Celebrity Then And Now
Posted by Ryan Neal
Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: RidiculouslyExtraordinary. Posted by Ryan Neal
This Is Us, The Princess Diaries, Candy
Currently Known For:
Actress, Singer and Songwriter
1990s - Present
April 10, 1984
This Is Us, The Princess Diaries, Candy
“Having this other career in music made me work harder as an actress. It’s made me more professional.” From a former pop princess to primetime television’s favorite leading lady, Mandy Moore certainly knows a thing or two about success despite being only 34 years old. She launched her career in the late 1990s as a singer-songwriter and became a pop icon with the release of her debut single, “Candy.” In the years following, she released albums like So Real (1999) and I Wanna Be With You (2000) before she exchanged the bright lights of the stage for the silver screen with her debut in the 2001 film, Dr. Dolittle 2.
Moore joined Anne Hathaway in The Princess Diaries (2001) and reestablished herself as a teen icon with her starring role alongside Shane West in the 2002 romantic drama, A Walk to Remember. She then saw her Disney dreams come true when she voiced Rapunzel in the 2010 animated musical comedy, Tangled. Fast forward six years and Moore made a huge comeback in 2016 when she made her primetime television debut as Rebecca Pearson in the award-winning family drama, This Is Us. With the drama still on the air today, let’s take a peek at Moore’s early journey to fame and how she almost turned down the script for This Is Us.A Deliveryman and A Demo Tape: Early Life
“My mom has always been my support system. She taught me to never give up and to keep pursuing my passions no matter what.” Amanda Leigh Moore was born on April 10, 1984, in Nashua, New Hampshire where her father, Donald, was an American Airlines pilot and her mother, Stacy, was a former news reporter. In the summer of 1984, her father’s job took the family of five—Moore is the middle and only daughter of three children—to a small town outside of Orlando, Florida where Moore and her brothers enjoyed the warmer temperatures and frequent sunshine that meant more time to play outside.
Apart from spending time with her brothers, Scott and Kyle, Moore’s passion for singing blossomed at an early age thanks to her British grandmother, professional ballerina Eileen Friedman. Often calling Friedman for advice, Moore wasn’t seeking fortune or fame but the joy of performing. “My parents thought it was just a phase I’d grow out of. But I stuck to it and begged them for acting lessons, for voice lessons,” Moore said. Her parents eventually agreed and enrolled her in lessons as Moore honed her talents in local productions. She performed the National Anthem at several events in Orlando and attended the prestigious Stagedoor Manor theater camp at the age of 12.
Moore was 13 years old when she shifted her attention from acting to music and started working on her demo album. Coincidentally, this was when she caught the first of many breaks in her career when a FedEx delivery man named Victor Cade heard her singing and instantly recognized her talent. “I grew up doing musical theater in Orlando, Florida. When I was 14, I just happened to be in the right place at the right time—a deliveryman heard me singing and offered to deliver my demo tape to Sony Music. I was just really lucky,” Moore said. Cade kept his promise and delivered Moore’s demo to his friend at Epic Records.The First of Many Breaks
“Hope is the most exciting thing there is in life.” Moore signed a contract with Epic Records and left behind her freshman year at Bishop Moore Catholic High School in Orlando. She immediately got to work on her debut album and opened for headlining acts like the Backstreet Boys and NSYNC over the summer. Gaining a loyal following on the road, she returned to the studio in the fall of 1999 and released her debut single, “Candy,” which peaked at number 41 on the Billboard Hot 100.
As critics likened her to fellow pop icons like Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears, Moore released her debut album, So Real, in December 1999 to mixed reviews. She immediately got to work on her second album and released the title track, “I Wanna Be With You,” in July 2000. The single became her first to chart on the Billboard Hot 100 since “Candy” and, before long, was a Top 20 hit. The album followed suit and peaked at number 21 on the Billboard 200 charts, sealing Moore’s fate as a bubblegum pop star. Sadly, this wasn’t exactly what Moore envisioned for her music career. “Thinking back to my contemporaries when I started music, everyone went off and did a version of a film where they played an extension of themselves,” she said. “All the music started to look and sound the same. I wanted no more dancers, no more singing to tracks. I got tired of that in a big way.”
Moore’s third album signified this shift and was a stark contrast to her bubblegum pop persona with more musical influences from the Middle East. Mandy Moore and the lead single, “In My Pocket,” failed to impress and never made it to the charts in the United States, which ultimately led Moore to push her career in a new direction—the silver screen.Launching Her Hollywood Career
“I just don’t want to be known as the actress who can sing. I want to be known as the singer who can act, too. It’s a great cross-promotion.” In the new millennium, Moore made the transition into acting when she joined the cast of Dr. Dolittle 2 (2001) as the voice of the Girl Bear Cub. Next up, she proved her talents for playing mean girl Lana Thomas opposite Anne Hathaway in The Princess Diaries (2001). The film, which also featured Moore singing “Stupid Cupid” at a beach party, was a massive hit and grossed over $165 million at the box office.
Moore caught another break in her career in 2002 when she was cast opposite Shane West in A Walk to Remember, based on Nicholas Sparks’ romantic novel of the same name. Moore starred as the unpopular reverend’s daughter battling cancer. The teen love story failed to impress critics but Moore and West were both commended for their performances. “It was my first movie and I know people say it may be cliché and it’s a tearjerker or it’s cheesy, but for me, it’s the thing I’m most proud of,” Moore said. That clichéd tearjerker earned Moore two Teen Choice Awards for Female Breakout Star and Chemistry, a 2002 Young Hollywood Award as Female Superstar of Tomorrow, an MTV Movie Award for Breakthrough Female Performance, and an MTV Movie Award nomination for Best Musical Sequence.
