The Transformation Of Amanda Seyfried From 1 To 36

"Mean Girls" may have first introduced the world to Amanda Seyfried, but she's come a long way from the ditzy blonde character she played in the popular '00s comedy. Now an Oscar-nominated actor who has continually pushed boundaries, Seyfried's repertoire is an impressive display of versatility that includes comedies, musicals, psychological thrillers, camp horror, romance, and biopics. Her work in "The Dropout" has critics buzzing about her performance skills.

If her impressive acting career wasn't enough, she's also a devoted mother of two, maintains a farm in upstate New York, and is an ambassador of War Child USA, a charity that "provides assistance to children in areas experiencing conflict," per People. Starting out as a teen model, Seyfried navigated her way into the world of movies at a young age and has transformed from a teenager to a full-grown adult in front of the camera. Let's take a closer look at her journey from a kid in Pennsylvania to a critically-acclaimed actor and mother of two.

Amanda Seyfried was born in 1985

Amanda Seyfried was born in 1985 in Allentown, Pennsylvania. The surname Seyfried has German origins, and the "Mamma Mia!" actor confirmed her German ancestry in a 2010 interview on "Live with Regis & Kelly." Seyfried grew up with a pharmacist father and a therapist mother, according to Porter. However, they had difficulty making ends meet, as Seyfried told the publication: "I think my relationship to money will always be weird, because I grew up without it." She definitely has it now, with a net worth currently estimated at $12 million.

Her dad collected old movies, and this led her to appreciate film at an early age. She said her father was "an eccentric man" and explained on "Live with Kelly & Michael" that he was often "in his basement trying to like figure out how to fix one of his reels and put it in the projector." His quirks had a bright side though, as they introduced her to old Charlie Chaplin movies and classics like "Nosferatu," which Seyfried said is "still one of my favorite movies."

She has a close relationship with her mom, who lives with Seyfried now — the star called her mother her "rock" in a post on Instagram. Seyfried has one sibling, a sister who has also worked in the film industry, specializing in special effects. The two appear to be very close.

Growing up in Allentown, Pennsylvania

Amanda Seyfried's hometown of Allentown, Pennsylvania was founded in 1762 and has origins as a Pennsylvania German village. Today, it has grown into a relatively small modern city with a population of over 125,000, per the 2020 census. So what was it like to grow up there? "It was incredibly boring," Seyfried told David Letterman in a 2012 interview.

That being said, the actor enjoys returning to her hometown because it has always provided her with a source of stability in her life. "I feel like the people I grew up with and my community there has my back and it just feels safe," she told 69 News WFMZ. "It's still home to me... I love going back. I love being home," she added. 

The German heritage both she and the town share is apparent in some of Seyfried's favorite hometown dishes. In the local news station interview, she mentioned that Mariann's Donut Kitchen "has the best donuts in the entire world" and that her hometown friends have sent her special fastnachts (a type of German doughnut) from the bakery in the past, confessing that food is where "all [her] memories lay." But more than anything, her upbringing in Pennsylvania has kept her grounded. "I just want to impress upon people that I came from a normal town... special really, it was very special... I hope you can feel my Allentown roots because they live in me forever," she also told the local news source. 

The star was kind of 'uncool' in school

Amanda Seyfried is a famous and well-loved celebrity today, but in school, she wasn't popular. She preferred it that way, though, describing herself as "just one level above uncool, so no one bothered me" in an interview with Porter. And while it's hard to imagine Seyfried with her big eyes and ethereal blonde locks ever being bullied for her looks, she confessed to the i (a British newspaper) that she "was made fun of at school for being pale and ugly" and told David Letterman in a 2010 interview, "I used to be called Casper the Ghost in middle school."

Her insecurities driven by her peers' comments led her to seek out modeling around the age of 11. "A cousin of mine was modeling and I thought maybe my pale skin would finally be justified and I'd, you know, feel good about myself," she told David Letterman. She started in local department store ads before moving on to bigger bookings for kids and teen companies such as Limited Too and later appeared on the cover of a series of Francine Pascal books.

She started struggling with OCD as a pre-teen

Amanda Seyfried has been very open about her mental health journey, particularly about her struggles with OCD. Her symptoms started early in life. She confessed to i news, "I had dark moments as a pre-teen." She further explained in a 2009 interview with Allure, "I was obsessive as a little girl. I would have to be really organized — too organized. Things like straightening my room didn't feel right to me; I'd have to redo it and redo it." She was officially diagnosed with OCD when she was 19, after having a severe panic attack, per Porter.

