Rebecca Gayheart

Rebecca Gayheart (born August 12, 1971) is an American actress and model. She began her career as a teen model in the 1980s and subsequently appeared in a student short film by Brett Ratner, with whom she had an extensive relationship.

Rebecca Gayheart
Rebecca Gayheart 2019 by Glenn Francis.jpg
Gayheart in 2019
Born (1971-08-12) August 12, 1971 (age 51)
Alma materLee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute
  • Actress
  • model
Years active1990–present
(m. 2004; sep. 2018)
Partner(s)Brett Ratner

In the early 1990s, Gayheart signed a contract with Noxzema and became a spokesperson for the company. On television, she had a starring role on the series Earth 2 (1994–1995) and was a recurring guest star on Beverly Hills, 90210 (1995). She made her feature film debut in the comedy Nothing to Lose (1997) and then had a lead role in the slasher film Urban Legend (1998). She subsequently starred in the black comedy film Jawbreaker (1999), followed by supporting roles in the thriller Shadow Hours (2000) and the independent comedy Harvard Man (2001).

In June 2001, Gayheart fatally struck a young boy with her vehicle in Los Angeles, an event that was widely publicized, and was ultimately sentenced to probation and community service. She returned to acting several years later, appearing in recurring guest roles on the television series Dead Like Me (2003), Nip/Tuck (2004–2006), and Vanished (2006). In 2005, Gayheart made her Broadway debut in a production of Steel Magnolias. She returned to Broadway again in a 2008 production of Boeing-Boeing, opposite Mark Rylance and Christine Baranski. In 2019, Gayheart appeared in a minor supporting role in Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

Early lifeEdit

Gayheart was born August 12, 1971[a] in Hazard, Kentucky, the third of four children born to Floneva "Flo" Gayheart (née Slone), who worked as a Mary Kay independent beauty consultant, and Curtis Gayheart, a miner and coal-truck driver.[3][4][5] She has two sisters, Elizabeth and Rachel,[6] and one brother, Curtis Wayne Gayheart.[7][8] She is of German, English, Scottish and Scots-Irish descent.[9] Gayheart spent her early life in Pine Top, Kentucky.[10] In her first year of high school, she starred in a stage play chronicling the life of Lizzie Borden, in which she played the titular Borden.[11]

At age 15, Gayheart won a local modeling contest,[12] after which she relocated to New York City.[7] There, she completed her high school education at the Professional Children's School and went on to attend the actors' conservatory of the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute.[11] Meanwhile, Gayheart earned a living appearing in commercials for Campbell's soup and Burger King, and also modeled for J. C. Penney catalogues.[11]


In her first film role, Gayheart appeared in Brett Ratner's New York University short film Whatever Happened to Mason Reese? (1990) starring Mason Reese. She also appeared in the Ratner-directed music video Nuttin' But Love performed by Heavy D and the Boyz.[13]

Gayheart's break into the television industry was a series of television commercials for Noxzema in the early 1990s, earning her the moniker "The Noxzema Girl".[7][11] The commercials began airing in 1991 and brought her national recognition.[14] In 1992, Gayheart was cast in her first major role on the soap opera Loving as Hannah Mayberry.[11] In 1993 and 1994, she had a recurring role in the Vanishing Son action series as cellist Clair Rutledge, the love interest of Russell Wong's main character, Jian-Wa Chang. In 1994 and 1995, Gayheart played Bess Martin in the science-fiction series Earth 2.[13] In 1995, she played Antonia Marchette, a recurring character in the series Beverly Hills, 90210, and Luke Perry's character's love interest; the character was killed off after a 10-episode storyline.[13] She was subsequently cast in her feature film debut in the comedy Nothing to Lose (1997) opposite Tim Robbins and Martin Lawrence, portraying a flower shop employee who nearly woos an advertising executive (Robbins).[13] The same year, she had a minor role as a sorority sister in Wes Craven's horror film Scream 2 (1997).[15]

After completing Scream 2, Gayheart was cast in a lead role in the slasher film Urban Legend (1998), in which she portrayed the best friend of a college student (Alicia Witt) who suspects their friends are being murdered according to urban legends.[16] The same year, she appeared onstage at Toronto's Canon Theatre in a production of The Last Night of Ballyhoo, opposite Rhea Perlman and Perrey Reeves.[17] In 1999, Gayheart starred in the black comedy film Jawbreaker with Rose McGowan, Julie Benz, and Judy Greer as girls in an exclusive clique in their high school who inadvertently kill their friend.[18] Though the film was a box-office failure, it went on to earn a cult following in subsequent decades.[19]

Gayheart starred as the waitress in the Train music video for the 1999 song "Meet Virginia".

