Things you never knew about Pauley Perrette

She starred in of the biggest shows on network television, but how well do you really know Pauley Perrette, the actress who played forensic specialist Abby Sciuto on NCIS for 15 seasons? We've rounded up some interesting facts that might surprise you.

She's a natural blonde

Perrette is arguably best known for her NCIS character's signature black hair; however the New Orleans-born actress is actually a natural blonde. For years, Perrette dyed her hair black to maintain her character's look; however, in a 2014 interview with Extra, Perrette revealed she's acquired an allergy to black hair dye. The solution? "I have black hair spray in my hair and we're trying to figure it out," she revealed. "We're trying to figure out an organic thing." Good luck.

She's a really good baker

Perrette is the co-owner of the New York City bakery Donna Bell's Bake Shop. The Southern-style bake shop opened in 2011 with the help of Perrette's best friends and co-owners, Darren Greenblatt and Matthew Sandusky. According to the bakery's website, Perrette—who co-released the cookbook, Donna Bell's Bake Shop, in 2015—will on special occasions "pop in unannounced and work behind the counter." Which probably means "never."

She had a rough marriage

Perrette's first and only marriage—to musician and DJ Francis 'Coyote' Shivers—ended dramatically and disastrously in 2004 when the couple decided to split. In 2005, Perrette sought and obtained a restraining order against Shivers, which he subsequently violated twice in 2009 and again in 2015. He served time in jail for each violation, according to tabloid reports. Throughout their split, Perrette and Shivers have been in and out of court multiple times, due to various accusations.

She's a great singer, too

Perrette used to be the lead singer of the LA grunge rock band Lo-Ball, which was sort of like Hole meets Orgy. A quick search of the band on YouTube and you'll find such fascinating songs as "Lipstick & Aspirin" and "Uncomplicated." They were also featured on the soundtrack to the 2001 hit movie, Legally Blonde with their song "Can't Get Me Down." Perrette subsequently recorded other songs, one of which was featured on an episode of NCIS, natch.

She appeared in every episode of NCIS for 15 seasons

Talk about commitment. Along with co-stars Mark Harmon and Michael Weatherly, Perrette has appeared in every, single episode of NCIS since its premier in 2003 through her departure in Season 15. For those keeping score at home: that's hundreds of episodes. Along the way, she's developed a huge fan base among TV audiences. She's consistently been the top-rated female actress on television, according to the ever-popular Q Score. At one point, she was even rated as high as Tom Hanks and Morgan Freeman in terms of popularity.

She was attacked by a homeless man

In early November 2015, Perrette was physically assaulted and threatened by a homeless man outside her home in Hollywood Hills, Calif. Shortly after the incident, Perrette described the event on Twitter, writing that the homeless man allegedly "grabbed me so forcefully, pinned my arm, punched me in the nose [and] forehead [...] repeatedly telling me he was going to kill me." She went on to describe the incident as "life changing." The accused, David Merck, 45, was subsequently charged with felony counts of making a criminal threat and false imprisonment by violence.

She was accosted a second time

In February 2016 — only a few months after she was attacked by a homeless man outside of her own home — she took to Twitter to share the news she had been attacked again by another homeless person. According to her terrifying account, she was sitting in a row of cars at a stop light when she pulled out a dollar bill to give to the man, who was asking for money from drivers. She waved him over and when she did, he grabbed her wrist, leaned into her car, and demanded to know what time it was.

"He was in my car and I was scared," she wrote on Twitter. "I looked at my dashboard and first said, 'I rebuke you satan in the name of Jesus Christ,' Then said to him, 'It's 5:37.' He held my wrist for a moment, then released and left. I have a tactical knife and a taser in my car next to me, but I thought about that dollar to give him first. Did not arm myself."

She also wrote that it's a learning process, and that she is more aware than ever that she needs to be smart, safe, and giving, all at the same time. "I am learning," she added at the end of the post.

She refused to marry her fiance until gay marriage was legal

When Perrette announced her engagement to actor and former British Marine Thomas Arklie, she also announced that they wouldn't be getting married until everyone else had the right to marry, too. Fox News reported on Perrette's response when the Supreme Court finally ruled in favor of gay marriage, quoting her as saying, "We have been engaged for four years because we worked for a federal, marriage-equality law, and Friday was the strangest day. My life as a civil rights activist and as a straight ally has been marching, speaking, donating, marching, donating, speaking, marching, speaking, rally, holding poster signs, and then it was over. It was so weird."

That was in July 2015, and one thing that Perrette and her husband-to-be didn't do was rush to set their own date. She also told Fox that while the ruling was a huge step in the right direction and that she was ecstatic to see her gay friends finally tying the knot, they still had a long way to go to get the equality they were working for.

Perrette has been a longtime ally, and only a few months before the ruling she was on the blue carpet for the 2015 GLAAD Media Awards. When she stopped to chat with After Ellen, she was asked if she had been the target of any hate for her support of the LGBT community. Perrette said, "Absolutely," adding, "I'm proud of it. [...] When I get hit up on Twitter by extremely bigoted people, or extremely bigoted organizations, I'm so proud of myself because I know that I'm doing the right thing. And then I think, who would I be if they liked me? I would be someone I couldn't, shouldn't be around."

She was incredibly broken up about Michael Weatherly's last days on NCIS

When Michael Weatherly left NCIS for the season finale, it was the end of 13 years of working together. While there's a ton of stories about drama behind the scenes and actors hating each other on popular shows, that absolutely was not the case on the long-running crime drama.

Perrette tweeted, "Been shooting #NCIS season 13 finale. Don't know when I've cried this much in a long time." Only an hour later, it was followed by, "My brother. @M_Weatherly Today… just in rehearsal. Tears. This #NCIS episode is amazing. I LOVE YOU MAN!"

