Hollywood star Ryan Gosling emerged from a difficult childhood to become one of the finest actors of his generation, as well as an all-round nice guy.
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Difficult start in life
As a kid Ryan was labelled ‘trouble’ by his classmates. He couldn’t settle to anything, got poor grades and picked fights with everyone. After watching Rambo: First Blood when he was only four years old, Ryan took steak knives into school.'[I] threw them at one of the kids in recess and tried to kill him,’ he told The Telegraph.
He was so difficult that his mother quit her job to home-school him in an attempt to improve his grades.
The Disney years
In 1992, he beat 17,000 other kids to land a spot on The All New Mickey Mouse Club, alongside Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake and Christina Aguilera.
When the family moved to Florida for filming, Ryan’s parents’ relationship broke down and he found himself the sole wage-earner at a young age. Struggling to pay the bills, Ryan and his mum lived in a trailer park near the studio instead of the apartment complex where all the other Mouseketeers lived.
He was still just 12 when Disney fired him for being a bad influence on his co-stars.
‘I was just telling them what I’d heard about sex,‘ Ryan told The Telegraph.
‘Disney had a meeting with me, and they were like, "You’re not Disney material. We’re gonna kick you off the show if you say anything sexual again." I’m f**king 12. All I care about is sex! How can I not talk about it? I don’t know what they expected.’
Despite a fairly disastrous start to his acting career, Ryan had found something he could commit to and took on a series of dark roles in small indie films. His breakthrough came when he was 16 and played a Jewish neo-Nazi in The Believer, which went on to win the Grand Jury Prize at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival.
His easy charm and undeniable good looks has made him one of the most popular actors of his generation, with both his peers and moviegoers alike.
All-round good guy
He’s an all-round good guy, too. Ryan is a passionate supporter of numerous good causes, including PETA, the ONE Campaign, SickKids Foundation and Invisible Children.
In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Ryan headed to Mississippi to help rebuild a monastery.
Ryan has travelled to Chad, Uganda and the Congo as part of his work with the Enough Project, which aims to end genocide and crimes against humanity.
And if that wasn’t enough, he’s a real-life hero as well. In LA, he rescued a dog from traffic and on the streets of New York he saved a British journalist from being hit by a car and broke up a fight, a video of which went viral.
Ryan loves women. He’s justifiably fiercely proud of his mother, whom he took to the Oscars as his date.
‘I feel like I think like a woman, because I grew up with my mother and my sister so I’ve just been programmed to think like a girl,’ he told The Telegraph.
‘I’m attracted to films that have strong female characters because there are strong female characters in my life. That’s my own reality so it’s a doorway into a world for me.’
He called out the ‘patriarchy-dominant society’ when the MPAA gave Blue Valentine an NC-17 rating due to its sex scenes. Ryan wrote to them arguing ‘It’s misogynistic in nature to try and control a woman’s sexual presentation of self.’
Most recently, Ryan paid tribute to the unpaid work that mothers do when he won a Golden Globe for La La Land. He publicly thanked actress Eva Mendes for putting her career on hold to look after their children so he could continue with his.
‘While I was singing and dancing and playing piano and having one of the best experiences I ever had on a film, my lady was raising our daughter, pregnant with our second, and trying to help her brother fight his battle with cancer,’ he said.
"I’ve learned it’s important not to limit yourself. You can do whatever you really love to do, no matter what it is."