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Anderson recalled: "First of all, I swore I'd never move to Los Angeles, and once I did, I swore I'd never do television.
It was only after being out of work for almost a year that I began going in [to auditions] on some stuff that I would pray that I wouldn't get because I didn't want to be involved in it." As a result of this guest appearance, Anderson was sent the script for The X-Files.
After Anderson became famous, the brewery named one of their beers after her – a Belgian Style Farmhouse Ale, simply called "Gillian". Her brother Aaron – who was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis – died in 2011 of a brain tumor, at the age of 30.
Aaron was a DJ, a mentor, and a practicing Buddhist.
She is an honorary spokesperson for the Neurofibromatosis Network and a co-founder of South African Youth Education for Sustainability (SAYes).
Anderson was appointed an honorary Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2016 for her services to drama.
After beginning her career on stage, Anderson achieved international recognition for her role as FBI Special Agent Dana Scully on the American sci-fi drama series The X-Files.
Her film work includes the dramas The Mighty Celt (2005), The Last King of Scotland (2006), Shadow Dancer (2012), Viceroy's House (2017) and two X-Files films: The X-Files: Fight the Future (1998) and The X-Files: I Want to Believe (2008).
Although she had once vowed she would never do television work, being out of work for a year changed her mind.Aside from film and television, Anderson has taken on the stage and received both awards and critical acclaim.Her stage work includes Absent Friends (1991) – for which she won a Theatre World Award for Best Newcomer, A Doll's House (2009) – that earned her a Laurence Olivier Award nomination, and a portrayal of Blanche Du Bois in A Streetcar Named Desire (2014, 2016) – for which she won the Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Actress and received her second Laurence Olivier Award nomination for Best Actress.At an early age Anderson was interested in marine biology, but after becoming interested in theatre during her teenage years, she began acting in high school productions during her first year and later in community theatre.To support herself financially during her student years, she worked at the Goose Island Brewpub in Chicago.