The Stunning Transformation Of Rachel Weisz

Over the past three decades, Rachel Weisz has become one of Hollywood's most respected and revered actors. Known for her turns in both big-budget blockbusters and intelligent indies, Weisz has consistently proven herself to be exceptional at her craft. You probably remember her from "The Mummy," "The Constant Gardener," "The Lobster," "The Fountain," "The Favorite," or "Black Widow." With two Oscar nominations and one win already under her belt, the actor is well on her way to becoming a highly paid acting legend as her career continues into her 50s and beyond.

Born in London in 1970, Weisz was a bright and striking child. After becoming both a model and a Cambridge scholar, Weisz doggedly pursued acting as a young woman — and quickly found success. By the age of 22, she'd landed her first television role, Britannica reported. By 29, already co-starred in "The Mummy." Since then, she's become known for her complex roles in independent films and her work as a champion of feminism in the industry. You may also know her as the wife of James Bond himself — actor Daniel Craig. Curious to learn more about how Weisz went from London schoolgirl to Hollywood A-lister? Here is the stunning transformation of Rachel Weisz.

Rachel Weisz is the daughter of two Jewish refugees

Rachel Weisz was born to parents George and Edith Weisz. Her father was a medical inventor from Hungary who designed the ventilator, while her mother was a psychotherapist from Vienna. The pair had fled from Europe in the 1930s when fascism was on the rise. "I remember my mum would tell me about being shunned and ignored in school by her best friends whom she would have played with only the day before," Weisz told Culture Calling. "People were turning their backs on them in the street, crossing the road — they lived through it."

As Weisz told Vogue, her parents' history meant that they both spoke German and both took education quite seriously — which set the tone for her childhood. Even though it's clear that her parents' past has influenced Weisz's own life, these days, she is a little tired of the media's interest in her parents' fascinating origins. "I'm English, but my parents were refugees and I feel like, really, is that still interesting?" she said to The Guardian in 2017.

She was a bit of a tomboy as a child

If you do a quick Google search of Rachel Weisz, you're sure to find hundreds of images of the actor looking feminine and flawless in some kind of glossy magazine photo shoot. However, as a young child, Weisz wasn't anything like the polished woman she appears to be today — in fact, she was quite the tomboy. Apparently, she loved climbing trees and did everything in her power to avoid brushing her hair or putting on a dress. As her "Disobedience" co-star, actress Rachel McAdams once told The New York Times, "I remember her telling me her mom put her in dresses as a kid but her hair would be a total mess and her knees scraped up and she'd be off playing in the dirt. I feel like that little kid is still in her." At the time, McAdams added, "She's this gorgeous, timeless, poised, wickedly smart beauty, but she likes to keep things messy and unexpected." 

And Weisz herself concurs — she is still a tomboy at heart. "Right now I'm in jeans and sneakers and ready to scale a tree," she told Today during a 2008 interview. "I don't think that ever goes away. The tomboy doesn't go away."

The actress won a modeling competition at 14, fell in love with theater

Rachel Weisz was a striking teen thanks to her large, dark features. By the age of 14, she had won a modeling competition. "I lied to the agency about my height, pretended I was 5 feet, 7 inches," she told Vogue. She was soon offered her first film role in a Richard Gere movie, but because of her father's disapproval, she turned it down.

Nevertheless, Weisz soon became fascinated with the world of acting after seeing a production of "King Lear" at London's National Theater. She began performing in school plays but claimed she didn't initially show much talent. "I wasn't the star of the school play," she told Stylist. "Rebecca Cragshaw was. She was the great actress, whereas I was a bit too shy and wooden. It wasn't until I was 16 or 17 that I started to be inspired." 

Later, Weisz was cast as the Dodo in "Alice in Wonderland" and Ismene in "Antigone." "I wasn't very good," she told The New York Times in a 2006 interview. Nevertheless, she became quietly determined to become an actor — "even if nobody else was saying that to me," she said.

She was a rebellious teen

Even though Rachel Weisz had always been clever, as a teen, she began to let her studious side slip. Around the time of her parents' divorce when she was 15 years old, Weisz became more focused on partying in Camden with friends than on studying. "I was absolutely not paying attention, and I was not deferent," she said to The New York Times. "I was rebellious."

In fact, Weisz was so rebellious, she was actually asked to leave two private schools. "I used to say I was expelled because it sounds raunchier," Weisz told Vogue. At her third school, St Pauls, Weisz began to refocus on her schoolwork thanks to the inspiration of two teachers — Miss Gough and Miss Evans. "Miss Evans was magical," Weisz said, "very tough, very feminist. You know, 'The paintbrush is the phallus attacking the human body' sort of thing." By her final year of school, she had good enough grades to land a spot at the illustrious Cambridge University.

