Halle Berry (born August 14, 1966) is an American actress, former fashion model, and beauty queen. Berry received an Emmy, Golden Globe, SAG, and an NAACP Image Award for Introducing Dorothy Dandridge and won an Academy Award for Best Actress and was also nominated for a BAFTA Award in 2001 for her performance in Monster's Ball, becoming the first and, as of 2011, only woman of African American descent to have won the award for Best Actress. She is one of the most highly paid actresses in Hollywood and also a Revlon spokeswoman. She has also been involved in the production side of several of her films. Before becoming an actress, Berry entered several beauty contests, finishing as the 1st runner-up in the Miss USA Pageant (1986), and coming in 6th place in the Miss World Pageant in 1986. Her breakthrough feature film role was in the 1991 Jungle Fever. This led to roles in The Flintstones (1994), Bulworth (1998), X-Men (2000) and its sequels, and as Bond Girl Jinx in Die Another Day (2002). She also won the Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actress in 2005 for Catwoman and accepted the award in person. Divorced from baseball player David Justice and musician Eric Benét, Berry dated Quebecois model Gabriel Aubry from November 2005, through April, 2010. Their daughter, Nahla Ariela Aubry, was born on March 16, 2008.
Berry was born Maria Halle Berry, though her name was legally changed to Halle Maria Berry in 1971. Berry's parents selected her middle name from Halle's Department Store, which was then a local landmark in her birthplace of Cleveland, Ohio. Her mother, Judith Ann (née Hawkins), who is Caucasian, was a psychiatric nurse. Her father, Jerome Jesse Berry, was an African American hospital attendant in the same psychiatric ward where her mother worked; he later became a bus driver. Berry's maternal grandmother, Nellie Dicken, was born in Sawley, Derbyshire, England, while her maternal grandfather, Earl Ellsworth Hawkins, was born in Ohio. Berry's parents divorced when she was four years old; she and her older sister Heidi were raised exclusively by her mother. Berry has said in published reports that she has been estranged from her father since her childhood, noting in 1992, "I haven't heard from him since. Maybe he's not alive." Berry graduated from Bedford High School, afterward working in the children's department at Higbee's Department store. She then studied at Cuyahoga Community College. In the 1980s, she entered several beauty contests, winning Miss Teen All-American in 1985 and Miss Ohio USA in 1986. She was the 1986 Miss USA first runner-up to Christy Fichtner of Texas. In the Miss USA 1986 pageant interview competition, she said she hoped to become an entertainer or to have something to do with the media. Her interview was awarded the highest score by the judges. She was the first African-American Miss World entrant in 1986, where she finished sixth and Trinidad and Tobago's Giselle Laronde was crowned Miss World.
In 2006, Berry, Pierce Brosnan, Cindy Crawford, Jane Seymour, Dick Van Dyke, Tea Leoni, and Daryl Hannah successfully fought the Cabrillo Port Liquefied Natural Gas facility that was proposed off the coast of Malibu. Berry said "I care about the air we breathe, I care about the marine life and the ecosystem of the ocean." In May 2007, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed the facility. Hasty Pudding Theatricals gave her its 2006 Woman of The Year award. Berry is involved in production of films and television. She served as executive producer on Introducing Dorothy Dandridge in 1999, and Lackawanna Blues in 2005. Berry both produced and starred in the thriller Perfect Stranger with Bruce Willis and in Things We Lost in the Fire with Benicio del Toro. Berry then starred in the film Frankie and Alice in which she plays Frankie Murdoch who is a young multiracial American women with dissociative identity disorder struggling to retain her true self and not give into her racial alter personality. She was awarded the African-American Film Critics Association for best actress and also was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama. Berry is one of the highest-paid actresses in Hollywood, earning $10 million per film. In July 2007, she topped In Touch magazine's list of the world's most fabulous 40-something celebrities. On April 3, 2007, she was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in front of the Kodak Theatre at 6801 Hollywood Boulevard for her contributions to the film industry.
Berry has been married twice. Her first marriage was to former baseball player David Justice, shortly after midnight on January 1, 1993. The couple separated in 1996 and their divorce was finalized in 1997. Justice played with the Atlanta Braves and experienced a measure of fame as the team rose to prominence in the early 1990s. The couple found it difficult to maintain their relationship while he was playing baseball and she was filming elsewhere. Berry has stated publicly that she was so depressed after her breakup with Justice that she considered taking her own life, but she could not bear the thought of her mother finding her body. Berry's second marriage was to musician Eric Benét. They met in 1997 and married in early 2001 on a beach in Santa Barbara. Berry credited Benét with support after she was involved in a February 2000 traffic collision, in which she suffered a concussion and left the scene of the accident before the police arrived. Some in the media complained that her misdemeanor hit and run charge was preferential treatment; she had also been the driver in an alleged hit and run incident three years earlier in which no charges were filed. The incident became fodder for comedians. Berry pled no contest, did community service, paid a fine and was placed on three years' probation. A civil lawsuit was settled out of court.
The couple separated in 2003. After the separation, Berry stated, "I want love, and I will find it, hopefully." While married to Benét, Berry adopted his daughter, India. The divorce was finalized in January 2005. Berry has been a victim of domestic violence, and now works to help other victims. In 2005, she said, "Domestic violence is something I've known about since I was a child. My mother was a victim of it. Early on in my life I made choices, and I chose men that were abusive because that was what I knew growing up...First time it happened, I knew enough to keep moving." In November 2005, Berry began dating French-Canadian supermodel Gabriel Aubry, nine years her junior. The couple met at a Versace photoshoot. After six months with Aubry, she stated in an interview, "I'm really happy in my personal life, which is a novelty to me. You know, I'm not the girl that has the best relationships." At one point, Berry had indicated that she planned to adopt children, but her experience playing a mother in Things We Lost In The Fire opened her mind to the possibility of motherhood. After initially denying rumors, she confirmed in September 2007 that she was three months pregnant. Berry gave birth to a girl named Nahla Ariela Aubry on March 16, 2008, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Nahla means "honeybee" in Arabic; Ariela is Hebrew for "lion for God". Berry hired security guards after receiving racist threats to her unborn baby from a stalker, who said her child will be "cut into hundreds of pieces".
On April 30, 2010, it was reported that Berry and Aubry had separated. Several days later, Berry's representative confirmed the relationship had ended, saying, "They have been split for some time, but remain friends and committed parents to their daughter." They worked out a financial and 50/50 custody deal with a family lawyer, but TMZ reported that it was not final. Aubry filed documents with the Los Angeles Superior Court on December 30, 2010, asking the court to formally recognize his paternity and grant a court order giving him and Berry joint legal and physical custody over their daughter. On January 31, 2011, Berry's representative told People that Berry had pulled out of the film New Year's Eve to make time for custody litigation because the actress "has serious concerns for her daughter's well-being while in the care of her father for any extended period of time and is prepared to take all necessary steps to protect her". The publicist claimed that Berry "has attempted to resolve these custody issues amicably with her daughter's father...directly, but given his lack of cooperation, Halle has no choice but to seek swift judicial intervention." The following day, Aubry responded by saying through his representative that he was "disappointed in Halle's decision to falsely malign him publicly and for her own purposes", calling himself "a caring father who shares custody of Nahla". Aubry further stated that "he refuses to be pulled into her dispute over a canceled film production" and "also refuses to air their issues in the press as he believes this may ultimately harm their daughter".
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