Kelli Garner: 10 Things You Didn’t Know About the Actress

Kelli Garner is an American actress who is well-known in mainstream films, television, and theater. She was born on April 11, 1984, and is currently 40 years old. Garner, who made her acting debut at the young age of 17, achieved her big break in Lars and the Real Girl alongside Ryan Gosling. She has remained relevant in the limelight ever since.

Key Takeaways About Kelli Garner

  • Kelli Garner is an American actress from Bakersfield, California celebrated for her roles across television, the big screen, and theater.
  • She has been active in the entertainment industry for over two decades, as she debuted as a professional actress in 2000.
  • Being an actress wasn’t what she planned to do for a living as an adult. She intended to become a professional soccer player.
  • The 40-year-old has never been married but has dated several popular men in the entertainment industry, including Johnny Galecki, Logan Marshall-Green, Lou Taylor Pucci, and Zach Shields.
  • Kelli Garner is worth at least $5 million. She stands at 5 feet 6 inches (1.68 m) and maintains her weight around 117 lbs (53 kg) with body measurements of 38-23-35 inches.

Kelli Garner’s Age

Kelli Garner is 40 years old as of 2024. She was born on the 11th of April 1984 in Bakersfield, a city you would find in Kern County, California. Nonetheless, it was in Newbury Park, located in Ventura County, also in California, that she spent most of her early childhood. Her family would later relocate to Thousand Oaks, the second-largest city in Ventura County, where Kelli Brianne Garner spent the rest of her childhood and adolescence years.

Much is yet to be learned about the family she hails from. It is only known that she hails from a Jewish family and that her parents are Dawn and Brian Garner. It is hard to tell if she has siblings, but we can confirm that she is not related to Jennifer Garner, who is also an actress. Jennifer is not from California but from Houston, Texas; her parents are William John Garner and Patricia Ann English.

Kelli is also not a relative of James Garner – the late American actor and producer who passed in July 2019. Although James died in Los Angeles, California, he was originally from Norman, Oklahoma. Details of her family background may not be known, but no one needs to be told that she is an American of European origin.

She Attended Thousand Oaks High School, Where She Excelled In Soccer

Dreams do come true but many people have been compelled to forsake their dreams because fate had other plans for them. This is the case for Kelli Garner, whose dream was to become a professional soccer player. Growing up, she was a shy girl, and having a career in entertainment wasn’t something she aspired for herself. A student of Thousand Oaks High School attended by other popular figures like Amanda Bynes, Bryan Corey, Kurt Russell, and several others, Garner was an exceptional soccer player when she was in high school, and she planned to pursue a career in the sport.

But then, she was nudged towards becoming an actress when she caught the attention of a talent agent. As the story goes, Kelli was attending one of her friends’ bar mitzvah where she met Richard Kerner, a talent manager who convinced her to try acting. He became her manager, and not long after that, Kelli pulled off her first acting role: she was cast in an Eggo commercial. In the years that followed, she landed more acting roles and it became only a matter of time before she gained mainstream recognition. Becoming a professional soccer player was thus relegated to the background and forgotten.

Kelli Garner’s First Significant Acting Role Came In 2000 When She Played Heather In Architecture of Reassurance

At the age of sixteen, while she was still a high school student, the California native landed her first significant gig as a professional actress. With the help of Richard Kerner, she was hired to play Heather in Architecture of Reassurance, a fantasy short film written and directed by Mike Mills. Starring alongside Elise Lappin and Susan Fallender, her performance in the film paved the way for her to play her first feature film role as Heather Swallers in Bully, a 2001 crime drama film directed by Larry Clark. It is said that Clark gave Kelli the role after he saw her performance in the aforementioned short film.

Before she got to play Heather Swallers in Bully, Kelli Garner played “Kelly, The Beach Girl” in Time Share and “Christmas” in This Is How the World Ends. They are both television movies released in 2000. The former is a family-romance comedy written by Eric Tuchman and directed by Sharon von Wietersheim, whereas the latter is a comedy-drama written and directed by Gregg Araki. These roles earned Garner the exposure that went a long way in making her a bonafide member of the movie industry with more roles in popular productions across the small and big screens.