In 2000, Gayheart had a lead role in the vampire film From Dusk Till Dawn 3: The Hangman's Daughter, as well as a lead role in the thriller Shadow Hours, opposite Balthazar Getty.[20] She also had a cameo appearance in Urban Legends: Final Cut, the sequel to Urban Legend.[21]

In 2002, Gayheart was hired for the role of Inara Serra on the television series Firefly but was fired after only one day of filming. Show creator Joss Whedon said that a lack of chemistry existed between the rest of the cast and her.[citation needed] The role was recast with actress Morena Baccarin, who reportedly filmed her first scene the day she was accepted for the role.[22] None of Gayheart's work was used.[23]

From March to July 2005, Gayheart starred in a Broadway production of Steel Magnolias.[24] David Rooney of Variety praised her performance, writing: "Exuding all the breezy confidence of a girl who's always been popular and pretty, Gayheart's Shelby provides a strong center, allowing only brief glimpses of the cracks in her cheerful, optimistic veneer and refusing to be treated as fragile goods by the clucking women around her."[25] She also appeared in a minor role in the Christmas horror-comedy film Santa's Slay (2005). In 2007, Gayheart guest-starred on Ugly Betty as Jordan, an ex-girlfriend of Alexis Meade. The following year, she returned to Broadway in a revival of the comedy Boeing-Boeing opposite Christine Baranski, Mark Rylance, Greg Germann, Paige Davis, and Missi Pyle.[26] She had a guest role on The Cleaner in 2009.

Gayheart returned to film in 2013, reuniting with Jawbreaker director Darren Stein for his comedy G.B.F., portraying the mother of a gay teenage boy.[27] She also starred opposite her husband, Dane, in the 2017-released thriller film Grey Lady, which was filmed in 2014.[28]

In 2019, Gayheart returned to film with a minor supporting role in Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, playing Billie Booth, the wife of Brad Pitt's character.[29]

Personal lifeEdit

Gayheart had met Brett Ratner at age 15 on the day she moved to New York City in 1986, and the two carried on a romantic relationship that spanned 13 years.[30] She and Ratner were engaged in 1997, but the couple eventually separated in 1999.[31]

On June 13, 2001, while driving a vehicle owned by Italian actor Marco Leonardi (her From Dusk Till Dawn 3 co-star), Gayheart struck nine-year-old Jorge Cruz, Jr. as he walked across a street in Los Angeles.[32] Cruz died the following day from his injuries. Gayheart paid the family $10,000 for Cruz's funeral expenses and was given permission by the family to attend the service, but ultimately chose not to.[32] On August 7, 2001, Gayheart made her only public statement on the incident, in which she said: "The pain of this tragedy will live with me forever. Despite the allegations in the lawsuit, the facts will establish that this was a most unfortunate accident."[32] On November 27, 2001, Gayheart pleaded no contest to vehicular manslaughter. She was sentenced to three years of probation, a one-year suspension of her license, a $2,800 fine, and 750 hours of community service.[4][33] The parents of the boy filed a wrongful death lawsuit, which was eventually settled out of court.[34]

Gayheart married actor Eric Dane on October 29, 2004, in Las Vegas.[35] Dane told Flaunt magazine about how they met: "It's probably one of the least interesting stories in the world. It went basically like this: 'You wanna go out?' 'Yeah, sure.' Ten months later, we were married."[36]

On August 17, 2009, a nude video was posted on the website that showed former Miss Teen USA contestant Kari Ann Peniche with Gayheart and husband Eric Dane.[37][38][39]

Gayheart in 2016

On March 3, 2010, Gayheart gave birth to her first child with Dane, a daughter in Los Angeles.[40] The following year, she gave birth to her second daughter with Dane on December 28, 2011.[41]

In February 2018, Gayheart filed for divorce from Dane after 14 years of marriage, citing "irreconcilable differences."[42]



Year Film Role Notes
1990 Whatever Happened to Mason Reese? Model #1 Short film
1996 Somebody Is Waiting Lilli
1997 Nothing to Lose Danielle
1997 Scream 2 Sorority Sister Lois
1998 Hairshirt Jennifer Scott
1998 Urban Legend Brenda Bates
1999 Puppet Lori Myers [43]
1999 Jawbreaker Julie Freeman
2000 From Dusk Till Dawn 3: The Hangman's Daughter Mary Newlie
2000 Shadow Hours Chloe Holloway
2000 Urban Legends: Final Cut Nurse Brenda Bates Cameo/Uncredited
2001 Doppelganger Brian's Girlfriend Short film
2001 Harvard Man Kelly Morgan
2002 Pipe Dream Marliss Funt
2005 Santa's Slay Gwen Mason
2007 Bunny Whipped Beatriz Magdalene Johnson
2013 G.B.F. Mrs. Daniels
2015 Grey Lady Maggie Wynn
2019 Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Billie Booth


