One of the most successful actresses of her generation, Anne Hathaway appears to have it all. She’s an Academy Award winner with a whole host of box office hits to her name, and she has been in a loving marriage to businessman Adam Shulman since 2012. However, behind the scenes Hathaway has suffered her fair share of heartbreak.
Hathaway looks set to add to her list of big screen successes, too. In The Last Thing He Wanted, she stars as a reporter who decides to make her terminally ill father the focus of her attention rather than the U.S. Presidential election of 1984. Then there’s Dark Waters, Todd Haynes’ legal drama in which she plays the wife of Mark Ruffalo’s attorney.
Playing against type, Hathaway will then turn villainous with the role of the Grand High Witch in the second cinematic adaptation of Roald Dahl classic The Witches. And then she’ll appear in a movie that will be suitable for her young son Jonathan to watch. Yes, Hathaway will show up in the eagerly awaited Sesame Street film.
But while Hathaway’s career seems to be going swimmingly, one area of her private life has been anything but. And in 2019 she decided to publicly discuss an issue close to her heart. So here’s a look at the actress’ life story and the revelation which connected with many of her Instagram followers.
Anne Hathaway became inspired to take up acting after watching her mother Kate appear in a production of Les Misérables. Her parents initially tried to discourage her from the stage, but Hathaway was determined to follow in her mom’s footsteps. In 1993 she landed a place at the Barrow Group Theater Company’s program and became the first teenager ever to achieve such a feat.
No doubt to her parents’ delight, Hathaway did have a back-up plan. She studied political science and English at New York’s Vassar College before choosing to transfer to NYU’s Gallatin School of Individual Study. The actress later revealed that she would have pursued a career as a psychologist or teacher had Hollywood not come calling.
Hathaway first appeared on screen at the turn of the century in Get Real, a short-lived sitcom also starring future A-lister Jesse Eisenberg. But her true big break came when she was cast as the lead in 2001’s The Princess Diaries. Hathaway charmed audiences everywhere with her performance as Mia Thermopolis, a teen who learns she’s first in line to the throne of an entire kingdom.
Hathaway’s next movie wasn’t such a success, however. Adapted from John H. Groberg’s autobiography, In the Eye of the Storm, 2001 drama The Other Side of Heaven flopped with both critics and viewers alike. Hathaway, nevertheless, soon bounced back with an acclaimed debut on the New York stage playing orphan Lili in Carnival!
Returning to more family friendly fare, Hathaway provided a voiceover for the English dubbing of animation The Cat Returns. She then appeared in the 2002 version of Charles Dickens’ Nicholas Nickelby and played the leading lady once again in rom-com fantasy Ella Enchanted. Hathaway then returned to the role that launched her career in sequel The Princess Diaries 2: The Royal Engagement.
After lending her voice to another animation, 2005’s Hoodwinked, Hathaway began to consciously look for more adult roles. She went nude while playing a bratty socialite in Havoc and impressed as the wife of Jake Gyllenhaal’s gay cowboy Jack in the Oscar-nominated Brokeback Mountain. In 2006 Hathaway then lit up the screen as the assistant of Meryl Streep’s ruthless fashion editor in The Devil Wears Prada.
Hathaway then turned down a role in Judd Apatow’s Knocked Up before portraying her literary idol Jane Austen in biopic Becoming Jane. She did get the chance to showcase her comic skills again when she appeared as Agent 99 in Get Smart – the adaptation of the classic 1960s spy spoof. But it was Rachel Getting Married that firmly established Hathaway as one of her generation’s finest actresses.
Hathaway picked up the first of several Academy Award nominations for her turn as the troubled sister of a bride-to-be in the 2008 drama. The star also earned recognition for her performance in a staging of William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night at the Big Apple’s Delacorte Theatre. And in 2010 she picked up an Emmy for her voiceover in the “Once Upon a Time Springfield” episode of The Simpsons.
Following roles in romantic comedies Bride Wars and Valentine’s Day, Hathaway played another royal figure. This time, she starred as the White Queen in Tim Burton’s take on Alice in Wonderland. She then reunited with Gyllenhaal to play a Parkinson’s disease sufferer in Love & Other Drugs. Hathaway also added presenter to her list of talents when she co-hosted both the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize Concert and 2011 Academy Awards.
