Holly was a rebellious teenager, often punished by her teachers and dressed
in black. She didn't have a good time in high school. "I kind of had a problem
with authority, I wasn't very outgoing. I was shy. It was a tough time for me".
Nowadays Holly is a very down to earth person. Holly says she is not into the
whole Hollywood scene. The simple pleasures in life suit her just fine.
Holly attended the Children's Professional school in New York where her teachers included Ernie Martin, Where other big names like Sarah Michelle Gellar studied. It was there where Holly was noticed by film and TV executives for her exceptional acting abilities. Holly's career started in television commercials and print ads when she was ten years old. She obtained her SAG (Screen Actor's Guild) card when she appeared in 'Walls of Glass' aka 'Flanagan' (1985), a film in which Holly's mother, Lauralei also had a role. Her mother was also guest star on Charmed in the episode 'Just Harried' (Episode: #3.15), 22 February 2001 as a girl in the bar. Lauralei now works at the Austin Animal Center and lives in Texas. Her stepfather is a musician and her biological father does machine work.
Holly's big break came in 'Picket Fences' where she played 'Kimberly Brock' at the age of eighteen. Her first meeting with David E. Kelley did not go well. He had told Holly she didn't have enough heart to Play Kimberly on Picket Fences. "I was terribly hurt -- and angry. I thought he was just being mean", says Holly. He then ultimately decided to cast her and rewrote the character to fit Holly's personality when he was unable to find anyone who fit the part. Kelley had to convince Holly to take the part. "Suddenly, he can't find anyone else and now I'm right for the part. Sorry!" He had to keep asking Holly for a couple of weeks before she finally agreed. "I had quite an attitude going" says Holly. It was this part which made Holly into a house hold name. It was a highly successful series - the show won fourteen Emmys in four years. Holly was nominated for two SAG Awards, along with the rest of the Picket Fences cast, for best ensemble acting in a television drama. Her performance on the show earned her Young Artist Award for Best Young Actress in a New Television Series in 1993. When the series ended, Holly then went on and starred in many other movies (see filmography). Holly also enjoyed the huge success of the TV series, 'Charmed' as Piper Halliwell, which ran for eight seasons. She was also a Producer in Charmed from season five, along with co star, Alyssa Milano.
Holly married Bryan 'Bugsy' Travis Smith on February 28th 1993, and then divorced in 1997, afterwards
Holly said they were too young to cope, just like her parents were. They only
went out for 8 days before they got married. (In a Las Vegas chapel). She then
dated Brian Bouma. He worked on the crew for 'Our Mother's Murder'. A few years
later, she then got engaged to Storm Lyndon (who is a second grade school teacher
from Venice Beach and He teaches in South Central L.A) but she called off the
engagement in late 2000. They met while on a holiday in Mexico in a bar/restaurant
with Charmed ex co-star and best friend, Shannen Doherty. She then married David William Donoho, who used to work as a Key Grip on the set of
Charmed. They got married on February 14th, 2004 on valentines day. “We decided
to make it about our commitment to our new family” says David, referring to
the baby boy they had named Finley Arthur Donoho on April 26th, 2004. "We had
kind of a deadline, so we decided to do it real quick," says Holly, "We got
married at the San Ysidro Ranch in Santa Barbara. Yes, I pulled a Gwyneth. I
know, it wasn't original, but it was quick!" On November 11th, 2011 after seven years of marriage, Holly filed for a divorce from David due to "irreconcilable differences". She has joint custody of their three children.
Her favorite food is Italian-"Pretty much all kinds". She also loves Cheeseburgers, Coca Krispies, Salami, and Bacon. Her Hobbies include, Horseback riding, gardening & collecting antiques. She loves to play Scrabble as well as other games like Trivial Pursuit, Beyond Balderdash, Monopoly and the Worst-Case. And she has a lot of pets! She has Three quarter horses: Jesse, Jake, and Jezebel; eight dogs: (two of them are her ex-husband’s) Hugo, Travis, Sugar, Bear, Bleu, Fly Guy, Jethro and Lola (Lola was given to her by Alyssa a long time ago when one of her adopted puppies died of parvo). She also had another dog named Ike which was a black lab but he died in December 2011 and another dog named Thunder who was a German Shephard that died in April 2012; two cats: Bob and Selina (Selina is named after Michelle Pfeiffer's Catwoman and her other cat, Blue was too but he died in 2010 after being attacked by coyotes). Her rescue cat, Lou passed away in 2014. She used to have two lovebirds; Lollipop and Flower. Holly also has four rabbits (Two of them are named Thumper and Jack), and koi fish! She did have a a turtle but she had to re-home of it when she had Finley because of a salmonella risk, so it went to a nice big pond in her friend’s backyard. She also use to have two physically challenged hamsters, one was very fat and one only has 3 legs. The hamsters were once classroom pets of Storm Lyndon's and they went home in the summer break. When she was younger she had a Siberian husky named Wiley, which was given to her by Actor, Don Johnson.
Holly supports many charities. In May 2000, Along with Tangi Miller and Alyson Hannigan, Holly was a spokesperson for a Breast Cancer Awareness campaign for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. Ford Motor company sponsored a Breast Cancer Awareness questionnaire which was a four page brochure featured in Vogue, Glamour, Self, Mademoiselle, and Women's Sports and Fitness magazine to raise awareness about the disease. In 2004 she was also a spokesperson for America Lights Up In Pink And Blue for premature babies. Since 2005, Holly became a spokesperson for Ortho Women's Health which encourages women to visit their gynecologist and feel comfortable talking about issues to their doctor. She was also Austin’s Animal Services spokesperson for the 2011 campaign, "Summer of Love" to encourage animal lovers to foster a dog or a cat. In 2015 she appeared in a 'Boycott SeaWorld' public awareness campaign focusing on the need to boycott SeaWorld to end the suffering of Orcas. Holly also supports the following charities: Children's Defense Fund, Best Friend Animal Sanctuary, March Of Dimes, St Judes, Make A Wish, National Hemophilia Foundation, Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation and The Carroll Center for the Blind.
Holly currently lives in the Bell Canyon area which is located in the San Fernando Valley in California, in a Spanish style, three bedroom house with her many pets and her three sons, Finley Arthur, Riley Edward, and Kelley James. She is currently starring as Ella Montgomery in the ABC Family hit television series, Pretty Little Liars.