Today, she feels like she has a handle on her anxiety, and with the help of medication and therapy, she feels grounded in reality. "As I get older, the compulsive thoughts and fears have diminished a lot. Knowing that a lot of my fears are not reality-based really helps," she told Allure. The actor also noted, "A mental illness is a thing that people cast in a different category [from other illnesses], but I don't think it is. It should be taken as seriously as anything else."

Seyfried has continued to advocate for being more open and honest about mental health, even when others told her it would hurt her career. She explained in an interview with Porter magazine, "At first, my publicist said, 'Don't talk about your anxiety.' And I thought, f**k you, actually. I want kids who are having weird thoughts to share them without stigma."

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

Her first acting gigs were soap operas

Like many stars before her, it wasn't long before Amanda Seyfried's modeling career led her to try her hand at acting. After telling David Letterman that her modeling agency "pushed" her into acting, she confessed, "I didn't fare too well on the acting front for a few years." The soap "As the World Turns" was her first foray into the new career. Her role was supposed to be recurring, but on her second day, she was gently fired, finding out her character on the series "was being sent to the Caribbean" (as Letterman incredulously said), never to return. "That was it. And I cried, I cried for a long time," she revealed.

She had better luck on her next try and by the time she was 16, Seyfried was commuting to New York City from Pennsylvania to work on "All My Children" alongside Michael B. Jordan, who would also go on to become a successful actor. This time, her soap gig lasted a bit longer, 2 months to be exact, "which felt really long at the time, and [I] haven't stopped working since," she told Self.

From college dropout to Mean Girls

Amanda Seyfried was all set to go to Fordham University in New York City but never even made it to her first class. "I was about to go to my class, but I had no idea where I was and I was 15 minutes late, because I was doing a screen test for 'Mean Girls'... I never saw myself going to college, so I went home," she told Self. Luckily, she was cast in "Mean Girls," which launched her film career, so she never had to revisit the idea of going to school.

Seyfried's role in "Mean Girls" remains one of her most memorable moments, and her name will forever be attached to the teen comedy and her character Karen Smith. But she doesn't mind; in fact, she's a fan of "Mean Girls" like the rest of us. In a 2013 interview, Seyfried told IndieWire, "I still look back at 'Mean Girls' as my best work. ... I was so innocent. I was so green." The star added, "But it was written so well and so wonderfully directed. Mark Waters (the director) made me look good; he made me funny. And Tina Fey wrote the coolest script of all time. I'm so grateful for every experience."

Big Love confirmed her choice of career

After "Mean Girls," Amanda Seyfried landed a role on the critically-acclaimed HBO series "Big Love." It was a major moment in Seyfried's blossoming career and a turning point in her life. She explained to W magazine in 2014, "Everything major in my life began on 'Big Love.' I was a teenager when I booked that part, and acting was definitely not the most important thing to me then. I was undecided about my career: I could have been a waitress in Allentown for the rest of my life! But 'Big Love' cemented my feelings for acting."

It was an obsession that stuck, and there was now no turning back to the simpler life of her childhood in Allentown. Seyfried told W, "Acting kind of bit me in the butt. On 'Big Love,' I realized that I didn't want to lose this thing that I had stumbled into. Now, I'm at the mercy of my calling. I was lucky back then and a little naive. Now I'm addicted. Addicted and scared but never bored. I get to be other people all the time, and there is nothing dull about that."

Seyfried left the show in 2009 to pursue more starring roles. "There was just not enough work to make it make sense," she told Collider. The decision turned out to be a good one, as she has consistently landed starring roles ever since.

She got to finally showcase her singing chops in Mamma Mia!

When Amanda Seyfried was young, she was obsessed with musicals. "I grew up listening to 'Les Mis' and 'Cats' and 'Joseph' and 'Evita.' We had all the collections of songs at home when I was growing up. 'Phantom of the Opera,' I listened to it all," she explained to Her love of musical theater led her to an intense interest in singing, and she began taking lessons when she was 11 years old, per Self. As a teen, she even delved into opera, "learning arias in different languages," she explained to Seyfried added, "But then I started acting and that distracted me." "Mamma Mia!" was her opportunity to finally live out her musical aspirations.