My Generation, Pan Am, The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe, and The Enemy Within are Her Major Television Works

Kelli Garner’s most significant television roles include playing Marilyn Monroe in The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe, a drama miniseries that revolves around the family life of the late American actress, model, and singer. She also played one of the main characters (Kate Ryan) in The Enemy Within, a short-lived NBC drama series created by Ken Woodruff.

Since she made her debut as a professional actress, Kelli Garner has been seen in over a dozen of television productions. In the early days of her career, she portrayed various characters in TV shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Grounded for Life, Da Mob, Regular Joe, and Law & Order: Special Victim Unit. In 2009, she voiced a character in the “Stan Time” episode of the popular adult animated sitcom created by Seth MacFarlane, American Dad!. The following year saw her pull off her first major role in television when she played Dawn Barbuso in the ABC mockumentary series My Generation.

Her next TV role also had her portray a major character. From 2011 to 2012, the actress played Kate Cameron in at least 14 episodes of Pan Am, a period drama series created by Jack Orman. You will also find Garner as Megan Murray in two episodes of Looking and as Jenny in a 2014 television film titled Two Wrongs.

Kelli Garner’s Movies Have Grossed Over $975 Million at The Box Office

Records have it that Kelli Garner’s movies have grossed over $975 million ($975,120,582) at the worldwide box office. The actress has had more movie roles compared to television but she is mostly known for playing supporting roles. After she played her first feature film role in 2001, the following year saw her portray The Girl, Josie, and Huffer Girl, respectively, in Outside, Hometown Legend, and Love Liza.

After these, she landed the role of Faith Domergue in The Aviator, which has remained one of her most popular projects. The 2004 epic biographical drama film directed by Martin Scorsese grossed over $208.3 million at the box office.

In all, she has been seen in at least 23 movies, including Thumbsucker, Man of the House, London, Piggy Banks, Dreamland, Normal Adolescent Behavior, Lars and the Real Girl, Red Velvet, Taking Woodstock, and G-Force, which were all released in the 2000s. In the 2010s, she played Brianna in Going the Distance and The Lie, Gleen Shepherd in Horns, Kate and Corinne respectively in 2015’s Americana and One More Time, and then USS Argo Officer Cross in the 2019 monster film directed by Michael Dougherty, Godzilla: King of the Monsters. The latter is her highest-grossing movie thus far.

Her Acting Career Goes Beyond Roles In Movies and Television Productions

Kelli Garner and Ryan O'Nan in The Seagull
Kelli Garner and Ryan O’Nan in The Seagull: Image Source

Kelli Garner might not be a triple-threat performer but she has a robust acting resume that extends beyond the small and big screens. She took her talent from the screen to the stage first in 2005 when she played Tricia in an Off-Broadway play titled Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead. Written by Bert V. Royal, Garner played the role alongside Eddie Kaya Thomas, Eliza Dushku, Ian Somerhalder, America Ferrera, Ari Graynor, Logan Marshall-Green, and Keith Nobbs. It was a successful outing for Garner as the play won GLAAD’s Media Award for Outstanding Off-Off-Broadway Production, amongst other coveted gongs.

Roughly three years later (in 2008), she got to play another theater role. This time, she played Nina in The Seagull at East 13th Street Theater in New York City. Garner portrayed the character in the 1895 play by Anton Chekhov alongside Dianne West, David Rasche, Annette O’Toole, Ryan O’Nan, Marjan Neshat, and Greg Keller in an ensemble that also features Bill Christ, Alan Cumming, Ryan Homchick, and John Christopher Jones.

Garner has also been seen in the music videos of artists like N.E.R.D., Green Day, and Joseph Shabason, respectively, for the songs “Provider,” “Jesus of Suburbia”, and “I Don’t Want to Be Your Love”.

