Jennifer Lawrence is an Oscar-winning actress who is known the world over for her star performances in films such as The Hunger Games (2012), Silver Linings Playbook (2012) and Passengers (2016). Producers recognised her outstanding natural ability from an early age, and by the time she was 22 years old she had already won an Oscar for Best Actress!
Since finding fame as Katniss Everdeen, Jennifer has managed to build up an impressive resume and is still one of Hollywood’s most sought-after actresses at the age of 27. She’s friends with Bradley Cooper and Emma Stone, plus she’s learnt all kinds of new skills since entering the world of acting, from archery to squirrel skinning! Not bad for someone who has never taken an acting class in their life.
When she’s not rolling in front of the cameras, Jennifer is a candid and outspoken young woman who isn’t afraid to discuss her personal life with interviewers. Her sharp and funny personality is almost as well-known to the public as her acting ability, making her a popular talkshow guest and red carpet celebrity.
In the photos below, we take a look at Jennifer’s life so far, passing from her childhood in Kentucky through her most famous film roles to her next big projects on the horizon. How did it all start for Hollywood’s highest-paid actress? Scroll down the list below to find out more!
1. Jennifer is a Kentucky girl, born and raised
Jennifer Shrader Lawrence was born on 15th August, 1990 in Indian Hills, Kentucky. Jennifer has never forgotten her roots and her charity the Jennifer Lawrence Foundation regularly carries out work in the area. She once screened an early viewing of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013) to benefit Saint Mary’s Center, a disabilities organisation in Louisville, Kentucky and raised over $40,000 for the cause.
In fact, in May this year she flew back to her home state for the world-famous Kentucky Derby, and accidentally turned up to the event wearing a pizza-stained dress. Judging from these early childhood photos, Jennifer has always been a bit of a messy eater!
2. She had a normal upbringing away from show business
In this smiling photograph, a young Jennifer poses with her dad Gary, a construction worker, at a sports game. Her mother Karen worked as a summer camp manager, meaning that Jennifer enjoyed a relatively normal upbringing away from the world of Hollywood. However, she has previously stated that she didn’t enjoy a lot of her childhood due to a mixture of hyperactivity and social anxiety – she often felt like a misfit amongst her peers, and used acting as a way to forget about her worries.
3. Jennifer is the baby of the family
That’s right, Jennifer actually has two older brothers, Ben and Blaine. She grew up in a macho, Conservative household and her mother purposely brought her up to be “tough” like her siblings. Jennifer played many sports in school but she particularly enjoyed basketball, playing on the boys team that was coached by her father! Thanks to these experiences, the Oscar-winning actress considers herself a bit of a tomboy to this day.
4. She was a cheerleader in junior high
As a teenager, Jennifer attended Kammerer Middle School in Louisville. As well as playing basketball, she enjoyed a range of sports including softball, field hockey, horse riding and even cheerleading. In the photo above she’s standing proudly with other members of the Kammerer squad, ready to cheer on her school in the next game. Jennifer’s childhood nickname was ‘Nitro’ – aka nitroglycerin – due to her hyper personality, a characteristic which probably came in handy for a budding cheerleader.
5. She dropped out of high school two years early
Jennifer has spoken candidly about her decision to leave school at the age of 14. She left junior high and never returned, so she doesn’t have a GED or diploma and instead refers to herself as ‘self-educated’. Jennifer was so convinced that acting was what she wanted to do in life that she dropped out of high school and never looked back. She stated in an interview in February this year: “I wanted to forge my own path. I found what I wanted to do, and I didn’t want anything getting in the way of it. Even friends, for many years, were not as important to me as my career, I mean, from the age of 14.”
6. She was discovered in Union Square, NYC
Jennifer was first ‘discovered’ at the age of 14 when a modelling agent spotted her hanging out in New York City’s Union Square. Apparently, she and her family were watching some break dancers perform when the agent approached her for contact details. She later told news reporter Diane Sawyer: “My mom gave him her number because she didn’t know that was potentially dangerous and creepy, and then he called and said modelling agencies wanted to meet with me. And I made up my mind in the cab ride, I was like, ‘well, I’m only going to sign with a modelling agency if they’ll let me act.’ Which came out of nowhere… I was already negotiating.”
Only a few months later, Lawrence convinced her parents to let her move to NYC for six weeks to try and break into the world of acting. We have to say that in this case, despite only being a teenager, she was 100% right to trust her natural instincts and try and make it big!
7. She did some modelling as a teenager
After being spotted by the modelling agent, Jennifer did end up doing a small amount of work in front of the camera, with fashion photographer Chris Kaufman actually likening her to a young Gisele Bundchen! He took some photos of Jennifer for an Abercrombie & Fitch campaign but the pictures were never used. However, after she rose to fame as an actress, the company released the still above to commemorate her brief time as a working model.
