meaningless if you don’t know your identity.

Jovovich Talks About Her Crazy “Fifth Element” Costume

The unique science-fiction film “The Fifth Element” by Luc Besson was released in 1997, and Jovovich played the flame-tressed humanoid character Leeloo. In a 2022 interview with Vogue, Jovovich talked about her costume by Jean Paul Gaultier and how she was transformed into Leeloo.

A still of Jovovich in a scene from The Fifth Element.
Source: Moviestillsdb.com/ Copyright: Sony Pictures

According to the Hollywood actress, landing the role was an exciting experience because the character was “…beyond unique.” Her costume went through two different stages: Naked in a DNA slicing machine wearing the iconic body suit, and the bandage look inspired by hospital gowns and wound care.

The Hollywood Actress, Model, and Mum Speaks Four Languages

Apart from Russian and English, Jovovich also speaks fluent French and Serbian. She was brought up in a traditional Russian household, and her Russian culture played a significant role in her life and career. Jovovich’s mother was a Rut.ssian actress, and the first books she read were Russian.

Jovovich poses for the press.
Photo by Oleg Nikishin/Epsilon/Getty Images

Despite leaving Russia at a young age, Jovovich is still in touch with her roots and often speaks Russian to her daughter. She reads Russian stories and poems to her daughter and explains that her roots are very important because they make up her identity.

Milla Jovovich Spoke About the War Unfolding in Ukraine

Ukraine is the birthplace of the famous model-turned-actress, Milla Jovovich. Hence, she felt the need to speak up about the events in her home country, Ukraine. Jovovich shared a very emotional note about the Russian invasion and how she is concerned for the safety of her friends and family.

Jovovich speaks on stage.
Photo by Sarah Morris/Getty Images

On February 26, 2022, she took to her Instagram page, where she spoke about how heartbroken she was based on the massive bloodshed in Ukraine. She also shared a Google document containing links to charities and other ways to assist the people in Ukraine.