Kate Winslet has been wowing American audiences since her breakout role in Titanic, a film that still brings tears to our eyes. But even before she was at the helm of the boat with Leo at sunset, Winslet was well on her way to establishing herself as a prominent English actress.
Fast forward 20 years and more than 25 films later, and Winslet is unstoppable. From Shakespearean roles to raw and emotionally charged characters, Winslet has demonstrated incredible acting talent. Read on to get at 40 fascinating facts about Kate Winslet.
Kate Winslet Facts
40. One-way Ticket to Superstardom
The then-unknown Kate Winslet reportedly beat out Hollywood heavy-hitters Gwenyth Paltrow, Nicole Kidman, Madonna AND Cameron Diaz for part of Rose DeWitt Bukater in Titanic, i.e.the role that skyrocketed her career.
39. A Show of Appreciation
Titanic director James Cameron clearly felt strongly about the budding actress, and Winslet herself felt grateful for the recognition; she sent Cameron a bouquet of roses to show her appreciation after winning the part.
38. Young Fresh Blood
At 31, Winslet became part of the esteemed “five-nomination” Oscar club, alongside other members Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, Cate Blanchett, and more. At 33, she earned her sixth nomination for The Reader (which she won), and was most recently nominated for her part in Steve Jobs, bringing her to seven acting nominations and one award.
37. Modest Beginnings
When Winslet found out about her record-breaking five nominations, she danced around in her house. As she said, “This wasn’t supposed to happen to somebody like me. I’m not the pedigree kid. I’m not classically trained. I didn’t come from the fancy home.”
36. Drama Kings and Queens
Winslet comes from a rather dramatic family: her father and mother were actors, as well as her two sisters, and her maternal grandparents were both theater managers. Clearly, the theatrical gene is not recessive!
35. Started From the Bottom
She never thought she’d be a movie star. Winslet grew up in a home that didn’t have a VCR until she was 12, and her family was supported by the Actor’s Charitable Club to help make ends meet.
34. From the Get Go
At 11 years old, Winslet secured a part on a children’s Sugar Puffs commercial dancing with the Honey Monster; it was her first gig. She also started acting classes at this age, then went on to a performing arts school.
33. Who’s Laughing Now?
Her first big success was in the film Heavenly Creatures (1994), which was very well-received. However, a reviewer at the time wrote that Winslet would now be typecast, and predicted she would never become a movie star.
32. She’s Got Morals
After British GQ photoshopped images of her, Winslet criticized the publication for promoting an unhealthy body image. She says she does not want to really look like the way they made her look, and says the only reason she looks glamourous onscreen is because she’s been in makeup and hair for two hours.
31. She’s That Good
Winslet must be a good actress; she won an Emmy for playing herself in the British show Extras.
30. Hidden Voice
This girl can sing. She recorded her debut single “What If” for the soundtrack to Christmas Carol: The Movie (2001).
29. Strike a Pose
Winslet has graced the cover of over 300 magazines around the world.
28. So Close, They’re Practically Family
While the rest of the world was falling in love with DiCaprio, Winslet has said that during the shoot for Titanic, having to kiss him was like kissing her brother.
27. Keen to Learn
For the 2015 film The Dressmaker, Winslet insisted on shadowing costume designer Margot Wilson, who was specifically hired to create Winslet’s character’s wardrobe. Winslet learned how to sew, and assisted Wilson during the whole production with her newly acquired skills.
26. What Started It All
Winslet credits Jodie Foster’s role as Iris in Taxi Driver (1976) as the role that changed the way she understood acting. After Foster’s star turn, Winslet saw acting as an art form.
25. One Strange Love Triangle
In Revolutionary Road, Winslet had to engage in yet another steamy scene with co-star Leonardo DiCaprio—but this time it was in front of her then-husband, director Sam Mendes. DiCaprio was a cool customer about the whole thing, and kept telling her to get over her discomfort with the scenario, to which Winslet replied, “Yeah, a little reminder: You’re my best friend. He’s my husband. This is a bit weird.”
24. These Boots Were Made for Groundin’
Forget heels, Winslet’s favorite shoes to wear are boots. She says she feels more grounded when she wears them.
