|Date & Place of Birth
September 28, 1968 (Libra)
Shoreham, Kent, England, UK
001. Biography (below)
004. Personal Quotes
006. Official Instagram
007. ONDA Beauty
Naomi with her mother Miv
(photo taken by her brother)
Naomi Ellen Watts was born on 28 September 1968, in Shoreham, Kent, England. She is the daughter of Myfanwy (Miv) Edwards (née Roberts), an antiques dealer and a costume and set designer, and Peter Watts, a road manager and a sound engineer who worked with Pink Floyd. Watts’s maternal grandfather was Welsh and her maternal grandmother was Australian.
Her parents divorced when she was 4 years old, and she and her elder brother, Ben Watts, moved several times across South East England with their mother. After leaving Pink Floyd and remarrying in 1976, her father was found dead the same year of an apparent overdose. She was only 7 years old and to this day she has very few memories of her father, “probably three photos” as she recounts.
Watt’s childhood years were very busy. She and her family moved around England a lot and she changed several schools. She started in Kent and then moved to Cambridge, they lived in Norfolk and Suffolk and then moved to Wales, where her grandparents lived. Every new move, meant a new school, and because fitting in a new school is always complicated for a young child, Watts had to reinvent herself every time.
Naomi Watts and Nicole Kidman
Michael Kors Collection – Sep. 2017
In 1982, when she was 14, her family (brother, mother and step-father), moved to Australia where her mother established a career in the flourishing film business and enrolled Naomi in acting lessons, following her interest and desire in becoming an actress. In Australia, she attended Mosman High School and North Sydney Girls High School, but failed to graduate and ultimately started working as a papergirl, a negative cutter and managing a Delicacies store in Sydney’s affluent North Shore. At the age of 18, she signed up with a models agency that sent her to Japan, but after several failed auditions she went back to Australia, where she started working in advertising for a department store and afterwards as an assistant fashion editor for the magazine Follow Me.
Despite such a cosmopolitan life, and moving around several places in a very short time, Watts is adamant in stating that her nationality is British, saying the first 14 years of her life in the UK, between England and Wales, had been so happy and that she had never wanted to leave. However, she has strong ties to Australia, which she calls home, because it holds the most powerful memories of her life, during which she also met actress Nicole Kidman, who later would become her best friend.
Watt’s career started pretty early, in 1986, at the age of 18, when she appeared in a series of commercials on TV and then and made her acting debut in For Love Alone, a movie set in the 1930s and based on Christina Stead’s 1945 best-selling novel of the same name. She then appeared in two episodes of the fourth season of the Australian sitcom Hey Dad..!. Following a five year absence from movies, during the 1989 premiere of her friend Nicole Kidman’s movie Dead Calm, director John Duigan noticed her and invited her to take a supporting role in his 1991 indie film Flirting. Watts claims that this was the turning point of her long-time friendship with Kidman. In 1991, she also played Frances Heffernan in the award-winning mini-series Brides of Christ and had a recurring role in the soap opera Home and Away.
“Home and Away” (1991)
Naomi as Julie Gibson
Then, Watts took a year off and travelled to Los Angeles to meet with several agents through Nicole Kidman, who would encourage her to stay in the US and start her acting career there. In 1993, she accepted a small role in John Goodman’s Matinee, while also returning to Australia to star in three different movies: Wide Sargasso Sea, Gross Misconduct, her first leading role, and The Custodian.
Her first years in the United States were not very easy. Even if at first everything seemed good, beautiful and possible, Watts struggled to find agents, good roles and the money to pay the bills, the rent and keeping her medical insurance; she was ready to quit, but Kidman convinced her to stick to the plan and stay in the US, auditioning for more roles until she found “just that one role” that would turn her career for good.
“Tank Girl” (1995) – Naomi as Jet Girl
Throughout the rest of the 90’s, she starred in a supporting role in the futuristic film Tank Girl (1995), and in a few more in 1996: in action-thriller Persons Unknown alongside Joe Mantegna, in the period drama Timepiece, with James Earl Jones and Ellen Burstyn, as a former documentary filmmaker who disappears in the Bermuda Triangle in the homonymous TV movie, and finally in a leading role in Children of the Corn IV: The Gathering, in which children in a small town become possessed under the command of a wrongfully murdered child preacher.