8. She started her career on The Bill Engvall Show
We’ve never heard of it either, but before Jennifer was picking up awards left, right and centre, she made her first foray into the world of acting as Lauren Pearson, the oldest daughter on The Bill Engvall Show. She joined the programme in 2007 and filmed 31 episodes until she left the show in 2009, which centred around the life of therapist Bill Pearson and his family.
As well as her time on Bill Engvall, Jennifer made a cameo appearance on a 2007 episode of Cold Case as Abby Bradford. Check out the clip below to see her in action! Funnily enough, at the end of the video you might notice that actress Paula Malcomson appears briefly as Abby’s mother. She also played the mother of Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss in The Hunger Games.
9. She was nominated for an Oscar at the age of 20
Jennifer has managed to fit quite a lot into her young life so far and that includes being the second youngest person ever nominated for an Oscar! She got her big break in the world of film with Debra Granik’s independent feature Winter’s Bone (2010), where she played the leading role of Ree Dolly, a teenager who lives in the Ozark mountains and has to care for her mentally ill mother and younger siblings.
In order to prepare for the role, Lawrence travelled to the Ozarks a week before filming commenced in order to live with the actual family on whom the story was based. She learnt how to fight, skin squirrels and chop wood. Critics immediately picked up on her natural acting ability and Lawrence was nominated for Best Actress, an award she lost out on to Natalie Portman’s performance in Black Swan.
10. She starred in the X-Men franchise
Her next big project saw Jennifer take on the role of Mystique in X-Men: First Class (2011), a sequel to the X-Men series. She had been looking for something less serious than her dramatic turn in Winter’s Bone and thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of playing the shapeshifting mutant Mystique. In order to achieve the iconic blue-skinned look, Jennifer had to spend a total of eight hours in make up before filming could begin! It was worth it though, because once again Jennifer’s performance was singled out, with some critics even stating that she was responsible for raising the film to another level artistically.
11. The Hunger Games shot her to household name status
Major film franchises have been kind to Jennifer over the years, but it was The Hunger Games that really established her as a fully-fledged Hollywood star (despite being only 22 when the film was first released!). Jennifer made the leading role of Katniss Everdeen her own, and thanks to the worldwide revenues of $690 million, Everdeen became the highest-grossing action heroine of all time. Lawrence only took on the role after her mother convinced her to do it, and she learnt archery and hand-to-hand combat for the part. Since the first film she has starred in three more instalments, and her net worth is currently estimated at $120 million.
12. She was an established actress at a very young age
All of a sudden, Jennifer Lawrence was everywhere! After her success in The Hunger Games, it seemed as though the whole of the world’s media was focused on the young star, who was being nominated for prestigious awards and accolades every other week. Her quirky persona quickly came to the fore, with Indiewire stating in 2012 that she had a “down-to-earth, self-deprecating, unaffected” personality. Jennifer has always been outspoken about the world of acting and claims that she actually considers it to be quite a ‘stupid’ profession, and one that she swears will never make her cocky about her success.
13. She dated British actor Nicholas Hoult
Like many Hollywood actors, Jennifer soon found romance with one of her co-stars on X-Men: First Class. She dated British actor Nicholas Hoult (of About A Boy fame) from 2010 to 2014, when they split up just after finishing X-Men: Days of Future Past. Later that year, she became a high-profile victim of the iCloud leak of celebrity photos, when dozens of her nude selfies were leaked online. Lawrence called the act a ‘sex crime’ and a ‘sexual violation’, adding that those people who had viewed the images should be ashamed of their part in committing a sexual offence. The pictures were meant for Hoult, not members of the public, but unlike other victims of the hack Lawrence decided against suing Apple for the leak.
14. She regularly takes her family to awards ceremonies
Despite her rise to stardom, Jennifer has always remained grounded and regularly takes her family to awards ceremonies. In the photo above, her parents Gary and Karen are beaming next to their Oscar-winning daughter, just after she scooped the prestigious gong for her role in Silver Linings Playbook. And in the image below, Jennifer is posing with her two brothers Ben and Blaine. Apparently, she got annoyed with the red carpet photographers who kept shouting at the two men to move, and instead held both of them closer.
15. She’s good friends with Bradley Cooper
Jennifer and actor Bradley Cooper have collaborated on a number of films, with their best-known appearance together featuring in Silver Linings Playbook. Jennifer played Tiffany, a troubled widow whilst Bradley took the role of Pat Solitano, a man who suffers from bipolar disorder. They also starred together in the 2013 movie American Hustle, before appearing on the big screen again in the film flop Serena (2014).
Their on-screen chemistry is so intense that rumours have constantly swirled around the pair, with the press consistently commenting on a possible relationship between the two. However, both actors have put the suggestion swiftly to bed, so to speak.
