Born in Fleet, Hampshire, Aubrey attended King's College London from 1984, where she studied Classics and Archaeology. While there, however, her love of acting grew, and during a year studying in Italy where she joined a travelling theatre company, Juliet decided to apply for drama school on her return. She did, and went on to train for three years at the Central School of Speech and Drama.
Her first job was with the Oxford Stage Company playing Miranda in The Tempest. The Italian director Roberto Faenza gave Juliet her first film role playing opposite Jean Hughes Anglade in Look to the Sky, a film produced by Elda Ferri, and set during the Nazi Holocaust. Juliet won the Davide Donatelli award for Best Actress for her role as Hannah. Antony Page and Louis Marks then cast Juliet as Dorothea in the BBC adaptation of Middlemarch opposite Rufus Sewell, for which she won a BAFTA for Best Actress, and the Broadcasting Press Guild for Best Actress., She then joined Haris Pasovic's Sarajevo Theatre Company. She appeared in several plays with the company, all created through the actors' improvisation. She continued to build her career as a theatre actress, appearing next in Trevor Nunn's "Summerfolk", and Katie Mitchell's Ivanov at The National, Tim Crouch's An Oak Tree for Karl James at The Soho Theatre, and Three Sisters, Twelfth Night and The Collection all for Chris White. Michael Winterbottom then cast her opposite Robert Carlyle and James Nesbitt in the much acclaimed film Go Now.
Her subsequent films include Winterbottom's Welcome to Sarajevo, Stephen Poliakoff's Food of Love for which she won La Baule European Film Festival - 1997 for Best Actress, Faenza's The Lost Lover, Giacomo Campiotti's Time to Love, Richard Eyre's Iris, Fernando Meirelles's The Constant Gardener and Brian Gibson's Still Crazy, nominated for two Golden Globes.
Recent work includes the films Super Eruption, Matt Lipsey Caught in the Act, and 2 episodes of Outcasts (TV series), 4 episodes of the 1st Series of Criminal Justice (TV series), and the highly acclaimed Five Daughters.
On 16 March 2012, it was announced that Aubrey will play Emma, in Harold Pinter's Betrayal at The Crucible Theatre, Sheffield, between 17 May and 9 June 2012. Aubrey will star alongside John Simm as Jerry and Colin Tierney as Robert.
Aubrey was born and brought up in Fleet, Hampshire, the daughter of Dr. Roland and Sylvia Aubrey . She is half Welsh and half English. She has two siblings.
In 2001 she married production designer Steve Ritchie, whom she met several years earlier while filming in Newcastle upon Tyne; they have two daughters.