Naomi as Kate Russell
She starred in the Australian ensemble romantic drama Under the Lighthouse Dancing, in 1997, and as the lead role in the television series Sleepwalkers. In 1998, she took on a role in the TV movie The Christmas Wish, alongside Neil Patrick Harris and Debbie Reynolds, then played a supporting role in Dangerous Beauty, and provided some voice work for Babe: Pig in the City, which she would later describe as something that “should not be on my résumé!”. In order to provide the voice for the movie she, and a hundred of other actors, had to suck on helium, making them impossible to be recognized. In 1999, she played Alice in the romantic comedy Strange Planet and the Texan student Holly Maddux in The Hunt for the Unicorn Killer, based on the real life capture of Ira Einhorn.
In 2000, little to Watts’ knowledge, her life and career were about to change, when filmmaker and writer David Lynch decided to expand the rejected pilot of Mulholland Drive into a feature film. At the time, she was working alongside Derek Jacobi, Jack Davenport and Iain Glen on the set of the BBC TV film The Wyvern Mystery, an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Sheridan Le Fanu.
“Mulholland Dr.” (2001)
Naomi as Betty / Diane Selwyn
Her work relationship with David Lynch really began in 1999, when he was casting for his psychological thriller Mulholland Drive. He gave her the leading role, just by looking at her headshot, without having seen any of her previous works. In an interview for the Los Angeles Times in 2001, Lynch would describe hiring Naomi Watts by saying: “I saw someone that I felt had a tremendous talent, and I saw someone who had a beautiful soul, an intelligence—possibilities for a lot of different roles, so it was a beautiful full package.”
The project was a TV pilot, purposely left with an open ending, which would have later allowed to expand the concept, but it was rejected. So in October 2000, Lynch filmed the ending that would have made it an entire feature film, and Watts reprised her leading role. Mulholland Drive, also starring Laura Harring and Justin Theroux, premiered at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival to high critical acclaim and marked Watts’s breakthrough, that one role her good friend Nicole was telling her to patiently wait for.
About her audition with David Lynch, Watts said to Vanity Fair in 2014 “The first time I met David Lynch, I just remember being struck by his voice, his smile, and his all-encompassing energy. I’d spent 10 years auditioning under the radar, dealing with rejection over and over again, and he was just beaming with light, which relaxed me right away. It was like for the first time, somebody was interested in ‘seeing’ me. In the early days I didn’t get to pick and choose at all, but I think of my career in two parts, before David Lynch and after.”
“The Ring” (2002)
Naomi as Rachel Keller
After her breakthrough, in 2001, she starred in two short films, Never Date an Actress and Ellie Parker, and the horror movie The Shaft. Stepping into the horror genre, in 2002, she portrayed a journalist investigating the strange deaths of her niece and other teenagers after they have watched a mysterious videotape that seems to predict their deaths in seven days, in one of the biggest box office hits of that year, The Ring, the English remake of the Japanese horror film Ringu. The film directed by Gore Verbinski, received great reviews and so did Watts for her performance of Rachel Keller; additionally, this movie – and its sequel – would gain her the title of “Scream Queen”. That same year she also starred in David Lynch’s short movie Rabbits, in the romantic comedy Plots with a View, alongside Alfred Molina, Brenda Blethyn and Christopher Walken, and with Tim Daly in the western The Outsider.
“21 Grams” (2003)
Naomi as Cristina Peck
In 2003, she took on the role of Julia Cook in the Australian film Ned Kelly, where she met and began a relationship with Heath Ledger (the movie also starred Orlando Bloom and Geoffrey Rush), for whom she has nothing but great words of affection. In an interview with More Magazine from 2001, she described it as “a beautiful relationship, only a couple of years, but he was a man who was completely full of joy, and there was a lot of laughing and affection. He was really a very special soul and made a great impact on my life. And a great actor, but I know there was so much more to come”. That same year, she would also star in the Merchant-Ivory film Le Divorce, portraying Roxeanne de Persand, a poet who is pregnant and abandoned by her husband Charles-Henri de Persand. Roxeanne and her sister Isabel (Kate Hudson) dispute the ownership of a painting by Georges de La Tour with the family of Charles-Henri’s lover. The movie was not a big hit, probably due to the lack of chemistry between the two actresses, Entertainment Weekly reviews, which did not seem to impress the audience too much.
