Ryan Thomas Gosling was born in Ontario, Canada, on November 12, 1980. As a child, he watched the 1990 action drama Dick Tracy and was inspired to become an actor. However, Gosling “hated” being a child, was bullied in elementary school, and had no friends until he was 14 or 15. In the first grade, he was heavily influenced by the action film First Blood, and took steak knives to school and threw them at other children during recess, which led to a suspension.
Gaining Confidence Through Performing
Gosling performed in front of audiences from an early age, encouraged by his older sister being a performer. He and his sister sang together at weddings, he performed with his uncle’s Elvis Presley tribute act, Elvis Perry, and he took ballet. Performing boosted Gosling’s self-confidence. Another interesting fact about his childhood growing up in Canada is that he developed an accent to sound like Marlon Brando because he thought having a Canadian accent did not sound “tough.” In 1993, 12-year-old Gosling auditioned for The Mickey Mouse Club. He was given a two-year contract as a Mouseketeer and moved to Orlando, Florida, joining fellow cast members Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, and Justin Timberlake. Gosling has credited the experience with instilling in them “this great sense of focus.”
Following the show’s cancellation in 1995, Gosling returned to Canada, where he continued to appear on television series like Are You Afraid of the Dark? and Goosebumps. Gosling dropped out of high school at 17 to focus on his acting career and a year later, he moved to New Zealand to film Young Hercules as the show’s title character. Following his work on the show, Gosling wanted to transition into film and not accept any more television work. He started out with indie films in the early 2000s before landing the lead in 2004’s The Notebook alongside Rachel McAdams. Since then, Gosling has achieved widespread recognition with films such as Blue Valentine, Drive, Crazy, Stupid, Love, The Place Beyond the Pines, La La Land, and Blade Runner 2049.
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Keep scrolling to see how Gosling has glowed up, glowed down, then glowed right back up again over the last 20 years: