Though she was born in London, Thandiwe Newton spent the first three years of her life living in Zambia before her parents, English lab tech Nick Newton and Zimbabwean nurse Grace Nyasha Jombe, moved the family to Cornwall.
She studied modern dance until a back injury stopped her career. She started auditioning for movies, landing her first role at 16. She was cast in Flirting (1991) alongside Nicole Kidman and Naomi Watts. She went to Cambridge University and made films between semesters, even shooting Interview With a Vampire (1994) opposite Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt while finishing her anthropology degree.
Newton’s career has included blockbuster action movies such as Mission: Impossible 2 (2000), The Chronicles of Riddick (2004) and Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018). She has also starred in acclaimed dramas, such as Crash (2004), which earned her a BAFTA for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, as well as The Pursuit of Happyness (2006) and For Colored Girls (2010).
The actress has made her mark on TV as well. She recurred as Makemba “Kem” Likasu on NBC’s ER from 2003 to 2009, and she won an Emmy for her role as Maeve Millay on HBO’s Westworld, which started in 2016.
After a misspelling in her first film credit led to her being known as Thandie Newton, the actress announced in April 2021 that she was reclaiming her given name, Thandiwe (pronounced “tan-DEE-way”).
Newton married Ol Parker in 1998. The pair welcomed daughters Ripley and Nico in December 2000 and December 2004, respectively. Son Booker was born in 2014.
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Parker and Newton sparked split speculation after she was spotted kissing rapper Lonr in April 2022.