Amy Adams admits that while she's attracted to playing naïve, sweetly innocent characters, behind those blue eyes and warm smile is a core of worldly knowledge and fierce determination. "I have worked with some of the meanest people in the world. You can't do anything to intimidate me," she says.
That strength of character has no doubt helped her make the transition from the relative obscurity of low-budget TV and B movies to a level of big screen success marked by double Oscar and Golden Globe nominations.
Amy Adams was born on August 20, 1974, in Vicenza, Italy, the fourth of seven children of American parents Kathryn and Richard Adams. Her father, a US serviceman, was stationed in Italy at the time and the family moved from base to base before eventually settling in Colorado when Amy was eight or nine.
Performing is clearly in Amy's blood - her father sang professionally in restaurants, while her mother was a semi-professional bodybuilder. Raised a Mormon, although her family left the church after her parents divorced when she was 11 years old, Amy credits her religious upbringing with instilling a value system which she says still holds true. "The basic 'Do unto others...'," she explains. "And love."
At school Amy took up ballet and went on to eschew college in favour of musical theatre. She worked as a dancer in a Minneapolis dinner theatre but after three years was forced to quit when a pulled muscle put her out of action. It was then that she attended her first audition, for 1999 comedy Drop Dead Gorgeous
. Having won the part she never returned to dancing.
Swapping Minnesota for LA at the recommendation of new actress pal Kirstie Alley, Amy focused on trying to break into Hollywood. After a difficult first year, work began to filter in, with a lead part in a Cruel Intentions
spin off. This led to small film roles, including one in 2002 Spielberg thriller Catch Me If You Can
, where she played Leonardo DiCaprio's love interest.
The film should have jump-started her Hollywood career, but afterwards she was unemployed for a year, and when she hit 30 in 2005 Amy began to wonder where she was going with acting. Then the script for low budget indie flick Junebug
landed in her lap, and everything changed.
Although distributed on limited release the film was a huge hit with critics who heaped praise on Amy for her performance as pregnant optimist Ashley Johnson. The role didn't just get her noticed, it also brought Screen Actors Guild and Oscar nods. From then on work flowed in for the strawberry blonde actress. Other notable roles include 2007's Charlie Wilson's War
with Tom Hanks and Doubt
, the role for which she was singled out for her second Academy Award nomination in 2009.
As well as having a successful career Amy has reason to celebrate on a personal front too. She became engaged to her actor boyfriend Darren Le Gallo 2008 and quickly followed up the engagement with a daughter, Aviana Olea Le Gallo who was born in 2010. The couple met during an acting class in 2001 and started dating a year later after their friendship blossomed into romance when they worked together on a short film.
In 2013 Amy achieved further success portraying a con artist in American Hustle
. The role earned her a Golden Globe for best female performance in a comedy.
The Oscars Academy couldn't ignore her either and she received her fifth nomination from them - this time for Best Actress.