Kelly was born in Los Angeles. She is the only child of former Aerosmith guitarist Rick Dufay and Maureen Dumont Kelly, an exotic dancer. Her parents split up when she was young, and she was raised by her mother. Her paternal grandfather was actor and investment advisor Richard Ney. Kelly and her mother often moved to different communities, before settling in Albuquerque, New Mexico by the time Kelly was in junior high school. She has French and Irish ancestry.
When Kelly was 19, after graduating from Valley High School in Albuquerque, she returned to Los Angeles. While on a test shoot for a modeling agency, she was approached by a former Playboy Playmate who was interested in managing her, and who placed Kelly as a receptionist at a surgeon's office who would provide Kelly breast augmentation in exchange for hours worked. She ultimately decided against the procedure, leading to her being fired. However, that exposure to the medical field prompted her to attend school for a year to become a surgeon's assistant; afterward, she worked as a scrub tech. During the four years she spent in that vocation she continued auditioning for film and television roles.
In 2003, Kelly made her acting debut as an extra in the short film Turbo-Charged Prelude a six-minute introduction to the action film 2 Fast 2 Furious. This was followed by a guest appearance on Cracking Up. She has since appeared in a number of television shows such as Entourage, Drake & Josh, and American Dreams. In 2005 Kelly landed a three-episode recurring role on The WB sitcom What I Like About You.
In April 2006 Kelly was cast as a series regular on the NBC television series Friday Night Lights. The show, based on the high school football movie of that name, follows a high school football team in the fictional small town of Dillon. Kelly played the role of high school student and cheerleader Lyla Garrity. In preparation for her role as a cheerleader she trained with the Pflugerville High School cheerleading squad. The series premiered on October 3, 2006 with Kelly receiving praise for her performance with The New York Times calling her performance "heartbreaking". At the end of the show's third season Kelly left the series as her character left for university.
Kelly at the Paris Hilton: Marquee The Star Sydney 2012.
In 2006 Kelly starred in the Horror Slasher film The Pumpkin Karver, and had a bit role in State's Evidence. In 2007 she reunited with Friday Night Lights creator Peter Berg in the film The Kingdom in a cameo role as Ms. Ross alongside Jamie Foxx and Jennifer Garner. In 2009 she also made a cameo in the film (500) Days of Summer.
In August 2008 Kelly was cast as the protagonist in The CW pilot Body Politic. She played the role of Francesca "Frankie" Foster who moves to Washington to work for a senator. She befriends a group of eager up-and-comers. Despite acclaim from critics who viewed the pilot The CW did not pick up the series. Kelly also appeared in the pilot for the short-lived CBS ensemble comedy series Mad Love playing the role of Kate, a Midwestern girl who falls in love with Henry at the top of the Empire State Building. When the show was picked up Kelly was replaced by Sarah Chalke.
In April 2010, Kelly appeared on the NBC Drama television series Parenthood. She played the role of a behavioral aide to the child character Max who is diagnosed with Asperger syndrome. Kelly went on to appear in nine episodes of the show before making her final appearance in the episode "Taking the Leap" which aired on March 29, 2011. That same year, Kelly was named "Sexiest Woman Alive" in the annual Esquire magazine feature. She accepted a role in the Off Broadway play Love, Loss, and What I Wore for an April 27 through May 29, 2011 run with Conchata Ferrell, AnnaLynne McCord, Anne Meara, and B. Smith.
In February 2011, Kelly starred as the protagonist on the Screen Gems thriller film The Roommate. The film follows a college freshman whose roommate has an obsession with her that turns violent. The film also starred Leighton Meester and went on to make over $15.6 million in its opening weekend and over $40 million worldwide. The film was universally panned and was considered a "cheap remake" of the 1992 film Single White Female.
In December 2010, ABC announced Kelly was cast in the planned reboot of the crime drama television series Charlie's Angels. Kelly played the role of street racer Eva French. The pilot was filmed in March 2011 and the series was picked up on May 13, 2011. Charlie's Angels premiered on September 22, 2011 to over 8.76 million viewers. The series received unanimously negative reviews from critics. Despite a planned thirteen episodes was to air ABC cancelled the series after the premiere of the fourth episode due to low ratings.
Variety announced that Kelly was cast as the lead in the mystery comedy film Searching for Sonny. The film follows two reunited friends who are suspects in a murder mystery that is similar to a play in which they appeared during High School. Production took place in May and June 2010 at Fort Worth, TX. The film won the "Best Narrative Feature" Award at the Festivus film festival. In 2011 Minka appeared alongside Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston in Just Go With It.
She joined an eight-day, four-country United Service Organizations tour in December 2011 with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey, Robert Horry, Jordin Sparks, Thomas Miles and Sergeant Major Bryan Battaglia. In February 2012, she was one of the celebrities who modeled in red dresses for the Heart Truth Red Dress Collection show, part of New York Fashion Week. She wore a Diane von Fürstenberg dress. In June 2012, Kelly was revealed to be the lead actress in the music video for Maroon 5's second single from the Overexposed album, "One More Night". Kelly appeared in the film The Butler (2013), as Jackie Kennedy.
Ranked #42 on the Maxim magazine Hot 100 of 2007 list.
Her grandfather is actor Richard Ney, co-star and ex-husband of Academy Award-winning actress, Greer Garson.
Ranked #54 on the Maxim magazine Hot 100 of 2008 list.
After graduating from high school, she returned from New Mexico to Los Angeles with her father to pursue acting as a hobby while she went to school to become a surgical technician. However, after her first acting class, she got "hooked" and began pursuing acting as a career.
Her secret engagement to Derek Jeter, which became public in January 2010, ended in August 2011.
Named the "Sexiest Woman Alive" by Esquire magazine [October 11, 2010].
Grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Is of French and Irish descent.
Daughter of Rick Dufay and Maureen Kelly.
Graduated from Valley High School in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1998.
Where Are They NowEdit
(July 2000) Sydney, Australia
(November 2009) Surabaya, Indonesia