Born in Chicago, IL, Morrison was raised in nearby Arlington Heights, attending Prospect High School where her father also taught and served as band director. During her adolescent and teen years, Morrison worked frequently as a print model in local and national campaigns, including the cover of Sports Illustrated for Kids. She went on to study theater at Loyola University, graduating in just three years, and trained at the prestigious Steppenwolf Theatre Company before pursuing an acting career in earnest. Audiences first glimpsed her talents when the 15-year-old Morrison appeared in the romantic drama "Intersection" (1994) as the daughter of leads Richard Gere and Sharon Stone. Her expressive face was put to excellent use in the underrated thriller "Stir of Echoes" (1999), in which she played a missing young girl who haunts Kevin Bacon in a string of psychic visions. Her first lead came only a year later in "Urban Legends: Final Cut" (2000), the glum semi-sequel to "Urban Legends" (1998). As a student filmmaker investigating a string of serial murders, Morrison acquitted herself well to the stalk-and-slash genre as many young, attractive actresses had before.For the next few years, Morrison changed gears, working steadily in television and independent film. Among her more notable turns was a string of appearances in 2001 as Joshua Jackson's girlfriend on "Dawson's Creek." She also endeared herself to teenage boys everywhere as an attractive girl with flawless skating chops in the inane teen comedy, "Grind," (2003). The following year, Morrison turned up as herself on her friend Ashlee Simpson's reality series, "The Ashlee Simpson Show," (MTV, 2004), before finally graduating to mature parts in major features; first as the stuffy girlfriend of a wayward businessman (Ben Affleck) in the misbegotten comedy, "Surviving Christmas" (2004), followed more successfully by a turn as an efficient assassin in the notorious comedy thriller, "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" (2005). That same year, she unknowingly signed on to a quirky medical drama that became a surprise hit and would thrust her fully into the public eye, changing her life and career forever.Like all of the characters on "House M.D.," Morrison's Dr. Cameron had an underlying current of sadness running below her professional demeanor. Over the course of the first season, she revealed that she married while in college, but lost her spouse to cancer. This loss would leave her with an exceptional knack for empathy towards others, but also a great deal of confusion and longing in regard to her own heart. She pursued the cantankerous Dr. House (Hugh Laurie) to no avail during the first season, before bedding fellow doctor Robert Chase (Jesse Spencer) after plunging into depression over possible exposure to HIV-tainted blood. She also frequently butted heads with House over his approach to patients and doctoring in general, being one of the few on staff at Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital who had the nerve to stand up to him. By the third season, Dr. Cameron appeared to have gotten a more solid grasp on her emotions but House was still able to get his way in regard to her by playing the love card.Off-screen, Morrison was romantically linked to "House" co-star Spencer since their show's inception, but was reluctant to discuss the relationship in the press, especially when tabloid paparazzi began staking out the couple while at lunch or running errands. Obviously not spending enough time together on set or at home, the pair also appeared together in an independent feature, "Flourish" (2006), which Morrison co-produced and starred in as a troubled young woman in a psychiatric ward who recounts the disappearance of a girl she was baby-sitting. The busy actress was also featured in the cast of "Big Stan" (2007), a comedy which marked comedian Rob Schneider's directorial debut. On the personal front, Morrison and Spencer were engaged in late 2006 atop the Eiffel Tower in Paris, only to call off the pending nuptials in mid 2007. They continued their respective stints on "House," though Morrison's character was written off in 2009 during the show's sixth season. Despite her final episode airing in November 2009, Morrison remained uncertain whether or not her character would return as a guest star. Meanwhile, she made further strides in features, playing the mother of James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) during the opening scene of J.J. Abram's "Star Trek" (2009) reboot. In 2010, Morrison joined the cast of "How I Met Your Mother" (CBS, 2005-14), playing an activist defending the destruction of a historical building who dates Ted (Josh Radnor) for a spell. In her first leading role on a series, Morrison played Emma Swan, a bounty hunter caught between reality and the fantasy world of Storybrooke on the fairy tale-drama hybrid "Once Upon a Time" (ABC, 2011-).