Although she is thought to be one of Hollywood’s most difficult actors to work with, Anne Hathaway is actually a perfectionist with firm standards when it comes to both her career and her private life. With roles that take more than a pretty face, an Academy Award, a loving husband and a child, this thirty-five-year old has already had a rich and fulfilling life.
Anne Jacqueline Hathaway was born in Brooklyn, in New York. Her father, Gerald, is a lawyer and her mother, Kate, used to be an actress. She is of Irish, French, English and German ancestry. She has an older brother, Michael, who is a writer and a younger one, Thomas, who is an actor. When Hathaway was six years old, the whole family moved to New Jersey.
As Hathaway was raised as a Roman Catholic, she had a phase when she wished to become a nun when she grew up. Her relationship with her faith changed when she realised that – when her older brother, Michael, came out as gay – he was given no support from the church. ‘When my brother came out, we all felt like: we love you and so what. He was still Mike. It has since become a much bigger issue for us because when Mike wanted to marry his partner, he could only do it in Canada. Whatever your feelings about gay marriage, you have to accept that, to ban it, it is discrimination, it’s a human rights issue. No one can tell my brother he can’t do anything and I will fight to my last breath to make sure he gets the same rights as me.’
Hathaway’s mother was the person that inspired her to start acting. Kate played Fantine in the first US tour of Les Misérables, the same role that would bring Hathaway an Oscar years later. During her high school years, Hathaway played different roles in numerous plays. Her performance in Once Upon a Mattress got her a Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Award nomination for ‘Best Performance by a High School Actress’. After high school, she went on to study English and Women’s Studies but then changed her mind and transferred to New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study. She studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and was the first teenager that got into The Barrow Group Theater Company’s acting program. She also sang soprano at Carnegie Hall with the All-Eastern US High School Honors Chorus. Three days after the concert, she was cast for her first on-screen role in a Fox television series titled Get Real.
Then, she auditioned for the film The Princess Diaries, directed by Gary Marshall, and got the leading role. The film came out in 2001 and changed everything: it was her breakthrough performance that would make her known to a wide range of audience, both in the USA and internationally.
Because she began working young, and because she always put education first, before anything else, she didn’t lead the life of a typical teenager, but she doesn’t regret it. ‘I really don’t drink, I don’t do drugs. I feel like right now I’ve been given so many opportunities I don’t want to mess it up with those things… I think I was raised in a solidly upper-middle class family who had really strong values and excess was not one of the things that my family put up with.’
Parallel to auditioning for The Princess Diaries, Hathaway was offered to star in another film, The Other Side of Heaven. Knowing that The Princess Diaries would become a big hit, The Other Side of Heaven was delayed in post-production in order to be released afterwards, and gain a wider audience and a larger income from its success. And so it was. Soon, every teenage girl knew about Anne Hathaway.
In the years that followed, Hathaway maintained her image of a young adult role model. She shot Nicholas Nickelby, then Ella Enchanted, for which she gave her own voice for the soundtrack, and then The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement, which came out in 2004.
Careful not to get stuck in playing just teenage girl roles, and thinking about her acting future, Hathaway soon transitioned into more adult roles, letting the audience grow up with her. She shot Havoc in 2005, which didn’t get positive reviews in the US, as she appears nude in some scenes.
That same year, Hathaway appeared in another film that was considered very progressive at the time, as its theme was a homosexual romance: Brokeback Mountain. The film received numerous Academy Award nominations.
Then, in 2006, Hathaway played the leading role in comedy film The Devil Wears Prada, with no other but Meryl Streep as her antagonist. The film was a big hit and now remains a comedy classic.
In 2007, Hathaway shot Becoming Jane, a film about Jane Austen, and another success.
In 2008, Lancôme made Hathaway the face of their Magnifique fragrance. That same year, she was the host of Saturday Night Live and shot the film Get Smart, another hit at the box office. Proving 2008 to be a very busy year, Hathaway also appeared in the film Passengers and Rachel Getting Married, a drama that got her a nomination for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe.
In 2009, Hathaway starred in a comedy Bride Wars and gave her voice for The Simpsons, which got her an Emmy Award for outstanding voice-over performance. She also gave her voice for the series Family Guy.
Hathaway had also been an active stage actress. She appeared as Viola in the production of the Twelfth Night, for the New York Shakespeare Festival.
In 2010, Hathaway had the honor of taking on the role of the White Queen in Tim Burton’s adaptation of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. She also repeated her role in 2016, in Alice: Through the Looking-Glass.
