Lilly was born in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, Canada, to a devoutly Evangelical Christian family. Her father is an economics teacher, and her mother is a beauty consultant. Lilly also has two sisters. Her youngest sister, Andrea, has been described by Evangeline as "the actor in the family" During her childhood, the family did not have a television.
Before leaving the town of Fort Saskatchewan she briefly attended three elementary schools, Fort Elementary, Rudolph Henning and James Mowat Elementary. During a phone interview with the local paper, The Record, Lilly was quoted saying, "When I was a kid, the Fort was tiny. I could ride my bike at five years old from one end of town to the other ... To me Fort Saskatchewan holds a lot of really great memories. I just consider it a little happy hideaway."
Lilly served briefly as a foreign missionary and lived in a grass hut in the Philippines. She was offered permanent missionary work there for two years, an offer she nearly accepted but eventually declined because of her parents' wishes. Lilly was a flight attendant with Royal Airlines, and speaks French fairly well. She also worked at Green Bay Bible Camp near Kelowna and at Earls Restaurant in Abbotsford, B.C.
Lilly was discovered on the streets of Kelowna, British Columbia, by Ford modeling agency. Although she initially decided to pass on a modeling career, she went ahead and signed with Ford anyway, to help pay for her University of British Columbia tuition and expenses. Despite being signed to Ford Models, she was never actually a fashion model, working instead with their acting branch.
She was previously featured in several provocative television commercials for LiveLinks Chatline, a service billed as the "best place to meet local singles for dating, friendship, or phone chat"; her image is still used to promote the service. She also appeared on G4's Judgment Day. She appeared uncredited in the 2003 film Freddy vs. Jason as a high-school girl leaning against a locker, and in several episodes of Smallville as an extra. She also had a guest appearance on the ABC supernatural horror series Kingdom Hospital (2004). Lilly's first speaking role was on Lost. She also appeared in the 2003 teenager film The Lizzie McGuire Movie as an (uncredited) Italian police officer.
When Lilly was cast as Kate in Lost, her main concern was acquiring a work visa to enter the United States. With production literally days away and no news about the visa, casting directors were forced to grudgingly begin re-casting the role of Kate. After nearly 20 auditions, Lilly's work visa was approved/cleared but she arrived on set a day late.
Her salary in 2004 for Lost was $80,000 per episode. On the heels of her role in Lost, she was voted one of the Breakout Stars of 2004 by Entertainment Weekly. Although Lilly placed 13th in the FHM "100 Sexiest Women in the World" of 2006 and initially placed 2nd on Maxim's "Hot 100" list of 2005, she slipped to 67th in Maxim's 2006 list. On December 14, 2006, Lilly was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Lead Actress-Drama. Action figures of Lilly's Lost character were released during the holiday season of 2006.
Once she has finished filming Lost, Lilly plans to stop acting and pursue a career as a humanitarian worker; however she has not ruled out returning to TV at some point in the future.
Lilly was once married to Canadian hockey player Murray Hone. Since 2004 she has dated her Lost co-star, Dominic Monaghan. Her fellow Lost actor Josh Holloway also calls her "Freckles", sharing the nickname his on-screen character Sawyer gave her. She is also known on set for being a tomboy, her Christian faith, and for having a "potty mouth".
Lilly has stated that she "live[s] in a bubble", specifying that she is not familiar with popular culture and does not watch television or own a TV set. She has also said that she would not appear in a nude scene or perform in sexual scenes that she would consider "gratuitous".
On May 9, 2007, Episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live, Evangeline Lilly described her deep need to leave her home town after her high school graduation. She did much travelling at this point in her life, moving from town to town approximately every six months. She stated that in each town she took on a persona; for example, she would decide in one town to take on the role of a "nerdy bookworm" and in another, a ditzy "cheerleader" type. She has jokingly stated that, as such, she would frequently date different men.
Lilly has also used her celebrity status to help promote Just Yell Fire, a video aimed at teaching teenage girls how to defend themselves against rapists. During the summer break between the first and second seasons of Lost, Lilly spent time visiting the poor in Rwanda.
On December 20, 2006, Lilly's house in Kailua, Hawaii, was completely destroyed by fire while she was on the Lost set with one of her two roommates, both of whom work as her stand-ins on the show. The second roommate was off-island at the time of the blaze, which occurred on the final day of shooting before the show’s holiday break. The cause of the fire was an electrical problem.
-Nominated for a 2007 Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Drama. (Lost)
-Won a 2007 Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble Cast in a Drama Series ('Lost)
-Nominated for a 2005 Satellite Award for Best Actress in a Drama. (Lost)
-Nominated for a 2006 National Television Award for Most Popular Actress. (Lost)
-Nominated for a 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 Academy of Science Fiction,Fantasy and Horror Film Award for Best Actress on Television. (Lost)
-Currently nominated for a 2010 Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture (The Hurt Locker)
The Lizzie McGuire Movie
Freddy vs. Jason
The Long Weekend
The Hurt Locker