Actress Kate Garry Hudson was born on April 19, 1979, in Los Angeles, California. The daughter of actress-producer Goldie Hawn and Bill Hudson, a 1970s television comedian, Kate Hudson was raised by her mother and Hawn's longtime companion, actor Kurt Russell, after her parents divorced when she was 18 months old. No stranger to the show business life, Hudson decided to embark on an acting career of her own, landing an agent and a guest spot on the TV drama Party of Five in 1996.
The part was originally intended for Sarah Polley; when Polley backed out to pursue another project, director Cameron Crowe considered scrapping the film altogether. Hudson, who had been cast in a smaller role (as William's stewardess sister), begged for a chance to read for Penny. Crowe was impressed, Hudson got the part, and the show went on. As much as Tinseltown gossipmongers would like to put them at odds, mother and daughter agree that Hawn is one of Hudson's biggest supporters. Kate has never been particularly close to her birth father, musician Bill Hudson; she considers her true "Pa" to be Hawn's longtime partner, Kurt Russell, who has lived with the family since she was three. Her brother, Oliver Hudson, is an actor and aspiring writer-director.
Shifting gears, Hudson took a co-starring role in the sophisticated Merchant-Ivory production of "Le Divorce" (2003), an adaptation of Diane Johnson's bestselling novel. Returning to more naturalistic acting, Hudson excelled in her portrayal of a naive American girl who visits her depressed, divorcing sister (Naomi Watts) in Paris and becomes swept up in an affair with a charming, if caddish, older married man. Hudson's three 2003 films affirmed her star power at first, though interest began to wane slightly as they were released only months apart and threatened to overexpose the new audience favorite.