September 25, 2023 | Alexa Terpanjian

Free-Spirited Facts About Anne Hathaway

Anne Jacqueline Hathaway is an intricate embodiment of the people she admires, the famous actresses she’s been compared to and the incredibly well-rounded person she’s pushed herself to become. With her large doe eyes and innocent look, Hathaway’s original “princess” typecasting faded away to give birth to her booming and colorful career—host of the Academy Awards, an Oscar-winning role in the musical drama Les Misérables and now, a turn as a member of a female gang of thieves in Ocean’s 8. Read on to learn 42 free-spirited facts about Anne Hathaway.

1. Nun’s The Word

 Growing up in Brooklyn, New York, Hathaway was raised as a Roman Catholic, with “really strong values". So much so that as an 11-year-old child she felt called upon from God to become a nun. She didn’t.

anne hathaway

2.  Coming Of Age

At 15 years old, Hathaway had a big change of heart. Her relationship with the Catholic church belief system changed when her brother came out of the closet. She didn’t want to support an organization that had such narrow views on her brother’s lifestyle, so she left.

Anne Hathaway facts Shutterstock

3. There’s Still Time

Since renouncing her Roman Catholic beliefs, the family converted to the Episcopal Church. Hathaway has lost some of her spirituality and today calls herself a non-denominational Christian because still hasn’t found a religion that suits her needs or fits how she views the world.

Anne Hathaway facts Getty Images

4. She’s A Star Now

As a young woman, Hathaway has confessed to how much she disliked herself, blaming it on the mindset she once had. Being onstage helped her emerge from her shell because it was where she felt comfortable knowing what was going to happen next. She has since become much more comfortable in her own skin with the help of friends, family and her husband, Adam Shulman.

Anne Hathaway facts Shutterstock

5. Good Riddance!

As a teen, Hathaway struggled with anxiety and depression. She once said: “I said to my Mom the other day, ‘Do you remember that girl? She has now gone, gone to sleep. She has said her piece and is gone.’ But then I thought, I so remember her, only she is no longer part of me".

Anne Hathaway facts Getty Images

6. A Big Compliment

Critics have compared her acting style to some of the greats, including Judy Garland and Audrey Hepburn.

Anne Hathaway factsWikipedia

7. Life Lessons

Hathaway’s favorite acting lesson, one she learned on her rise to stardom, is the quarter lesson. Her teacher would prompt his students to get a quarter he had in his enclosed hand from him. No one could. Then he reversed the lesson, and gave the quarter to a student and try to take it himself. The teacher aggressively opened the student’s hand and got the quarter almost immediately. The lesson? A scene is about figuring out what that quarter is and giving it the same energy it took to retrieve the quarter from an enclosed hand–the lesson is about really going for it.

Anne Hathaway factsWikimedia Commons

8. A Big IOU

Hathaway has a close friendship with her Les Misérables co-star Hugh Jackman. It was him who suggested her for the role of Fantine. When she ended up winning an Oscar for it, she thanked him in her acceptance speech.

Anne Hathaway factsLes Misérables (2012), Universal Pictures

9. Pounds To Go

For the Devil Wears Prada (2006), Hathaway was asked by director David Frankel to gain 10 pounds to better suit her role as the frumpy, unfashionable Andy. So she did, but when she appeared on set, he asked her to lose those same 10 pounds because she looked better before! Instead, Hathaway used padding to achieve Andy’s look.

Anne Hathaway factsDevil Wears Prada (2006), Fox 2000 Pictures

10. A Double Dare

Not known for her rebellious nature, Hathaway actually does have a favorite rule to break: When she was younger, she loved the challenge “you can’t do that because you’re a girl". She says it was always her chance to do it and do it better than anyone thought she ever possibly could.

Anne Hathaway factsShutterstock

11. Talent Is Sexy

Hathaway has openly said how volatile an actress’s career is if she goes over a size 6, because that point a woman in Hollywood is (unfairly) considered to be fat. She hopes that as an actress she can be considered for her talent over her sensual appeal, not having to concern herself with a few extra pounds. She says, “I don't have time to be tortured about my weight".

Anne Hathaway factsShutterstock

12. Excellent Trifecta Of Muses

Hathaway’s inspiration for Fantine (and what ultimately helped her win the Academy Award) was a combination of how Meryl Streep, Kate Winslet, and Cate Blanchett would breathe life into their roles. She asked herself, how would they approach it?

