Tiffani-Amber Thiessen was born on January 23, 1974 in Long Beach, California. Her father, Frank, was a park designer and her mother, Robyn, was a homemaker. Tiffani grew up in Long Beach with her parents as the middle sister to her two brothers, Todd and Schuyler. She is of Welsh, German, Greek and Turkish descent, and goes by the nickname Tiff.
Tiffani was eight when her screenwriter/actor uncle, Roger Ernest, convinced her to try modeling. Tiffani went on to win several beauty pageants. After hitting it big in 1987 with her being crowned 'Miss Junior America', she also turned to acting. In 1988 she tied with another girl, Tiffany Weber, for the crown of Teen Magazine's 'Great Model Search'. Then the next year in 1989, Tiffani was named Cover Girl Magazine's 'Model of the Year'.
Tiffani first appeared in a TV commercial for the Peaches and Cream Barbie Doll. She got her acting break in 1989 when she landed the role of 'Kelly Kapowski' on Saved by the Bell. This role as the squeaky clean popular cheerleader lasted 5 years. Tiffani attended Valley Professional High School, and was crowned Valedictorian in 1992.
After Saved by the Bell Tiffani was looking for a different kind of character. In 1994 a new Tiffani arrived on the scene. She had a whole new look, including shorter hair and breast implants. Tiffani then landed the role as the sexy vixen 'Valerie Malone', on Beverly Hills, 90210. This time instead of the preppy and cheerful cheerleader, Tiffani played a blackmailing and corrupt vixen that knew what she wanted and would stop at nothing to get it. Tiffani's character ended up sleeping with every male on the show, and becoming rivals with every female. During the time of this show, Tiffani also acted in many television movies, and also a small role alongside Pauly Shore in the 1993 comedy Son in Law. Still trying to surpass her former role as wholesome Kelly on Saved by the Bell, Tiffani posed nude several times in both Veronica and New Look magazines.
In 1998 Tiffani left her role on Beverly Hills, 90210, to pursue a career in movies. Two independent 1999 films, Speedway Junky and Love Stinks followed. Then she tried her comedy skills alongside Woody Allen in his 2002 movie Hollywood Ending. Tiffani was offered a role on Charmed to replace her former Beverly Hills, 90210 colleague Shannen Doherty, but turned it down. In 2000 Tiffani featured in the music video You're a God by Vertical Horizon and in 2003 she featured in a McDonald's commercial that aired during the Academy Awards. In between TV-movies Tiffani had recurring roles in Two Guys and a Girl, Good Morning, Miami and What About Brian. When Tiffani starred on Fastlane, she acted along side her best friend, Jennie Garth's real life husband Peter Facinelli. Tiffani was one of the former teen stars seen on Child Star Confidential: TV Princesses: 2006 and she was also #43 on VH1's 100 Greatest Teen Stars countdown the same year. In 2009 she landed the role of 'Elizabeth Burke' on White Collar.
In reality, Tiffani thought that her Saved by the Bell co-star Mark-Paul Gosselaar was very annoying and immature. They dated once, but soon split up. He was also the one that taught her how to smoke at the age of 16. In addition to Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Tiffani also briefly dated her other Saved by the Bell co-star, Mario Lopez, during production. She lived with Beverly Hills, 90210 co-star, Brian Austin Green, for several years. The two were also romantically linked together at one time. Tiffani was also romantically linked to David Strickland at the time of his death. Tiffani became engaged to actor Richard Ruccolo in October 2001, but broke off the engagement in April of 2003.
Tiffani married actor Brady Smith on Saturday, July 9th 2005, at a private estate in Montecito, California. Three of her former Beverly Hills, 90210 co-stars attended her wedding; Jason Priestley, Tori Spelling and Lindsay Price. Vera Wang designed her wedding dress.