Anne Jacqueline Hathaway was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Kate McCauley Hathaway, an actress, and Gerald T. Hathaway, a lawyer, both originally from Philadelphia. She is of mostly Irish descent, along with English, German, and French. Her first major role came in the short-lived television series Get Real (1999). She gained widespread recognition for her roles in The Princess Diaries (2001) and its 2004 sequel as a young girl who discovers she is a member of royalty, opposite Julie Andrews and Heather Matarazzo.
She also had a notable role in Nicholas Nickleby (2002) opposite Charlie Hunnam and Jamie Bell, and a starring role in Ella Enchanted (2004). A former top-ranking soprano in New York, Hathaway was reportedly a front-runner for the role of "Christine" in the 2004 The Phantom of the Opera (2004). However, due to scheduling conflicts with The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement (2004), she couldn't take the role, which was later given to newcomer Emmy Rossum.
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