After her final audition, she cried because she felt she had given it her all and was proud of herself. "Even if I hadn't got it... It was worth just that moment because before that point I was pretty negative about my abilities and had been since I was little," she explained in the interview. Not only did landing the role give Seyfried a boost in confidence, but it also boosted her career in a major way, considering the box office hit it became. "It was great when 'Mamma Mia!' came and shifted my career into a different gear. I got different opportunities. I got paid more and all that fun stuff," she told the Boston Herald.

In the late '00s she formed more versatility as an actor

After becoming famous for playing an airhead in "Mean Girls" and a cheerful singing and dancing bride-to-be in "Mamma Mia!," Amanda Seyfried had her work cut out for her to be considered for more dramatic films. Looking to hone her acting skills, she sought variety. "I don't want to be pigeonholed. I don't play the same character all the time," she told the British i newspaper.

To avoid being typecast as the wide-eyed innocent girl, she selected roles in films that were a bit edgier, like the horror comedy "Jennifer's Body," in which she played the nerdy best friend of a hot albeit man-eating monster, and the erotic thriller "Chloe," in which she portrayed a call girl who has more than few homoerotic moments with Julianne Moore's character. "Chloe" was definitely her darkest role yet. "Thank God for that movie. ... No one wanted to see me that way," she told i News. "I think it was a big turning point for me as an actor, personally. I put a lot into that movie," she told IndieWire.

While such roles definitely redefined her capabilities as an actor, she also held her own as a romantic lead in some mainstream love stories like "Letters to Juliet" and "Dear John," demonstrating she could pretty much do it all, from comedy to horror to drama to romance.

She remained serious about her craft

The 2012 adaptation of "Les Miserables" was a personal milestone in Amanda Seyfried's career, considering she had always been a fan of the musical. "It's had a really positive effect on me since I was 11... It kind of puts such a nice beautiful spin on my life. No matter what's happening, whatever I'm going through personally, it's like, I kind of remind myself in the last year of just being involved in something that means so much to me," she said in an interview with Tribute Movies

Nowadays, however, she looks back at the film and wishes she could do it again because of her "weak" voice at the time. Since then, she has worked to "strengthen" her vocals. "I definitely could play Cosette now," she told Vanessa Kirby in Variety's "Actors on Actors" series.

Despite her own misgivings about her performance, "Les Miserables" elevated her status as an actor. In 2013, she continued to showcase her versatility by portraying "Deep Throat" porn star Linda Lovelace in the biopic "Lovelace." The star told Elle (via China Daily), "I wasn't necessarily afraid of what the public would think of me. I wanted to validate [Linda's] existence and give the most positive version of her that I could...I mean, maybe I am tainted by it. But I feel like all that movie did for me was solidify my seriousness."

The actor bought a farm in the Catskills in 2013

Amanda Seyfried has maintained a farm in the Catskills since 2013. She's a major animal-lover and her farm houses goats, chickens, and horses, as well as a bountiful garden. It provides her with a place "to be in nature and to refresh," she told The New York Times, adding, "Everybody needs a center of gravity. Somewhere to feel safe." The homestead is located in a quaint small town in Upstate New York where, according to Seyfried in an interview with Allure, "Even the grocery store is special. It's the classic small-town grocery. ... And then I go to the farm stand. Everything you get is absolutely local."

After over a decade of dizzying Hollywood success, she didn't want to become dependent on fame. Farming gives her a well-rounded outlook. "It's insane how much I can feel so accomplished and successful here without having to be in a successful movie," Seyfried told the outlet. In the Catskills, she's found her "home base," explaining to the Boston Herald, "Having a home that's this calm and this peaceful with animals that you have to take care of really does help with keeping you grounded, having your life in perspective. So while my career was always important, it was never really the end game for me. The endgame was always to continue working consistently. It's all about longevity."

Amanda Seyfried met Thomas Sadoski in 2015

Amanda Seyfried has been romantically linked to several fellow actors in the past, including Dominic Cooper and Justin Long, but it was ultimately actor Thomas Sadoski who would win her heart for good. She met Sadoski in 2015 when they were working together on the off-Broadway play "The Way We Get By." At the time, he was married and she was still in a relationship with Justin Long, but they formed a platonic friendship that made a lasting impression on them both. While they became buddies, Seyfried has made it clear that nothing sketchy ever happened between them when they were still tied up in other relationships. She told Porter that Sadoski "never flirted, never disrespected his wife. That was another reason why I thought, later on, that I could marry him."

