American actress Drea De Matteo first received public awareness for her portrayal of immature gangster Christopher Molesanti's loyal and loving fiancé Adriana La Cerva in HBO's popular series The Sopranos (1999-2004). Her brilliant performance handed her an Emmy award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series and Screen Actors Guild Award nominations. She also gained notice for her role as Joey Tribbiani's sister Gina on the NBC sitcom Joey (2004).
On the silver screen, De Matteo's marvelous performance as a Puerto Rican housewife in 'R Xmas (2001) received high praise at the 2001'Cannes Film Festival. She also attracted public attention for acting in the more recent films Swordfish (2001), Beacon Hill (2003), Prey for Rock & Roll (2003), Dirty Love (2005) and Assault on Precinct 13 (2005).
Off screen, number 33 of the 102 Sexiest Women in the World, according to Stuff magazine (2002), De Matteo previously dated Michael Sportes with whom she co-owned chic boutique Filth Mart in Manhattan.
Childhood and Family:
A mix of Italian and American origin, Andrea Donna de Matteo was born on January 19, 1973, in Queens, New York. The youngest child to a furniture manufacturer father and a playwright mother, Drea (pronounced "dray") and her two brothers, Joe and Darren, grew up in a wealthy family. During her early years in Queens, Drea was primarily raised under the guidance of her grandmother and Nicaraguan nanny. When the big fan of Scooby was in the second grade, the family moved to the Upper East Side in Manhattan, into Aretha Franklin's former townhouse.
Though illustrating herself as shy, Drea, who has her mother's, father's and grandmother's names tattooed on her body, was a wild girl who liked to pepper her talk with strong language and preferred jeans to dressing up.
Following her mother footsteps, Drea attended the New York University Tisch School of the Arts after studying at all-girl Catholic schools. Though she initially wanted to become a film director, Drea greatest interest was in acting. She took part in numerous student films and stage productions. Upon her graduation in 1995, Drea decided to pursue an acting career.
Drea, who has two cats named Treble and Bass, currently resides in New York City where she also co-owns Filth Mart, a chic clothing store in Manhattan, with best friend and ex-boyfriend Michael Sportes.
Drea De Matteo's choice to be involved in the entertainment industry came when she, as a girl, was brought to see the stage performance of Cats. While at the show she was taken onstage and was amazed by the stage lights. She then studied to become a film director, but De Matteo decided to pursue acting instead. In 1996, De Matteo made her on screen debut performance as a guest star in Swift Justice and appeared in the independent film 'M' Word (1996).
After De Matteo's guest appearance role in a short-lived drama on CBS named Feds (1997), she joined the audition for a small role as a restaurant hostess in the HBO series The Sopranos. Due to her impressive performance, De Matteo was called back to act in the show. She finally received her big break when she won the permanent part as young gangster Christopher Molesanti's faithful and loving fiance Adriana La Cerva in the Emmy-winning series. De Matteo's spectacular performance brought her Screen Actors Guild Awards nominations for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series in 2001, 2002 and 2003, and an Emmy award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series in 2004.
While working on the hit The Sopranos, De Matteo also played characters in such films as Meet Prince Charming (1999, portrayed Hilary Harris), Sleepwalk (2000, as Henrieta) and The Gentleman from Boston (2000, played Cadet Ramsey).
In the year of 2001, De Matteo won critically acclaim for her portrayal of a Puerto Rican housewife drawn to the drug trade in America in Abel Ferrara's film 'R Xmas (2001). Her outstanding performance received praise at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival.
De Matteo's acting talent next could be seen in the blockbuster Swordfish (2001, also starring John Travolta and Halle Berry), playing Hugh Jackman's alcoholic ex-wife Melissa, and she had an unaccredited part as a Club girl in Made (2001).
De Matteo added to her acting resume such films as Love Rome (2002, as Angela), The Perfect You (2002, portrayed silly neighbor of Jenny McCarthy Dee), Deuces Wild (2002, played Betsy), and Beacon Hill (2003, portrayed Cadet Ramsey). She also had a leading role as a member of an all-girl band in Prey for Rock & Roll (2003, together with Gina Gershon).
In 2004, De Matteo went back to perform on the small screen when she was cast as the sister of Joey Tribbiani in the Friends spin-off series Joey, as well as guest starred in several shows like Last Call with Carson Daly, Late Show with David Letterman and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
Recently, moviegoers can catch De Matteo in Dirty Love (2005) and Assault on Precinct 13 (2005). She will also play roles in the upcoming Walker (2005), West Memphis Three (2005) and Go Go Tales (2005).