Why You Rarely Hear About Jessica Biel Anymore

Actress Jessica Biel first captured the hearts of American TV audiences when she starred in the family drama "7th Heaven" as Mary, the Camden clan's athletic and tomboyish second daughter, starting at age 14. Although that series lasted 11 seasons from 1996 to 2006, she didn't stay for the entire run — she was famously written off during the fifth season after she started rebelling against the show's rules by cutting her hair and then appearing topless in Gear magazine. No matter, her career started taking off in a big way. She was soon starring in high-profile movies, starting with 1997's "Ulee's Gold" and including 2003's "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre," "The Rules of Attraction" in 2002, "Blade: Trinity" in 2004, "Elizabethtown" and "Stealth" in 2005, "I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry" in 2007, "The A-Team" in 2010, and "Total Recall" and "Hitchcock" in 2012. At the height of her popularity in 2005, she was named Esquire's Sexiest Woman Alive. She was a household name.

But in recent years, Biel hasn't been nearly as prominent as she had been once upon a time. Is this by choice, or did the notoriously fickle Hollywood scene tire of her? We've got the dish on what she's been doing lately, and she's actually been plenty busy the past few years — but she's more focused on behind-the-scenes work these days.

Jessica Biel started taking on smaller, more diverse films to get past her looks

It's been widely reported that Hollywood won't cast Jessica Biel anymore. Even in her heyday, she was considered something of a lightweight, playing love interests and scream queens without much substance. "For a very long time, I wasn't thought of as anyone with any credibility in the film world," she told Marie Claire (as reported by IMDb) in 2017. "Everybody is tramping through the swamp every day in this business. 'I'm worth it, I'm credible — believe me, give me a shot!' That's the way I feel on a consistent basis."

She played a single mom supporting character in "The Truth About Emanuel," a Sundance Film Festival entry in 2013. In 2015, she played a yoga instructor who finds herself having to protect her long-lost sister from her pimp boyfriend in "Bleeding Heart," which was shown at the Tribeca Film Festival and got her some good reviews in publications such as Vanity Fair. Then, she moved on to projects such as "The Blunderer," 2016's animated "Spark: A Space Tail," and 2016's "The Book of Love."

No, they haven't all been big projects with box office appeal, but they've helped Biel grow as an actress — and some, like 2012's "The Tall Man" plus "The Book of Love," have even helped her start her career as a producer. "They were great learning experiences," she told Marie Claire.

Jessica Biel has taken on a second career as a producer

Jessica Biel started gaining producing credits with 2008's "Hole in the Paper Sky," a short film about the friendship between a math genius and a dog. This project would plant the seed for Iron Ocean Productions, a production company built by Biel and Michelle Purple, whose husband directed "Hole in the Paper Sky." Biel told The Washington Post that Purple encouraged her to try her hand at other parts of the filmmaking process while working on that project. "I did a lot of things behind the camera," she said. "I pushed a dolly. I did craft service."

Biel and Purple first worked together on the set of 2005's "Stealth," where Purple was a producer and Biel was starring as Lt. Kara Wade in the film about pilots working to stop artificial intelligence from inciting a world war. They started producing projects under Iron Ocean in the mid-2000s, bringing Biel-starring projects like "The Book of Love" and the TV series "The Sinner" to life. "One of our big mandates when sitting down and starting the company together was creating roles for other women," Purple said.

In February 2022, the company renewed its first-look deal with Paramount Television Studios, which was originally signed in 2019. The production company is behind the miniseries "Candy," with Biel earning an executive producer credit, and "Cruel Summer," a series about teenagers facing secrets and dramatic events while living in the 1990s and 2000s. "Cruel Summer" is the first fiction project Biel produced in which she does not star.

Jessica Biel got married

Jessica Biel and pop star Justin Timberlake started dating in 2007, tying the knot in 2012. The two continue to steal headlines with date night photos, like those shared by People following their night out in New York City in August 2023. In 2022, the couple renewed their vows to mark their 10th wedding anniversary. Biel posted about the big moment in her Instagram story. The ceremony took place in Italy. On Instagram, Timberlake took a walk down memory lane by posting photos and videos of him and Biel over the course of their relationship and wrote, "10 years ain't enough! You make me a better husband and father every day! I love you so much you beautiful human! Run it Back!"