“Ned Kelly” (2003)
Naomi as Julia Cook
Differently, her performance opposite Sean Penn and Benicio del Toro in the drama 21 Grams earned Watts numerous award nominations, including an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress later that year. The story, told in a non-linear manner, revolves around Cristina Peck (Watts), a grief-stricken woman living a suburban life after the killing of her husband and two children by Jack Jordan (Benicio del Toro), who became involved in a relationship with the critically ill academic mathematician Paul Rivers (Sean Penn). About her nomination, she said “It’s far beyond what I ever dreamed for – that would have been too far fetched.” [The Age – February 11, 2004]
In 2004, Watts starred alongside Mark Ruffalo in We Don’t Live Here Anymore, which depicts the crisis of two married couples, then reunited with Sean Penn in The Assassination of Richard Nixon, playing the wife of the would-be presidential assassin Samuel Byck (Penn), and teamed up with Jude Law and Dustin Hoffman in David O. Russell’s ensemble comedy I Heart Huckabees. In 2005, she starred and produced the semi-autobiographical drama Ellie Parker, which depicted the struggle of an Australian actress in Hollywood. The film began as a short film that was screened at the Sundance Film Festival in 2001 and was expanded into a feature-length production over the next four years. Also in 2005, Naomi reprised her role of Rachel Keller, in The Ring Two, sequel to the 2002 movie, which had a more negative critical response than its predecessor, but still made a good box office in theaters.
“King Kong” (2005)
Naomi as Ann Darrow
Another big and significant role into her career, came in the form of a remake to the King Kong movie, in which she plays the leading role as Ann Darrow (previously played in 1933 by Fay Wray, in 1976 by Jessica Lange, and in 1988 by Jodi Benson in the musical adaptation). She was the first choice for the role, and to prepare for her role, Watts met with Wray, who was to make a cameo appearance and say the final line of dialogue, but died during pre-production at the age of 96. King Kong proved to be Watts’s most commercially successful film. She would reprise her role in the video game adaptation of King Kong, for which she was nominated for a Spike Video Game Award. Finally, her last project of 2005, was the film Stay, with Ewan McGregor, Ryan Gosling and Bob Hoskins.
In 2006, she took part into the romantic drama The Painted Veil, alongside Edward Norton and Liev Schreiber, in which she portrayed the daughter of a lawyer who marries a man for his reputation as a physician and bacteriologist. The role of Kitty Fane, was played in the original movie form 1934 by Greta Garbo. That same year, she partnered again with David Lynch for the voice of Suzie Rabbit in Inland Empire. Additionally, she was also announced as the new face of the jewelry collection by David Yurman and completed a shoot for the 2007 Pirelli calendar.
“The Painted Veil” (2006)
Naomi as Kitty Fane
A year later, she was in two movies: David Cronenberg’s Eastern Promises, as a Russian-British midwife who delivers the baby of a drug-addicted 14-year old prostitute, alongside Viggo Mortensen, and Michael Haneke’s Funny Games as Ann, a mother who, along with her family, is held hostage by a pair of sociopathic teenagers. She also served as a producer on this movie.
After these projects, Watts took some time off, following the birth of her first child in the summer of 2007 and her second one in the winter of 2008. Although she separated from the children’s father in 2016, after 11 years together, she and (Liev) Schreiber are now co-parenting them “with great love, respect, and friendship” as they announced themselves in a joint statement, and seem to be doing a terrific job working together for the good of their family.
Only two months after giving birth for the second time, Watts returns to work first on the set of the political action thriller The International, opposite Clive Owen, in which she played Eleanor Whitman, a Manhattan assistant district attorney who partners with an Interpol agent to take down a merchant bank; then she took on a role in the drama Mother and Child, as a lawyer who never knew her biological mother. Her performance was described as “terrific, delivering a powerful performance, not afraid to be unsympathetic” and earned her a couple nominations as Best Actress for the Australian Film Institute Awards and Best Supporting Female for the Independent Spirit Award.
“J. Edgar” (2011)
Naomi as Helen Gandy
In 2010, she starred in Woody Allen’s dramedy You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, which opened the Cannes Film Festival that same year, followed by her portrayal of Valerie Plame in the biographical thriller Fair Game, marking her third collaboration with actor Sean Penn and earning her a nomination as Best Actress for a Satellite Award. The next year, she played alongside Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz in the psychological horror film Dream House, and with Leonardo DiCaprio in Clint Eastwood’s biographical drama J. Edgar, as his secretary Helen Gandy.
