Announced in January 2006 that she and her husband Chad Lowe are separating after 8 years of marriage.
For a few weeks before Boys Don't Cry (1999) began filming, she went out in public dressed as a boy. Many were fooled by the disguise.
Mother Judy Swank moved with her to LA area at age 16, where, impoverished for a while, they lived out of their car.
Auditioned for the role of Lucy Hatcher on the television series "The Practice" (1997).
Awarded an Emery Award for her role in Boys Don't Cry (1999) (November 2006).
Met her ex-husband Chad Lowe on set of Quiet Days in Hollywood (1997), married after 5-month relationship.
Discovered as a young child actor by producer Suzy Sachs.
As of 2008, she is only one of six actors who have a 2-0 winning record when nominated for an acting Oscar. The others are Luise Rainer for The Great Ziegfeld (1936) and The Good Earth (1937); Vivien Leigh for Gone with the Wind (1939) and A Streetcar Named Desire (1951); Helen Hayes for The Sin of Madelon Claudet (1931) and Airport (1970); Sally Field for Norma Rae (1979) and Places in the Heart (1984); and Kevin Spacey for The Usual Suspects (1995) and American Beauty (1999).
Though she's known for her dramatic work, she starred in several sitcom pilots for CBS that never amounted to much.
Grew up in Bellingham, Washington, where she went to Sehome High School.
Competed in the Junior Olympics and Washington state championships in swimming; ranked fifth in the state in all-around gymnastics.
Hilary's 20th birthday party was a 1974 themed party and was held in Hollywood at The Crush Bar.
Her longtime companion has been her agent John Campisi since December 2006.
Has been acting professionally since she was 16.
She won the lead role of Brandon/Teena in Boys Don't Cry (1999) after hundreds of other actresses had been considered and rejected over the course of three years. Told director Kimberly Peirce that, like her character, she was also 21 and hailed from Lincoln, Nebraska. But she was fibbing, and when Peirce later confronted her with the lies, she winningly responded: "But that's what Brandon would do."
Fined NZ$200 (AUD$190) for bringing undeclared fruit into New Zealand. She was found with an apple and orange at New Zealand's Auckland International Airport. She has since contested the fine (15 January 2005).
Cut off all of her hair and lived as a boy for a month to prepare her for her role as Teena Brandon in Boys Don't Cry (1999).
She and husband moved into a 4-story brownstone home in Greenwich Village (NYC) they bought for $4 million. (June, 2002)
Studies acting with Larry Moss.
Earned $75 a day for Boys Don't Cry (1999).
Born to Stephen Swank, a Air National Guard officer, and his then wife Judy Swank, née Clough, a secretary and dancer, she has a brother, Dan.
Was declared #6 on the show "Hollywood's Ten Best Beauty to Beast" transformations for the way she looked in Boys Don't Cry (1999). Three other actresses on the list were nominated for Oscars for their movies and two won: Charlize Theron (Monster (2003)), Halle Berry (Monster's Ball (2001)) and Salma Hayek (Frida (2002)).
Is a vegetarian.
Received a cut on the forehead during filming a scene of her movie P.S. I Love You (2007). She had to be brought to a hospital and received several stitches (November 2006).