Anne Hathaway factsLes Misérables (2012), Universal Pictures

13. It Is What It Is

Contrary to her big smile when she accepted her Academy Award, Hathaway claims she wasn’t thrilled to receive it. She says “…I felt wrong that I was standing there in a gown that cost more than some people are going to see in their lifetime, and winning an award for portraying pain that's still felt very much a part of our collective experience as human beings". She also says at that point she felt like she had kind of lost her mind from the role and hadn’t yet recuperated.

Anne Hathaway factsShutterstock

14. Big Shoes To Fill

Hathaway cites Garland as one of her favorite actresses and Meryl Streep as her idol.

Anne Hathaway factsDevil Wears Prada (2006), Fox 2000 Pictures

15. The Truth

In Brokeback Mountain (2005)two final scenes were shot: One where Hathaway’s character Lureen knew the real reason for Heath Ledger's character Ennis’ demise, and another one where she did not. Neither scene was chosen. Instead, they were edited together to fabricate an ending the audience could piece together themselves.

Anne Hathaway factsBrokeback Mountain (2005), Focus Features

16. Could Be A Good Party Trick

Hathaway learned how to barrel race (a rodeo event where a horse and rider race around barrels in cloverleaf pattern) for Brokeback Mountain. Sadly, she didn’t get to flex her new skills–the film’s insurance company denied Hathaway the chance, opting for a stunt double instead.

Anne Hathaway factsBrokeback Mountain (2005), Focus Features

17. Little Annie

Hathaway grew up with the nickname Annie and she still goes by it today, but only with her closest friends.

Anne Hathaway factsShutterstock

18. A Strong, Historical Name

Anne Hathaway was also the name of  William Shakespeare’s wife. Shakespeare married his Anne Hathaway in 1582 when he was 18 and she was 26. Even though Hathaway was 18 years his senior, she still outlived her husband by seven years.

Anne Hathaway factsWikipedia

19. Plan B And C

If Hathaway didn’t have such a promising career as an actor, she says she would have liked to have spent her energy focused on teaching English or on becoming a psychologist.

Anne Hathaway factsShutterstock

20. Not Very Cinderella-Like

The slippers Hathaway swiped in the mall scene in Ella Enchanted (2004) are real. Two pairs were custom made for the movie and while filming, Hathaway broke them both.

Anne Hathaway factsElla Enchanted (2004), Miramax

21. How Others Live

In 2006, Hathaway went to the small village San Marcos in Nicaragua to participate in a campaign that immunizes children against Hepatitis A. She and her boyfriend at the time, Italian real estate developer Raffaello Follieri, vaccinated 1,000 children against the disease associated with poor sanitation and hygiene due to sub-par water supplies. Hathaway called the experience "an eye-opener".

Anne Hathaway factsGetty Images

22. First Time For Everything

Hathaway first graced the screen—the TV screen—in 1997 when she appeared in a Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate commercial, shot in Maplewood, New Jersey. She was 15 years old.

Anne Hathaway factsGetty Images

23. Fashion Forward

It’s all about vintage clothes for Hathaway. She chooses second-hand items to be more environmentally responsible. In fact, the dress she wore to an interview with ABC News's Robin Roberts cost $15 and she bought it at a flea market.

Anne Hathaway factsGetty Images

24. Book Worm

Her favorite novel is Ayn Rand's philosophical work The Fountainhead.

Anne Hathaway factsGetty Images

25. A Young And Bright Talent

In 2011, Hathaway was selected to host the 83rd Academy Awards Ceremony, making her the youngest person, at the tender age of 28, to host the prestigious event.

Anne Hathaway factsShutterstock

26. Divine Serendipity

In the middle of Hathaway’s audition for The Princess Diaries, the role that would eventually change her life, she accidentally fell out of the chair she was sitting in. It was this moment of clumsiness that sealed the deal and she was offered the role on the spot.

Anne Hathaway factsThe Princess Diaries (2001), Walt Disney Pictures

27. Other Priorities

Hathaway was originally supposed to play the female lead in the 2007 comedy Knocked Up. She dropped out before filming started and Katherine Heigl took over.

Anne Hathaway factsShutterstock

28. Phone Phobia

Hathaway is not a fan of talking to people on the phone, even if it’s only the pizza guy. She thinks it's terrifying and weird to have to make a call and place an order.

Anne Hathaway factsShutterstock

29. Just One Of The Boys

Hathaway is a big football fan. Huge, actually. Her two favorite teams are the New York Giants and the San Diego Chargers. Her interest was piqued in 2013 after watching the Super Bowl, and while filming Interstellar Matt Damon and Matthew McConaughey helped teach her the ins and outs of the sport.