“The Impossible” (1991)
Naomi as Maria Bennett
Later, she would star in the disaster drama The Impossible (2012), based on the real life story of María Belón and her family through the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami; in the movie, a few changes were made: the name was changed to Maria Bennett, and the nationality was changed from Spanish to British. Mrs. Belón herself, worked on the movie as a consultant and Watts established a relationship to her based on the respect she wished to pay in her performance. When interviewed during a press conference in Toronto, the actress described taking on this job as “These are the stories worth telling, stories that live beyond the moment, I’m thankful that I’m in a position where I can work with directors with intense vision and passion.” As a mother, as she describes herself, fearful for everything about her children, she saw a good opportunity in this project to win her fears and portray the courage and strength of motherhood through one of the most catastrophic disaster of nature. Preparing for the role was not easy and she had to endure a lot of physical stress to portray this character in the most faithful way, but the final result and the authenticity gained her acclaimed reviews and an Academy Award, a Golden Globe and a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for Best Actress.
Naomi as Lady Diana
Between 2013 and 2014 Watts kept busy with a number of movies of every genre. From the 2013 film Adoration, opposite Robin Wright, in which they play two childhood friends who fall in love with each other’s sons, to the anthology comedy Movie 43 (2013), with Liev Schreiber. Then, an independent drama, Sunlight Jr. (2013), in which she and Matt Dillon play a struggling working-class couple, and the much highlighted biographical drama Diana (2013). Watts had put a lot of faith into the movie, being seduced by the extraordinary life of the late Princess of Wales, but the directing choices turned it into a “sinking ship”, a fact also supported by the massive critics, of which she takes her part of responsibility, “With risk there is every chance it’s going to fail. If you have to go down with that sinking ship, so be it”, she said to Vanity Fair.
Moving on, in 2014, she was cast in the Academy-award winning dark comedy Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), also starring Michael Keaton, Edward Norton and Emma Stone. The cast would also win a Screen Actors Guild Award as an ensemble. The other two projects from the same year were both presented at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival: the dramedy St. Vincent, in which she played a Russian prostitute, and While We’re Young, alongside Ben Stiller, as a New York City-based married couple who begin hanging out with a couple in their 20s.
“While We’re Young” (2014)
Naomi as Cornelia
Watts then joined The Divergent Series franchise, based on Veronica Roth’s best-selling young adult novel of the same name, in its second and third installments Insurgent (2015) and Allegiant (2016), as Evelyn Johnson-Eaton, the leader of the Factionless. In 2015, she also starred opposite Matthew McConaughey in The Sea of Trees, as the wife of an American man who attempts suicide in Mount Fuji’s “Suicide Forest”, which premiered at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, to mixed reviews by both critics and audiences. Despite the harsh critics, the actress performance was described as “solidly moving and sometimes awesomely passive-aggressive.”
Naomi as Evelyn
The same year, once again, two of her starring projects were presented at the same time at the Toronto International Film Festival: Demolition, directed by Jean-Marc Vallée and opposite Jake Gyllenhaal, in which she played a customer service representative and the interest of a grieving investment banker and Three Generations, directed by Gaby Dellal, with Susan Sarandon and Elle Fanning. In the movie, Watts played the worried mother a young transgender man (Fanning), trying to live through his transition and adapting to the surrounding and judgemental environment.
In 2016, Glantraeth F.C., a small football club in Malltraeth, Anglesey, Wales, near her grandparents’ farm where she spent time as a child, made her the honorary president.
In that same year, she played alongside Liev Schreiber for their last project together in the biographical sport drama The Bleeder, revolving around the life of Chuck Wepner (Schreiber) and his 1975 fight with Muhammad Ali. Watts played Wepner’s second wife Linda. She then was cast in the thriller Shut In, as the leading role, Mary, a psychologist who is isolated in a rural house with her child during a winter storm.
“Twin Peaks” (2017)
Naomi as Janey-E Jones
Early in 2017, it was announced that she would be reunited with David Lynch, for his much anticipated third season of the famous 90’s mystery-horror serial drama Twin Peaks, titled Twin Peaks: The Return, in which she would be playing Janey-E Jones, the wife of of Dougie Jones (Kyle MacLachlan). That same year, she took on a leading role, as well as serving as executive producer, for the Netflix show Gypsy, in which she played “a therapist who begins to develop dangerous and intimate relationships with the people in her patients’ lives”. The show was cancelled after only one season, receiving mixed reviews. On the set of the show, she met with Billy Crudup, whom she has been dating with ever since.
