- Daughter of producer/director Joseph Cates.
- Niece of producer/director Gilbert Cates.
- Godmother was Jacqueline Susann.
- Cates was originally going to play the role of Annie Banks in the remake of Father of the Bride (1991) but became pregnant so she had to drop out. The role then went to Kimberly Williams.
- In the movie Private School (1983), Cates sings two of the soundtrack songs: "Just One Touch" and "How Do I Let You Know".
- The punk band "Fenix TX" wrote a song about her entitled "Phoebe Cates".
- Has an older sister, 'Valerie Cates , and a younger sister Alexandra.
- Before turning to acting, she worked as a teen model in the pages of "Seventeen", etc.
- Since her 'retirement' from films, she and her movie star husband, Kevin Kline, divide their time between their country estate in upstate New York and their luxury penthouse in Manhattan's tony upper east side. When not supporting her husband's continuing fine stage and film work, she fills her time attending openings and benefits and her favorite activity, hosting dinner parties and 'dishing the dirt' with her celebrity friends.
- According to Izumi Matsumoto, the creator of "Kimagure Orange Road" (1987) a popular manga series (Japanese comic) and animated TV-series. Ms Cates was the inspiration behind the beautiful character Ayukawa Madoka.
- Gets at least some of her exotic beauty from her Filipina mother.
- Named on Harper's Bazaar's list of America's 10 Most Beautiful Women 
- Sister-in-law of producer Kate Kline May
- Her father was of Russian Jewish descent, her mother is a Filipina of Spanish-Chinese ancestry.
- Measurements: 31B-23-33 (as teen model, 1980), 34B-23-34 (during Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)), (Source: Celebrity Sleuth magazine).
- Has a daughter, Greta Simone (b. 1994), and a son, Owen (b. 1991).
- She is good friends with actress Jennifer Jason Leigh, they met while filming Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982) together.
- Although retired from making films, she has put her son Owen Kline into the movies, often showing up on the set to make sure he is behaving. He has appeared in The Anniversary Party (2001) and as a lead role in The Squid and the Whale (2005).
- Met her future husband, Kevin Kline, when she auditioned for the part of Chloe in The Big Chill (1983), that eventually went to Meg Tilly.
- Gave birth to third child Autumn Belle Kline on December 1, 2005
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