Hilary Erhard Duff (born September 28, 1987) is an American actress, singer, songwriter, entrepreneur, author, and humanitarian.
During her initial acting years, Duff primarily played minor roles like her uncredited part in the Hallmark Entertainment western miniseries True Women (1997)  and as an uncredited extra in the ensemble dramedy Playing by Heart (1998). Her first major role was as a young witch Wendy in Casper Meets Wendy (1998) but was released to mostly unenthusiastic reviews. After appearing in the supporting role of Ellie in the television film The Soul Collector (1999), which was based on a Kathleen Kane novel, Duff accrued a Young Artist Award for Best Performance in a TV Movie or Pilot (Supporting Young Actress).
In March 2000, Duff appeared in the small guest role as a sick child in the medical drama Chicago Hope right before being cast as one of the children in the pilot episode of the NBC sitcom Daddio. Her Daddio co-star Michael Chiklis stated, "After working with her the first day, I remember saying to my wife, 'this young girl is going to be a movie star'. She was completely at ease with herself and comfortable in her own skin." However, prior to the airing of the show, the producers dropped Duff from the cast. Depressed, Duff was reluctant to pursue her acting career further.
A week later, she landed the title role of a newly developed Disney Channel children's television series Lizzie McGuire after her manager and mother urged her to audition. The character, a clumsy teen who dreams to fit in and be popular, made Duff a popular household name particularly with its target demographic of preteens and adolescents. Focusing on its central character, the show's mixed media format stood out from the rest of the Disney Channel's programming of the time and, in essence, became the channel's flagship and definitive show of the early 2000s. The show first aired on the Disney Channel on January 12, 2001, and was a ratings hit that attracted about 2.3 million viewers per episode. However, after Duff fulfilled her 65 episode contract with Lizzie McGuire, the show finished. Disney considered expanding the franchise to films and a prime-time television series. The plans however failed, because Duff's representatives said she was not being paid enough for the proposed series.
Duff's first role in a theatrical motion picture was in Human Nature (2002) in which she portrays the younger version of a female naturalist, played by Patricia Arquette. The film was showcased first at the Cannes and Sundance film festivals. Duff also starred as a free-spirited girl who struggles in a strict military school in the Disney Channel television film Cadet Kelly (2002), which became the network's most watched program in its 19-year history.
In 2003, Duff received her first major role in a feature film when she was cast alongside Frankie Muniz, playing his love interest in Agent Cody Banks. The film received positive reviews; Scott Foundas of Variety magazine labelled Duff's performance "charming," yet thought she was "sidelined with little to do much of the time." The same year, Duff reprised her role as Lizzie McGuire for The Lizzie McGuire Movie. It received mixed reviews; some slammed her acting skills whilst David Levine from Filmcritic.com called it "an unabashed promotion of Duff's image." Later that year, Duff played one of the 12 children of Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt in the family film Cheaper by the Dozen, which remains her highest grossing film to date, despite not-so-complimentary reviews of Duff's performance. Slant Magazine reviewer Nick Schager wrote that Duff "does nothing more than look perky and stylish."
Duff also made several guest appearances in television shows which included the role of a makeup salesperson in a 2003 episode of George Lopez; she later reappeared in the show in 2005 as Kenzie, a feminist poet friend of the character Carmen (Masiela Lusha). In 2003, she also portrayed one of The Shangri-Las opposite her sister Haylie in season two of American Dreams, while in 2005, she played a classmate and idolizer of the title character in Joan of Arcadia.
In 2004, she starred in the romantic comedy A Cinderella Story alongside Chad Michael Murray. Reviews of her performance mostly negative: "her appeal lies precisely in being Hilary Duff," wrote Reel critic Sarah Chauncy. However, the film went on to become a moderate box office hit, and some critics were impressed by Duff's performance. Later that year, she starred in Raise Your Voice, her first drama film. While some critics praised her for appearing in a more mature and serious role than her previous films, the film itself was heavily panned and was not successful at the box office. Several reviews were indifferent towards her acting performance and were critical of Duff's vocals, with critics pointing out what appeared to be her digitally enhanced voice. Her roles in the two films combined led to her first Razzie nomination for Worst Actress in 2004.
