Drea de Matteo

Drea de Matteo
Drea de Matteo
Real name:
Andrea Donna de Matteo
Who is:
Birth date:
(52 y.o.)
Place of birth:
New York
5'6 ft ()
137 lb (62 kg)
Birth Sign:
Chinese zodiac:

Biography of Drea de Matteo

Drea de Matteo is an American actress and playwright of Italian descent who gained fame for her role as the beauty Adriana La Cerva in the renowned TV series "The Sopranos". She is also known for her roles as Gina Tribbiani in the comedy "Joey", Wendy Case in the thriller "Sons of Anarchy", and Angie Bolen in the dramedy "Desperate Housewives". In 2024, the actress became a hot topic on social media due to her revealing photos on the popular adult site OnlyFans. Drea created her account there to deal with financial difficulties, and she succeeded.
Actress Drea de Matteo
Actress Drea de Matteo

Childhood, Adolescence, Family

Drea de Matteo, born in the winter of 1972, came from a well-to-do family of Donna and Albert de Matteo in Queens, New York. Her mother was a renowned playwright and a playwriting instructor at HB Studio in New York, while her father, a businessman, owned a furniture manufacturing company.

The youngest of three children and the only girl, she was raised with great love and adoration. Since her parents were often busy at work, her grandmother and a nanny from Nicaragua mainly took care of her; Drea later looked after the nanny following her surgery.

De Matteo spent her early childhood in Queens before the family moved to Manhattan's Upper East Side, into a former townhouse owned by the American soul singer Aretha Franklin.

After finishing at the Ignatius Loyola school, Drea decided to pursue a degree in film directing at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. This decision was influenced by a brief moment in her childhood when she was brought on stage from the audience and was dazzled by the stage lights during a performance of "Cats," a moment she never forgot.

Perhaps her mother's involvement in the entertainment industry played a role too; their home often hosted directors to whom Donna presented her dramatic works. However, when Drea attended the School of the Arts, acting classes sparked her greatest interest, and she decided to focus on an acting career.

After graduating, de Matteo contemplated how to make a living until she could become a recognized actress. She started earning an income from a vintage clothing store, which was popular among rock musicians. Soon Drea considered expanding her business, but success awaited her at an audition for a TV series that was destined to become iconic and forever change the era of television.

The Sopranos

Having debuted in a minor role as Laurie Tuko in "Swift Justice,"by the late 90s Drea auditioned for the crime drama "The Sopranos."

Initially, the young Italian-American character Adriana La Cerva was meant to appear in just one episode, but de Matteo left an indelible impression on the producers. Her role was expanded to that of the steady girlfriend and then fiancée of gangster Christopher Moltisanti, portrayed by Michael Imperioli – and she was impeccable. Her character soon began to outshine the main characters.

La Cerva starts as a waitress in a restaurant and, after meeting Christopher, takes charge of a nightclub, turning it into a popular spot. The actress's sultry beauty was complemented by her charming sense of humor. Adriana is enterprising, smart, quite materialistic, kind, and sensitive.

It's her trust in people that leads her to fall into the trap of an undercover FBI agent and she is reluctantly turned into a government informant. Then she confesses her betrayal to her beloved, paying with her life, much to the dismay of the audience who had grown to love Adriana.

For this role, Drea was awarded an Emmy and nominated for the Screen Actors Guild Awards and Golden Globes as Best Supporting Actress in a series, miniseries, or television film.

Fans of the show still frequently ask Drea to say "Christopher" with the strong New York accent that was most challenging for her during the filming:
I thought my accent sounded too forced, and I hated it. I went to David Chase and said, 'I can't keep talking about Christopher like that, can I call him Chrissy instead?'
As a memento from "The Sopranos," Matteo kept the outfit her character died in: jeans and a pink fur coat. "And of course, I just had to keep that spandex jumpsuit with the tiger print!" the actress recalled with a smile.

Further Career

While appearing in "The Sopranos" for five years, Drea de Matteo also managed to play several notable roles in other films.

She played the lead role in Abel Ferrara's dramatic thriller "R Xmas," worked with John Travolta and Hugh Jackman on the set of the crime action film "Swordfish" (Melissa), and portrayed one of the main characters in the musical drama "Prey for Rock & Roll" (Tracy).

She played one of the central roles Gina Tribbiani in the "Friends" spin-off series "Joey." Matt LeBlanc returned to his role as an actor dreaming of conquering Hollywood.

Later, Drea said that accepting this role was not very smart, but she was too overwhelmed by the end of the filming of "The Sopranos": "In 'Joey,' I essentially played Adriana, but a caricatured version. And viewers loved Adriana because she was real."

