Newton was born in London and grew up in Penzance, Cornwall, where her parents – her father is white British and her mother is black from Zimbabwe – sent her to a Catholic school.
She said of her school days: “I was aware that I didn’t belong. I was the black, atheist kid in the all-white, nun-run Catholic school.
She then studied anthropology at Cambridge University.
Her screen career began as a teenager with the 1991 film Flirting, which marked her debut.
At just 22, she appeared in the major film Interview With A Vampire alongside To Cruise and Brad Pitt. She later reunited with Cruise in the 2000 film Mission Impossible 2.
Newton’s early acting years were marred by sexual abuse. When she was 16, she was groomed by director John Duigan, who was 39 at the time.
Duigan’s injuries lasted five years, two of those years being described as a “relationship” after he asked Newton’s parents for the blessing of her being his girlfriend when she was 18.
Two years after meeting Duigan at the age of 18, another director asked the actress to touch her intimately during an audition. Newton complied as a casting director was also present.
But years later, she discovered the unnamed man had kept her ribbon and was playing it at poker games for other Hollywood elite.
After discovering the violation, Thandiwe began campaigning against the abuse and making it public – an act that cost the actress many jobs.
Alongside her film career, she has had long-running roles in films such as ER and her starring role in Westworld.
She met husband Ol in 1997 and said it was love at first sight.
At the time, Ol was a screenwriter and had written In Your Dreams, which the actress starred in.
“He was on set every day and I fell madly in love with him,” she told InStyle magazine.
“When I met Ol I was dating a really sweet lovely man and had to leave him immediately even though I wasn’t even dating Ol.”
“But once I hit Ol, it sort of cut off all the other blood vessels to somewhere else.”
She married Ol in 1998. The couple have three children together: Ripley, 21, Nico, 17, and Booker, eight.
The actress was previously referred to as Thandie Newton before reverting to the original spelling of her name three decades after she was misspelled in her first film.
She revealed that Thandie was a careless misspelling in the credits of her first film – the 1991 Australian film Flirting starring Nicole Kidman and Noah Taylor – and has been stuck ever since.
‘That’s my name. It’s always been my name. I’m taking back what’s mine,” she told British Vogue in April 2021.