Anne Hathaway factsInterstellar (2014), Paramount Pictures

30. Hire Her!

While trying out for The Devil Wears PradaHathaway really yearned for the role of Andy, and she didn't exactly hide it. While meeting with Fox executive president Carla Hacken for the first time Hathaway traced the words “Hire Me” in Hacken’s desktop sand garden.

Anne Hathaway factsDevil Wears Prada (2006), Fox 2000 Pictures

31. Remember Where You Came From

Ever since The Princess Diaries was released, each year on August 3rd Hathaway pays her respects to the powers that be, expressing eternal gratitude for the events that led her to that breakout role. “I remember [the day] and I give thanks to the universe, a big open-hearted thank you, because that was the day that dreams came true for me. There are a lot of aspects to my life that are very real, but also a lot that are very fairy tale. That was the day that my fairy tale started".

Anne Hathaway factsThe Princess Diaries (2001), Walt Disney Pictures

32. You Always Pay A Price

Conversely, as much as Hathaway is supremely grateful for her Princess Diaries fortune, she says she got into this business to push beyond her limits and extend her comfort zone, and that The Princess Diaries “…has been a brick wall at times for [her] career".

Anne Hathaway factsThe Princess Diaries (2001), Walt Disney Pictures

33. Like Mother, Like Daughter

Hathaway’s mother, Kate, who is a stage actress herself, once played the role of Fantine when she was part of the traveling tour of Les Misérables in the US. Hathaway consulted her mother and received a huge confidence boost from her mother's advice. She was able to connect to the character on a deeper level, and it didn't hurt that mother said she made the perfect Fantine.

Anne Hathaway factsGetty Images

34. That’s Deep

Contrary to reports that the scene was filmed in one take, Hathaway has confirmed that it took a solid 8 hours to film Fantine’s “I Dreamed a Dream” scene in Les Misérables. She wanted to make sure she got as deep into the character as possible. In case you were wondering, it’s the fourth take that made it into the final cut.

Hathaway doesn’t drink milk—she's lactose intolerant. She was supposed to be in the "Got Milk" ad campaign but canceled because she was suffering from some of the unpleasant side effects of lactose intolerance like flatulence and diarrhea.

Anne Hathaway factsLes Misérables (2012), Universal Pictures

36. Talented Voice Over Artist

Not one to limit herself to physical roles, Hathaway has done several voice parts as well. She's appeared in multiple Family Guy episodes and won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance for her role as Princess Penelope in The Simpsons episode "Once Upon a Time in Springfield".

Anne Hathaway facts The Simpsons (1989– ), 20th Century Fox Television

37. A Do-Gooder For Girl Power

Alongside Hathaway’s thriving acting career, she supports many charities on the side, including the Lollipop Theatre Network and the Step Up Women’s Network, a charity that empowers the next generation of strong, educated and resourceful women.

Anne Hathaway factsGetty Images

38. Where’s The Love And Support?

When Follieri and Hathaway were living together, he didn’t support Hathaway’s career and didn’t like her to work nights. He hated that she worked, period, let alone that she might work into the wee hours of the morning. Allegedly, she was very emotional and was extra fragile whenever filming ran after hours during this time.

Anne Hathaway factsShutterstock

39. She Became The Role

To play Fantine, the single mother who becomes a sex worker to support her child in Les MisérablesHathaway cut her hair and lost 25 pounds, eating less than 500 calories a day. For a month straight, she took voice lessons and practiced crying in the mirror.

Anne Hathaway factsLes Misérables (2012), Universal Pictures

40. Don't Go Biking When Starving

While preparing for the role of Fantine, Hathaway lost so much weight (eating what she called “rabbit food,” mostly lettuce) that it took a toll on her body. She became so fragile that she broke her arm when she fell off her bicycle.

Anne Hathaway factsShutterstock

41. Sleeping With The Enemy

Even after breaking up with con man Raffaello Follieri, the FBI seized Hathaway’s diaries to further investigate Follieri's case. He was apprehended for wire fraud and money laundering. Luckily, Hathaway didn't have any charges pressed against her.

Anne Hathaway factsGetty Images

42.  A Near-Death Experience

In 2014, while on the beach in Oahu, Hawaii, Hathaway got swept up in a riptide. She started to scream and wave her arms, but her boyfriend wasn't close enough to hear her. Thankfully, some local surfers saw her in distress and were able to save her with a boogie board, but she cut her toe on some coral on the way in and when she finally made it to shore, was bleeding profusely. 

Anne Hathaway factsShutterstock

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 1415, 16

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