Kelli Garner’s Movies and TV Shows


  • Bully (2001)
  • Love Liza (2002)
  • The Aviator (2004)
  • The Toast (2005)
  • Lars and the Real Girl (2007)
  • Red Velvet (2008)
  • Taking Woodstock (2009)
  • Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019)
  • What Josiah Saw (2021)
  • V/H/S/85 (2023)

TV Shows

  • Time Share (2000)
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer (2001)
  • Grounded for Life (2001–2002)
  • Regular Joe (2003)
  • Pan Am (2011–2012)
  • Two Wrongs (2013)
  • Looking (2014–2015)
  • The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe (2015)
  • The Enemy Within (2019)
  • American Gigolo (2022)

Kelli Garner’s Net Worth Is $5 Million and Acting Is The Biggest Source of Her Wealth

For someone who has been a professional actress for over two decades, with multiple popular works in her filmography, it is only natural for one to expect that Kelli Garner is a multi-millionaire. Though she is not an A-lister, she has been seen in several productions that made hundreds of millions at the worldwide box office, including The Aviator, G-Force, and Godzilla: King of the Monster, which grossed over $884.4 million combined.

While what she was paid for each of these movies is best known to her, anyone with half an eye could tell that they are the major source of her wealth currently guesstimated at $5 million. So far, she has portrayed about 46 characters in movies and television productions. Add that to what she has made from her theater and music video roles, in addition to other sources of income, and you would find that it is not difficult to see how she became a multi-millionaire.

Kelli Garner’s Measurements

The American actress stands at 5 feet 6 inches (1.68 m). Garner is a tall woman by all standards. She is almost as tall as women from the Netherlands and Montenegro, who are said to be the tallest women in the world. In these countries, the average height for women is 5 feet 7 inches (1.70 m).

Kelli is in good shape; it is said that she maintains her weight at 117 lb (53 kg) which is perfect for her height. More so, her body reportedly measures 38-23-35 inches. As it is with other popular figures, Kelli Garner has endeared herself to millions of moviegoers across the globe, so much that even the most trivial of things about her, like her height and weight, are considered to be newsworthy.

Is Kelli Garner Married?

Kelli Garner is not married and has never been. Nevertheless, she has dated several men. Apart from The Big Bang Theory actor, she has been romantically linked to Logan Marshall-Green and Lou Taylor Pucci. Also, rumors have it that she has also dated Keanu Reeves and Eric Jungmann.

She Dated The Big Bang Theory Actor Johnny Galecki For Two Years

Kelli Garner and Johnny Galecki – image source

Johnny Galecki, an American actor famed for his role as Leonard Hofstadter in the popular CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory, is one of the famous men Garner has loved. Although it was said that they had been quietly dating for months, it was in March 2012 that their relationship came to light. This was after they were seen kissing at the courtside of a basketball game. The relationship went on until August 2014, when it emerged that they had amicably parted ways. Neither of the two has discussed why they broke up and has since moved on.

Is Kelli Garner Dating Zach Shields?

While we can’t authenticate these claims, we know that the G-Force actress has been in a relationship with Zach Shield since 2019. Shields is a bit of an actor, but he is mostly known for his work as a writer, director, and producer in the movie industry.

Some of his prominent projects include Krampus, Godzilla vs. Kong, and Godzilla: King of the Monsters. He wrote and executed the production of the latter project, which starred Kelli. It is presumed that Zach and the actress fell in love while working on the project. Though they have largely kept the relationship away from the spotlight, they are often seen together in public.


What is Kelli Garner’s Net Worth?

Ke4lli Garner’s net worth is $5 million as of 2024, which she accumulated from her efforts as an actress on stage, theater, and the big screens.

Who is Kelli Garner’s Husband?

Kelli Garner does not have a husband because she is not married, and she has never been married in the past.

Who is Kelli Garner’s Boyfriend?

Kelli Garner is currently in a relationship with actor Zach Shields. They allegedly met while working together on a movie and started dating sometime in 2019. They have been together since then.

Is Kelli Garner related to James Garner?

No, Kelli Garner is not related to James Garner the late American actor and producer who passed in July 2019. Although James died in Los Angeles, California, he was originally from Norman, Oklahoma. They simply bear the same surname and are both actors, but that is all.

Chinedu Ndubueze
Chinedu Ndubueze
Chinedu holds a B.SC in Mass Communications with several years of writing and editing experience. He is an advocate of closed-back headphones, horror movies, and dark humor; He believes that Peter Griffin and Stan Smith should be real people. Outside of having to write, edit, and work on other forms of content, Chinedu may keep up with the EPL or listen to everything Eminem and Jon Bellion.


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