Hollywood actress Meg Ryan rose to fame in the late 1980s after being dubbed ‘America’s sweetheart’ for her sweet nature and attractive personality.
She was born in November 1961 and was raised as a Catholic in Fairfield and Connecticut. Her mother, Susan, was a former actress and English teacher, and her father, Harry, was a math teacher. Her parents divorced when she was only fifteen years old.
To her fans’ surprise, Ryan, who later became the It Girl of Hollywood, had no desire to become an actress while she was still a student. She graduated High School in 1979 and studied journalism as an undergraduate at the University of Connecticut and NYU.
During college, she started acting as a side hustle because she wanted to earn some extra money and did a few commercials and a soap opera, As The World Turns.
However, following her success in the soap opera, Ryan left college to work on more acting projects.
In 1986, Meg appeared in Top Gun and played the lead role of Tom Cruise’s best friend, Naval Flight Officer Nick Goose Bradshaw’s wife – Carole Bradshaw.
Her first breakthrough role was in the 1989 movie When Harry Met Sally, where she appeared alongside actor Billy Crystal. The film earned her a Golden Globe Award and became a turning point in her acting career, which peaked after that.
The actress appeared in several other hit movies, including, Sleepless in Seattle, Joe Versus the Volcano, You’ve Got Mail, City of Angles, French Kiss, In the Cut, Kate & Leopold, When a Man Loves a Woman, I.Q., Proof of Life, Against the Ropes, Flesh and Bone, My Mom’s New Boyfriend, D. O. A., and Rich and Famous.
But despite becoming extremely successful in Hollywood, Meg knew in her heart that acting was not her true calling, and she lost interest in performing.
As a result of a loss of passion for acting, the undisputed queen of rom-coms gradually stopped accepting roles in the mid-2000s and worked more ‘behind the scenes’ as a director.
In 2019, Ryan spoke to The New York Times for an interview and explained how she became less passionate about acting at the peak of her career.
“I wasn’t as curious about acting as I was about other things that life can give you. I wanted to live more.” She explained.
“I don’t feel like, naturally, I’m a performer. I knew I was being given opportunities and that there was certain music I could play as an actor. Certain things I could do. And I liked acting. I thought it was fun. But acting was a situation I was navigating.”
The Joe Versus the Volcano also said that she still received acting offers, but that’s not something she is interested in doing anymore.
“I get offers to do things now, but they’re not things I want to do,” she told the publication. “I have so much admiration for actors who have incredible imagination for life or have life experience that they can then bring to the audience. I don’t think I was one of those people. I felt like an unformed person.”
As for her love life, Meg married her D. O. A. costar Dennis Quaid in 1991 after falling in love with him – the couple appeared in four movies together, including Innerspace, Flesh and Bone, and A Century of Cinema.
They stayed together for almost a decade and eventually parted ways in 2001 after the relationship took a hit due to Meg’s suspected affair with costar Russell Crowe.
Ryan shares two children with Quaid – a 29-year-old son, Jack Quaid, and a teen daughter, Daisy Ryan. Her kids are the reason Meg stopped acting and focused more on her role as a full-time mother.
“Most of all, what I’m ambitious for in the 12 hours a day that I’m awake is my kids’ happiness. I just am,” she once told InStyle in an interview.
“I’m either figuring out how to provide for them, figuring out how to say it right, figuring out all those mom things. I want them to be happy.”