Skip to main contentSkip to footer

Dakota Fanning's pics then-and-now: why having kids is 'more important' than acting and being 'happier' at 30

The Ripley actress' over two-decade career in photos

Dakota Fanning attends the Los Angeles Premiere of Netflix's "Ripley" at The Egyptian Theatre Hollywood on April 03, 2024 in Los Angeles, California
Beatriz Colon
Beatriz Colon - New York
New York WriterNew York
4 April 2024
Share this:

Whether you're a millennial movie watcher, Gen Z or otherwise, Dakota Fanning has certainly been a part of your movie watching experience for more than the last two decades.

The Ripley actress, now 30, was only seven years old when she was catapulted into stardom thanks to her role in 2001's I Am Sam, starring Sean Penn, which made her the youngest Screen Actor's Guild nominee in history.

Now, with more memorable roles in movies like Uptown Girl, Cat in the Hat, Twilight, The Equalizer, and most recently Ripley – a TV remake of The Talented Mr. Ripley starring Andrew Scott – she has reflected on her decades-long career, and how her hopes of becoming a mother might soon supersede her time on set.

TRAILER: Ripley on Netflix

"I feel happier and more conscious of what I have, rather than what I don't have. I know who I am, and the people who know me know who I am, and that's really all that matters," Dakota recently told Porter of entering her third decade.

"Being an actor is a huge part of my identity. I don't really know who I would be without it," she also noted, though added: "But I also have a desire to set up my life and career so that I always have a choice."

"Having kids is probably more important to me than anything, even being an actor," she further confessed.

Photo shared by Dakota Fanning on Instagram February 2024 of her Dolce & Gabbana outfit for her 30th birthday party © Instagram
Dakota stunned in a Dolce & Gabbana dress for her 30th birthday party

"If somebody said I had to choose, I would choose having kids. I'm one of those people who has always felt that pull."

MORE: Elle Fanning shared $2.7m home with sister Dakota – details

MORE: Elle Fanning shares never-before-seen pictures in heartfelt tribute to sister Dakota

She also explained: "I don't know how I'll feel when that time in my life comes – and how much I'll want to work. But, because I don't have that at the moment, I'm trying to take advantage of the adventures now."

View post on Instagram

"I'm trying to push myself to keep saying yes to things that make me uncomfortable, to keep going to places for long periods of time that maybe I'm scared to do because – God willing – one day, it won't be as easy."

Below, take a trip down memory lane (and Dakota's two decades in the spotlight) with photos of her through the years.

I Am Sam premiere, 2001

Dakota Fanning at the I Am Sam premiere in 2001© Getty

With sister Elle Fanning at The Cat in the Hat premiere, 2003

Dakota Fanning and sister Elle during "The Cat In The Hat" World Premiere at Universal Studios Cinema in Universal City, California, 2003© Getty

Charlotte's Web premiere in Tokyo, 2006

Dakota Fanning during "Charlotte's Web" Tokyo Premiere, 2006© Getty

The Twilight Saga: New Moon premiere, 2009

Dakota Fanning arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of Summit Entertainment's 'The Twilight Saga: New Moon' at Mann Westwood on November 16, 2009 in Westwood, California© Getty

Saint Laurent show in Los Angeles, 2016

Dakota Fanning and Elle Fanning at the Saint Laurent at the Palladium, Los Angeles, America - 10 Feb 2016© Getty

Ripley premiere, 2024

Andrew Scott and Dakota Fanning attend the Los Angeles Premiere of Netflix's "Ripley" at The Egyptian Theatre Hollywood on April 03, 2024 in Los Angeles, California© Getty

Get the lowdown on the biggest, hottest celebrity news, features and profiles coming out of the U.S.  Sign up to our HELLO! Hollywood newsletter and get them delivered straight to your inbox. 

Sign up to HELLO Daily! for the best royal, celebrity and lifestyle coverage

By entering your details, you are agreeing to HELLO! Magazine User Data Protection Policy. You can unsubscribe at any time. For more information, please click here.

More Celebrity News

See more