The Canadian former model burst onto the movie scene in 1995 sci-fi ‘Species’, but what do you do after playing a homicidal, nymphomaniac alien?
Teased as a kid because of her height – she’s 5’10” – Henstridge got her own back on the bullies when she won a modelling contest aged 14 and found herself in Paris on the cover of French Cosmopolitan a year later.
But appearing in adverts wasn’t challenging enough and the Newfoundland-born-Canada-raised 20-year-old started doing movie auditions – ‘Species’ was one of the first.
The story of an alien hybrid called Sil who breaks out of her laboratory prison and goes on a murderous rampage in order to get pregnant, the film was a sleeper hit, earning £85million worldwide. Henstridge was a star and a sex symbol, the latter partly thanks to the film’s frequent nudity.
Avoiding a sophomore slump can be difficult, but Henstridge probably made a mistake by hoping that appearing in a film with two Jean-Claude Van Dammes would be a winning ticket. 1996’s ‘Maximum Risk’ was a bust and her career stalled, especially after a badly-received ‘Species’ follow-up in 1998.
To be fair, she acknowledged an inability to judge the quality of a script in an interview with Empire at the time, admitting she turned down ‘Independence Day’ and ‘Men in Black’ because she didn’t think they were any good.
Having divorced her first husband, ‘Street Fighter’ star Daman Chapa, after an abortive one year marriage in 1996, she got together with actor Liam Waite and in the same year as ‘Species II’, Henstridge gave birth to the couple’s first son Tristan.
But while her personal life was thriving, good work was hard to come by. Even ‘Bounce’, seemingly a sure thing with then-lovebirds Ben Affleck and Gwyneth Paltrow and directed by Don Roos (‘The Opposite of Sex’), was a flop.
A return to sci-fi with John Carpenter’s ‘Ghosts of Mars’ was just as bad.
The lone filmographic bright spot in that period was 2000’s ‘The Whole Nine Yards’, a witty action comedy co-starring Matthew Perry and Bruce Willis in which Henstridge played a gangster’s moll.
Marrying a Pop Idol
Having had another son with Waite in 2001, the couple split in 2004 and Henstridge’s next relationship came as a bit of shock, especially to Brits.
Cocky Scottish ‘Pop Idol’ contestant Darius Campbell, aka that guy with the ponytail who used by the surname Danesh, was in Los Angeles when he bumped into the actress at a pedestrian crossing. They hit it off and he eventually became a de factor stepfather to her children, but the couple’s partnership wasn’t entirely smooth. They broke up in 2010, only to get married on Valentine’s Day the following year before filing for divorce in July 2013.
Darius blamed the initial split on trying to maintain love long-distance.
“I was doing ‘Chicago’ and would fly from London at 1a.m. on a Sunday morning, arriving in Los Angeles at 4p.m. that afternoon then having five or six hours with Natasha before getting on the Sunday night flight to be back for my Monday night performance,” he told the Daily Record.
Things might be back on track though – just last month, paparazzi snapped them looking cosy on the streets of London.
Henstridge has admitted that she damaged her body with diet pills and yo-yo dieting in a bid to stay Hollywood thin, but soon realised it wasn’t worth the effort.
While she’s maintained a big-screen presence in films like ‘Deception’ opposite Hugh Jackman and 2016’s ‘Raging Bull’ sequel ‘The Bronx Bull’, she’s found most of her success on the small screen in shows like political drama ‘Commander in Chief’, YA witchfest ‘The Secret Circle’ and the ‘Charlie’s Angels’-esque ‘She Spies’.
She also does a healthy business in telly movies such as ‘Widow on the Hill’ and this year’s ‘Ice Girls’.
Now 42, she’s sanguine about her sexy debut.
“The fact I’m here…still talking about that role, is mind-boggling to me. I’ve got a sort of little legacy built there,” she said. “There are things involved in being remembered for a particular role that people have a hard time letting go of. And when it comes to making other projects that can be tough. It’s also very flattering in a way.”
Image credits: Getty, Rex_Shutterstock, PA, UPN