Andrea Donna de Matteo, called Drea (pronounced "dray"), was born on January 19, 1972 in Queens, New York, into an affluent family, the youngest of three children and the only girl. De Matteo's father is a furniture manufacturer and her mother, Donna, is a playwright and teaches playwriting at HB Studio in New York. De Matteo spent her early childhood in Queens, and the family then moved to the Upper East Side in Manhattan, into Aretha Franklin's former townhouse.
De Matteo decided to pursue a directing career at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, perhaps because of the brief moment when, as a girl, she was brought onstage out of the audience and dazzled by the stage lights when she was seeing the play "Cats," perhaps because of her mother's involvement in the entertainment business. Once she was in school, however, it was the acting classes which attracted her greatest interest, and she decided on an acting career. After a screen debut in an obscure independent and a small part in a small movie, Meet Prince Charming (2002), de Matteo auditioned for a one-episode part in the HBO series "The Sopranos" (1999). She impressed the producers enough that they expanded the role, as Adriana La Cerva, girlfriend to up-and-coming Soprano family soldier Christopher Moltisanti (Michael Imperioli), and she eventually became a regular on the show. De Matteo had the right sultry beauty to portray Adriana, but her acting skills greatly fleshed out the character, making her as rich and complex a character as a slightly ditzy gangster's girlfriend can be in the first place - humorous, even charming in a way and, ultimately, tragic. She won an Emmy award for her portrayal of Adriana in 2004.
Although De Matteo's role on the HBO series ended in 2004, in that same year she got a leading role in "Joey" (2004), a spin-off of the long-running NBC sitcom "Friends" (1994). She has also appeared in several movies since starting on "The Sopranos" - regardless of the caliber of the production, de Matteo has consistently shown her strong acting skills, such as her award-winning lead in Abel Ferrara's 'R Xmas (2001) and her supporting role in Prey for Rock & Roll (2003).
Although De Matteo describes herself as shy, she also says she was and remains a wild, multi-tattooed party-girl who peppers her conversation with strong language and prefers jeans to dressing up. She owned a rock and roll vintage clothing store in the East Village called "Filth Mart" for several years but has closed it and is considering re-opening it in the Los Angeles area. She has said that she considers actor Vince Vaughn to be like a brother to her.
Graduate of NYU's Tisch School of the Arts.
Speaks fluent Italian and Spanish.
Her character on "The Sopranos" (1999) was orignally written for only one episode.
Has her mother's, father's and grandmother's names tattooed onto her body.
Has closed her clothing store Filth Mart in Manhattan and is opening one in Los Angeles
Drea's father was a furniture manufacturer and her mother was a playwright. She was raised in Queens primarily by her grandmother and a Nicaraguan nanny. She now takes care of her nanny, who had a heart transplant.
At NYU, she originally intended to study to be a director, but got attention for her acting.
Ranked #33 in Stuff magazine's "102 Sexiest Women in the World" (2002)
Is of Italian descent
Assault on Precinct 13 (2005) opened on her 33rd birthday.
Expecting first child together with Shooter Jennings in late 2007.
Drea and Shooter Jennings became the parents of a girl, Alabama Gypsyrose Jennings, on November 28, 2007.
She studied drama at HB Studio in Greenwich Village in New York City.
Son, Waylon Albert "Blackjack" Jennings, born on April 7, 2011.
Engaged to Shooter Jennings [June 2009].
Close friends with John Barrowman.
[on 'The Sopranos'] The reason I thought Big Pussy was the perfect choice when they killed him off is he didn't understand why he was getting killed off. I kept saying to him, 'Man, it's because you're a great actor and you can handle the material and people are going to feel for you because you're going to know how to play it out. And you're kind of vulnerable'. There was a vulnerability to this big Mafia guy. People cared about him. You would probably care less if it was someone as cool as Silvio. And Steve Schirripa - there was a vulnerability to his character too. They had a soft, creamy center, those big boys. But really, everybody was waiting to get the ax. It was a race to read the script.
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