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Drea de Matteo: Emmy-Winning Star of 'The Sopranos' and Versatile Actress
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Drea de Matteo is an American actress renowned for her Emmy-winning role as Adriana La Cerva on HBO's "The Sopranos." Born in Queens, New York, she has built a diverse career in television and film, including notable roles in "Joey," "Sons of Anarchy," and "Desperate Housewives," while also making headlines for her outspoken views and recent venture into OnlyFans.

 

Drea de Matteo's Early Life in Queens and Manhattan

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Drea de Matteo was born and raised in Queens, New York, a borough known for its rich history and cultural diversity. Queens, the largest borough in terms of land area, has a population of over 2.2 million people and is the most racially diverse county in the United States. The borough's history dates back to the early 1600s with settlements by the Dutch and later the British, and it became part of New York City in 1898. Queens has evolved from a rural area to a bustling urban center, home to significant landmarks such as JFK International Airport and the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. This vibrant and diverse environment likely influenced de Matteo's upbringing and career, providing a rich cultural backdrop for her early life.
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Breakthrough Role in The Sopranos

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Drea de Matteo's breakthrough role came with her portrayal of Adriana La Cerva on HBO's critically acclaimed series "The Sopranos." Her performance as the girlfriend of Christopher Moltisanti, played by Michael Imperioli, earned her widespread recognition and an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series. Adriana's character arc, marked by her struggles with loyalty and betrayal, became one of the most compelling storylines in the series, showcasing de Matteo's ability to bring depth and nuance to her role. This role not only solidified her status as a talented actress but also opened doors for future opportunities in both television and film.
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Transition to Joey and Other TV Roles

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After her success on "The Sopranos," Drea de Matteo transitioned to other television roles, including a significant part in the "Friends" spin-off, "Joey." In "Joey," she played Gina Tribbiani, Joey's older sister, who is a single mother and hairdresser. Her character is known for her strong personality and protective nature towards her son, Michael Tribbiani, played by Paulo Costanzo. Other notable TV roles include:
  • "Sons of Anarchy": De Matteo portrayed Wendy Case, the ex-wife of the main character, Jax Teller. Wendy's character arc involves struggles with addiction and her complex relationship with Jax and their son.
  • "Desperate Housewives": She played Angie Bolen, a character with a mysterious past who moves to Wisteria Lane with her family. Angie's storyline is central to the sixth season of the series.
  • "Shades of Blue": De Matteo appeared as Tess Nazario, a member of a tight-knit group of NYPD officers led by Jennifer Lopez's character. The show explores themes of corruption and loyalty within the police force.
These roles have allowed de Matteo to showcase her versatility as an actress, taking on diverse characters across different genres and solidifying her presence in the television industry.
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De Matteo's Personal Life and Family

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Drea de Matteo has had a notable personal life, marked by her relationships and dedication to her family. She shares two children, Alabama Gypsyrose and Waylon Albert "Blackjack" Jennings, with her ex-fiancé, musician Shooter Jennings. Despite their separation, they maintain a strong co-parenting relationship, prioritizing their children's well-being. De Matteo's personal life has also been shaped by her resilience in the face of financial and personal challenges, including losing work due to her stance on COVID-19 mandates and dealing with a flooded house and a mother with dementia. Her decision to join OnlyFans was driven by the need to support her family, a move encouraged by her children. Currently, she is in a relationship with musician Robby Staebler.
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Drea's Stance on Culture

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Drea de Matteo has been vocal about her views on social and cultural issues, particularly regarding cancel culture and the current political climate. She has criticized the "volatile and vile" nature of online hatred and cancel culture, calling for a return to a time when people wanted to see others succeed and feel included. De Matteo has also expressed concerns about the divisiveness promoted by the Biden administration, arguing that they have exploited social issues to further their agenda and divide people. She believes that many in Hollywood are skeptical of Biden's leadership but are "petrified" to voice their opinions due to the dominance of far-left ideology in the entertainment industry. Despite identifying as a liberal in some respects, de Matteo has opposed modern far-left trends for an extended period and has found the courage to speak out against them. She has emphasized the importance of focusing on issues that unite people rather than divide them and has called for a return to a sense of freedom and unity.
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HB Studio Alumni

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Drea de Matteo is among the notable alumni of HB Studio, one of the original acting studios in New York City founded in 1945 by Broadway actor and director Herbert Berghof. Located in Greenwich Village, HB Studio has been a haven for aspiring and professional artists, offering training in various aspects of the performing arts. The studio boasts an impressive roster of alumni, including Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Barbra Streisand, Sigourney Weaver, and many other renowned actors. As an alumna of HB Studio, de Matteo likely honed her craft and developed her skills as an actress under the guidance of the studio's experienced faculty. The studio's focus on providing a supportive and challenging environment for artists to grow and express themselves has undoubtedly contributed to de Matteo's success in the entertainment industry.
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Closing Thoughts

Drea de Matteo, born Andrea Donna de Matteo, has made a significant impact on the entertainment industry through her Emmy-winning performance in "The Sopranos" and her subsequent roles in various television series. Her talent and dedication to her craft have earned her a place among the most respected actresses of her generation. Beyond her acting career, de Matteo has also garnered attention for her outspoken views on social and cultural issues, demonstrating her willingness to stand up for her beliefs even in the face of potential backlash. As she continues to navigate the challenges of balancing her personal life and career, including her recent decision to join OnlyFans to support her family, de Matteo remains a compelling figure both on and off the screen. Her journey from her early life in Queens to her status as an Emmy-winning actress and cultural commentator serves as a testament to her resilience, talent, and unwavering commitment to her art and her loved ones.
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