How Did Evan Rachel Wood Become Famous? Her Early Roles Before ‘Westworld’ and Meeting Marilyn Manson

In February 2021, actor Evan Rachel Wood publicly named singer Marilyn Manson as her abuser. Over the years, the Westworld star has spoken about a past relationship that involved various forms of abuse. When they met, she was gaining traction in Hollywood. Here’s a look at Wood’s early career.

Actor Evan Rachel Wood was a child star

Wood grew up performing in theatrical productions. She moved to Los Angeles when she was a child and appeared in a handful of TV movies in the mid-’90s. Wood held recurring roles in the horror series American Gothic and the crime drama Profiler before joining the ABC show Once and Again.

Though she began her career on TV, Wood also had early success on the big screen. She made her debut opposite Kevin Bacon in the drama Digging to China. Wood had a role in the cult classic rom-com Practical Magic and later starred in the kid’s comedy Little Secret with fellow child stars Michael Angarano and David Gallagher.

She broke out with the film ‘Thirteen’

Wood’s big break came when she starred in the 2003 teen drama Thirteen. The film, helmed by Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke, was loosely based on the experiences of Wood’s co-star Nikki Reed growing up in LA. Though controversial, the movie was well-received, especially Wood’s performance.

After Thirteen‘s success, Wood began to take on more leading film roles alongside notable actors. She starred in the black comedy Pretty Persuasion, romantic dramedy The Upside of Anger, and neo-western Down in the Valley. Wood also starred in Ryan Murphy’s directorial debut, Running with Scissors.

Wood’s ‘True Blood’ gig and ‘Across the Universe’

After focusing on the big screen for years, Wood returned to TV with a recurring role in the hit fantasy series True Blood. She portrayed Sophie-Anne Leclerq, the Vampire Queen of Louisiana, in eight episodes throughout seasons 2, 3, and 4. Before Westworld, she also appeared in the miniseries, Mildred Pierce.

Among Wood’s most popular films is Across the Universe. The jukebox musical featuring the songs of the Beatles debuted in 2007, with Wood portraying Lucy. She also starred in the sports drama The Wrestler and the Oscar-nominated political drama The Ides of March. In 2019, she voiced Queen Iduna in the Disney sequel Frozen II.

How did Evan Rachel Wood meet Marilyn Manson?

Evan Rachel Wood and Marilyn Manson on September 13, 2007, in New York City.
Evan Rachel Wood and Marilyn Manson on September 13, 2007, in New York City. | Scott Wintrow/Getty Images

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Like many actors before her, Wood is also a musician. But in addition to those for her own songs, she’s been in a handful of music videos. In fact, she starred with then-boyfriend (and now-ex-husband) Jamie Bell in her first, for the Green Day single “Wake Me Up When September Ends.”

In 2007, Wood starred in Manson’s video for “Heart-Shaped Glasses (When the Heart Guides the Hand).” Months before this, the pair confirmed their relationship. Wood was just 19 years old when the music video debuted. Manson told BBC One Radio in an interview at the time that the song was inspired by Wood and the book Lolita.