Billy Bob Thornton (born August 4, 1955 in Hot Springs, Arkansas) is an American actor, director, writer, producer, and singer-songwriter.
Thornton made his first break with co-writing and starring in the 1992 thriller One False Move and came to international attention after writing, directing, and starring in the independent drama Sling Blade (1996), for which he won an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor.
He appeared in several major film roles in the 1990s following Sling Blade, including the romantic comedy crime thriller U Turn (1997), the drama Primary Colors (1998), the science fiction disaster thriller Armageddon (1998), and the drama A Simple Plan (1998), which earned him his third Oscar nomination. In the 2000s, he appeared in the romantic drama Monster's Ball (2001), the crime-comedy romantic drama Bandits (2001), the neo-noir fillm The Man Who Wasn't There (2001), the black comedy-crime film Bad Santa (2003), the romantic black comedy Intolerable Cruelty (2003), the romantic comedy Love Actually (2003), the sports drama Friday Night Lights (2004), the historical war film The Alamo (2004), the sports comedy Mr. Woodcock (2007), the techno-thriller Eagle Eye (2008) and the crime film Faster (2010).
In 2014, Thornton starred in the anthology series Fargo and earned a nomination for the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or TV Movie at the Emmy Awards and won Best Actor in a Miniseries or TV Film at the 72nd Golden Globe Awards. Thornton is cited as an "anti-film star" who approaches his roles like a character actor and rarely accepts roles in blockbusters.
He has been vocal about his disrespect for celebrity culture, choosing to keep his life out of the public eye. However, the attention of the media has proven unavoidable in certain cases, his marriage to Angelina Jolie being a notable example. As an influential actor, Thornton is known for his diversity, wide range, and prolificacy, appearing in at least one film per year nearly every year since 1991.
Thornton has written a variety of films, usually set in the Southern United States and mainly co-written with Tom Epperson, including A Family Thing (1996) and The Gift (2000). After Sling Blade, he directed several other films, including Daddy and Them (2001), All the Pretty Horses (2001), and Jayne Mansfield's Car (2012). Thornton has received President's Award from Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, Special Achievement Award from National Board of Review and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
He was also nominated for an Emmy Award, four Golden Globes and three Screen Actors Guild Awards. In addition to film work, Thornton began a career as a singer-songwriter. He has released four solo albums and is the vocalist of a blues rock band The Boxmasters.
Thornton has been married five times, with each marriage ending in divorce, and he has four children by three women. From 1978 to 1980, he was married to Melissa Lee Gatlin, with whom he had a daughter, Amanda. Thornton married actress Toni Lawrence in 1986; they separated the following year and divorced in 1988.
From 1990 to 1992, he was married to actress Cynda Williams, whom he cast in his writing debut, One False Move (1992). In 1993, Thornton married Playboy model Pietra Dawn Cherniak, with whom he had two sons, Harry James and William; the marriage ended in 1997, with Cherniak accusing Thornton of spousal abuse. Thornton was engaged to be married to actress Laura Dern, whom he dated from 1997 to 1999, but in 2000, he married actress Angelina Jolie, with whom he starred in Pushing Tin (1999) and who is almost 20 years his junior (Jolie's father Jon Voight is almost 17 years his senior and her late mother Marcheline Bertrand was 5 years his senior).
The marriage became known for the couple's eccentric displays of affection, which reportedly included wearing vials of each other's blood around their necks; Thornton later clarified that the "vials" were, instead, two small lockets, each containing only a single drop of blood. Thornton and Jolie announced the adoption of a child from Cambodia in March 2002, but it was later revealed that Jolie had adopted the child as a single parent.
They separated in June 2002 and divorced the following year. Since 2003, Thornton has been in a relationship with makeup effects crew member Connie Angland, with whom he has a daughter, Bella. The family lives in Los Angeles, California. Thornton has said that he likely will not marry again, saying that he believes marriage "doesn't work" for him.
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