At the age of thirteen, Catherine was first coached in acting by the British movie star Richard Burton, who was engaged to her mother at the time. She later studied with Stanley Zaraff and with Joanne Baron, who taught the Meisner technique.
Catherine went to junior schools in London, then at the age of fifteen she returned to the US to go to St Paul's, a smart prep school in Concord, New Hampshire. After that, she deferred the offer of a place at Harvard and later continued her education at Columbia, where she studied philosophy, psychology and mythology.
Catherine has a younger sister, called Christina Oxenberg, who is a writer. She also has a half-brother, Nicholas Balfour.
In 2004, Catherine's mother ran as a presidential candidate in her home country, Serbia, under the name Jelisaveta Karadjordjevic.
In July 1998, Catherine was briefly married to the film producer Robert Evans - they were married and divorced in less than two weeks.
Catherine is a direct descendant of Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia.
She is an old flame of U.S. Senator John Kerry, who was the Democratic Party's presidential candidate in 2004.
Catherine turned down a proposal of marriage by her cousin Prince Andrew, Duke of York, the second son of Queen Elizabeth II.
She has three daughters, India Oxenberg (born 1991), Maya van Dien (2001) and Celeste Alma van Dien (2003).