The pair have also been supportive of each other's creative endeavors, even making cameos in one another's projects. Biel can spotted dancing with Timberlake during the last half of his music video for 2018's "Man of the Woods." Meanwhile, Timberlake made an appearance in "Candy," playing investigator Steve Deffibaugh in Episode 4, "Cover Girl," and Episode 5, "The Fight." Biel shared photos on Instagram of her and Timberlake preparing to film the series with the caption, "Watch out, Candy. There's a new sheriff in town."

She's been raising a family with Justin Timberlake

Jessica Biel and Justin Timberlake became parents in April 2015 when Silas Randall Timberlake was born. They welcomed their second child, Phineas, in 2020. Biel said on the "Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard" podcast that she accidentally kept her pregnancy a secret. "I had, like, a secret COVID baby," she said. "It wasn't like it was supposed to be a secret. It was just — COVID happened, and then I went to Montana with my family and never left." Biel also noted that Timberlake was allowed to be in the hospital with her during the birth due to changing hospital restrictions.

Biel has her own approach to celebrating the holidays with her children, telling People that she tries to slow things down for them. "I find that Christmas is kind of overwhelming for kids," she said. "It's a lot of pressure. There's a lot of eyeballs on them, and they've got a lot of stuff to do. So, I like to slow-roll it. Sure, open one thing. We don't have to open anything else until tonight, and that sometimes happens for us." She added that their holiday destination is pretty much different every year.

Jessica Biel got involved in California politics with a shifty vaccination stance

In 2019, Jessica Biel made headlines for something not related to her work or her relationship status: her stance on vaccines. 

She posted to Instagram an image of herself in front of California's capitol building and stated that she went to testify about proposed bill SB 276, which is designed to tighten the process for receiving medical exemptions for vaccinations. The idea of the bill was to reduce fraudulent exemptions through strengthening oversight. However, Biel said in the Instagram post that while she supports children getting vaccinations, her friends had a child with a medical condition that warrants an exemption to the rule. "That's why I spoke to legislators and argued against this bill," she said. "Not because I don't believe in vaccinations, but because I believe in giving doctors and the families they treat the ability to decide what's best for their patients and the ability to provide that treatment."

As part of her stance, she allowed herself to be photographed with anti-vaccination activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr., which raised many eyebrows. However, her foray into politics did not yield the results she wished, as Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the bill into law a few months later. 

Jessica Biel tried her hand at restaurateuring

Back in mid-2016, Jessica Biel and some investors put together a restaurant concept designed to appeal to busy, upper-class moms in Los Angeles. Au Fudge was part eatery, part nursery, with au pairs on the spot available to hang out with kids over age two in a "creative space" and dedicated au pairs available by the hour for younger children, leaving parents free to have a meal out. It seemed like a great idea — until the reviews started coming in. Some Yelpers said that the kids' area was dirty and unmaintained, and the food was overpriced and mediocre.

In a January 2017 interview with Jimmy Kimmel, the actress outlined her idea: "This was created for moms, and for ladies and families who want to have a safe, delicious, thoughtfully sourced meal, drink — we have a full bar there — and have your kids watched by au pairs who are younger and cuter than you." She said the business was doing well but elaborated, "Honestly, the restaurant business is way harder than being a producer. [...] [We're] definitely not making money. Nobody's making money in the restaurant business, in my experience, at least not yet," she said. 

As it turns out, making no money is not a sustainable business model. By 2018, the restaurant had closed. In a July 15 Instagram post, Au Fudge stated, "Today is our last day of regular business hours at Au Fudge the restaurant. [...] Thanks for all the support."

Jessica Biel has been putting women's health in the spotlight

Increasing conversations surrounding women's reproductive health — that's the goal of the video series "If You Don't Tell Them, Then Who Will?" launched by Jessica Biel and Saundra Pelletier, the founding CEO of WomanCare Global. The series features Biel alongside "Parenthood" star Joy Bryant and comedian Whitney Cummings, sharing humor and information regarding birth control pills, misconceptions, and misinformation, among other topics.

