Natalie Portman is an actress with dual American and Israeli citizenship. Her first role was in the 1994 action thriller Léon: The Professional, opposite Jean Reno. She was later cast as Padmé Amidala in the Star Wars prequel trilogy (released in 1999, 2002 and 2005).
Born in Jerusalem to an Israeli father and American mother, Portman grew up in Jericho, New York from the age of three. She studied dancing and acting in New York, and starred in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace while still at high school on Long Island. In 1999, Portman enrolled at Harvard University to study psychology, alongside her work as an actress; she completed a bachelor’s degree in 2003. During her studies she starred in a second Star Wars film and opened in New York City’s The Public Theater production of Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull in 2001.
Portman won a Golden Globe and was nominated for an Academy Award for starring in the 2004 drama Closer, appeared in Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith the following year, and won a Constellation Award for Best Female Performance and the Saturn Award for Best Actress for her starring role in the political thriller V for Vendetta (2006). She played leading roles in the historical dramas Goya’s Ghosts (2006) and The Other Boleyn Girl (2008), and also appeared in Thor (2011) and its 2013 sequel. In 2010, Portman starred in the psychological thriller film Black Swan. Her performance received widespread critical acclaim and she earned her first Academy Award for Best Actress, her second Golden Globe Award, the SAG Award, the BAFTA Award and the BFCA Award in 2011. In 2016, she portrayed First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy in the biographical drama Jackie. She was nominated for an Academy Award, a BAFTA Award, a Golden Globe Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award and won the BFCA for Best Actress.
In May 2008, Portman served as the youngest member of the 61st Annual Cannes Film Festival jury. The same year she directed a segment of the collective film New York, I Love You. Her first feature film as a director, A Tale of Love and Darkness, was released in 2015.
Portman was born on June 9, 1981 in Jerusalem. Her original given name was Neta-Lee, a Hebrew name. She is the only child of Shelley, an American homemaker who works as Portman’s agent, and Avner Hershlag, an Israeli fertility specialist and gynecologist.
Her maternal grandparents, Bernice (née Hurwitz; 1925–2014) and Arthur Stevens (whose family surname was originally Edelstein), were from Jewish families who moved to the United States from Austria and Russia. Natalie’s paternal grandparents, Mania (née Portman) and Zvi Yehuda Hershlag, were Jewish immigrants to Israel. Zvi, born in Poland in 1914, moved to what was then Mandatory Palestine in 1938 and eventually became an economics professor; his parents died at Auschwitz. One of Natalie’s paternal great-grandmothers was born in Romania and was a spy for British Intelligence during World War II.
Portman’s parents met at a Jewish student center at Ohio State University, where her mother was selling tickets. They corresponded after her father returned to Israel and were married when her mother visited a few years later. In 1984, when Portman was three years old, the family moved to the United States, where her father received his medical training. Portman, a dual citizen of the United States and Israel, has said that although she “really love’s the States… my heart’s in Jerusalem. That’s where I feel at home.”
Portman and her family first lived in Washington, D.C., but relocated to Connecticut in 1988 and then moved to Jericho, New York, on Long Island, in 1990.
In 2006, she commented that she felt more Jewish in Israel and that she would like to raise her children Jewish: “A priority for me is definitely that I’d like to raise my kids Jewish, but the ultimate thing is to have someone who is a good person and who is a partner.”
After Portman starred in the video for folk singer Devendra Banhart’s song “Carmensita”, the two began a relationship, which ended in September 2008.
Portman began dating French ballet dancer Benjamin Millepied in 2009. The couple met while she was filming Black Swan, for which he was the choreographer. In December 2010, Portman announced their engagement and confirmed her pregnancy. Portman and Millepied married in a Jewish ceremony in Big Sur, California on August 4, 2012. The couple have two children: son Aleph (born June 2011) and daughter Amalia (born February 2017).
In January 2013, the Paris Opera Ballet announced that Millepied had accepted the position of director of dance, beginning September 2014. The couple subsequently announced plans to relocate to Paris with Portman stating that she would like to become a French citizen. In 2016, the family returned to Los Angeles from Paris. [wikipedia.org]
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