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Hilary Swank Recalls Sleeping in a Car With Her Mom Before Hollywood Success

Hilary Swank Recalls Sleeping in a Car With Her Mom Before Hollywood Success 779
Hilary Swank. Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

Breaking into the business wasn’t exactly a walk in the park for Hilary Swank.

Long before becoming an Oscar winner for her performances in Boys Don’t Cry and Million Dollar Baby, the actress was a young student who would do anything to accomplish her dreams.

In a new interview with the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, February 20, Swank recalled the moment she left her Washington high school after sophomore year to travel to Los Angeles in hopes of finding success on the big screen.

“My mother had recently separated from my father, so we drove down to Los Angeles from Bellingham, Wash.,” Swank, 49, told the publication. “I began the process of breaking into the business. In L.A., my mother and I first lived in her Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme on quiet residential streets. When we weren’t sleeping in the car, we stayed at the house of a new friend my age whose family had just moved out and were trying to sell their home. We slept on an air mattress.”

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After Hilary’s mom, Judy Swank, found secretarial work, the duo was able to rent a bedroom from a single mother. Slowly but surely, Hilary began to make progress in her goals.

“Starting out, I booked just OK television parts, but I didn’t care,” she said. “I was excited to be living my dream.”

Through the highs and lows that came with auditions, Hilary said she had the support of her mom who previously danced in high school. “She understood the excitement of performing,” the P.S. I Love You star explained, “and why acting made me come alive.”

Hilary eventually signed with Bonnie Liedtke, who discovered and represented several talented actors including Leonardo DiCaprio. Her first big film break came in 1992 when she landed a part in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

More than 30 years later, Hilary continues to find success with her latest project being a starring role in the family-friendly film Ordinary Angels.

Hilary Swank Recalls Sleeping in a Car With Her Mom Before Hollywood Success 778
Matthew Simmons/Getty Images

But instead of calling Hollywood home, Hilary and her husband, Philip Schneider, prefer to live their lives outside of the spotlight. Married since 2018, the couple maintains a private life in both Colorado and Washington as they raise twins Aya and Ohm.

In fact, it wasn’t until this past Valentine’s Day that Hilary confirmed the names of her 10-month-old kids.

“We have horses, dogs and a parrot,” she said when describing her rustic Colorado home. “We’re hoping to add goats, chickens and perhaps a pig.”

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She’s also hoping to never forget where she came from.

“Even though I’m happy we left L.A., every so often, when I’m there for meetings, I’ll drive along a street in Pasadena where my mom and I parked and slept,” Hilary said. “Despite the challenges, I feel nostalgia for those days, when we had nothing.”

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