Naomi as Jean Holloway
After a brief diving into the television world, Watts returned to the film industry with The Book of Henry (2017) as Susan Carpenter, the mother of young genius who plans to save the girl next door from abuse, and The Glass Castle (2017) opposite Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson, an adaptation of Jeannette Walls’s best-selling memoir, where she played the nonconformist mother of the author (played by Larson).
Naomi as Gertrude/Mechtild
Watts accepted a small cameo in Vice, in 2018, as a news anchor, and later that same year, she would “split in two” when playing both Gertrude and Mechtild in the romantic drama Ophelia, directed by Claire McCarthy. The film is based on the novel by Lisa Klein, and follows the story of Hamlet from Ophelia’s perspective. It stars Daisy Ridley in the title role, Clive Owen as Claudius, George MacKay as Hamlet, Tom Felton as Laertes and Devon Terrell as Horatio.
In 2019, Watts came back to television with the mini-series The Loudest Voice, in which she portrayed Gretchen Carlson, the Fox News co-anchor who sued Roger Ailes for his sexual harassments against her. Although Carlson could not participate into the productions of the miniseries, due to a non-disclosure agreement, she met with the actress on the red carpet of the mini-series premiere and the two later became friends. Carlson would say to PEOPLE that she was ecstatic to be portrayed by someone like Watts, “I’ve watched her interviews, I was told how much research she put into the project. So, I’m just really happy that an actress of such high caliber decided to take on this role.”
“The Loudest Voice” (2019)
Naomi as Gretchen Carlson
In an instagram post in August 2019, Watts wrote “Gretchen was the first, she was the pioneer and that took unimaginable courage. Before there was #MeToo, Gretchen was taking an incredible stand for herself. And since, has led the way for so many others. Taking on Goliath took a lot of courage… She lost her job, she lost her chosen career, her identity and she was pushed away, undermined and undervalued. But she endured it and came out stronger in the end. As women we owe her a debt of gratitude, I sure as hell do.”
“Penguin Bloom” (2020)
Naomi as Sam Bloom
Prior to the pandemic, Watts joined the cast of science fiction action film Boss Level, directed by Joe Carnahan and also starring Mel Gibson and Michelle Yeoh, and drama film Penguin Bloom, based on the book by Cameron Bloom and Bradley Trevor Greive. The story develops around Sam Bloom, an avid surfer who struggles to adapt to her new life on a wheelchair after an accident, and it’s then up to an injured magpie helping her to recover. Both movies have now premiered in 2021.
Since the beginning of 2021, Watts has been cast in three movies, two of which premiered in September 2021: Canadian-American thriller Lakewood, where she plays Amy Carr, a woman who is desperately racing to save her child after police place her hometown on lockdown due to an active shooter incident, and American drama This Is the Night. The release date for her third movie, The Burning Season, has yet to be announced.
Naomi as Amy Carr
In 2022, we will be seeing her in the drama Infinite Storm, in the horror television series The Watcher and in the criminal drama Goodnight Mommy.
Watts converted to Buddhism after becoming interested into the religion while shooting on The Painted Veil. In the same year, she became a goodwill ambassador for the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, to raise awareness and help people with this disease; additionally, she advocates and participates in events and fundraisers for this cause. Through the years, she participated as a philanthropist to several events to raise money for people in need, like for the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. She also became ambassador for Pantene’s Beautiful Lengths, a program that donates real-hair wigs to women with cancer. She visited St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney, where she met with some of the women that get help from this project.
Naomi has also been working in a collaboration with Sportscraft and children’s charity Barnardos to produce a range of coats, with a percentage of sales going to the charity; was one of the public figures photographed for Bulgari’s digital campaign “Raise Your Hand“, hosted the Worldwide Orphans 14th Annual Gala in NYC, and teamed up with McDonald’s, as a McHappy Day ambassador, to make a special appearance and step behind the counter in Haberfield, Sydney.
Naomi with her children
for Modern Luxury (2020)
During these difficult times, she understood the importance of community for wellness and to remain positive, which led her to partnering with Larissa Thomson and Sarah Bryden Brown, and creating ONDA Beauty, a curation space that provides non-toxic, clean beauty products and treatments to clients around the world.
Among her other talents, Watts recently showed her incredible pottery skills, just some months ago, by posting a video on her Instagram profile where she pays homage to the iconic scene from Ghost. She also enjoys martial arts and trained in Judo for a long time. She participated in amateur Judo championships from 1989 to 1992. Nowadays, she trains in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
She currently resides in Manhattan, New York, USA with her two children and their newly adopted dog, Izzy.