Childhood & Early Life
She was born Teresa Mary Palmer on February 26, 1986, in Adelaide, South Australia to Paula Sanders and Kevin Palmer. Her father was an investor and her mother was a missionary and former nurse. Her parents divorced when she was three years old and she was initially brought up by her mother in a public housing project. She had a humble and difficult early childhood due to her mother’s financial condition and bouts of depression.
She later went to live with her father on his farm in the Adelaide Hills. Her father remarried Karen Palmer and she had two half sisters and two stepbrothers.
She completed her high school from a private Catholic day school called Mercedes College, where she was selected for an audition for ‘Search for a Movie Star’ in 2003. She attended acting classes and appeared in a few commercials. She also picked up odd jobs in a fast food outlet and clothing shop to earn some money. One of her assignments was to dress up as a cartoon character in order to promote sales in a mall.
She loved animals and wanted to work for animal welfare. She was popular among her peers and well known for her sense of humour.
After high school she joined university to attend a course on teaching and journalism. However, she dropped out of college to pursue a career in acting. She started by becoming an extra for a few movies including the skating movie ‘Deck Dogz’ (2005).
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Palmer got noticed when she appeared in the movie ‘2:37’ at the age of 18 and got nominated for the Australian Film Institute Award for Best Lead Actress for her performance as a high school student who is driven to suicidal tendencies.
Her popularity gained her a role in the horror movie ‘Wolf Creek’ and the psychological thriller titled ‘Restraint’. She received positive reviews for her performance and was named ‘Star of Tomorrow’ by Screen International in 2006.
Her next venture was the coming-of-age romantic film titled ‘December Boys’ that was released in the US, UK and Australia in 2007, but proved to be a failure in the box office. However, her career received a boost at the same time when her movie ‘2:37’ was screened at the Cannes Festival and received a standing ovation that proved to be a turning point in the career of Teresa Palmer.
She moved to Hollywood to be cast in the movie ‘Jumper’ alongside Tom Sturridge. Unfortunately, the script got re-written for an older cast and she had to return to Adelaide. This did not stop her from making her Hollywood debut in the horror movie ‘The Grudge 2’ that received mixed reviews.
She started her own production company called Avakea Productions along with Australian actresses Tahyna Tozzi and Nathalie Kelley. She also appeared as a judge on the MTV Australia talent contest at Sydney.
Her Hollywood endeavour continued with her appearance in the American retro comedy, ‘Take Me Home’ directed by Michael Dowse, which was released in 2011. The movie was another box office flop. In a bid to salvage her career, she appeared in the music video of the single ‘Breaking Up’ by Eskimo Joe. She also became the brand ambassador of the ‘Modern Darling’ collection of the Sydney jeweller Jan Logan. She filmed in the campaign for Just Jeans and became the spokesperson for Jurlique cosmetics.
She appeared in Walt Disney’s film titled ‘Bedtime Stories’ where her mother also had a minor role to play. Her association with Walt Disney continued with her role in action-fantasy film ‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentice’.
She trained in martial arts and stunts to secure roles for herself in the movies ‘I Am Number Four’ and ‘The Matrix Reloaded’. Though her performances were appreciated, the movies failed to make an impact on the box office. Her next film ‘Bear’ did better and was screened at the Cannes Film Festival in 2011.
She became the global face of Artistry cosmetics in 2013 and appeared in varied roles in the movies ‘Wish You Were Here’, ‘Warm Bodies’ and ‘Love and Honour’ during the period. She also appeared in the movies ‘Cut Bank’ and ‘Kill Me Three Times’ that premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2014.
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Her latest movies are the Australian-French psychological horror film ‘Berlin Syndrome’ and science fiction movie ‘2:22’. She has also played the lead role in the television serial ‘A Discovery of Witches’ which was aired on Sky One network in 2018.
Her films include ‘2:37’ (2006), ‘December Boys’ (2007), ‘Bedtime Stories’ (2008), ‘Take Me Home Tonight’ (2011), ‘Warm Bodies’ (2013), ‘Kill Me Three Times’ (2014), ‘Triple 9’ (2016), ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ (2016) and ‘Berlin Syndrome’ (2017).
She has played the lead role in the television serial ‘A Discovery of Witches’ (2018).
Awards & Achievements
In 2011 she won a Breakthrough Award for her role in ‘Themselves’ at the Australians Film Awards.
She won the Rising Star award at the Maui Film Festival in 2015.
Palmer’s relocation from Australia to Hollywood was a major upheaval in her life. It was a cultural shock that took some time to get used to. She initially went through bouts of loneliness and depression that made her consider returning to Australia. She had affairs with actor Topher Grace and footballer Stuart Dew that did not last long during the same period.
However, she was determined to pursue her dream in Hollywood and went on to date actor cum director Mark Webber in 2012. They got engaged and married in Mexico by the end of the next year. Palmer is the stepmother of his son from his previous relationship with actress Frankie Shaw and has two children of her own, with whom she lives in her house in the Beachwood Canyon community of Los Angeles.
She is an avid football fan and a number one ticker holder of the Port Adelaide Football Club. She also runs her own health and wellness websites called ‘Your Zen Life’ and ‘Your Zen Mama’ with Australian actress and model Phoebe Tonkin and American actress Sara Wright respectively.
Her name has been linked with actor Adam Brody and British comedian Russell Brand.
She was cast in her debut movie ‘2:37’ without an audition or any previous experience of acting in movies.
She had three pet kangaroos named Charlie, Radar and Tippi at her home in Australia.
She was named Patron of the Kid’s Film Festival of Adelaide in 2015.