Biel told Good Morning America that she didn't know about all of the changes that her body would undergo during pregnancy and recalled receiving little information about women's health while attending middle school health class. "We don't want women's reproductive health issues to be hidden under stigma or taboos anymore," she said. "Can we please laugh about this crazy stuff that happens to us?"

In an interview with Glamour, Biel said she started thinking about a lot of questions when she stopped birth control two years before giving birth to her first child. "I've been on the pill for so long; how hard will it be to get pregnant?" she said. "Suddenly I realized I really didn't know what's going on inside my body. ... It was shocking." The series premiered on Funny or Die in 2015 and can be currently streamed via the WCG Cares YouTube channel.

Jessica Biel and the NSYNC Reunion are making waves on TikTok

NSYNC fans are excited that they haven't had to truly say "bye, bye, bye" to their favorite late-1990s, early-2000s boy band. The group's members reunited at the 2023 MTV Video Music Awards and announced that they recorded the song "Better Place" for the animated family film "Trolls Band Together." This is the first song they've released since 2002.

The group rose to fame during the 1990s and early 2000s with hits like "Tearin' Up My Heart" and "It's Gonna Be Me." But Jessica Biel, despite being married to Justin Timberlake, hasn't always been one of NSYNC's biggest fans. In 2019, "The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon" showed a 1999 interview with Biel talking about the band. "I've heard of them, and I've heard the music. ... I'm not a huge fan. I mean, [it's] cool, I guess," she said. She told Jimmy Fallon that she had been listening to "old-school stuff," including Motown music and Broadway albums.

Amid the news of the band's reunion, Biel has shared that she has since had a change of heart. Biel took to TikTok to share that 1999 interview clip with the caption, "For the record, I'VE CHANGED. LOVE YOU GUYS. Can't wait! @*NSYNC." She told Entertainment Tonight that Biel in the early 2000s would have never believed that she would marry Timberlake. "Literally be like, 'You're full of it. Whatever. I have no idea what you're talking about,'" she said.

Shows like Candy and BoJack Horseman got her audiences on streaming services

Jessica Biel continues to make an impression on the small screen, appearing on popular streaming services in high-profile series. In 2016, she started playing an animated version of herself on Netflix's "BoJack Horseman," first appearing during Season 3, Episode 2, "The BoJack Horseman Show." She last appears during Season 5, Episode 8, "Mr. Peanutbutter's Boos."

In 2022, Biel played Candy Montgomery in the Hulu miniseries "Candy," based on the true story of Montgomery who was accused of killing her friend Betty Gore (Melanie Lynskey) in the 1980s. The series premiered almost a full year before the Max series "Love & Death" starring Elizabeth Olsen as Montgomery. Olsen told The Wallstreet Journal that she and Biel bonded over their shows. "It actually was something that connected us," she said. "I was terrified at first of having the same shows seemingly come out around the same time, and she really made that feel like not such a big deal." "Love & Death" executive producer and director Lesli Linka Glatter told The Hollywood Reporter that they were two months into filming when they found out about "Candy."

Biel told the "Variety Awards Circuit Podcast" her approach to Montgomery. "I wanted to create this person that you really, really were conflicted about," she said. "You connect on a human level in some way. You're still kind of with her at the end. That's what I hoped to create. You just have to have empathy. I didn't play this character like she was the villain."

Jessica Biel is helping to create children's health products

While Jessica Biel continues to act and run her own production company, she is also working to grow another business with families in mind. KinderFarms was co-founded by Biel and entrepreneur Jeremy Adams. The business focuses on offering over-the-counter wellness products that contain plant-based ingredients. Items include electrolyte drinks, plant-based protein drinks, and various medicines, including those that target congestion and fever.

Biel and Adams told Forbes that the idea stemmed from reading the ingredient labels on the medications they were giving to their children. "I couldn't read any of these ingredients. I couldn't even pronounce them," said Biel, who noted that her and Adams' company is meant to give families another option, working to take unnecessary artificial ingredients out of children's medicine with the release of the KinderMed line in 2022. "Even if it only has five to seven ingredients, I can read that makes sense to me would be helpful," she said. "Basically, we're just two parents looking for a solution in the middle of the night, terrified, trying to make the best decision we possibly can for our family."