As if there was any doubt about just how the exit of Weatherly's character was going to impact her — and the entire show — she also posted a heartfelt goodbye (coupled with a warm welcome for newcomer Duane Henry). She wrote, "I know you all love DiNozzo, but I don't think ANYONE loves him and Michael more than me. He is my brother, my love, my heart."

She's a vocal advocate for the homeless

Two months after she was attacked outside of her home, she was back on the streets volunteering with the Los Angeles Police Department. They were trying to get an accurate number of just how many homeless people were living on the city's streets, in hopes of helping the city put together a plan that would allow for the construction of affordable housing for those who are in need.

CNN reported that Perrette's efforts go beyond that, as she walked the streets and not only reassured people they were trying to get them the funding they desperately need to make a change, but visiting those she's come to know. One of those is Raquel, a woman who refuses to leave her spot on the sidewalk, believing she's waiting for her family, long gone. Perrette does what she can, and even though her repeated attempts at getting Raquel off the street failed — she refuses to leave, terrified she's going to miss her family's attempts to find her — she stops by for a hug and moral support.

"They are our brothers and sisters," Perette told CNN. "They all are."

After the man who attacked her was arrested and charged with felony assault, Perrette showed nothing but compassion for him. "My heart broke for him," she wrote (via E! Online). "My tears that night were for him. I had looked into his eyes. There was nothing there. It seemed like his soul and his humanity were gone. He was out on the street without resources. It was a consequence of our failure as a society to take care of our mentally ill and impaired homeless community."

She cherishes her southern roots

At heart, Perette is a southern girl. She spoke to Wane about her childhood growing up in the south, and made it clear that her roots are something that she still treasures. Born in New Orleans, she says that her family moved 13 times, with her father's piece of Alabama property being the only real, regular "solid home base that we've ever had."

For the interview, Perrette wore a flannel shirt that she says has been kicking around her family since her dad's youth, something that she's kept as a physical reminder of where she came from, along with pictures of her father wearing the same shirt.

Growing up, she said that she had never thought about heading to California for a life in front of the camera, and according to Perrette, it was a complete accident. "My dad is a firefighter and as are all my cousins, and I am incredibly proud of that. But this is all me being out here, and it's a total accident and it's really strange. I am the only person in my family that's in the entertainment industry. And I studied sociology, psychology and criminal science in school, so this was just a complete accident."

She credits (at least, in part) her southern upbringing for her interest in civil and human rights. Growing up in an area on the front lines of the civil rights movement, she says she was always deeply impacted by the words and work of Martin Luther King, Jr., and still cites him as a major inspiration for all she does.

She's a huge animal rights advocate

Perrette isn't just spending her precious spare time helping humans; she's helping animals, too. In 2016, she was at the head of a worldwide event organized by the Helen Woodward Animal Center. The event, which was celebrated by animal rescue organizations across the globe, was September 22's 4th Annual Remember Me Thursday, on which animal lovers were encouraged to light a candle for and share stories about the animals who have touched their lives.

In the event's press release (via Life with Dogs), Perrette said, "It is so important that we give homeless animals loving forever homes. We save them, but they end up saving us. The greatest joys I've experienced in my life have been from my rescued pets."

Perrette has shared her home with not just rescue animals, but special needs and senior pets, too. In addition to her senior dog Little Joe and Cece, a rat terrier mix who had suffered brain damage, she was the long-time mom to several cats who lived to the ripe old ages of 20-plus. According to what she told People at the American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards, "I'll tell you the secret: it's because I talk to them all the time," she says of her long-lived pets. "I really think it's talking to them all the time and giving them that kind of love. They want to stay."

In 2013, she went the extra mile in helping law enforcement dogs stay around a little while longer, too. For her birthday, she asked friends, family and fans to donate to Kevlar for K9's, an organization that supplies law enforcement and military dogs with Kevlar vests. Her tweets got more than 440,000 responses.

Some of her on-screen tattoos are fake, but she has plenty of real ones

Part of Abby's on-screen persona isn't just her black hair, but it's her very visible tattoos. According to Parade Magazine, the distinctive spiderweb on her neck is fake, as is the cross on her back. Some of her real tattoos still make it into the show, though, and she has so many that she's lost track of just what the current number is. When asked about her favorite, she said it's a simple one on the ring finger of her left hand. "I have the numbers 12:21. That's my favorite Bible verse, Romans 12:21, which is, 'Don't be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.' That's my favorite one and I look at it every day. That's my mantra."

Perrette is always adding to her collection of tattoos, too. In 2015, she tweeted her thoughts on a new addition, the words "RIGHT NOW" inked onto her wrist. "To remind me that past and future fears don't matter. Just Right Now matters," she wrote.

She's relied on her faith

It's not surprising that her favorite tattoo is one that refers to a Bible verse, as Perrette credits her faith with getting her through a lot in life — including the 2015 attack. A few days after the attack, E! Online reported that she had headed to church to find comfort with her congregation. Perrette attends the Hollywood United Methodist Church, and after her visit to the church she tweeted, "So so so good to be at church today."

In 2011, she talked to the United Methodist Church on just how her faith has developed. She said that even though there were times when she didn't go to church, that her faith had always been strong enough to get her through the toughest times and through the toughest decisions. Not only does she spend time talking to God, but, "It's like a conversation, it really is," she says. When she found Hollywood Methodist, she says that she knew she was in the right place. "[...] the faces at the church and in the congregation are every size and shape and color and type, everyone coming together here. And it's so beautiful and I thought, you know, I think that's what God wants Heaven to look like."