Drea de Matteo played one of the main female roles in the dramatic action movie "Assault on Precinct 13" (2005) with Ethan Hawke and Laurence Fishburne in the lead roles. Police and prisoners, whose bus stopped to wait out a storm at a police station, are forced to unite to fend off the criminals attacking it.

The actress also appeared as Audrey Andrews in the film "Broken English," Dana in "The Good Life." She landed the major role of the adventurer Angie Bolen in the 6th season of the popular series "Desperate Housewives," but soon left the project of her own volition: she did not want to extend her contract to be closer to her child.

An interesting role for the actress was Wendy Case in the thriller series "Sons of Anarchy," where the story of her character developed based on an illegal motorcycle club involved in unlawful activities. On the set, Drea became friends with Courtney Love.

She was also featured in the series "Paradise City," which tells about the dramatic side of rock musicians' lives.

As Barbara Morgan, the actress appeared in the dramedy "A Million Little Things," and in the series "Shades of Blue" with Jennifer Lopez, Drea played the role of police sergeant Tess Nazario.

Drea collaborated with Kevin Bacon on the set of the thriller "One Way," and starred with Ryan Phillippe in the film "Collide."

Drea de Matteo's Personal Life

At over fifty years old, the actress has never been officially married. In her youth, she dated Michael Sportes, with whom she started a business, and after its dissolution, they remained good friends.

In 2001, it was revealed that the actress was in a relationship with country music artist Shooter Jennings. After the birth of their daughter, Alabama Gypsy Rose, the couple's engagement was announced, but a wedding ceremony never took place. In 2011, Drea gave birth to a boy named Waylon Albert, and two years later, the couple split up for good.

The children stayed with their mother, but Drea and Jennings reached an agreement on joint custody.

In 2015, it was reported that de Matteo was engaged again, this time to Michael Devin, the former bass guitarist of the band Whitesnake. The media and fans of the actress have yet to hear news of the wedding ceremony, and Drea remains silent about changes in her personal life, although in 2023 she mentioned a certain Robbie, with whom she was planning to make a podcast on a popular adult website.

Drea de Matteo Now

In 2024, Tim Pool, one of the popular YouTube bloggers, insulted the actress by calling her a sex worker. De Matteo didn't stay silent and claimed that he is part of "America's global hypocrisy."

Just a year earlier, Drea found herself in a difficult financial situation and to make ends meet, she started an account on OnlyFans, where she posted risqué photos. Her first post earned her enough money to pay off her mortgage debt.

According to Drea, her financial troubles began after she refused to get vaccinated against Covid-19. This decision cost her acting jobs, and by the time she created her OnlyFans account, she had only ten dollars in her bank account. Drea herself shared:
OnlyFans completely saved my life. I can't believe I'm saying this. The bank foreclosed on my property, and my house got flooded, so I was trying to sell it as fast as possible — before the bank could take it. At the same time, I lost my mom, and my other mother, who has dementia, ran out of money for her caretaker. I didn't know what to do... These photos caused a buzz on social media, my story went viral, people were freaking out. Although the original idea was my podcast with my boyfriend about explicit topics, in the end, we did a photoshoot. In five minutes, I was able to repay the debt to Compass Real Estate, which held the sale of my house.
It should be noted that it wasn't the first time the actress could have lost her home. The apartment where she had lived for 22 years, along with dozens of other tenants, was lost due to a gas explosion and subsequent fire that destroyed three buildings in the East Village of Manhattan. The tragedy occurred on March 26, 2015. The actress stated that the money earned on OnlyFans allowed her not only to settle her debts but also to start a business — a streetwear line called ULTRAFREE. Her teenage son inspired her to create this style. The concept of this clothing is about "making freedom cool again, freedom from anything that makes you feel caged, be it mental illness, physical illness, or ideology," says Drea.

Interesting Facts

  • Although Drea de Matteo calls herself shy, she has been and remains a wild party-goer with multiple tattoos (among others, her body is inked with the names of her mother, father, and grandmother), who skillfully spices up her speech with profanity and prefers jeans to haute couture outfits.

  • Actor Vince Vaughn is called her brother by Drea, and John Barrowman is considered a close friend.

  • In 2024, Drea de Matteo announced that she is preparing a new book, which will detail the alleged struggle of her colleague James Gandolfini (Tony Soprano from "The Sopranos") with drug addiction. The actress had a strong reaction to the memoirs of location manager Mark Kamine "On Locations: Lessons Learned from My Life on the Set of 'The Sopranos' and in the Film Industry." "For this guy, it's just extortion," says de Matteo about Kamine's book. She added that the rumors about Gandolfini's drug addiction "are not true."