The company has experienced rapid growth. According to PR Newswire, KinderFarms is No. 45 on the 2023 Inc. 5000 list, which recognizes fast-growing private companies in America.

She makes time to hang out with past co-stars

Jessica Biel last appeared on "7th Heaven" in 2006, and she still works to keep in touch with co-star Beverley Mitchell, who played Mary Camden's younger sister Lucy over the course of the show's 11 seasons. Mitchell has since continued to take on the small screen, recently starring in several holiday movies, and she appeared at the Season 2 premiere of Biel's "Cruel Summer" in 2023. She told Entertainment Tonight, "Jessie and I see each other often, cause obviously, like, she's my bestie, she's my ride or die. But it's always fun to be able to come out and support her and cheer her on."

In February 2016, Mitchell and Biel were spotted with more on-screen family members to help celebrate the opening of Biel's Au Fudge restaurant. Mitchell took to Instagram to share a photo of her and Biel standing alongside Mackenzie Rosman, who played younger sister Ruthie; Barry Watson, who played older brother Matt; and Catherine Hicks, who played family matriarch Annie. Mitchell wrote in the caption, "Love these people like family!" And that's not the only time that Biel and Mitchell have gotten together with other members of the cast. Mitchell shared a photo of her, Biel, and Rosman hanging out in 2017 on her blog "Growing Up Hollywood."

She produced a hit teen drama series for Freeform

Jessica Biel has been bringing 1990s and 2000s nostalgia to the small screen with the popular anthology series "Cruel Summer," which adds another executive producer credit to Biel's long list of projects. Season 1 begins in 1993 with the disappearance of Kate Wallis (Olivia Holt) who is later rescued. Fellow teenager Jeannette Turner (Chiara Aurelia) then finds herself in the middle of the case as Kate accuses her of witnessing her abduction and not reporting it. Season 2 takes place in 1999 and 2000 following the friendship between Isabelle LaRue (Lexi Underwood) and Megan Landry (Sadie Stanley) which begins to crumble following the murder of mutual crush Luke Chambers (Griffin Gluck).

The 1990s and 2000s were big decades for Biel's career, and she told The Hollywood Reporter that working on this series brought back memories of her youth. "It brought me back to being a young woman in Hollywood and a young woman trying to work through this business and the world at this time when technology was changing so much — fashion and music and everything," she said. "I think at the time, we didn't realize how cool it was. But looking back now, I miss it so much." Stanley called Biel a Y2K icon, adding that her work is giving young women the opportunity to play complex characters.

She has supported charities for clean water infrastructure and cancer research

As Jessica Biel continues to grow her titles in the entertainment industry amid other business ventures, she also makes time to advocate for the environment while pursuing other philanthropic endeavors. In January 2010, she joined a group of celebrities — including director and climber Jimmy Chin and actor Emile Hirsch — as they climbed Mount Kilimanjaro for the "Summit on the Summit," bringing attention to global water shortages, particularly those in Ethiopia, and raising money for charities supporting clean water infrastructure. The group visited a refugee camp in Ethiopia, seeing firsthand how the shortage has affected people who have been forcibly displaced. "I am really taken by the resilience of the Somali refugees," Biel said, according to The UN Refugee Agency. "I want to ensure that all those kids I met in the camp school continue to get clean water." Coincidentally, she also voiced a version of herself during a Kilimanjaro-set episode of "Scooby-Doo and Guess Who?" in 2021. 

In 2012, Biel was recognized for her charity work, receiving an award at the Variety Power of Women Luncheon. She is also one of the many big names who participated in the 2023 Stand Up to Cancer special.

Jessica Biel has been sharing plenty of her life on Instagram

The "7th Heaven" star is using social media to show the world her personal adventures, turning herself into a celebrity to watch on platforms like Instagram. Jessica Biel recently made headlines with a Pilates workout that featured an appearance by Justin Timberlake. The workout clip posted by @jessicabiel in August 2023 begins with the actress doing floor exercises before Timberlake's foot appears on camera, gently testing out her abs of steel. She's shared behind-the-scenes moments from some of her biggest projects, posted photos of her and her husband dressed up for Halloween – including their memorable "Home Alone" getups – and shared plenty of big life moments, including anniversaries, birthday messages, and Father's Day tributes.