Year Film Role Notes
1992–1993 Loving Hannah Mayberry Main Role: March 2, 1992 – June 30, 1993
1994 Vanishing Son Clair Armstrong Television film
1994 Vanishing Son III Clair Armstrong Television film
1994 Vanishing Son IV Clair Armstrong Television film
1994–1995 Earth 2 Bess Martin 21 episodes
1995 Beverly Hills, 90210 Antonia "Toni" Marchette 8 episodes
1996 Sliders Natalie 1 episode
1997 Invasion Cassy Winslow Television film
1998 Hercules Medea (voice) 1 episode
1999 Wasteland Samantha "Sam" Price 13 episodes
2001 Inside Schwartz Nadia 1 episode
2003 Dead Like Me Betty Rhomer 5 episodes
2003 What I Like About You Dana 1 episode
2004 The Division Suzanne Richland 3 episodes
2004–2006 Nip/Tuck Natasha Charles 3 episodes
2005 The Christmas Blessing Meghan Television film
2006 Scarlett Scarlett Television film
2006 Medium Jessica Delaney 1 episode
2006 Vanished Judy Nash 13 episodes
2007 CSI: Miami Claire Gibbs 1 episode
2007 Ugly Betty Jordan Dunn 1 episode
2009 The Cleaner Carey Kern 1 episode

Stage creditsEdit

Year Film Role Notes Ref.
1998 The Last Night of Ballyhoo Sunny Canon Theatre [17]
2005 Steel Magnolias Shelby Eatenton-Latcherie Lyceum Theatre [24]
2008 Boeing-Boeing Gabrielle Longacre Theatre


  1. ^ Some sources claim Gayheart was born in 1972,[1][2] though this conflicts with the Kentucky Birth Index, which lists her birth date as August 12, 1971.