Her subsequent role in The Perfect Man (2005) and the reprisal of her character in Cheaper by the Dozen 2 (2005) combined accrued her second Razzie nomination for Worst Actress in 2005. The former, in which she co-stars with Heather Locklear and Chris Noth, "Duff plays her standard character—an introverted romantic who falls for a guy whose hunky exterior belies an artistic soul," wrote Matt Singer from the Village Voice. It was poorly received both critically and commercially. The latter, which was less successful as the original Cheaper by the Dozen, was panned by critics. "Duff just looks like she'd rather be in a different movie," wrote a harsh Mike Clarke from USA Today.
Additionally, the Duff sisters lent their voices to the computer animated comedy Foodfight! in late 2005, but the film has never been released. Duff paired with her sister again in the satirical comedy Material Girls (2006) but it was unsuccessful, both commercially and critically, earning both sisters a shared Razzie nomination for Worst Actress, becoming Hilary's third consecutive nomination in this field in three years. The two were also nominated for Worst Screen Couple.
A two-part introspective documentary television special Hilary Duff: This Is Now was produced to chronicle Duff's return to the recording industry. The show took two weeks to film and was shot in both the US and around Europe. It was broadcast on MTV in April 2007. Duff was also the guest star on The Andy Milonakis Show for its third season premiere in September 2007.
Duff was cast in War, Inc. (2008) a political satire. Her role as an oversexed Central Asian pop star garnered praise, despite the film receiving generally negative reviews from critics. War, Inc. opened on an extremely limited release in only two theaters across the United States. The film went on to open in a further thirty theaters across the United States. It was second in largest per theater gross. It closed on August 7, 2008, without a wide release, grossing only $580,862 domestically.
In 2009, she starred in two independent drama films. The first, as a young suicidal and rebellious teen in According to Greta which received mixed reviews; Andrew Barker of Variety magazine was unkind to Duff's "child star" approach to acting and wanted her to stay away from teen parts. However, Los Angeles Times critic Robert Abele wrote that her attempt to "transform her bright-eyed wholesomeness into rebellious snark" in Greta "is a valiant one." The second, as a narcissistic seductress in What Goes Up which also received mixed reviews. Brian Lowry of Variety magazine stated that Duff's performance "amounts to a near-adult role" yet labeled her role, and the film in general, "confused."
Despite turning down the lead role of Annie Mills in the television series 90210 in early 2008 as she was more interested in looking for projects outside the teen genre, Duff attained a recurring guest star role in the third season of Gossip Girl. She played the character of Olivia Burke, a movie star who enrols at NYU in search of a traditional college experience. On the November 11, 2009 episode Duff's character was in a three way with Dan (Penn Badgley) and Vanessa played by Jessica Szhor, which led to protest by parent groups. The following year, she won a Teen Choice Award for Best Female Scene Stealer for her role as Olivia Burke; Enid Portugez of the LA Times also praised her performance by giving a positive review to her involvement in this adult role. She appeared in six episodes of the season. In 2010, Duff starred in the ABC Family television film Beauty & the Briefcase, in which she plays a fashion magazine columnist who writes about her dating struggles in the city. The film had a rating of 2.4 million viewers.
Her most recent credits include Raven Halfacre, the teenage daughter of a promiscuous alcoholic mother, in the drama film Bloodworth (2011) in which Los Angeles Times reviewer Sheri Linden thought she "acquits herself well" despite not warming to the film. The Examiner also wrote that the "biggest surprise performance [in the film] probably belongs to Hilary Duff." She also played Shasta O'Neil, a sexy high school senior, in the Polish brothers' comedy Stay Cool (2011) in which she co-starred with Winona Ryder, Mark Polish, Sean Astin, Chevy Chase, and Jon Cryer to neither much critical or commercial avail. In 2012, she appeared in the independent film She Wants Me, directed by Rob Margolies, as a well-known starlet Kim Powers who enters a love triangle.
In August 2012, Duff signed a deal with 20th Century Fox to develop a television comedy for which she will star and produce. In early 2013, Duff guest starred in the television shows Raising Hope and the season ten finale of Two and a Half Men.
