Born in London, Newton grew up in Penzance, Cornwall, where her parents – her dad is white British, her mother black, from Zimbabwe – sent her to a Catholic school.
She said of her school years: ‘I was aware that I didn’t fit. I was the black, atheist kid in the all-white, Catholic school run by nuns’.
She went on to study at Cambridge University, where she read anthropology.
Her screen career began as a teenager with the 1991 film Flirting marking her debut.
At just 22 she appeared in a major movie Interview With A Vampire, opposite To Cruise and Brad Pitt. She later reunited with Cruise in the 2000 movie Mission Impossible 2.
Newton’s early acting years were marked with sexual abuse. When she was 16 she was groomed by director John Duigan, who was 39 years old at the time.
The by violations Duigan lasted five years, two of those years were termed a ‘relationship’ after he sought Newton’s parents’ blessing for her to be his girlfriend when she was 18.
Two years after meeting Duigan, at the age of 18, another director told the actress to intimately touch herself during an audition. Newton obliged, as there was also a female casting director present.
But years later, she discovered the unnamed man had kept her tape and was playing it at poker games for other Hollywood elite.
Following the violating discovery, Thandiwe began to fight the abuse and call it out – an act that cost the actress many jobs.
Alongside her movie career she’s had long-running roles in the likes of ER and her lead part in Westworld.
She met husband Ol in 1997 and said it was love at first sight.
At the time Ol was a screenwriter and had penned In Your Dreams, which featured the actress.
‘He was on set every day and I fell madly in love with him,’ she told InStyle Magazine.
‘When I met Ol, I was dating a really sweet, lovely man and I had to leave him straight away, even though I wasn’t even going out with Ol’.
‘But as soon as I met Ol, it kind of cut off any other blood vessels to anywhere else.’
She went on to marry Ol in 1998. The couple share three children: Ripley, 21, Nico, 17, and Booker, eight.
The actress was previously credited as Thandie Newton before she reverted to the original spelling of her name three decades after it was missed in her first film.
She revealed that Thandie was a careless misspelling in the credits of her first movie – the 1991 Australian film Flirting, co-starring Nicole Kidman and Noah Taylor – and it has stuck ever since.
‘That’s my name. It’s always been my name. I’m taking back what’s mine,’ she told British Vogue in April 2021.