As a daughter of the late director Bruce Paltrow and actress Blythe Danner, not to mention a family friend of Steven Spielberg, success in Hollywood came easier to Gwyneth Paltrow than others—in fact, her connections got her one of her first film roles, as Wendy in the 1991 Peter Pan update Hook.
Despite its being reviled, Paltrow was able to quickly become leading-lady material, starring in Se7en, Emma, and 1998's Shakespeare In Love, for which she earned an Oscar for Best Actress.
Mostly cast as period heroines and lanky love interests, she occasionally breaks out into comedy, as she did in the Farrelly brothers' Shallow Hal. She also played Hope in the 2006 film Running with Scissors and appeared in The Good Night which premiered at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival.
Her newest film, Iron Man - also starring Robert Downey Jr. - ranked no. 1 at the box office during its opening weekend in May, earning $104.2 million.
Between her debutante looks and her Hollywood–royalty pedigree, Paltrow is perpetually featured in ads and magazines.
Paltrow has dated several of her costars, including Ben Affleck, Luke Wilson, and most famously, Brad Pitt, to whom she was engaged in 1996. She has had two children: Apple, born May 2004 and Moses, born April 2006 - with hubby and Coldplay frontman Chris Martin.