Naomi Ellen Watts (born 28 September 1968) is a British-Australian actress. She began her career in Australia, making her screen debut in the drama film For Love Alone (1986) and then appeared in the television series Hey Dad..! (1990), Brides of Christ (1991) and Home and Away (1991) and alongside Nicole Kidman and Thandie Newton in the coming-of-age comedy-drama film Flirting (1991). After moving to America, Watts appeared in films, including Tank Girl (1995), Children of the Corn IV: The Gathering (1996) and Dangerous Beauty (1998) and had the lead role in the television series Sleepwalkers (1997–1998).
After years as a struggling actress, Watts gained critical acclaim for her work in David Lynch's psychological thriller Mulholland Drive (2001). The following year, she received public recognition for her role in the box office hit horror film The Ring (2002). She then received nominations for the Academy Award and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of Cristina Peck in Alejandro González Iñárritu's neo-noir 21 Grams (2003). Her subsequent films include David O. Russell's comedy I Heart Huckabees (2004), the remake of King Kong (2005), the crime-thriller Eastern Promises (2007) and the thriller The International (2009). Since then, Watts has portrayed Valerie Plame Wilson in the biographical drama Fair Game(2010) and Helen Gandy in Clint Eastwood's biographical drama J. Edgar (2011). For her leading role as Maria Bennett in the disaster film The Impossible (2012), she received second nominations for the Academy Award and Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Actress and a nomination for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress.
In 2002, Watts was included in People Magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People. In 2006, she became a goodwill ambassador for Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, which helps to raise awareness of AIDS-related issues. She has participated in several fundraisers for the cause, and she is presented as an inaugural member of AIDS Red Ribbon Awards.
Watts was born in Shoreham, Kent, England. She is the daughter of Myfanwy Edwards (née Roberts), a Welsh antiques dealer and costume and set designer, and Peter Watts, an English road manager and sound engineer who worked with Pink Floyd. Her parents divorced when she was four years old. After the divorce, Watts and her elder brother, Ben Watts, moved several times across South East England with their mother. Peter Watts left Pink Floyd in 1974, and he and Myfanwy were later reconciled. Two years later, in August 1976, he was found dead in a flat in Notting Hill, of an apparent heroin overdose.
Following his death, Watts' mother moved the family to Llanfawr Farm in Llangefni, on Anglesey in North Wales, where they lived with Watts' maternal grandparents, Nikki and Hugh Roberts, for three years, while Myfanwy moved between there and London in search of a career. During this time, Watts attended a Welsh language school, Ysgol Gyfun Llangefni, where she carried out her studies. She later said of her time in Wales: "We took Welsh lessons in a school in the middle of nowhere while everyone else was taking English. Wherever we moved, I would adapt and pick up the regional accent. It's obviously significant now, my being an actress. Anyway, there was quite a lot of sadness in my childhood, but no lack of love." In 1978, her mother remarried (though she would later be divorced again) and Watts and her brother then moved to Suffolk where she attended Thomas Mills High School. Watts has stated that she wanted to become an actress after seeing her mother performing on stage and from the time she watched the 1980 film Fame.
In 1982, when Watts was 14, she moved to Sydney, New South Wales in Australia (her maternal grandmother was Australian) with her mother, brother and stepfather.Myfanwy established a career in the burgeoning film business, working as a stylist for television commercials, then turning to costume design, ultimately working for the soap opera Return to Eden. After emigrating, Watts was enrolled in acting lessons by her mother, where she met and befriended actress Nicole Kidman. She also auditioned for and starred in numerous television advertisements.
In Australia, Watts attended Mosman High School and North Sydney Girls High School. She failed to graduate from school, afterwards working as a papergirl, a negative cutter, and managing a Delicacies store in Sydney's affluent North Shore. She decided to become a model when she was 18. She signed with a models agency that sent her to Japan, but after several failed auditions, she returned to Sydney. There, she was hired to work in advertising for a department store, that exposed her to the attention of Follow Me, a magazine which hired her as an assistant fashion editor. A casual invitation to participate in a drama workshop returned Watts to acting, and prompted her to quit her job and to seek success as an actress. Watts obtained her first role in the 1986 drama film For Love Alone, based on the novel of the same name by Christina Stead, and produced by Margaret Fink. Her mother was a set dresser on this production.
Regarding her nationality, Watts has stated: "I consider myself British and have very happy memories of the UK. I spent the first 14 years of my life in England and Wales and never wanted to leave. When I was in Australia I went back to England a lot." She also has expressed her ties to Australia, declaring: "I consider myself very connected to Australia, in fact when people say where is home, I say Australia, because those are my most powerful memories."Watts with her partner Liev Schreiber in 2012.
Her father's manic laugh can be heard in Pink Floyd's "Speak to Me" and "Brain Damage" from The Dark Side of the Moon. Watts is pictured in her mother's arms with her father, brother, the band, and other crew members, in the hardback/softcover edition of drummer Nick Mason's autobiography of the band Inside Out.
Watts was in a relationship with director Stephen Hopkins in the 1990s and actor Heath Ledger from August 2002 to May 2004. Since the spring of 2005, Watts has been in a relationship with actor Liev Schreiber. She confirmed in an interview in late January 2009 that Schreiber had in fact given her a ring (which she was not wearing at the time) but that neither of them wanted to rush into marriage. Schreiber, known to play tricks on the media, had once before called her his wife in 2007, but later revealed that it was a joke. The couple's first son, Alexander "Sasha" Pete, was born in July 2007 in Los Angeles, and their second son, Samuel "Sammy" Kai, in December 2008 in New York City. After a temporary hiatus from acting, she returned to work with The International, her first project since becoming a mother. Watts stated in April 2010 that she would have a third child if she could guarantee a baby girl.
She considered converting to Buddhism after having gained interest for that religion during the shooting of The Painted Veil. She said of her religious beliefs, "I have some belief but I am not a strict Buddhist or anything yet". She practices the Transcendental Meditation technique. In 2002, she was featured in People Magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People.
In 2006, Watts became a goodwill ambassador for Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, it helps to raise awareness of AIDS issues. She has used her high profile and celebrity to call attention to the needs of people living with this disease. Watts participated in events and activities, including the 21st Annual AIDS Walk. She is presented as an inaugural member of AIDS Red Ribbon Awards. She has participated in campaigns for fundraising. On 1 December 2009, Watts was meeting with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and joined the AIDS response at a dramatic public event commemorating World AIDS Day 2009. During the event, she said: "It has been both unfortunate and unfair for HIV infection to be considered a shameful disease, for people living with HIV to be judged as blameworthy, and for AIDS to be equated with certain death. I have personally seen that dignity and hope have been strongest among those whose lives were changed by HIV."