Warning: This article mentions emotional abuse.
Mandy Moore is arguably one of the biggest stars to date in terms of both talent and star longevity. Moore has graced the big screen and the music industry for two decades and is still finding new avenues to showcase her singing and acting skills. From releasing chart-topping singles that rivaled those of other blonde, teen pop stars Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, and Jessica Simpson to starring in the quintessential rom-coms and teen dramas, Moore has done it all. She even captured the world as both the acting and singing voice for Rapunzel is Disney’s Tangled and it’s many spinoff endeavors.
Now, Moore’s presence has been on the TV screen the last several years while she’s been playing the Pearson family matriarch in the NBC drama series This Is Us. With 20 years in the entertainment business, Moore is constantly reinventing herself through many different projects. But let’s take a look at how Moore has transformed herself from a teen pop sensation to a critically acclaimed actor.
Mandy Moore was inspired by her ballerina grandmother
Born Amanda Leigh Moore on April 10, 1984, in Nashua, N.H., Moore was born into talent. Moore was inspired to seek out opportunities in show business by her ballerina grandmother, Eileen Friedman. “She was always an encouraging force in my life,” a 23-year-old Moore told Seminole Magazine. “I guess I had a bit of the performer in my blood because of her…she was always thrilled to see me on stage.” With the encouragement and support from her family, Moore went after her dream by enrolling in acting and vocal lessons. With some training under her belt, Moore joined local musical theater performances and even became a national anthem girl at different events in Orlando, Fl., where her family was living at the time.
“I actually broke into the business by being in the right places at the right time,” Moore told a House of Pop audience in 2000. “I did a lot of musical theater and TV commercials and sang the national anthem, anything to get my voice out there and finally, I was just singing around town.” Moore’s right. She was in the right place — just in time for her big break into music.
A FedEx driver discovered Mandy Moore
Mandy Moore soon found herself as part of the $140 billion bubblegum-teen-pop-star boom after an unorthodox discovery. While she was singing jingles in an Orlando recording studio, FedEx driver and part-time talent scout Victor Cade heard Moore’s voice and knew she’d be an instant hit. Thrilled with his discovery, Cade sent Moore’s photos and tapes to Epic Records, according to The Washington Post. Moore signed with the label and released her debut single, “Candy,” in August 1999. “Candy” peaked at No. 41 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Moore’s debut album, So Real, peaked at No. 31 on the Billboard 200 chart and was Moore’s only album to be certified platinum with over a million copies sold in the U.S.
Moore then saw similar success with the single “I Wanna Be With You” from her second studio album of the same name in 2000. The single peaked at No. 11 on the Billboard Pop Songs chart while the album was commercially successful, peaking at No. 21 on the Billboard 200 chart. Even with musical success, Moore had ambitions to grow her star power. “I do wanna be in this business for as long as I can, and I kind of want to grow up with people,” Moore told MTV News in 2000. “And I think that’s what people like Madonna and Janet Jackson have done…they kind of generalized their horizons…that’s what I wanna do.” Moore got her wish, but found a way to grow without her music.
Mandy Moore is a film queen
Mandy Moore took to acting and the big screen in order to grow with her young audience. Her first movie role was doing voiceover work as a girl bear cub in Dr. Dolittle 2. One may also recognize Moore from her supporting role in cult classic The Princess Diaries as Mia Thermopolis’ (played by acting peer Anne Hathaway) main bully and stereotypical mean girl Lana Thomas — “Lana got coned!” ringing a bell for anyone? The Princess Diaries helped kick off Moore’s career in the film industry.
In 2002, the singer-turned-actor had her first leading role in the romantic drama A Walk to Remember alongside actor Shane West. “I had such a visceral reaction to it that I remember not being able to read because I was almost hyperventilating while I was crying,” Moore said to the Los Angeles Times regarding the film. “It was my first movie and I know people say it may be cliche and it’s a tearjerker or it’s cheesy, but for me, it’s the thing I’m most proud of.”
Moore also went on to star in the faith-based movie Saved! with Jena Malone and Macaulay Culkin as well as Because I Said So and License to Wed where she co-starred with acting and comedy power forces Diane Keaton and the late Robin Williams, respectively.
Mandy Moore has a thing for musicians
February 2009 saw Mandy Moore get engaged to musician Ryan Adams after one year of dating, according to ET, and the new couple tied the knot later that same year in March. Fans saw Moore in less and less film and TV roles until the singer-actor filed for divorce from Adams in 2015, citing “irreconcilable differences,” People reported. Even though their marriage lasted for six years, it wasn’t until 2019 when Adams was accused of manipulative behavior and sexual misconduct that Moore revealed the truth behind their short-lived marriage.
“Music was a point of control for him,” Moore told The New York Times. “He would always tell me, ‘You’re not a real musician, because you don’t play an instrument.'” Moore went on to explain that Adams helped stall her career and hindered her from taking on work and project offers. “His controlling behavior essentially did block my ability to make new connections in the industry during a very pivotal and potentially lucrative time — my entire mid-to-late 20s.”
Fortunately, Moore’s love life turned around during her divorce proceedings from Adams in 2015. Before the finalized divorce in 2016, Moore began dating musician Taylor Goldsmith. The two got engaged in September 2017 and then married in a private, outdoor ceremony at Moore’s home in November 2018, E! reported. More good news for the happy couple arrived in September 2020 when Moore and Goldsmith announced that they were expecting their first child together. They welcomed their baby boy, August, after a harrowing birth experience.
'This Is Us' is just the start of the Mandy Moore renaissance
Though she is happily married and a mom to son August, Mandy Moore’s career isn’t finished. In fact, it’s just getting started. In addition to her TV job on This Is Us, Moore has taken on more acting roles in the past few years. She’s expanded her acting skills to include roles in the teen action drama The Darkest Minds, the award-winning animated film Ralph Breaks the Internet, TV satire Family Guy, and historical drama Midway. And that’s not all.
Moore has also revamped her singing career, releasing her latest album, Silver Landings, after 11 years in March 2020. “It was the last song that we wrote for the record, and to me, it was sort of like the idea of a silver lining actualized,” she said of the title song that sparked the album name while on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon. “Something that felt really grounded and earthbound and everything that it sort of took to write and record and make this record after being gone for so long.”
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