Some people find their niche in life early on, fitting into that space that fits them just right. Drea de Matteo is one of Hollywood’s finest examples of finding that spot early on and making it into a successful career, starting out in HBO’s critical darling The Sopranos before making her way through every crime drama possible within her first decade of working.
Destined for Fame
Born in Queens, New York just after the new year came around in 1972, Drea de Matteo would live and grow up in the same area, attending a prestigious Catholic school before going on to get a master of fine arts in film production.
Drea would have an immediate advantage in getting into the Hollywood game after high school, with her mother being prestigious playwright Donna de Matteo and her father being filthy rich as the CEO of a furniture company.
Things would start to slow, with Drea taking on small guest spots in shows and bit parts in movies. Her television debut would come in the form of one episode in Swift Justice, a short-lived crime drama from 1996, before her feature debut in Meet Prince Charming three years later.
Though her role there wouldn’t be anything major, it would manage to get her a leading role in the indie drama Sleepwalk right as the new millennium rolled in.
She hit a jackpot in 2001, landing a role in The Sopranos as mob wife Adriana La Cerva in the hit HBO drama. She would go on to feature in over half of the series run, with her character making recurring appearances throughout the entire six season
s. That wouldn’t be all the year brought her though, with supporting roles in Swordfish alongside Halle Barry and Hugh Jackman, where her role would gain acclaim along with The Sopranos.
Between her time on The Sopranos Drea de Matteo bounced around crime thriller films and romantic dramas before signing onto the Friends spinoff nobody asked for, Joey. Drea would play the older sister of Matt Leblanc’s Joey Tribbiani, who for some unknown reason decided to buy her brother an apartment in Hollywood so he could pursue acting there after moving from New York.
Having money to drop on a Hollywood apartment for your asshole brother isn’t even the least realistic thing about Friends or Joey.
How You Doin’?
While Drea would appear in every episode of Joey, those episodes wouldn’t all end up airing in the end as the show was cut short and canceled midway through the second season. While the writing for Joey was on the walls pretty early, 2006 pulled a double whammy of roles coming to an end for Drea with The Sopranos airing its season finale the same year. So where do you go when both of your shows have ended?
Farce of the Penguins. That was it. Why producers saw the success of March of the Penguins wholesome nature documentary and decided to make it into an overdubbed, lackluster comedy is beyond anyone’s guess but we’re just going to assume it has to do with Hollywood accounting and moving money around. Either way, it sucked.
Daughter of Anarchy
Drea didn’t let it stop her though, immediately moving into the new FX drama at the time Sons of Anarchy in 2008. Drea would play Wendy, the ex-girlfriend and baby momma of series protagonist Jax Teller. While her role in the show would be relatively sporadic, she would have a more regular role in the final two seasons. She kept busy in the meantime as a series regular in the sixth season of Desperate Housewives as well.
After finishing out Sons of Anarchy Drea experimented in the horror scene briefly before taking a series lead role in the cop drama Shades of Blue, as well as a recurring role in the drama A Million Little Things. These would take the bulk of her time in the latter half of the 2010s, along with some new developments in her personal life.
Where is Drea de Matteo Now?
While Drea de Matteo had been in a relationship with musician Shooter Jennings since 2001, the two didn’t become engaged until 2009 when she said yes live on stage at one of his concerts.
The couple would welcome two children together, seemingly taking their names from an Old West-themed Madlibs book before eventually falling out of love and calling their engagement off in 2015.
A month after, Drea began dating the bassist for Whitesnake, leaving Shooter to go again, on his own.
These days Drea is still taking on roles, sticking more to indie films instead of a return to television though. She would appear in the indie thriller Safe Space in 2022, playing the main character in the home invasion story.
Most recently she could be seen in the crime drama One Way alongside Kevin Bacon and unfortunately Machine Gun Kelly. While this would be her last credit for now, she does have projects in production and has taken more to the writing and directing side of the camera in recent years.