Hathaway also appeared in Gary Marshall’s Valentine’s Day. That year she hosted the Nobel Peace Prize Concert with Denzel Washington.
In 2011, Hathaway hosted the 83rd Academy Awards with James Franco. She also gave her voice for the animated film Rio and starred in One Day that same year.
In 2012, Hathaway voiced an audiobook The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and her performance was nominated for Audie Award for ‘Best Solo Narration’. That year she appeared in The Dark Knight Rises, the final film in the Batman trilogy by Christopher Nolan. But, the biggest event of the year, and in her career up to that point, was her role in the film Les Misérables, the same one her mother played on the stage show’s first US tour. For the role, she cut her hair on camera, and lost a significant amount of weight. The song she sang in the film, I Dreamed a Dream, reached number 69 on the Billboard Hot 100. The role got her an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, as well as a Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild Award, and a BAFTA Award.
Then, Hathaway shot Rio 2, the film Interstellar and the comedy The Intern, as well as Colossal in 2016. That year, she was also featured on Barbra Streisand’s album Encore: Movie Partners Sing Broadway.
Currently, Hathaway is awaiting the release of the all-female Ocean’s Eight.
As is the case with many perfectionists, Anne Hathaway has a reputation of being difficult to work with. She is, at times, described as over-confident, so much that there is a movement called Hathahate, and people that dislike the celebrity are called Hathahaters. ‘’She always seems like she’s performing, and her favourite act is this overstated humility and graciousness.’’, said her colleague, Richard Lawson. What seems to get on people’s nerves the most is the way she seems to exaggerate her behavior when she gives interviews or speaks in public, especially while giving speeches when she receives awards.
Her posh image aside, Hathaway is known to give it a hundred percent when preparing for a role, so much so she is prepared to gain or lose as much weight as needed, and even cut her own hair, which she did for Les Misérables. When shooting for The Devil Wears Prada, she and her co-star Emily Blunt were on a strict weight loss regimen. ‘’I basically stuck with fruit, vegetables and fish. I wouldn’t recommend that. Blunt and I would clutch at each other and cry because we were so hungry.’’, she said. She is also known to speak out for promoting a positive female body image. ‘’I’ll be honest with you, it really, really, really annoys me, the image that’s put out there for women. These tiny, tiny bodies, with absolutely no fat at all on them. It’s unhealthy, plain and simple, and there are only a handful of women in the world who are naturally like that. It makes me sick.’’, she says. ‘’I look my best after an entire hair and makeup team has spent hours perfecting me. When do I feel my best? When I haven’t looked in a mirror for days, and I’m doing things that make me happy.’’
Hathaway has been very active when it comes to charity work. She was involved with The Creative Coalition, The Step Up Women’s Network, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, The Human Rights Campaign, as well as The Lollipop Theatre Network.
In 2015, a film Be My Cat: A Film for Anne, about a man in Romania who goes a long way to convince Hathaway to star in the film, had its premiere at the Nashville Film Festival, winning the Special Jury Prize for Best Actor. She is also an LGBT rights activist.
Although Hathaway, who is privately called Annie, gives herself completely to every role she decides to play, she does make time for those things that are the most important in life: love. ‘’I love working and I feel satisfied when I know I have literally given all the energy that I have. That being said, work is no my number one priority.’’, she says. ‘’I don’t think it can come at the expense of your family, your friends and your significant other.’’
In 2004, she began dating Raffaello Follieri, an Italian real estate development. While she was with him, she took part in the Follieri Foundation, as its member and a donor. The couple broke-up four years later, while Follieri was involved in legal issues concerning his foundation and work, which ended with his arrest on charges of defrauding investors and his sentence to four and a half years in prison. When his home was raided, the police took away Hathaway’s personal diaries.
In 2008, Hathaway began dating Adam Shulman, an actor and a producer. They got engaged in 2011, and got married one year later in California, in an interfaith Christian and Jewish service.
Five years later, on March 2016, their son was born, named Jonathan Rosebanks Shulman.
Interestingly, Hathaway was a vegetarian for most of her life, but she has ceased this during the shooting of the Interstellar. ‘’So now I’m the vegan chick at the Michelin star restaurant in the middle of Iceland who is about to tell the chef how I’m gonna make him cook. So I said: All right, all right. I’ll have whatever the chef wants to prepare – but fish only, please.’’, she said about the moment she broke down. She is also an on-and-off smoker, and admitted to battling depression in her teenage years.
Although Hathaway grew up in New Jersey, she often makes a point about her living in Manhattan, which has been her home for the past years.
Written by: Tamara Djordjevic