They reunited to star in "The Last Word" in 2016, and the actors began dating once their relationships ended. The director of the film, Mark Pellington, immediately noticed there was a spark between them. "This natural, real chemistry emerged on camera. It was like, 'Boy, there's something there' — more than playing their roles. It was like, she seems really into him. And he seems really into her," he told USA Today. Seyfried told Porter magazine that their reunion and subsequent love story "felt healthy and freeing and clean. We can tell the story without any guilt," she said.

The couple got married and had their first child in 2017

Amanda Seyfried and Thomas Sadoski eloped in 2017, avoiding a typical over-the-top Hollywood wedding. The big hoopla of a ceremony wasn't appealing to the couple, mainly because she "get[s] married all the time" in movies. Seyfried explained in an interview with Porter, "I was in a wedding dress last week! I also go to premieres where people take my picture. I just don't care about all that stuff."

They married when she was 9 months pregnant, mostly as a security measure. "I really wanted to have rings on in the hospital, you know? And what if something goes wrong, and he's not legally my husband?" she also stated in the Porter interview.

In March 2017, she gave birth to her first child with Sadoski. A couple of months after welcoming her daughter into the world, Seyfried told E! News, "Man, I love being a mother. I love my family so much. ... I couldn't be more in awe of my life."

She gave birth to their second child in 2020

Amanda Seyfried and Thomas Sadoski had their second child in 2020 "after keeping her pregnancy a secret" from the public until after the baby was born, Marie Claire noted. Her second child-bearing experience wasn't without its complications, however. Seyfried told People, "I had something that went wrong with my second birth. The baby was okay but it was tricky and it was painful and it didn't have to happen, and it did, so it added an extra level of trauma." After dealing with a fear of postpartum depression and anxious, sleepless nights, it seems like she might be done with having children. In an interview on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert," she told the host, "Remind me to never have another baby."

Seyfried is a very protective mother and is super private when it comes to her family, especially on social media. She's careful not to post too many photos of her children on Instagram. The star told Entertainment Tonight that she rarely posts photos of her daughter but when she does, you won't see her face, explaining, "I'll let her choose when she wants to do that later on in life."

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

Mank was a turning point for her career

In 2020, Amanda Seyfried took on the role of silver screen starlet Marion Davies in the biographical film "Mank," which tells the story of how Herman J. Mankiewicz came to write the first draft of the screenplay for "Citizen Kane." Seyfried was nominated for an Oscar in the best supporting actress category and received more recognition and praise for her portrayal in the film than she ever had for past roles. "It's a big turning point for me in my career to be a part of something that's so recognized and for my own singular performance to be recognized. It's really nice. ... you don't expect it but when it happens, it just deepens my clarity on having chosen my career," she told The Hollywood Reporter.

While she has endless appreciation for the honor of just being nominated, Seyfried is not one to place her self-worth on the recognition of others. "This movie is definitely the best opportunity I've had in my career, and it is absolutely shifting my career for the better. But without it, I was just as happy, because I've made space for myself to feel accomplished in my own world," she told The New York Times.

Amanda Seyfried transformed into Elizabeth Holmes for The Dropout

Amanda Seyfried took on the task of transforming into the criminal fraud-convicted entrepreneur, Elizabeth Holmes, in Hulu's 2022 true crime drama, "The Dropout." The Chicago Sun Times called Seyfried's portrayal of Holmes "a career-best performance" noting, "Seyfried's manipulation of Elizabeth's vocal delivery is nothing short of amazing, as it never comes across as mere imitation."

It's always a tricky thing to play a real person, probably even trickier when that person is still very much alive and in the news. Seyfried had a lot to study and consider. "Any actor would have a treasure chest of things to draw from. There's just no lack of things to study, and that made it a lot easier to imagine myself playing her," she told Vanity Fair.

Part of her success in the role stemmed from her technique of "acting as Elizabeth Holmes acting," but also from an empathetic viewpoint. Seyfried further explained to Vanity Fair, "She's just not a robot. It's fair to describe her as robotic... but if I played her like a robot from the jump, that would be uninteresting and not realistic. I'm not diagnosing her with anything. For the sake of our show, she's a human being." The role is certainly another triumph in Seyfried's fruitful acting career.