Meg Ryan is an American actress who has spanned an almost four-decade-long career in the entertainment industry. This Meg Ryan biography will let the actress tell her own story in her own words. Best known for her romantic comedies, the seasoned star has found her fame in numerous ‘90s classics such as When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle. Her roles have earned her many honors including two Golden Globe Award nominations, a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination and two wins from the American Comedy Awards in the funniest leading actress category. Ryan also has multiple producer credits under her name, and has more recently taken on directing with her debut film Ithaca.

Meg Ryan Bio: Age, Early Life And Education

Ryan was born on November 19, 1961 (Meg Ryan age: 61) in Fairfield, Connecticut, the daughter of local teachers Susan Jordan, who had also previously worked as a small-time actress and casting director, and Harry Hyra. She graduated from Bethel High School in June 1979 and went on to study Journalism at New York University. She initially began acting as a method of making extra income to support her studies, but failed to graduate as the demands of her acting schedule grew.

Meg Ryan Bio: Early Career

Ryan’s first film role was as a supporting character in George Cukor’s Rich and Famous. She gained more recognition with her subsequent role in the soap opera, As The World Turns, in which she played popular character Betsy Stewart from 1982 to 1984. She went on to act in countless other movies such as Amityville 3-D, Top Gun, Armed and Dangerous, Promised Land, Innerspace, D.O.A. and The Presidio. Ryan met and worked alongside her now ex-husband Dennis Quaid on the set of the latter three.

Meg Ryan Bio: Film Success, ‘When Harry Met Sally’

Meg Ryan’s career took off when she landed the role of Sally Albright in the 1889 comedic hit When Harry Met Sally, which has gained much acclaim over the years for its humor and famous dining scene at Katz’s Deli where Sally humorously shows Harry (played by Billy Crystal) how women can easily fake an orgasm. The role marked the start of her rise as America’s favorite Girl Next Door, a spotlight she held onto firmly throughout the ’90s. Her role as Sally also earned Ryan a Golden Gold nomination. Ryan continued to charm audiences with her leading roles in romantic comedies like Sleepless in Seattle and You’ve Got Mail, and romantic drama When A Man Loves A Woman. During this time Ryan enjoyed a professional relationship with Tom Hanks, who she co-starred with on three separate occasions.

Meg Ryan Bio: ‘When A Man Loves A Woman,’ Recent Work

The 2000s saw Ryan’s stepping more out of her comfort zone. While she had momentarily left behind her quirky comedy roles with her character Annie Reed in When A Man Loves A Woman — where she plays an alcoholic mother and wife in recovery — she quickly jumped back into the genre she had become accustomed to. These new, more drama-focused roles, were received by the public and audiences with mixed results and failed to receive the large success of her earlier roles. Some of these include Proof of Life, Against the Ropes and In the Land of Women. Her 2000s comedies also failed to bring as much critical acclaim as her previous work, but Ryan still saw successes in films like Kate & Leopold.

One grand departure from her comedy roots was her part in In The Cut, where she shocked audiences with her risqué performance as Frannie Avery. While reflecting on her past roles in romantic comedies she told The Guardian, “there’s this archetype that’s been assigned to me, nothing I’ve constructed. But if you betray the archetype then you suffer the consequences. I was really able to distinguish between that and me. And what it’s given me is this completely great freedom. I really don’t care. People can write whatever they want, say whatever they want and I don’t care.”

Though she has taken a step back from acting in the past couple of years, Ryan has appeared in a few recent films. In 2015 she lent her voice to the Pixar hit Inside Out, and was featured in the 2022 film Top Gun: Maverick.

Meg Ryan Bio: Directing ‘Ithaca’

After a few directing projects failed to come to fruition, such as Into The Beautiful, Ryan made her directorial debut with Ithaca, which Ryan also acted in. Ithaca tells the story of Homer, a young telegram messenger in the war-torn 1940s, who works to help support his widowed mother (played by Ryan) and siblings as his brother is at war. The complexity of the original material attracted Ryan to the project. “I thought I could find the visual equivalent to the fact that it’s a simple story and given the parameters — we shot in 23 days, we didn’t have a lot of money – it needed to be told simply. In very simplified elements. But, it’s a simple story about complicated things and I love that,” she told uInterview exclusively. “Our little Homer is our main character and what he wants, his driving desire is to keep paving the way for the people that he loves. And, as an adult, when you see a child who wants that, it’s such a heart opening thing, you can’t help but adore someone who wants something that impossible. I just hooked into his little character and the simplicity of the story was a simple story about complicated things and I love that.”

Ryan’s curiosity for directing grew over her years as an actress. “The biggest delight of [directing] really was the fact that I got to finally understand in an intimate way what the process of so many different kinds of artists on a movie set,” she told uInterview. She also had the benefit of working with some familiar faces. Her son Jack Quaid played the role of Homer’s older brother. She also was reunited onscreen with actor Tom Hanks, who played Ryan’s deceased husband. This is the fourth film in which the actors have been coupled. Ryan’s ex-boyfriend, John Mellencamp, wrote the soundtrack to Ithaca, as well as two original songs, “Sugar Hill Mountain” and “Seeing You Around.”

Meg Ryan Bio: Dating, Personal Life

Ryan met her husband Dennis Quaid on the set of Innerspace. The pair entered a romantic relationship by the time they filmed their second movie together, D.O.A. They married on Valentine’s Day 1992. Their official divorce in 2001 received large amounts of media coverage with some sources citing her alleged affair with Russell Crowe as reasons for the split, but Ryan told InStyle, “what wasn’t in the story was the reality of my marriage for nine years. Dennis was not faithful to me for a long time, and that was very painful. I found out more about that once I was divorced.”

During the marriage the couple had one child together, Jack Quaid, born April 24, 1992, who is an actor in his own right appearing in TV shows like Vinyl, and movies like The Hunger Games. In 2006, Ryan adopted a toddler from China whom she named Daisy True Ryan. The actress believes the adoption was fated. “I am convinced, completely convinced that there was nothing random about it,” Ryan told People magazine. “She is the daughter I should have. I never felt like I was on a rescue mission or anything like that. I just really wanted a baby; I was on a mission to connect with somebody, and Daisy and I got to meet each other this way at this time.”

Ryan dated singer/songwriter John Mellencamp from 2010 to 2014 and reignited their relationship briefly in October 2014 until early 2015 when they broke off the relationship again. The breakup was allegedly due to the strain of their long-distance relationship. While the singer was attached to his small-town lifestyle in Indiana, Ryan had no plans of leaving New York.

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