She grew up in a foster care program and served 18 weeks in a juvenile detention center for threatening to kill somebody.
She received numerous award nominations for her roles in Jesus' Son and Sweet and Lowdown.
She had a daughter named Esme with her boyfriend Charlie Creed-Miles in 2000. She began dating Harry Holm in 2005 and they had a daughter named Edie in 2008 and another child in 2012.
One of her best known roles was in In America, which also starred Djimon Hounsou.