Born in England and raised in Australia, Watts put in 15 years of hard work to become a Hollywood success. She began studying acting Down Under and befriended Nicole Kidman at a commercial audition when the two were just teens. In their twenties they both appeared in the boarding-school drama Flirting, but Kidman's star rose much more quickly than Watts'. Throughout the 1990s, Watts languished in supporting parts that failed to showcase her versatility and knack for accents. But she stuck it out and finally got her big break in 2001's Mulholland Dr. Originally conceived as a TV series, this offbeat chronicle of an L.A. starlet was released as a movie that featured Watts in two powerhouse parts. Audiences and critics immediately took notice of her talent, and the next year she finally hit the big time with the horror flick The Ring and made the tabloids because of her romance with Heath Ledger, 10 years her junior. Watts continued her hot streak with an Oscar-nominated turn in 2003's 21 Grams and soon signed on to play an ape's best gal in the 2005 remake of King Kong. After her relationship with Ledger ended in 2004, she found new love with her Painted Veil costar Liev Schreiber. The pair had sons in 2007 and 2008. And, in a film slated for possible 2010 release, Watts teamed up with Sean Penn---with whom she starred in 21 Grams---in Fair Game, about the controversy over Valerie Plame, outed CIA operative. Off the screen, Watts is a goodwill ambassador for UNAIDS and participates in fund-raising and public events for the organization.
Her father provided the maniacal laughter on Pink Floyd's track "Brain Damage," featured on the band's landmark 1973 album, Dark Side of the Moon.
Met best friend Nicole Kidman during auditions for a TV commercial in Australia in 1982 (neither was hired), and the two acted together nine years later in the coming-of-age tale Flirting.
Played a small role as a "shopping cart starlet" in her first Hollywood movie, Matinee (1993).
Included in People Magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People in 2002.
Became a goodwill ambassador for Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS in 2006.
Said she was terrified about playing the iconic Princess Diana in the 2013 biopic Diana.
2003, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role: Nominee
2003, Oscar — Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role: Nominee
2013, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama: Nominee
2004, BAFTA Film Awards — Best Actress in a Leading Role: Nominee
2013, AACTA Awards — Best Lead Actress: Nominee
2004, Critics' Choice Awards — Best Actress: Nominee
2004, Independent Spirit Awards — Special Distinction Award: Winner
2012, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role: Nominee
2013, Goya Awards — Best Leading Actress: Nominee
2011, Independent Spirit Awards — Best Supporting Female: Nominee
2012, Oscar — Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role: Nominee
2014, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture: Winner
2013, Critics' Choice Movie Awards — Best Actress: Nominee
2014, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role: Nominee
2010, Australian Film Institute Awards — International Award for Best Actress: Nominee
2013, European Film Awards — European Actress: Nominee
2004, Australian Film Institute Awards — Global Achievement Award: Winner
2006, Australian Film Institute Awards — International Award for Best Actress: Nominee