23. An Old Soul
Winslet says she has felt older than she really is since her early teen years.
22. Kate in the Flesh
Winslet has bared it all in over 15 films. She says she feels very comfortable in her own skin, and feels that if the character requires her to remove her clothes, then so be it. It’s all about portraying the character authentically.
21. Expose Yourself
Nude scenes and beyond, Winslet has expressed how important it is to expose herself. She doesn’t get embarrassed easily, and refers to herself as the kind of actor who believes in putting herself out there.
20. Mind the Gap
Even after appearing in some very major films, Winslet has said that she still takes London’s public transit.
19. Made in England
Winslet says it’s imperative that she not lose her identity and British roots. She keeps her pulse on the British film industry, and would prefer a role in a British production over a small part in an American film. Not that she has much trouble in either department.
18. True to Her Roots
Winslet says there is no way she will move out of England, and she doesn’t want to live in Los Angeles. She currently lives in West Wittering, Sussex, UK.
17. A Quirky Original
Of all the films Winslet has starred in, from blockbuster hits, to indie movies, to the lesser-known films, she feels that Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) was her best performance. Indeed, Winslet’s role as Clementine Kruczynski in the film earned her the 81st spot on Premiere magazine’s 100 Greatest Performanes of All Time.
16. Dame Kate is Next
In 2012 at Buckingham Palace, Winslet was awarded a very prestigious honor by Queen Elizabeth II herself, a CBE Award. CBE stands for The Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, and the accolade was given for outstanding “services rendered to drama.”
15. Okay Then
Winslet’s husband’s legal name is Ned Rocknroll.
14. A Story for the Grandkids
Winslet’s third child is Bear Blaze Winslet, a son. A little odd, but the name Blaze is an ode to the day she met Rocknroll on Richard Branson’s private Caribbean island and they rescued Branson’s 90-year-old mother from a house that had caught on fire. “Bear” comes from the nickname of an old friend.
13. What Does He Do..?
Rocknroll, originaly born Abel Smith, is Winslet’s third husband, and the nephew of Richard Branson. He works for Uncle Richard’s Virgin Galactic company.
12. Eyes on the Prize
In order to pursue other indie films that she had her eye on, Winslet reportedly turned down roles in both in Shakespeare in Love (1998) and Anna and the King (1999).
11. On to the Next
Winslet was heavily considered for the role of Bridget Jones in Bridget Jones’ Diary. However, in the end, the production wanted someone who appeared to be a little older.
10. Good Career Move
Before her big break, Winslet worked at a deli. In fact, she was making a pastrami sandwich when her excited agent phoned to tell her that she had landed the part of Juliet Hulme in Heavenly Creatures.
9. Bold Choice
Winslet was so elated to have secured the leading lady role in Titanic, she refused to wear a wetsuit while filming. She wanted to remain authentic, but eventually came down with a case of pneumonia. Understandably!
8. Hair Chameleon
Winslet’s hair color has changed so many times, it’s hard to keep up. Her natural hair color? Strawberry blonde.
7. Her Shoes Will Be Big to Fill
The actress has large feet for her height. Standing at pretty average 5’7″, she’s got surprising size 11 feet!
6. Strange Interest
Nonetheless, Winslet is into her own feet, maybe even a bit obsessive. Winslet let the cat out of the bag in an interview with Good Housekeeping when she confessed that she likes to pick at them any time she can.
5. Lovely Idea
Kate Winslet keeps her Oscar in the bathroom so people will make up thank you speeches while “taking care of business.”
4. Best Uncle Ever
All of Winslet’s three children refer to DiCaprio as Uncle Leo.
3. She’s Got Her Priorities Straight
Winslet missed the premier of Titanic (1997) to attend her ex-boyfriend’s funeral.
2. But She Is!
She has a hard time being referred to as a movie star. She considers Julia Roberts to be of that ilk, but feels ridiculous when she’s called that. Winslets takes it as a compliment, but also as a huge responsibility.
1. When Fans Go Too Far
Winslet says she is still disturbed and “haunted” by her nude scene in Titanic with Leonardo DiCaprio, only recently revealing that fans still go after her with images of the drawing of her body and ask her to sign it. She always refuses.