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Son of director Stephen Gyllenhaal and screenwriter Naomi Foner. Younger brother of Maggie Gyllenhaal. His godmother is Jamie Lee Curtis and godfather is Paul Newman. He received his first driving lesson from Newman.

Graduated Harvard-Westlake (private) high school. (1998)

Is of Swedish (noble) and Russian-Jewish descent.

His fans refer to themselves as "Gyllenhaalics".

Sister Maggie Gyllenhaal introduced him to Kirsten Dunst. Both Kirsten and Maggie appeared in Mona Lisa Smile (2003). Jake and Kirsten dated, but broke up in July 2004.

He was awarded the 2002 London Evening Standard Theate Award for Outstanding Newcomer for his performance in This is Our Youth at the Garrick Theatre in London, England.

Was set to play Spiderman in Spider-Man 2 (2004) due to complications with Tobey Maguire. While he was preparing for the role, Maguire was back as Spiderman.

Attended high school with "Freaks and Geeks" (1999) star Jason Segel.

Was named one of People Magazine's 50 Hottest Bachelors (2004).

Is close friends with Natalie Portman and Bryce Dallas Howard.

Went to elementary school with band members of Maroon 5.

His favorite book is To Kill a Mockingbird, and he has two dogs, Atticus and Boo named after the novel's main characters.

Before success as an actor, he worked as a lifeguard. He never had any life-saving incidents, but did perform one lesser rescue. A swimmer had been stung on the leg by a jellyfish, and Gyllenhaal helped relieve the pain of the stings by urinating on the swimmer's leg.

Although they broke up in July 2004, he and Kirsten Dunst still have an on and off relationship.

Gained five pounds of muscle for his role in Jarhead (2005).

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