Jessica Alba is getting plenty of action these days in different movie genres

Rick Bentley
McClatchy Newspapers (MCT)

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Jessica Alba didn't get a lot of Valentine's Day cards when she was young.

Before you start feeling sorry for the stunning star of "Valentine's Day," her lack of romantic mail was caused by attending 11 different elementary schools.

"I was never really in one place for too long. I was always the new kid," Alba says — joking that many of her classmates didn't know her name and would have had to write "new kid' on the envelope.

Since exploding onto the acting scene in 2000 with the TV series "Dark Angel," Alba's become a marquee regular from "Fantastic Four" to "Good Luck Chuck." Her role in "Valentine's Day" has her playing the love interest to Ashton Kutcher, one of many storylines in the new Garry Marshall movie.

These days, the 28-year-old actress' Valentine is husband Cash Warren. Alba says the couple's 19-month-old daughter makes celebrating a challenge.

"I like to plan things with my husband when we have time to do it," she says. "Frankly, now it's just a nice excuse to go on a date with my husband."

Being a wife and a mom isn't all that keeps Alba busy. She's worked the last few years to land as many different film roles as possible. Along with "Valentine's Day," she has three movies — "Meet the Fockers Sequel," "Machete" and "An Invisible Sign of My Own" — scheduled to be released this year.

"When I first got launched into the spotlight I was on an action TV show and everyone kept telling me I was going to get pigeonholed into this action genre thing," Alba says. "This past year I focused on working with good directors and doing good material. I didn't necessarily want to be the main character in these movies. I just wanted to learn and have fun and explore things I haven't been able to."

What she's discovered is it's a lot harder to do a love scene than a big-action stunt because love scenes require revealing emotions. Despite how she may appear on screen, Alba says she has never been an extremely confident person.

Her confidence has grown in recent years because the roles she's picked have pushed her as an actress.

"Ten years ago, I was more worried about making everyone around me happy and concerned about whether people liked me or not because I was always the new kid," Alba says. "Now I just don't care. I'm really easy going. If hoity-toity Hollywood people don't like me, I don't care. I care about my family mostly, my friends, and that's it."

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