Actress Paula Patton was born in Los Angeles, California, on December 5, 1975. After graduating magna cum laude from USC's film school in 1997, she worked as a production assistant for several years before making the transition to acting. She landed a small part in 2005's Hitch and the female lead in Outkast's 2006 musical Idlewild. Her big break came when she portrayed the character Ms. Rain in 2009's Academy Award-winning film Precious. Patton married singer Robin Thicke in 2005, later filing for divorce in 2014. The couple has a son, Julian.
Early Life and Education
Paula Maxine Patton was born in Los Angeles, California, on December 5, 1975. Her father, Charles, was a black defense attorney, and her mother, Joyce, a white schoolteacher. As a child of mixed race, Patton found it hard to fit in at times but gradually overcame her insecurities and even began to put on plays in her backyard for friends and family.
By the time Patton, who had grown up across the street from the 20th Century Fox studios, entered high school at the Hamilton School for the Performing Arts, she had become increasingly interested in filmmaking. After graduating, she briefly attended the University of California, Berkeley, before transferring to the University of Southern California to study film. While she had her first break into the industry when the was selected to appear in PBS' documentary series The Ride, which followed young aspiring filmmakers on a trip across country as they worked on projects.
In 1997, Patton graduated from USC with magna cum laude honors and landed a job with PBS as a production assistant on a number of documentaries. In time, however, Patton's desire to appear in front of the camera grew, and she was eventually granted that opportunity when she landed a small role in Will Smith's 2005 romantic comedy, Hitch.
In 2006, Patton was chosen for the female lead, a mystifying nightclub singer, in the rap group Outkast's film Idlewild. The film, a unique and extremely stylized musical, was an underground sensation but it did not achieve much mainstream success. In 2007, Patton was voted one of People magazine's 100 most beautiful people. Her breakthrough role came in 2009 when she portrayed the role of Ms. Rain in the award-winning Lee Daniels drama Precious, a performance for which she received an NAACP Image Award nomination the following year.
Following the success of Precious, Patton received a number of roles in both television and film. She performed with Queen Latifah in the comedy Just Wright (2010) as well as appearing opposite Tom Cruise in 2011's Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. In 2013, Patton starred in the romantic comedy Baggage Claim.
In 2005, Patton married her longtime boyfriend, pop-soul sensation Robin Thicke. The couple began dating when Patton was 19 years old, but in the beginning of their relationship, they remained secretive, fearful of the scrutiny of their peers because of their different ethnicities. In April 2010 the couple welcomed their son, Julian Fuego Thicke, into the world.
Talking about their marriage, Thicke later admitted having "messed up" and lied during a radio interview. With the couple's union in peril, he released the 2014 confessional album Paula with the aim of trying to woo his spouse back. Patton nonetheless decided to file for divorce in October 2014, with the marriage officially ending the following year.
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