  1. ^ Tykus, Michael J. (2000). Contemporary Theatre, Film, and Television. Vol. 29. Detroit, Michigan: Gale Research Company. ISBN 978-0-787-63188-8.
  2. ^ "Rebecca Gayheart". Playbill. Archived from the original on September 8, 2017.
  3. ^ Rebecca Gayheart Biography at
  4. ^ a b "Rebecca Gayheart Biography". Yahoo! Movies. Archived from the original on September 28, 2009.
  5. ^ Forever in Black Hills Archived October 21, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Byrne, Suzy (August 17, 2017). "Rebecca Gayheart mourns death of troubled sister: 'Life has not been easy for her'". Yahoo!. Archived from the original on May 31, 2018.
  7. ^ a b c "Rebecca Gayheart Biography". TV Guide. Archived from the original on February 4, 2019.
  8. ^ "Rachel Deanne Gayheart". Hindman Funeral Services. Hindman, Kentucky. Archived from the original on February 4, 2019.
  9. ^ Salzberg, Charles. "Accent on Success", Flair, Fall 1999. Republished at
  10. ^ Letterman, David; Gayheart, Rebecca (October 1, 1999). Late Show with David Letterman. CBS.
  11. ^ a b c d e Hall, C. Ray (October 24, 1999). "Actress conquered Manhattan at 15". The Courier-Journal. Louisville, Kentucky. p. H2 – via  
  12. ^ "Ruthless Interrogation: Rebecca Gayheart". The Courier-Journal. Louisville, Kentucky. October 11, 2003. p. S2 – via  
  13. ^ a b c d Larson, Dave (May 4, 1997). "Rebecca Gayheart in fine form". Tallahassee Democrat. Tallahassee, Florida. p. 3 – via
  14. ^ "Rebecca Gayheart". AskMen. Archived from the original on November 2, 2007.
  15. ^ Us Weekly Staff (April 15, 2011). "Scream's All-Star Cast". Us Weekly. Archived from the original on December 28, 2013.
  16. ^ Gates, Anita (September 25, 1998). "'Urban Legend': The Guy Who Looks Like Freddy Krueger? Nah, Too Obvious". The New York Times. Archived from the original on February 4, 2019.
  17. ^ a b Hofler, Robert (October 16, 1998). "The Last Night of Ballyhoo". Variety. Archived from the original on February 4, 2019.
  18. ^ Howe, Desson (February 19, 1999). "'Jawbreaker': 'Heathers' Did it Better". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on February 4, 2019.
  19. ^ Sunderland, Mitchell (August 14, 2016). "'Perverting the Youth of America': The Oral History of Teen Classic 'Jawbreaker'". Broadly. Vice Media. Archived from the original on June 12, 2018.
  20. ^ Van Gelder, Lawrence (July 14, 2000). "'Shadow Hours': Night Crawlers, Beware: You Could Lose Your Soul". The New York Times. Archived from the original on February 4, 2019.
  21. ^ Koehler, Robert (September 22, 2000). "Urban Legends: Final Cut". Variety. Archived from the original on September 24, 2015.
  22. ^ Anders, Charlie Jane (July 31, 2014). "The Real Reason Why Joss Whedon Named His Space Western Show Firefly". Retrieved August 13, 2016.
  23. ^ Whedon, Joss. Firefly: the complete series: "Serenity" commentary
  24. ^ a b "Rebecca Gayheart". Internet Broadway Database. Archived from the original on February 4, 2019.
  25. ^ Rooney, David (April 4, 2005). "Steel Magnolias". Variety. Archived from the original on February 4, 2019.
  26. ^ "Headlines: Paige Davis and Rebecca Gayheart Fly Into Boeing-Boeing". September 28, 2008. Archived from the original on February 24, 2016.
  27. ^ Wloszczyna, Susan (January 17, 2014). "G.B.F." Archived from the original on November 29, 2017.
  28. ^ Fee, Gayle (October 6, 2014). "Eric Dane, Rebecca Gayheart in Roxbury for "Grey Lady" filming". Boston Herald. Archived from the original on February 4, 2019.
  29. ^ Cadenas, Kerensa (September 6, 2019). "Rebecca Gayheart on her Once Upon a Time in Hollywood character's fate: 'That question will be answered at some point'". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on September 8, 2019.
  30. ^ Erstein, Hap (August 11, 2007). "Ratner on playboy reputation; 'I'm not the guy they say I am'". Palm Beach Post. West Palm Beach, Florida. p. 4D.  
  31. ^ "Long Run With Conan's Over". New York Daily News. September 3, 1999. p. 17 – via  
  32. ^ a b c Gliatto, Tom (August 27, 2001). "Sudden Death". People. Archived from the original on April 2, 2018.
  33. ^ Silverman, Stephen M. (August 8, 2001). "Ex-'90210' Star: Wrongful Death Suit". People. Archived from the original on September 24, 2017.
  34. ^ Errico, Marcus (January 23, 2002). "Gayheart Settles Wrongful Death Suit". E! Online. Retrieved March 15, 2018.
  35. ^ "Actors Rebecca Gayheart and Eric William Dane wed". Longview News-Journal. Longview, Texas. November 20, 2004. p. 3 – via  
  36. ^ Tewksbury, Drew. Getting Big with Eric Dane Archived August 4, 2008, at the Wayback Machine, Flaunt
  37. ^ "Dane's Anatomy". Archived from the original on June 8, 2010.
  38. ^ "Eric Dane and Rebecca Gayheart's McSteamy Video Tape With Ex-Beauty Queen". August 18, 2009. Retrieved March 6, 2012.
  39. ^ Hyman, Vicki (August 18, 2009). "Eric Dane, Rebecca Gayheart sex tape: Just videotaped nakedtime!". Archived from the original on April 29, 2018.
  40. ^ Donaldson, Catherine (March 5, 2010). "It's a Girl for Eric Dane & Rebecca Gayheart". People. Archived from the original on January 10, 2018.
  41. ^ Hammel, Sara (December 30, 2011). "It's a Girl for Rebecca Gayheart and Eric Dane!". People. Archived from the original on October 4, 2018.
  42. ^ Vulpo, Mike (February 16, 2018). "Rebecca Gayheart Files for Divorce From Eric Dane". E! Online. Archived from the original on April 13, 2018.
  43. ^ "[T]hat summer [of 1996], I booked my first role, in an independent movie called Puppet. [...] This film, which to this day I have never seen because I don't think it's possible to purchase a copy of it anywhere at any price, starred Rebecca Gayheart and Fred Weller [...] I don't know anyone who has ever seen or even heard of Puppet. All I can say is that it was screened in a theater at least once, because my manager went to see it." Lange, Artie, with Anthony Bozza and Howard Stern (2009). Too Fat to Fish, Random House Digital, Inc, ISBN 9780385526579, p. 172

External linksEdit