Weisz started a theater company at Cambridge University

At Cambridge University, Rachel Weisz studied English — however, her heart remained set on acting. At first, she didn't seem to be getting anywhere. "I kept auditioning for parts and not getting them," she recalled to Vogue. "On the whole I just wasn't the star, so I thought, **** it, I'll do my own thing." Instead of giving up, Weisz created her own theater company, Talking Tongues. Of her time with the company, Weisz said, "Oh, they were great times. Great times." 

Weisz also ended up taking plays to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival three times. "That was the happiest time of my life creatively," the actor told Index Magazine. Weisz even won the Guardian Award for one of her shows. Shortly after graduating from Cambridge, Weisz landed a role in "Design For Living" in London's West End, and her professional career started to take off. 

The Mummy was her big break

After appearing in films like "Swept from the Sea," "I Want You," and "Chain Reaction," Rachel Weisz landed her first big Hollywood blockbuster with the leading role in "The Mummy." By then, the entertainer had become one of the most up-and-coming actresses of her generation.  

For Weisz, "The Mummy" gave her a new kind of financial freedom. "It meant that I could finance my own pictures," she proudly told the BBC. "I did a film called 'Beautiful Creatures,' a very low-budget independent film." As for fame, Weisz resisted becoming a superstar and settled for honing her skills as a thespian. "I don't think I am [a star]," she said. "I'm an actress."

Her role in "The Mummy," as The New York Times pointed out, gave her career the boost it needed. Soon, she was cast in "About a Boy" alongside award-winning actor Hugh Grant, and soon after, she starred in "The Constant Gardener."

She moved to the US and had a child with Darren Aronofsky

Rachel Weisz dated famed director Darren Aronofsky from 2001 to 2010 after meeting backstage at a London theater. By 2002, Weisz had moved to New York to be with the director, telling New York Magazine, "We're very happy." The pair worked together on the film "The Fountain," got engaged, and then, in 2006 when Weisz was 35, gave birth to their child, Henry.

Becoming a mother changed Weisz's attitude toward her work. "In the two films I've done since Henry was born, I didn't take the lead role," she told Marie Claire in 2008. "The first one, 'My Blueberry Nights,' was just 10 days' work, and I had Henry with me the whole time. I wanted to get back into work, but I wanted to ease into it slowly and that seemed like a good way to do it." 

And, as she told Reuters, the transition from full-time actress to mother-and-actress wasn't always easy. "You muddle through and figure it out and get exhausted and keep muddling through," she said.

Weisz and Aronofsky split in 2010 after being together for nine years in total — and engaged for at least five of those years, the Daily Mail reported. 

The actress soon became known for more complex roles

In 2005, Rachel Weisz reached a turning point in her career with her role as Tessa in "The Constant Gardener." The film — and her performance — received rave reviews and she even won Best Supporting Actress at the Oscars the year following the film's debut.

Having proved herself alongside the likes of revered actor Ralph Fiennes in the film, Weisz suddenly found herself receiving offers for more complex and more interesting roles. "I've been offered more interesting roles with incredibly interesting directors and I'm sure the Oscar has a lot to do with that," she told Reuters a few years after her Oscar win. And soon enough, Weisz was appearing in films that did seem to be a step above her previous work. After "The Constant Gardener" came "The Fountain," "My Blueberry Nights," "The Lovely Bones," and "The Deep Blue Sea," to name a few.

Rachel Weisz tried directing and writing in 2010

After several decades of acting, Rachel Weisz finally turned her hand to scriptwriting and directing in 2010 with her first short film "The Thief" starring Joel Edgerton and Rosemarie DeWitt. As the actor explained to Stylist, the project taught her a lot about the filmmaking process — and a lot about her own passions within the industry.

"I really liked the writing part, and the directing part, but I didn't enjoy the post-production bit," she said of her foray into writing and directing. "I got frustrated — it was so boring. With acting, I definitely appreciate the fact that you do it, and it's done, and somebody else deals with the rest of it. With post-production, there was endless poring over takes and I just didn't have the staying power. Plus, I don't think I'm controlling enough. As a director you have to really control it — it's your vision. I would just enjoy the experience so much that I didn't really care. Obviously, I'm not a director; or at least not a goal-orientated one."

What she learned from the experience is that perhaps she's not a natural director. As she told Mandatory years later, she had no intention of trying directing again. "I love working with actors but I'm not a director," she said. "I'm an actor-producer."