Duff became interested in pursuing a music career after attending a Radio Disney concert in 2001. She resumed her vocal lessons – which she had started before her acting career began – and became one of Andre Recke's clients at Hollywood Records. Duff's music career began with two soundtrack appearances: In 2002, she appeared on the soundtrack to Lizzie McGuire, performing a cover version of Brooke McClymont's "I Can't Wait", which received tremendous success on Radio Disney, and the Walt Disney Records compilation DisneyMania, performing a cover of "The Tiki Tiki Tiki Room".
The same year, she released her first album titled Santa Claus Lane (2002) which was a collection of Christmas songs that included duets with her sister, Lil' Romeo, and Christina Milian. Accompanied by the Disney Channel-only single "Tell Me a Story (About the Night Before)", the album peaked at 154 on the US Billboard 200 album chart and was certified gold. While her songs were hits on Radio Disney, including "Why Not" and "What Dreams Are Made Of" which had been featured in The Lizzie McGuire Movie (2003), Recke and executives at Buena Vista Music Group envisioned Duff reaching a more mature audience.
She released her debut album Metamorphosis (2003) shortly after her departure from the Lizzie McGuire franchise. The album received mixed reviews from music critics; some complimented it for being a modern-day bubblegum album, while others considered the album to be a promotional gimmick for the singer, lacking real substance. Nonetheless, Metamorphosis reached number one on the Billboard 200 and Canadian Albums Chart and sold over five million copies worldwide by late 2005. Its lead single "So Yesterday" was a top ten hit in several countries despite not impacting in her native US; its follow-up "Come Clean" had the same effect and was made the Laguna Beach theme song. The third single "Little Voice" was not released in the US but was a minor hit in Australia.
Duff further promoted the album with the Metamorphosis Tour that ran from November to December 2003. Most shows scheduled in major cities were sold out. Metamorphosis earned Duff her first Kids' Choice Award for Favorite Female Singer as well as Best New Female Artist at the World Music Awards in 2004. Before embarking on another American tour titled Most Wanted from July to September 2004, Duff also recorded a cover of The Go-Go's "Our Lips Are Sealed" with her sister for the soundtrack of A Cinderella Story.
Released on Duff's seventeenth birthday, her second studio album was the self-titled Hilary Duff (2004). This time, she was more involved in crafting of the album by co-writing songs, desiring it to be her departure from her young Lizzie McGuire image. The album takes a more rockier-edge than Metamorphosis, of which critics received negatively and compared her to Avril Lavigne and Ashlee Simpson. Despite its two singles "Fly" and "Someone's Watching Over Me" not being major hits, the album debuted at number two on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart, selling 192,000 copies in its first week, and became her second consecutive number one debut in Canada. The self-titled album has sold 1.8 million copies in the US and was certified platinum by the RIAA.
Duff followed her self-titled effort with her first compilation album titled Most Wanted (2005), which comprises three new songs, songs from her previous two albums and remixes. Most Wanted received mostly negative reviews from critics, who deemed the release as premature, stating that Duff did not have enough material to warrant a compilation. However, new songs "Wake Up" (which was written by then-boyfriend Joel Madden and his brother Benji – both members of Good Charlotte), "Beat of My Heart" and "Break My Heart" received favorable comments; critics believing that their dance-orientated sound stood out from the rest of the album. Most Wanted debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, becoming her second number one in the US, and became her third number one debut in Canada. It sold over two hundred thousand copies within its first week of release and was certified platinum by the RIAA a month after its release. She followed the international success of the album and its singles by embarking on her first worldwide concert tour to support the album. Titled the Still Most Wanted Tour, the tour ran from July 2005 through September 2006.
In 2006, an Italy-only compilation 4ever Hilary Duff was released alongside an exclusive DVD due to Italian fans not getting as many of the normal releases of her albums pressed in the country. With her sister, Duff also recorded a cover version of Madonna's "Material Girl" to for their movie Material Girls (2006).
