Jacoba Francisca Maria Smulders (born April 3, 1982) is a Canadian actress. She is best known for her starring role as Robin Scherbatsky in the CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother (2005–2014) and as S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Maria Hill in the Marvel Cinematic Universe superhero films The Avengers (2012), Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), Avengers: Infinity War (2018), Avengers: Endgame (2019), and Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019), as well as several guest appearances on ABC's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Smulders' other film roles include Safe Haven (2013), They Came Together (2014), Results (2015), and Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (2016). She starred as Dex Parios in the ABC crime drama series Stumptown (2019).
Smulders was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, to a Dutch father and a British mother. She was raised in White Rock, British Columbia and later moved to the affluent West Point Grey neighborhood to attend high school at Lord Byng Secondary School. She was named after her great-aunt, from whom she gained the nickname "Cobie". Smulders describes herself as "a fluent listener" of French. She has four sisters. Smulders was also a member of the Girl Guides of Canada as a child, participating as a Brownie (Girl Guide program for 7-10 year olds).
Smulders worked in modelling, which she later said she "kind of hated", adding that the experience made her hesitant about pursuing acting as a career: "You know you go into these rooms, and I've had the experience of people judging you physically for so long and I was over that. But then it was like, 'Oh no, I have to actually perform. I have to do well, and I have to have a voice, and I have to have thoughts now.'"
In her youth, Smulders aspired to be a marine biologist. She took an interest in theatre throughout high school and briefly studied at the University of Victoria before returning to acting."
Smulders' first acting role was as a guest in the Showtime science fiction series Jeremiah; she subsequently made multiple appearances on television, including a recurring role on The L Word. Her first role as a series regular was in the short-lived ABC series Veritas: The Quest, which ran for one season. After the cancellation of Veritas, Smulders was cast as television reporter Robin Scherbatsky on the CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother in 2005. The show continued for nine seasons, winning 10 Emmy Awards. In June 2010, Smulders made her off-Broadway debut in Love, Loss, and What I Wore at the Westside Theatre.
Smulders played Maria Hill in the 2012 film The Avengers. She received training from a Los Angeles SWAT team trainer to handle guns in order to portray the character. Smulders has since reprised the role in three episodes of the television series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and in the films Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), Avengers: Infinity War (2018), Avengers: Endgame (2019), and Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019).
In 2013, Smulders had a supporting role in the romance film Safe Haven. She also starred in the comedy-drama Delivery Man and They Came Together. Smulders did voice a Lego version of Wonder Woman in the 2014 animated film The Lego Movie. It was the first time the Wonder Woman character had a theatrical film appearance. In July 2015, it was reported that Smulders had exited the made-for-TV film Confirmation because she had broken her leg; Zoe Lister-Jones was then confirmed to replace her in the role of Harriet Grant.
In 2016, she appeared in the comedy-drama The Intervention and the action adventure film Jack Reacher: Never Go Back opposite Tom Cruise. In 2017, she played the recurring character "Mother" in the Netflix series A Series of Unfortunate Events. From 2017 to 2019, she starred in the Netflix original series, Friends from College, in the main role of Lisa Turner. She currently stars as Dexedrine "Dex" Parios, a PTSD-stricken military veteran turned private detective, in the ABC crime drama Stumptown, which premiered on September 25, 2019.
Smulders became engaged to Taran Killam in January 2009 after meeting him at a mutual friend's party four years prior. They married on September 8, 2012, in Solvang, California. The couple resides in Pacific Palisades, California. They have two daughters: the first, Shaelyn, born in May 2009, and the second born in January 2015.
In 2015, Smulders revealed she had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer at age 25, while shooting season three of How I Met Your Mother in 2007. She had surgery to remove two tumors from her ovaries, but the cancer had spread to her lymph nodes, resulting in the need for multiple operations over the course of two years. In August 2019, Smulders revealed she is in remission.
Smulders filmed a public service announcement with Oceana, an international ocean-conservation organization, in 2014. In May 2020, she released a clip parodying "Let's Go to the Mall", a song her character performed on How I Met Your Mother, titled "Let's All Stay At Home", to encourage the public to enforce COVID-19 lockdowns. Smulders also encouraged fans to donate to Save the Children, Canada Helps, and the Daily Bread Food Bank amidst the pandemic.