Drea de Matteo is an American actress known for her roles in films as well as sitcoms, where she earned recognition and fame as a supporting actress. Some prominent roles she portrayed are as Wendy Case on FX series ‘Son’s of Anarchy’ and Adriana La Cerva on the HBO TV series, ‘The Sopranos’, for which she was awarded an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series. She is a popular household name for her role as Angie Bolen on ABC’s ‘Desperate Housewives’ and Joey Tribbiani’s sister, Gina, on NBC sitcom, ‘Joey’. She currently stars as Det Tess Nazario, in NBC’s police drama, ‘Shades of Blue’. She comes from an affluent background and is the youngest sibling among three children and also the only girl child in the family. She and her boyfriend, Michael Sportes, jointly opened a clothes store, ‘Filth Mart,’ of Rock ‘n’ Roll vintage clothing at East village which ran from 1997 to 2004. She ultimately followed in her mother’s footsteps taking up a career in theatre. She wanted to become a director but found her place as an actress in films and TV shows. Today she is one of the most famous celebrities in Hollywood and has been part of almost every popular show. Though she has been engaged twice and has two children, there is no official news of her marriage.
Childhood & Early Life
She was born Andrea Donna de Matteo on January 19, 1972 in Whitestone Queens, New York, to Donna and Albert Matteo and is of Italian decent. Her mother was a playwright and teacher at HB Studio and her father was a furniture manufacturer and the owner and CEO of Avery Boardman and Carlyle.
Drea spent her early childhood in Queens, New York and later moved to the Upper East Side in Manhattan with her family. She grew up in the care of her grandmother and Nicaraguan nanny. She now takes care of her nanny after the latter’s heart transplant.
She is from an affluent Roman Catholic family where she was the youngest of three children and the only girl. After graduating from the Loyola School, she went on to study at New York University’s ‘Tisch School of Arts’ and earned a degree in film production. She originally wanted to become a director and not an actress. However, her early role in ‘The Sopranos’ helped her launch her career as an actor.
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With hardly any experience, she was cast in the pilot for ‘The Sopranos’ in what was reportedly meant to be a bit of a part as a restaurant hostess but later turned out to be a crucial supporting role. She was very convincing with her role as the tough yet loving girlfriend of one of the Soprano crime family’s youngest members, who struggled to balance her relationship with her career.
After her initial success, she appeared in several films on the big screen including the action thriller ‘Swordfish’ with Hugh Jackman and John Travolta in 2001, the drama about two rival New York gangs ‘Deuces Wild’ in 2002, ‘The Perfect You’ and ‘Prey for Rock & Roll’.
She also starred in the 2005 remake of John Carpenter’s 1976 action film, ‘Assault on Precinct 13’ and Abel Ferrara’s ‘R Xmas’, for which she received favourable reviews.
She was ranked 42nd and 56th respectively on the Maxim Hot 100 Women of 2001 and 2002. The magazine, ‘Stuff’, ranked her 33rd in their list of ‘102 Sexiest Women in the World’ in 2002.
In 2004, she was awarded an Emmy for the Best Supporting Actress (Drama) for the part she played as Adriana on ‘The Sopranos’ (Season 5). She was also nominated for a Golden Globe award for the same role.
From 2004 to 2006 she played lighter roles and portrayed Joe Tribbiani’s sister Gina in the ‘Friends’ spin-off ‘Joey’. The show stopped after two seasons.
De Matteo played the role of Wendy Case in the FX original series, ‘Sons of Anarchy’ that was aired for the first time in 2008. She kept making regular appearances in the show till the seventh and final season.
She also played the role of mother of the Bolen family, Angie Bolen, in the ABC show ‘Desperate Housewives’. She left the show’s 6th season in 2010 due to personal reasons.
She played the role of stepmother of the main character in the FOX comedy, ‘Running Wild’ and co-starred as Krissi Cates, with Charlize Theron, Chloe Grace Moretz and Nicholas Hoult, in the movie adaption of ‘Dark Places’ (2015).
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She has lately been cast as Det Tess Nazario in the NBC drama series ‘Shades of Blue’ with Jenifer Lopez and Ray Liotta that premiered in Jan 2016.
Matteo has worked in a number of films and TV shows. Her early movies are ‘Meet Prince Charming’, ‘Sleepwalk’ and ‘Swordfish’. In 2001 she played the role of the wife in ‘R Xmas’ for which she was recognised with the New York International Independent Film and Video Festival Award for Best Actress. Lately she appeared in ‘Free Ride’ and ‘Dark Places’.
She played the role of Adriana La Cerva in the TV show, ‘The Sopranos’ which was a major hit in her early career. She was the host on the ‘VH1 Big in 2002 Awards’ show and appeared in the popular serial ‘Desperate Housewives’. Her latest shows on TV include ‘Making of the Mob: New York’ and ‘Shades of Blue’.
Awards & Achievements
Matteo was awarded the New York International Independent Film and Video Festival Award for Best Actress for her role in ‘R Xmass’.
For her role as Adriana La Cerva in ‘The Sopranos’ she was awarded the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series (1999), Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (2004), Grace Allen Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (2004) and nominated for Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series or Television Film (2004).
Personal Life & Legacy
Matteo opened a clothing store called ‘Filth Mart’ with her then boyfriend Michael Sportes in 1997 which closed down in 2004. She is considering re-opening it in the Los Angeles area.
She started dating musician Shooter Jennings in 2001 and got engaged to him in June 2009. They have a son and daughter together but they ended their relationship without getting officially married. Eventually she went on to get engaged to ‘Whitesnake’ bass guitarist, Michael Devin.
She speaks Italian and Spanish fluently and is known to use strong words and expressions in her conversations.
She prefers a casual pair of jeans to formal attire and describes herself as, “shy and simultaneously, a wild, party girl with many tattoos”. She has the names of her parents and grandparents tattooed on her body
She lost her apartment and most of her belongings due to a raging fire caused by a gas explosion in Mar 2015.
She was nervous to come on talk shows and once confessed on the ‘Late Night with Conan O’Brien’ Show that on a previous occasion she had lied that her dog was very sick in order to avoid the show.