After showcasing her voiceover skills once more in Rio, Hathaway co-starred in the adaptation of David Nicholls’ One Day. A year later she ventured into the comic book world to play Selina Kyle, the cat burglar in The Dark Knight Rises. Following that, she then signed up to play dying prostitute Fantine in Tom Hooper’s take on Les Misérables.
Hathaway threw herself fully into the role; she lost 25 pounds, cut her hair and conducted research into the world’s oldest profession. And her efforts sure paid off, as she picked up the Best Supporting Actress award at the Oscars, Golden Globes and BAFTAs. Her version of show-stopping musical number “I Dreamed a Dream” also reached the US Hot 100.
After co-producing Sundance hit Song One, Hathaway joined forces with Christopher Nolan again on his dystopian sci-fi epic Interstellar. A year later she then shared the screen with film legend Robert De Niro in comedy drama The Intern. Hathaway also found the time to reprise her roles of Jewel and The White Queen in Rio 2 and Alice Through the Looking Glass, respectively.
Hathaway then co-starred with Jason Sudeikis in the offbeat sci-fi comedy Colossal before taking a well-earned two-year break from the industry. She returned in style in 2018 when she joined the likes of Cate Blanchett and Sandra Bullock in Ocean’s 8. And the female-fronted caper became one of the biggest box office successes of Hathaway’s career.
Unfortunately, Hathaway’s next two movies didn’t exactly reap the same rewards. Her performance as a femme fatale in thriller Serenity was described as “cartoonish” by critics. And the press weren’t much kinder about her turn as a con artist in the remake of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. However, Hathaway did earn acclaim for her portrayal of a bipolar disorder sufferer in her episode of Amazon anthology Modern Love.
As well as being an Oscar-winning box office draw, Hathaway is also a keen philanthropist. She’s helped to promote awareness of several issues in underdeveloped countries including child marriage, women’s rights and hepatitis A. And in 2013 she narrated the CNN documentary Girl Rising about the importance of female education.
And that’s not all; Hathaway is also a vocal advocate for LGBT rights. Furthermore, she has regularly spoke up about the dangers of white supremacy and discrimination against the transgender community. In 2016 the United Nations offered her the position of a Women Goodwill Ambassador due to her continued support for gender equality.
And Hathaway’s private life has sometimes resembled something out of a Hollywood drama. Her first high-profile relationship was with Raffaellio Follieri, a real estate developer from Italy with a New York-based organization formed to provide kids from poorer countries with vaccinations. However, Follieri would soon find himself in hot water indeed.
In the summer of 2008 the IRS investigated the non-profit foundation after it failed to file the necessary information forms. Follieri was subsequently arrested and charged with defrauding its investors out of seven-figure sums. Hathaway’s personal diaries were confiscated by the FBI as part of their investigation but she was never implicated in the crime. Follieri, however, received a four-and-a-half year jail sentence.
Hathaway soon found a new partner who thankfully hadn’t been involved in any major federal crimes. The actress first met Adam Shulman at the 2008 Palm Springs Film Festival and immediately fell in love. She later plucked up the courage to ask him out on an unconventional first date. Hathaway had been looking for a travel companion to New Orleans after her friends dropped out of the trip and decided that Shulman was the perfect substitute.
And Shulman is no stranger to the acting world himself. He’s shared the screen with Meryl Streep in Ricki and the Flash, appeared in TV movie The Dukes of Hazzard: The Beginning and guested on The West Wing. However, his skills extend far beyond the bright lights of Hollywood. He also joined forced with Heidi Nahser Fink to launch a jewelry firm that deals with eccentric, minimalistic pieces.
After dating for four years, Hathaway and Shulman walked down the aisle together at an intimate Californian ceremony in 2012. The pair also donated all the money they received from selling their photos of the wedding to an advocacy group for same-sex marriage. And in 2016 they became parents for the first time with the arrival of son Jonathan.
In July 2019 Hathaway revealed on Instagram that she was pregnant for a second time. But alongside a selfie in which she proudly showed off her bump, the actress also admitted that conceiving had been far more difficult this time around. She said, “For everyone going through infertility and conception hell, please know it was not a straight line to either of my pregnancies. Sending you extra love.”