Duff co-wrote the material for her third studio album Dignity (2007), along with Kara DioGuardi, who co-produced the album with Rhett Lawrence, Tim & Bob, and Richard Vission. In contrast to the pop themes of her prior releases, Dignity takes on more of a dance and electropop sound and makes use of more instruments. The lyrics reference the events Duff experienced in the years leading to the album's release while the album's songs contain influences of rock and roll and hip hop music. Critical response was mostly positive; while Duff's weak singing voice was noted, the album was praised for its songwriting and her new musical direction. Upon release, Dignity debuted at number three in the US, a lower peak than Duff's previous albums and with lower sales, which Billboard attributed to the loss of fans during her musical evolution. Despite the relatively poor performance of the album, it produced Duff's highest-peaking US single to date, "With Love" (number 24), which also peaked at number 1 on Billboard's Hot Dance Club Songs chart, becoming the first of her three consecutive number ones on that chart; her second being "Stranger", the album's third single. Dignity has reached the top ten in several countries and was certified gold in the US by the RIAA. She embarked on her fourth concert tour, simply titled Dignity, from July 2007 to February 2008, which went around North America, Brazil and Australia. Following this, Duff had sold thirteen million albums worldwide and had performed across the world on four concert tours.
Duff's most recent release and first greatest hits album was titled Best of Hilary Duff (2008). Like Most Wanted (2005), the album features songs from her previous three albums, remixes and two new tracks: "Reach Out" and "Holiday". "Reach Out", which samples Depeche Mode's "Personal Jesus", was released in the preceding month of the album's release as its first single. The song became Duff's third number one dance hit in the US, but the album failed to reach the success of its predecessors, was her first album not to receive any RIAA certifications and peaked at number 125 on the US chart. Duff said she hoped to write a third new song for the release and to have "Holiday" released as a single. Hollywood Records later scrapped these plans, adding to their large list of cancelations which, in turn, led Duff to make the decision to leave the label after six years of service and develop this album to quickly end her contract, which had expected one more album.
She announced to MTV that she would begin work on her new album in December 2008. In 2009, Duff and Richard Vission contributed on a song titled "Any Other Day" for the What Goes Up soundtrack. In October 2011, Duff mentioned plans of a possible new album to E! Online. In January 2012, she confirmed that she had begun recording via her official website and Twitter. No official date has been announced.
With Simon & Schuster, Duff has set up a book writing deal. Published in October 2010, her first novel Elixir, co-written with Elise Allen, has since been released internationally and become a New York Times best-seller. The book, aimed at young adults, traces the life of a seventeen-year-old photojournalist searching the world for her father after his disappearance. After fate brings her and an unknown beautiful man who had began to mysteriously feature in her photographs, the pair strike up a love triangle, racing against time to unravel their pasts in order to save their futures. The sequel to the book, titled Devoted, was released in hardcover in October 2011. Devoted picks up where Elixir left off and continues the story of the dangerous love triangle. It is followed by True, released in 2013. Duff also had plans to release a non-fiction book in 2012 based on children coping with divorce.
Duff dated pop singer Aaron Carter on and off between 2001 and 2003 before he met and dated Lindsay Lohan. It was reported that Carter soon left Lohan and went back to dating Duff, starting a feud between the two actresses. After Duff showed up to the red carpet premiere for Lohan's film Freaky Friday (2003), Lohan further fueled this feud by appearing at a red carpet premiere for Duff's film Cheaper by the Dozen (2003). In 2007, it was reported that the two reconciled, with Lohan accepting an invitation to Duff's Dignity album release party. A spat with Avril Lavigne has also made headlines because the Canadian singer called Duff a "mommy's girl". The two have never had any public reconciliation.
In July 2004, a 16-year-old Duff began dating Good Charlotte singer Joel Madden (who was 25). After a long period of tabloid speculation, Duff's mother Susan announced their relationship in a June 2005 interview for Seventeen magazine. In November 2006, Duff and Madden broke up. The same year, Duff's parents separated after 22 years of marriage. She wrote about the pain caused by the separation in her songs "Stranger" and "Gypsy Woman".
In 2006, Duff was stalked by a 19-year-old Russian immigrant identified as Max and his roommate David Joseph Klein, aged 50. She filed for restraining orders against the two men, claiming that Max "threatened to kill himself" to get her attention. She also alleged that he threatened to "remove enemies" who stand in his way, including Duff's then-boyfriend Joel Madden. Max, later identified as Maksim Myaskovskiy, was sentenced to 117 days in prison.
In 2007, Duff began dating NHL player Mike Comrie. On February 19, 2010, Duff and Comrie announced their engagement. The couple married on August 14, 2010, in Santa Barbara, California. Duff gave birth to their first child, a son named Luca Cruz Comrie, on March 20, 2012.