She's also using social media to throw back to some of her most well-known roles, mostly sharing photos and videos of her playing Mary Camden on "7th Heaven." That includes a clip that she shared on Instagram in June 2023 of Mary (Biel) talking to her sister Lucy (Beverley Mitchell) and her mom, Annie (Catherine Hicks). Biel included the caption, "Being 16 is hard. Being 16 with the same haircut as your mom and your sister is REALLY hard." Her co-star, Mitchell, replied, "Omg!!!!! this just made me laugh out loud!!!!" NSYNC member Lance Bass also got in on the fun, writing "I snorted" with a few laughing emojis. Bass appeared in the family drama as Rick Palmer during Season 4 in Episode 13, "Who Do You Trust?"

Jessica Biel helped bring a podcast to the small screen

Jessica Biel's influence on social media goes way beyond Instagram. In 2019, she starred in "Limetown," the Facebook Watch Original series that tells the story of public radio journalist Lia Haddock (Biel) who finds herself on a mission to find out what happened to more than 300 people who disappeared in Tennessee. The show is based on the 2015 podcast of the same name. Biel served as an executive producer on the series. The events chronicled by the podcast are pure fiction and that surprised Biel. She told Variety, "I just thought I missed it because our world is so insane that anything is possible really, right? It was definitely a swift learning curve of okay, this is not real, but it's so fascinating."

Zack Akers and Skip Bronkie, founders of Two Up Productions and creators of the "Limetown" podcast, told The Hollywood Reporter that the show's core team dedicated two weeks to developing the character of Lia with Biel and the producers. "The insights that Jess brought to the table made Lia so much more real and grounded and interesting," Bronkie said. Akers added that the way Lia's story is experienced and how her character is portrayed are the biggest differences between the podcast and the TV series.

Despite the podcast's success, the TV series was canceled by Facebook Watch in 2020 as the social media giant worked to scale back its scripted series offerings, according to Variety.

Jessica Biel has become a podcast producer

Since "Limetown," Jessica Biel has dived into the world of podcasts herself, executive-producing "The Lost Olympians," which tells the story of swimmer Lesley Cairns, who was making a name for herself in the sport at just 12 years old in 1971. But her hopes of competing in the Olympics were dashed due to restrictions for those classified as "coloured" under the Apartheid regime.

The four-part series was made exclusively for Audible and was a collaboration between Biel and Michelle Purple's Iron Ocean Productions and ATTN:, a creative media company. In a December 2021 update released by ATTN:, Biel said, "We are excited to continue creating female driven content and to launch Iron Ocean into the podcast world with this incredible story." The series was released in full on July 27, 2023, and features Lesley Cairns-Falk as well as her brother, Patrick Cairns, who also has an athletic background, competing in track and field.

Jessica Biel earned acclaim for her role in The Sinner

In 2017, Jessica Biel played Cora Tannetti in Season 1 of "The Sinner" on USA Network. Based on the novel written by Petra Hammesfahr, the series follows Detective Harry Ambrose (Bill Pullman) as he investigates murders while taking a deeper look at the suspects. The first season focuses on Cora, who kills a man at the beach, not knowing why she did it. While Biel only appears on camera during Season 1, she served as an executive producer on all four seasons of the show.

She received a Primetime Emmy nomination and a Golden Globe nomination for her performance. During an Emmys FYC event, Biel said she prepared for the role by researching PTSD and doing subconscious dream work. She and Michelle Purple's Iron Ocean Productions were behind the series, and Purple told The Washington Post that this project was a big moment for them. "'The Sinner' was the game-changing moment for us in the sense [that] people looked at us different," Purple said. "The industry took us a little bit more seriously." As for why Biel only appears in Season 1, she told The Mirror amid Season 2 that they wanted to further explore Cora but just couldn't fit it in to the anthology series' second outing.

Season 1 was 2017's top new cable series, but the series was cancelled after four seasons. The cancellation came as USA Network started to step away from scripted series, but creator and executive producer Derek Simonds noted that they had always planned for just four seasons.