At the 2013 Golden Globes, Cooper was asked by Entertainment Tonight if he and Lawrence were dating, and his response was pretty clear.
“Oh my God. That’s very funny,” Cooper said. “No, my God, no.”
“No, no, no, no, no, not even close,” he continued. “First of all, I could be her father. No, I’m kidding. But no, not even close.”
Since then Bradley has gone on to have a child with Russian model Irina Shayk, whilst Jennifer has had a string of high-profile romances. Even if they’re not meant to be together as a couple, we hope that we’ll see the two actors sharing the big screen again soon.
16. Jennifer won an Oscar for Best Actress thanks to her performance in Silver Linings Playbook
Jennifer famously won the Best Actress award at the 85th Annual Oscars ceremony in LA for her role as Tiffany in Silver Linings Playbook. She beat off strong competition in the form of Jessica Chastain, for her performance in Zero Dark Thirty, and Emmanuelle Riva in Amour. However, she nearly didn’t make it onto the stage to collect her award after tripping on her Christian Dior dress on the way up the stairs! Jennifer laughed off the incident in no time at all and even got a standing ovation from the star-studded crowd to get her going again:
‘Thank you so much,’ she told them. ‘This is nuts. You guys are only standing up because I fell and you feel bad. That was embarrassing.’
Her win overshadowed any blushes though and Jennifer was all smiles after receiving the Best Actress Oscar at the tender age of 22.
17. She was in a relationship with director Darren Aronofsky
Jennifer met director Darren Aronofsky on the set of the psychological thriller Mother! and once filming had ended in 2016 the couple began dating. However, the pair split in 2017 due to the 21 year age difference between them and the strain of dealing with critical backlash from Mother!.
In an interview with Adam Sandler, Jennifer explained that: ‘We’d be on the tour together. I’d come back to the hotel, and the last thing I want to talk about or think about is a movie.’
‘He comes back from the tour, and that’s all he wants to talk about. I get it; it’s his baby. He wrote it; he conceived it; he directed it.’
Sounds as though she might have had some mothering (sorry!) to do when the negative reviews started rolling in!
18. Jennifer fully admits that she likes a drink
A series of hilarious photos emerged from the 2018 Oscars which showed Jennifer knocking back some white wine and attempting to clamber over the chairs to her seat clutching her hand bag in one hand and some chardonnay in the other. She won praise from fans for her ability to juggle everything without spilling a drop of alcohol! As these photos demonstrate, Jennifer has previously admitted that she loves a good drink.
In an interview with Ellen DeGeneres, she explained that she has a drunken alter-ego named ‘Gail’:
“I think my girlfriends probably named [my alter ago] Gail, just by the way I look — it’s a very specific drunk, too. It’s not just every time I’m drunk I turn into this… I think she’s some sort of tortoise gambler,” she said. “I don’t always turn into this masculine alter ego that like jumps into shark-ridden waters just to make my friends laugh. It’s not every time, I think it might be rum… The only time I drink rum is on vacation.”
Talk show hosts clearly know that she enjoys a drink and have previously made sure to have some on stand by whenever Jennifer is due for a visit. She drank rum with Stephen Colbert, red wine with Seth Meyers (central image) and was sipping white wine out of a straw when she appeared on Watch What Happens Live (above). Cheers!
19. Her most recent success came with Red Sparrow
Jennifer’s only project in 2018 so far has been her starring role in Red Sparrow, a spy thriller in which she plays the ballet dancer Dominika Egorova. The film received mix reviews and was noted for its use of graphic sex and violence to depict historic Soviet ‘sexpionage’, but in spite of this it did well at the worldwide box office, raking in $151.3 million. Once again, Lawrence’s performance was categorically praised despite reservations in some quarters about the rest of the film’s content.
Lawrence did a lot of promotional work for the film and attended premieres around the world. She is pictured at the New York screening in the image above, but it was the outfit that she wore to the London premiere that really did the rounds on social media. Lawrence became aggravated when her revealing Versace dress drew criticism from people when compared to her male co-stars, who were wearing coats and scarves in the cold weather.
Lawrence responded in typical fashion with a Facebook post that stated: “This is not only utterly ridiculous, I am extremely offended. That Versace dress was fabulous, you think I’m going to cover that gorgeous dress up with a coat and a scarf? I was outside for 5 minutes. I would have stood in the snow for that dress because I love fashion and that was my choice.”
20. She’s slated to star in another X-Men film in 2019
Dress controversy aside, Jennifer’s next film looks likely to be another instalment of X-Men, where she’ll be reprising her role of Mystique for X-Men: Dark Phoenix. She has also been confirmed as Elizabeth Holmes in Bad Blood, a film about an entrepreneur who invents a biotech company worth millions, only to be investigated by the FBI. We’re sure she’ll bring another winning performance to both of these projects!
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