Over 3.8 million of her followers liked Hathaway’s unexpectedly candid post. Thousands also took to the comment box to praise her for being so honest about such a difficult issue. One particularly touching message read, “Congratulations! And a big thank you for giving hope with your words! I’m actually going through this hell between infertility and babywish… it’s hard to try, to do everything you can to get pregnant when it seems there is nothing working.”
The Instagram user continued, “You look so happy and I wish you all the best! Thanks for your picture of hope!” And in a chat with the Daily Mail in August 2019, Hathaway revealed that she had decided to speak out about her problems as she wanted to support women going through similar ordeals.
Hathaway told the British newspaper that she struggled to cope every time someone she knew appeared to conceive with ease. She said, “Each time I was trying to get pregnant and it wasn’t going my way, someone else would manage to conceive. I knew intellectually that it didn’t happen just to torment me, but, to be honest, it felt a little bit like it did.”
“What made matters worse was that I was embarrassed to feel like that because there was no conversation to be had about it,” Hathaway went on to add. “This is something people don’t talk about, and I think they should. So, when I was writing that post, I was thinking about that one follower I might reach, the woman who’s in hell about this and can’t figure out why it’s not happening for her.”
Hathaway expressed how hopeful she was that her message would provide comfort to the follower in question. She said, “She’s going to see my announcement and, while I understand she will be happy for me, I also know that something about it will make her feel worse. I just wanted to say, ‘Look, this wasn’t as easy for me as it looks.’”
And social media doesn’t always help, either, according to Hathaway. The actress continued, “I sometimes think Instagram makes life look really breezy, but that’s not the whole story. By leaving out the sad part, we make women who are struggling with this feel isolated and lonely; we make them feel like it’s all their fault. I wanted to be more sensitive than that.”
Hathaway also believes that the lack of discussion about the difficulty of conception needs to be addressed. She told the Daily Mail, “There’s a one-size-fits-all narrative that we attach to getting pregnant, and it’s a narrative that only wants to focus on the happy moment. But that’s not the whole story because, for many women, this is just not that easy. I’m tired of it, because it’s not the truth and I like the truth.”
In fact, Hathaway believes that society can be downright damaging, whether intentional or not, when it comes to the issue of fertility. She continued, “What I hated was when people would say, ‘What’s taking you so long?’ Or they’d try to put a pretty bow on what was happening to me and make it seem not so bad.”
Hathaway admitted that she would try to keep her feelings in check when discussing with others about her difficulties conceiving. She continued, “I would just think, ‘Okay, you’re allowed to have your feelings about it, thank you very much, but my feelings are my feelings, and I’m fairly devastated right now, so whatever you say, I’m still going to feel that way.’”
Learning about other women experiencing the same problems also gave Hathaway some sense of comfort. She added, “Of course, my husband was there with me every step of the way. But I was also amazed at the number of women in my life who were brave enough to share their stories with me.”
Hathaway continued, “When I said to them, ‘This has happened to me, it broke my heart, it broke me,’ so many of them said, ‘It happened to me, too.’ And that was the thing that allowed me to come through it, to feel my pain without having anyone rush in to define it or cure it. To be able to understand what was going on beyond blaming myself or blaming my body.”
“Since I wrote that post, a lot of women have reached out to me to say it made them feel seen and heard, and I’m happy about that,” continued Hathaway. “We women who have come through this have become a sisterhood. But, until now, it has been a silent sisterhood, and I would like it not to be.”
Hathaway may have had more difficulty conceiving the second time around, but luckily, her actual pregnancy hasn’t been quite as tough. She told the Daily Mail, “With Jonathan, in my first trimester, I could barely stand up I was feeling so ill. But this one is different – I have tons of energy and I actually really like exercising.”
And relating to her comment about this less challenging birth, Hathaway joked that she may want to avoid one particular fellow Hollywood star. The actress added, “Amy Schumer said in her recent comedy special that if anybody claimed they were having an easy pregnancy, she wanted a car to flip over on them. Well, let’s just say I’m the person she wants a car to flip over on!”