- Both her parents died from heart attacks before her mid-twenties.
- Aspired to be a painter until she discovered acting in college.
- Studied acting at the Drama Studio London.
- A spokesperson for the charity Operation Smile, she traveled to numerous countries (including Vietnam and Honduras) to help children prepare for facial-deformity surgery.
- Drawing from her experiences as a single mom, she wrote a children's book called Love Is a Family that was published in 2001.
- Touched by an Angel costar Della Reese (an ordained minister) officiated at her 2007 wedding to TV reality mogul Mark Burnett.
- 1997, Emmy — Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series: Nominee
- 1999, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Drama: Nominee
- 1998, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Drama: Nominee
- 2013, Emmy — Outstanding Miniseries or Movie: Nominee
- 1998, Emmy — Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series: Nominee
- John Downey — Brother
- Maureen O'Reilly Downey — Mother
- Leland Orser — Ex-husband
- Reilly Marie Anspaugh — Daughter
- Patrick Downey — Father
- Mark Burnett — Husband
- David Anspaugh — Ex-husband
- James Burnett — Stepson
- Cameron Burnett — Stepson
- Lawrence Downey — Brother
- Attended Brighton College of Art, Brighton, England
- Birth Place: Derry, Northern Ireland
- Profession: Actor