The thespian married actor Daniel Craig in 2011

Shortly after breaking up with Darren Aronofsky, Rachel Weisz and actor Daniel Craig began dating. Just six months after the new couple's first date, the pair shared a quiet wedding with only four guests. The pair initially met in 1994 when they starred in "Les Grandes Horizontales" together at the National Theater Studio. "Neither of them were famous then, so their first meeting went unrecorded," Rupert Christiansen, who worked on the play, told The Telegraph.

Though the two knew each other for more than a decade, things never got romantic until they reunited for 2010's "Dream House." After their super secret wedding, the pair remained fiercely private. When asked by The Guardian if they'd decided together to be private, she said simply, "I think that both of us... yes." And when Craig was probed by GQ for details about his marriage with Weisz in 2012, he simply said, "No. Honestly, no. Absolutely, honestly no. That of all things. We got away with it. We did it privately. And I've got a lot of people to thank for that. But that was the point. We did it for private reasons. Because we didn't want it ****ed up, because that would be sharing a secret. And the whole point is that it was a secret. A secret is a secret in my mind."

She made her Broadway debut in 2013

After meeting her future husband in 1994 while doing a play, Rachel Weisz came full circle in 2013 when she and Daniel Craig returned to the stage together in the Broadway revival of Harold Pinter's "Betrayal." The play proved to be a huge success thanks to the star couple. As The Guardian reported, it grossed $17.5 million during its 14-week run — making it the biggest non-musical hit of 2013 in New York. 

Even though the couple joined forces for the play, they were careful not to reveal any more details about their marriage. "We're separate entities professionally, and we're happy to stay separate entities, and we're not a professional couple," Craig told Vulture at the time.

For Weisz, making her Broadway debut was an interesting, eye-opening experience in American theater culture. "When a famous person comes onto the stage, even if it's the middle of a scene ... there's a huge round of applause," she told Graham Norton.

Rachel Weisz loved turning 40

For many women, the prospect of turning 40 can be a little scary. However, for Rachel Weisz, getting older is actually something she has enjoyed. "I loved turning 40, and the idea of turning 50 is fantastic," she told Vogue. And according to Rose Garnett, best friend and fellow Cambridge University graduate, Weisz is all set to become a "****ing fabulous older woman."

Even though Weisz has embraced middle age gracefully, she does take care of herself. While she doesn't get Botox, she does visit a facialist, who she says "does cranio-sacral therapy and massages inside your mouth," she said. "Slightly new-agey, it gets you a little high." She also does regular Pilates and other moderate exercises. As she explained, "If I lifted weights I'd get huge. I'm naturally very muscly, so I'm kind of into general and moderate."

It seems that Weisz has always loved getting older. She even told the Independent in 2007 that her 20s were "excruciating" and with age, she's enjoyed life more and more. "I enjoy getting older," she said at the time. "I just think that things get easier and you get wiser and more experienced. In your teens nothing is impossible; in your 20s you realize that not everything is possible. I think in your 30s you get more confident about who you are and I find that a relief. The 20s are excruciating; they were for me."

She soon turned her focus to independent female-led films

Rachel Weisz has begun to take on a more hands-on approach to her films. Not only is she acting, but she's also producing with her production company, LC6, which was designed to tell more female-driven stories. As she told The New York Times, "Women are just really fascinating and different to men." And, as she told Harper's Bazaar, "I do think it's important for girls growing up to see stories where women are front and center, and to see a female politician, or a female prime minister. It's about identification, it's seeing possibilities. We need more stories about women. We need more role models." 

Weisz was also involved in developing 2018's "Disobedience," the story of two lesbians from the Orthodox Jewish community. She is also apparently working on "Lanny." It sounds like Weisz isn't only continuing to take the industry by storm, but she's also transforming it for the better.

Weisz had her first child with Daniel Craig at the age of 48

Rachel Weisz and Daniel Craig surprised fans when they announced in 2018 that they were expecting a baby. "Daniel and I are so happy," she told The New York Times. Weisz was 48 at the time.

Their daughter, whose name has never been publicly confirmed, was born later that year. Even though Weisz had a child in 2006, her experience the second time around was a little different. "I'm more tired than I was last time, this car has more miles on it," she told Harper's Bazaar. "But I'm really having fun, I'm really enjoying it, it's a real blessing." While Weisz may have been more tired, she was also surprised to find that she was more patient, too. "I'm just more flexible, I think," she mused.

While Weisz took some time off work after her first child, with her second, she threw herself straight back into a new role — in Marvel's "Black Widow." She said taking on the role so soon after giving birth was "daunting." "I didn't have my core, shall we say," she conceded. "I was really weak and quite flabby. It was a good incentive to do some Pilates and dance cardio."