Laura Elizabeth Dern was born on February 10, 1967, in Los Angeles, California. The granddaughter of politician George Dern and daughter of actors Bruce Dern and Diane Ladd, Laura Dern followed her parents into the acting business playing everything from willowy ingénues to drug-addicted washouts. After attending the University of Southern California for one semester and the University of California, Los Angeles, for just two days, Dern enrolled at the prestigious Lee Strasberg Institute to study method acting. She appeared in films like Mask, Wild at Heart and Rambling Rose, for which she received an Oscar nod, before winning over mainstream audiences in the Steven Spielberg blockbuster Jurassic Park. Dern has also received acclaim for her TV projects, garnering awards for her roles on HBO's Enlightened and Big Little Lies.
Dern married musician Ben Harper on December 23, 2005. The couple had two children, son Ellery Walker and daughter Jaya, before divorcing in 2010. The actress was previously engaged to fellow thespians Thornton and Jeff Goldblum, and also enjoyed celebrity liaisons with stars such as Cage and Kyle MacLachlan.