She is known for roles such as Helen in Troy, Dr. Abigail Chase in National Treasure and its sequel, Bridget von Hammersmark in Inglourious Basterds, Anna in Mr. Nobody, and Gina in Unknown.
She was born as Diane Heidkrüger in Algermissen, Germany, near Hildesheim, the daughter of computer specialist Hans-Heinrich Heidkrüger, and his wife, Maria-Theresa, a bank employee.
She was raised Roman Catholic and attended Catholic school.She has stated that one of her grandmothers was Polish.
She was raised in Germany with her younger brother, Stefan. Her mother sent her to student exchange programs when she was a teenager to improve her English.As a child, Kruger wanted to become a ballerina and successfully auditioned for the Royal Ballet School in London. However, after an injury ended her ballet career prematurely, Kruger moved to Paris and turned her energy toward modeling and learning French.
In 1992, Kruger represented Germany in the Elite Model Look and started modeling afterwards. Despite her relatively small frame for a model, she managed to add prestigious bookings such as advertisements from Yves Saint Laurent, Chanel, Salvatore Ferragamo, Giorgio Armani, Jil Sander, Christian Dior, Burberry, and Louis Vuitton; runway shows from Marc Jacobs, D&G, and Sonia Rykiel as well as appearances on the cover of Vogue Paris, Marie Claire and Cosmopolitan to her modeling repertoire. She gradually stopped modeling after deciding to pursue a career in acting.
Kruger soon became interested in acting and took lessons at the Cours Florent. She landed some small appearances in several French films. She made her onscreen debut in 2002, opposite Dennis Hopper and Christopher Lambert in The Piano Player, a TV-movie by Jean-Pierre Roux. Her first major role was the same year when she starred in her then husband's directorial debut Mon Idole.
Kruger at the 2009 Venice Film Festival She played Julie Wood in 2003's Michel Valliant and Lisa in Wicker Park (2004), alongside Josh Hartnett and Rose Byrne. One of her more high-profile roles to date is her portrayal of Helen of Sparta in Wolfgang Petersen's epic Troy. She was ranked 50th on the Maxim Hot 100 Women of 2005.
In 2004, Kruger starred with Nicolas Cage and Sean Bean (who co-starred with her in Troy) in the film National Treasure, going on to appear in movies Joyeux Noël (2005) and Copying Beethoven (2006). She reprised her role as Dr. Abigail Chase in National Treasure: Book of Secrets, released in December 2007.
Kruger was the hostess of the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2007 Cannes Film Festival. Kruger was a jury member of the 58th Berlin International Film Festival in 2008. The festival is chaired by Costa Gavras.
In 2009, she co-starred as a German actress turned Allied spy in Quentin Tarantino's film Inglourious Basterds. Kruger starred in 2011 in the Liam Neeson film Unknown alongside January Jones.
In December 2009, she announced the nominations of the 67th Golden Globe Awards and also picked up nominations from the Screen Actors Guild for Best Supporting Actress and Outstanding Performance by a Cast of a Motion Picture for her role in Inglourious Basterds.
Kruger played Anna in Jaco Van Dormael's Mr. Nobody. Critical response has praised the film's artistry and Kruger's acting.
Kruger made a cameo appearance in an April 2010 episode of the Fox show Fringe, in which her boyfriend, actor Joshua Jackson is a star. In 2010, Kruger also appeared in Mark Ronson's music video for "Somebody to Love Me", where she plays Boy George. In 2011, it was announced that she had replaced Eva Green in the role of Marie Antoinette in the French-language film, Les Adieux à la Reine.
In 2012, she was named as a member of the Jury for the Main Competition at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival.
She starred in the film adaptation of Stephenie Meyer's novel The Host, which was released in March, 2013.
Kruger is a brand ambassador for watch manufacturer Jaeger-LeCoultre. In December 2009, she was announced as the global spokesmodel for L'Oréal.
It was announced in May 2010 that she would become the latest face for Calvin Klein's newest fragrance line, Beauty.
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