Portia de Rossi, born Amanda Lee Rogers on January 31, 1973, is an Australian
actress who is best known for her role as lawyer Nelle Porter on the television
series Ally McBeal, and as Lindsay Bluth Fünke on the television series Arrested
Born in Melbourne, Victoria, de Rossi was raised in Grovedale, a
suburb of Geelong. As a child she modeled for print and TV commercials. She took
the name Portia de Rossi at a young age:
"When I was 15, I changed it legally. In retrospect, I think it was largely
due to my struggle about being gay. Everything just didn’t fit, and I was trying
to find things I could identify myself with, and it started with my name. I
picked Portia because I was a Shakespeare fan (Portia is the character in The
Merchant of Venice). De Rossi because I was Australian and I thought that an
exotic Italian name would somehow suit me more than Amanda Rogers. When you live
in Australia, Europe is so far away and so fascinating, so stylish and cultured
An extremely gifted student, she left the lecture theaters of the Melbourne Law
school to pursue an acting career. She supports Locks of Love, a group that
makes wigs for children with medical hair loss.
De Rossi, who was married for two years to documentary filmmaker Mel Metcalfe
(to get a green card), is now openly gay. From 2000 to 2004, de Rossi dated
singer Francesca Gregorini, daughter of actress Barbara Bach and stepchild of
Ringo Starr. Portia dodged media questions about her sexual orientation and the
relationship during this period. Portia was rarely pictured with Gregorini in
In a September 2005 magazine interview with The Advocate, de Rossi said that
most of her family and Ally McBeal cast mates learned she was gay because of
tabloid pictures of de Rossi and Gregorini in 2001. The couple broke up in late
2004 as de Rossi began dating comedian Ellen DeGeneres. In 2005, de Rossi
officially came out and opened up about being gay in interviews with Details and
Portia de Rossi was named number 64 in Stuff's 100 Sexiest Women, 31 in Femme
Fatales' Sexiest Women of 2003 list, 24 in Maxims 100 Sexiest Women List in 2004
and in late 2006, the magazine Blender listed her as one of the hottest women of
film and TV.
Portia de Rossi is also a recovering anorexic whose low weight was 82lbs for her
five foot seven height.Photos from her in this time are often seen on pro-ana
Her first significant role was playing a young and impressionable model in the
Australian 1994 film Sirens. Soon afterwards she moved to Los Angeles and had
guest roles on TV shows before landing a role in the film Scream 2.
She attracted international attention when she joined the main cast of the Ally
McBeal TV series in 1998 playing lawyer Nelle Porter. She remained with the show
until its end in 2002.
In 2001 she starred in Who is Cletis Tout? with Christian Slater. From 2003 to
2006, de Rossi starred as Lindsay Bluth Fünke on Fox Television's critically
acclaimed, Emmy-winning series Arrested Development.
Portia was strongly considered to play Christina Ricci's role in the film Black
Snake Moan co-starring Samuel L. Jackson.
She next impersonated John F. Kennedy, Jr.'s wife, Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy,
in the made-for-TV movie America's Prince: The John F. Kennedy Jr. Story in 2003;
then, in the same year, 2003, she acted out the role of an Australian reporter who
inspires a protest against Frank Sinatra during a concert tour in The Night We Called It a Day.
In 2005 she portrayed a fortune-teller named Zela in the Wes Craven thriller Cursed.
From 2007–2008, de Rossi appeared in Nip/Tuck's fifth season as Julia McNamara's girlfriend, Olivia Lord.
In 2009 and 2010, de Rossi played the high-strung and controlling Veronica Palmer
on the ABC show Better Off Ted. In 2011, she appeared in Better Off Ted cast member
Malcolm Barrett's music video for "Revenge of the Nerds," spoofing her character of
Veronica in a cameo alongside other cast members of the cancelled series.
She ranked 69th in Stuff Magazine's 100 Sexiest Women, 31 in Femme Fatales' Sexiest
Women of 2003 list, and 24 in Maxim's 100 Sexiest Women List in 2004; in late 2006,
the magazine Blender listed her as one of the hottest women of film and TV.
In May of 2007, she was featured as one of 100 Most Beautiful in a People special edition.
TV Guide included her and Ellen DeGeneres in their Power A-List couples in 2007.
In February of 2012, it was announced that ABC had ordered a pilot for a new drama
series The Smart One, one of whose executive producers was listed as Ellen DeGeneres, a
nd which featured de Rossi in a leading role. The actress was to star as a "brilliant
and successful woman who begrudgingly goes to work for her less-brainy but more popular
sister – a former beauty queen, weather girl and now big-city Mayor." But The Smart
One was not picked up as a series for the 2012-13 season.
Six years after the series was canceled by Fox, filming for a revived fourth season of
Arrested Development began on 7 August, 2012, and de Rossi reprised her role as Lindsay
Bluth Fünke. This fourth season consisted of 15 new episodes, which debuted at the same
time on Netflix on 26 May, 2013. Each episode focused on one particular character, with de
Rossi's Lindsay featured in Episode 3, "Indian Takers," and Episode 8, " Red Hairing,"
and also appearing in several other episodes of the season.
In July of 2014, ABC confirmed that de Rossi was joining season 4 of Scandal,
in the role of Elizabeth North. De Rossi joined Scandal in the fourth season in a
recurring role, before being upped to a series regular for the fifth season.
In April of 2017, in season six, de Rossi's character, Elizabeth North, was killed off
by a golf club attack. De Rossi herself made the decision to depart the Scandal series, saying,
" I am incredibly grateful for my time here at Scandal. I will miss playing Elizabeth
North but I've made the decision to focus on a business opportunity. Shonda, Betsy and the
cast have been incredibly supportive of my decision. I will always love my Scandal family.
I’ll be watching!" Creator Shonda Rhimes added, "I have been a fan of Portia's for
years and it was an honor to have her join our Scandal family."
Sirens (1994) as Giddy
Scream 2 (1997) as Sorority Sister Murphy
Ally McBeal (1997–2002) (TV series) as Nelle Porter
Girl (1998) as Carla Sparrow
Stigmata (1999) as Jennifer Kelliho
Who is Cletis Tout? (2001) as Tess Donnelly
The Glow (2002) as Jackie Lawrence
The Night We Called It a Day (2003) as Hilary Hunter
Arrested Development (2003–2006) (TV series) as Lindsay Bluth Fünke
Dead & Breakfast (2004) as Kelly
Cursed (2005) as Zela
The Shift (2009) as Denise Moore
Unity (2014) (Documentary) as Narrator
Now Add Honey (2015) as Beth Halloway