After lending her voice to the soundtrack for A Walk to Remember and even showcasing her vocal talents in the film, Moore returned to the recording studio in 2003 to finish up her fourth studio album, Coverage. Featuring covers like “Have a Little Faith in Me” and other hits from the 1970s and 1980s, Coverage was moderately successful and earned Moore praise from critics like Allmusic who called it “a leap to musical maturity.”
Following the release of The Best of Mandy Moore in 2004 and Candy in 2005, Moore left Epic Records and turned her attention back to acting. She joined Peter Gallagher and Allison Janney in the 2003 romantic comedy-drama How to Deal and, a year later, starred opposite Matthew Goode in Chasing Liberty. Once again, renowned film critic Roger Ebert praised Moore’s performance for having “unaffected natural charm” and an “undeniable screen presence that inspires instant affection.”
Going on to star in Saved! (2004) and lending her voice to Sandy the white horse in Racing Stripes (2005), Moore made her way back to the recording studio in the mid-2000s with plans to redeem herself with her fifth studio album. Doing exactly that, she signed on with EMI Music’s The Firm and released Wild Hope in 2007 to positive reviews thanks to singles like “Extraordinary.” She joined Ben Lee and Kelly Clarkson on tour and made her way back to the silver screen in 2007 with Diane Keaton in Because I Said So, which grossed over $69 million at box offices worldwide. She followed up with hits like License to Wed (2007) starring Robin Williams and a guest appearance on How I Met Your Mother (2007). Then, later in the year, she took on a personal project for the 2007 Sundance Film Festival—a romantic comedy starring Billy Crudup, Tom Wilkinson, and Dianne Wiest titled Dedication.
“I think I had the most fun making a movie with Dedication, just because you knew that it was a passion project for everyone involved,” Moore said. “We had X amount of days to shoot New York in the cold. No trailers, just kind of doing it guerilla style in a way.”
Following Dedication, Moore took a brief hiatus from the spotlight to focus on her relationship with Whiskeytown front man Ryan Adams. Then, in 2009, she surprised her fans when she confirmed their engagement in February and quietly tied the knot on March 10, 2009, in a private ceremony in Savannah, Georgia. Months later, she released her sixth studio album, Amanda Leigh, and returned to acting with credits in Swinging with the Finkels (2009) and Grey’s Anatomy (2010) before joining the wonderful world of Disney as Rapunzel in the 2010 animated musical comedy, Tangled.
“Growing up, I was obsessed with Disney movies like The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, and Beauty and the Beast. I was always singing the songs from these movies, so to find myself in the studio with Alan Menken was an amazing experience. In fact, it was a dream come true,” Moore said. As for Rapunzel herself, Moore was ecstatic to bring her to life. “Rapunzel is a bit more relatable than the other princesses, especially because she doesn’t even know that she’s a princess until the very end of the movie. I like to think of her as the bohemian Disney princess. She’s barefoot and living in a tower. She paints and reads… She’s a Renaissance woman.”Setbacks and Comebacks: This is Us
“The unknown used to be really scary, just the fear of ‘What’s next? What if I’m not prepared?’ I just don’t feel that way anymore. I feel like the best is yet to come.” With Tangled ranked as the third highest-grossing Disney film behind Frozen and The Lion King, it seemed like the sky was the limit for Moore. However, that wasn’t exactly the case. Although she had high hopes of collaborating with her then-husband, Ryan Adams, on her seventh studio album, the album never came to fruition. Instead, Moore returned to acting and shot a handful of pilots, none of which were picked up. Her marriage with Adams failed and, in January 2015, Moore filed for divorce, which was finalized in June 2016.
Despite her marriage falling apart, Moore was on the brink of something big when she was given a script for a new television pilot titled This is Us. Initially, she was hesitant to read the script after so many failed television pilots. “I was at sort of this weird lull and alow point. This was the exact thing we just mentioned I wasn’t going to get my heart set on. I didn’t know if I could face that rejection anymore,” Moore said.
Pushing her fears aside, Moore took a leap of faith, auditioned for and won the part of matriarch Rebecca Pearson on This Is Us with Milo Ventimiglia starring as her husband, Jack, and Sterling K. Brown, Chrissy Metz, and Justin Hartley starring as her on-screen children. This Is Us premiered in September 2016 and became an instant hit among primetime audiences that launched the entire cast to overnight fame. “We recognize how special the moment is and how special it is to be part of something like that,” Moore says of her latest role. “I drive through the gates of Paramount every day that I’m at work and say, ‘Thank you, universe.’”
With her career back on track, Moore’s personal life followed suit as she fell in love with Dawes front man Taylor Goldsmith, whom she married on November 18, 2018. Beyond her role as a newlywed, Moore can’t believe her luck since This Is Us is now in its third award-winning season. From rock bottom to an all-time career high, Moore knows not to take her fame or good fortune for granted. “That is when you think you are better than everyone else,” she says. “My goal, I think, from a career perspective is maybe to make music to some degree… I have ambitions to do a Broadway record one of these days and get in the studio with like, a real orchestra.” The future certainly looks bright for the former bubblegum pop princess turned primetime television matriarch!