Natalie Portman, born Natalie Hershlag is an Israeli American actress. She was born in Jerusalem, Isreal on June 9, 1981 to an Israelian father and an American mother, who now works as her agent.
From an early age she started taking dancing lessons and performing locally. At age 10 she was offered to be a child model for Revlon, but turned down the job to focus on acting.
Her first big part and debut was in an independent film called "Leon" ( known as The Professionalin North America) in 1994, after which she officially changed her last name to Portman (her grandmother's maiden name) in interest of privacy. At a very young age she moved from Israel to Washington, D.C. and later to New York where her family finally settled. There she attended and graduated from public high school Syosset high School, after which she enrolled in Harvard to major in Psychology.
She graduated in June 2003. After getting her bachelor's degree Portman took graduate courses at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. After her role in "The Professional", Portman starred in movies such as "Heat", Woody Allen's "Everyone Says I Love You" and "Mars Attacks!" all in the mid 90s. She was also cast in "Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones"(2002)and "Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith" (2005) which was chosen as "Favorite Motion Picture" at the "People's Choice Awardsin 2005". It was also the highest grossing film, domestically.
She received a Golden Globe Award best Supporting Actress in the movie "Closer". She has several new projects in the making and scheduled for release in 2010 and 2011. Portman, a vegan herself, is an advocate for animal rights and other environmental causes. She keeps her private life private, but is known to have been in a relationship with Devendra Barnhart, an American folk singer, until September 2008.