Diane Lane

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Diane Lane's acclaimed performance in 2002's Unfaithful placed her firmly on Hollywood's A-list. It is unlikely, however, that celebrity and its trappings were ever her objective as, unlike Hollywood's other leading ladies, Diane has already been a star. And to be blunt, she didn't much care for it.

Her debut film, 1979's A Little Romance, made the actress a household name at the tender age of 14. Appearing opposite Laurence Olivier, she stunned critics with the depth of her acting ability. Her legendary co-star described her as "the new Grace Kelly" and director Francis Ford Coppola declared her his favourite actress. She also made the cover of Time magazine, which lauded her as Hollywood's hottest property. Most young performers would have been swept away by the media frenzy but, as the world soon found out, Diane was mature beyond her years.

When that kind of furore surrounds a breakthrough actor, particularly one so young, cinema veterans tend to raise a concerned eyebrow or two. Clichés tells us that child stars either nosedive into substance abuse or become box office rejects. But Diane was not your average teenager. "I saw Henry Kissinger in the corner of the same cover and the mythology of celebrity just fell away," she says. "Even then I understood that it wasn't about me and that this was just the publicity machine of the studio at work."

Her perspective on stardom may have stemmed from growing up in a bohemian New York family that already knew a thing or two about the limelight. Her parents, acting coach Burt Lane and Playboy centrefold Colleen Farrington, counted the likes of Gena Rowlands and John Cassavetes among their friends. And Diane had begun her career at the age of just six, as a member of the globe-trotting theatre company La Mama. A few years later she was noticed by director George Roy Hill, the man behind Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid. He decided to cast the then 13-year-old in A Little Romance, and before long the teenager was seeing her face staring back at her from Manhattan magazine stands.

Through her teens she made a series of successful films which culminated in the legendary Rumblefish in 1983. Soon afterwards, when she refused the role in Splash which made Daryl Hannah a name, it became evident Diane wasn't overly enamoured with the starlet lifestyle. In 1984, after appearing in The Cotton Club opposite Richard Gere, she made a decision that would horrify most Hollywood hopefuls. At the age of just 19, Diane went into semi-retirement and moved to Georgia where, she says, "my career ended and I started".

Since then the actress has appeared in a steady string of independent films and lower-budget Hollywood fare. Younger movie fans would be forgiven for thinking her a newcomer when critics praised her supporting role in The Perfect Storm. Her "return" to the limelight didn't change her views, however, as was evident when she decided to avoid 2002's Oscars. "I had gowns hanging, jewellery ready, and I just opted out," she says. "It's an attitude I enjoy thoroughly. I didn't feel like 'putting it on' so I wore my house slippers and went to my girlfriend's house. I've done very well without celebrity for a very long time and I think I'm a different animal for it."

The actress shows the same self-confidence and independence in her emotional life. She dated both Matt Dillon and Jon Bon Jovi in the Eighties, before settling with French actor Christopher Lambert. The couple have a daughter Eleanor, but their marriage ended in divorce after six years in 1994. A decade later, in August 2004, she tied the knot for the second time, with her beau of two years, actor Josh Brolin.
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