Early life Edit
Heelan was born in Andover, Massachusetts, the daughter of actress and Lowell Public Schools teacher Kimball Heelan and playwright Kevin Heelan. She has a brother named Conor. Heelan's father, as well as being a dramatist, has been a faculty member at Phillips Andover Academy since 1983. Her parents met when her father was getting his Master's degree at Smith College.
Heelan attended Walnut Hill School for the Arts and studied for a year at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, before transferring to the University of Southern California.
Heelan initially thought she was going to be in musical theatre. She first met her Ground Floor co-star, Skylar Astin, at a musical theatre convention.
Heelan's break-out TV role was on Cougar Town. She is credited as being a recurring character on Undateable and appears in three episodes plus the pilot. She was able to shoot both Bill Lawrence-helmed Ground Floor and Undateable simultaneously because both comedies are multi-camera, which require fewer production days than single-camera shows.
On Heelan's role in Ground Floor, TV critic Alan Sepinwall said Heelan is "simply terrific as Jenny: warm and quirky while always feeling like a strong and independent character". The Los Angeles Times said Heelan "makes Ground Floor watchable", describing her as "remarkably alive and in the moment; she makes real all that she touches. I could easily recommend tuning in just to watch her work – and hereby do."
Personal life Edit
Heelan currently lives in Los Angeles, California.
On her unusual name, she said, "It's an Irish name. In fact, my last name was O'Heelahan back in the day. And Briga, I read somewhere, is some pagan Celtic goddess, which sounds great, so I really like saying that. But I was named after my grandmother's best friend, who was Irish and came from Dublin."
Briga began dating singer Martin Johnson in 2009. They both attended Andover High School.
On October 16, 2014, Heelan became engaged to her Ground Floor co-star Rene Gube. They were married on May 8, 2015. On October 31, 2016, it was announced they were expecting their first child, a daughter, due in March 2017. Heelan gave birth to their daughter Bennet Alejandra Gube on March 23, 2017.