Ryan Gosling is a really, really nice guy. (Exhibit A: The times he advocated for animals' welfare. Exhibit B: The time he saved a dog. Exhibit C: The time he broke up a street fight.) To celebrate the actor's 38th birthday on Nov. 12, 2018, Wonderwall.com is taking a walk down memory lane to see how The Gos went from Canadian child actor to one of Hollywood's hottest A-listers.
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Ryan Gosling was born in London, Ontario, on Nov. 12, 1980. His parents divorced when he was 13 and he lived with his mom and older sister Mandi. Ryan began performing at a young age. In 1993, he attended an open casting call in Montreal for the Disney Channel's "The All-New Mickey Mouse Club" and landed a part on the ensemble show. Ryan had to move to Orlando, Florida, to film the series, which also starred Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. When the show was canceled in 1995, he moved back to Canada.
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Ryan Gosling continued to act after returning to Canada, appearing on family shows like "Are You Afraid of the Dark?" and "Breaker High." But it didn't take long for him to outgrow the Canadian acting scene. When Ryan was 17, he dropped out of school and moved to Los Angeles to pursue his career. Soon after, he scored the title role in the Fox Kids series "Young Hercules."
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After "Young Hercules," Ryan Gosling wanted to flex his movie muscles. After appearing in the football flick "Remember the Titans," he tried his hand at harder fare with 2001's "The Believer." Ryan received a lot of praise for his performance as a Jewish man who becomes a neo-Nazi, and the movie won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival.
In 2002, "Murder By Numbers" brought Ryan Gosling his first commercially successful film and his first high-profile romance. He met Sandra Bullock on the set of the psychological thriller (he played a teen serial killer; she played a cop on the case), and despite a 16-year age difference, they dated for more than a year.
Ryan Gosling became a full-fledged leading man with 2004's "The Notebook," earning his heartthrob stripes playing Noah Calhoun in the epic romance/tearjerker. But it wasn't all hearts and flowers on set: Ryan and his onscreen love interest, Rachel McAdams, had quite a tense relationship during filming.
While Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams didn't get along while filming "The Notebook," their insane chemistry eventually won out, and the couple began dating after the movie's release. Ryan and Rachel quickly became one of Hollywood's hottest twosomes. The cute Canadian couple dated on-and-off beginning in 2004, but unlike star-crossed Allie and Noah, they eventually split for good in 2008.
Ryan Gosling scored his first Oscar nomination for his performance in the 2006 indie flick "Half Nelson," in which he played a drug-addicted junior high school teacher. Although he was dating Rachel McAdams at the time, the actor opted to take his mom, Donna, and sister, Mandi, as his dates to the show. Ryan didn't leave with an Academy Award that evening (congrats, Forest Whitaker!), but he did win a Film Independent Spirit Award for his gripping performance.
In late 2008, something wonderful happened to the Internet: the "Hey Girl" meme. Although Ryan Gosling has insisted he never said it and had nothing to do with it, the saying has indeed followed him around. But "Hey Girl" isn't the only Ryan-inspired meme, blog or app. Since then, Feminist Ryan Gosling, Ryan Gosling Won't Eat His Cereal and the Ryan Gosling Bookmarklet have all made the rounds.
He's with the band! In 2009, Ryan Gosling released an album with his two-piece band, Dead Man's Bones. (Although he used the alias "Baby Goose" instead of his given name.) The self-titled effort featured the Silverlake Conservatory of Music Children's Choir. Although the band hasn't released a sophomore effort, its song "In The Room Where You Sleep" can be heard in the 2013 horror flick "The Conjuring."
After disappearing from the big screen for a few years, Ryan Gosling appeared opposite Michelle Williams in "Blue Valentine." The indie drama received a lot of buzz because it was originally given an NC-17 rating for showing a certain sex act. Eventually, however, the Classification and Rating Administration changed it to an R rating after the ruling was challenged by the film's producer, Harvey Weinstein.
2011 was quite a busy year for Ryan Gosling! He appeared in three movies: "Drive," "Ides of March" and "Crazy, Stupid, Love." Yep, 2011 was the year that Ryan-mania hit its official peak. So you'd think the hottie would be designated People's Sexiest Man Alive, right? (C'mon, just look at those pecs!) Nope — Bradley Cooper was given the honor that year. Ryan's fans went so far as to protest (yes, protest) the decision, and Bradley even said he thought Ryan deserved the distinction. (Rumor has it the magazine offered Ryan the title, but he turned it down.) Still, Ryan didn't escape 2011 without a celeb superlative: He was dubbed Time magazine's Coolest Person of the Year.
Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper went head-to-head again in 2012, this time on the big screen in "The Place Beyond the Pines." In the crime drama, Ryan played Luke, a motorcycle stuntman who turns to robbing banks to provide for his child with Eva Mendes' Romina.
Life imitated art for Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes. (Well, without the bank robbing.) After meeting on the set of "The Place Beyond the Pines" in 2011, they began dating, making them one of Hollywood's comeliest couples. In case you've been counting, that makes three on-set romances for Ryan. Yep, the guy's definitely got a type.
Ryan Gosling made his directorial debut with "Lost River," which starred Christina Hendricks, Saoirse Ronan, Iain De Caestecker, Matt Smith, Ben Mendelsohn, Barbara Steele and real-life love Eva Mendes. (Ryan also wrote and produced the fantasy neo-noir flick.) But the actor's onscreen success didn't translate offscreen. Audiences booed the film's premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in 2014 and the movie's SXSW premiere in 2015 was upstaged by a couple getting engaged during its Q&A session. The movie currently has a 30 percent fresh rating with critics on Rotten Tomatoes. Hey, he can't be perfect at everything.
Ryan Gosling was back in front of the camera for 2015's "The Big Short" as a bond salesman who profits off the market collapse by betting against subprime mortgages. The movie — which had an A-list cast including the likes of Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Melissa Leo, Brad Pitt and Marisa Tomei — earned a slew of nominations, including best picture at the 2016 Oscars and outstanding performance by a cast in a motion picture at the 2016 SAG Awards.
In April 2016, news broke that Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes — who hadn't done a red carpet together since 2013 (seen here) — were expecting a second child. And just two weeks later, the couple welcomed Esmeralda's little sister, Amada Lee Gosling. Surprise!
2017 marked a big year for Ryan Gosling on the awards show circuit thanks to the success of 2016's "La La Land," in which he played the lead alongside Emma Stone. The frequent co-stars were both nominated for acting Oscars at the 2017 ceremony. Emma won the best actress Academy Award while Ryan lost the best actor prize to "Manchester by the Sea" star Casey Affleck. Despite Ryan's loss, fans of the flick were happy to keep the soundtrack on repeat… But Ryan didn't go home empty-handed during all of award season…
Ryan Gosling won a best actor Golden Globe Award for his performance in "La La Land" on Jan. 8, 2017 — his first Globe win after five nominations. During his acceptance speech, he got uncharacteristically personal and gushed about longtime love Eva Mendes without ever saying her name. "I would just like to try and thank one person properly and say that while I was singing and dancing and playing piano and having one of the best experiences I've 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," Ryan said. "If she hadn't of taken all that on so that I could have this experience, it would surely be someone else up here other than me today so sweetheart, thank you. To my daughters Amada and Esmeralda, I love you. And if I may, I'd like to dedicate this to the memory of her brother Juan Carlos Mendes."
Ryan Gosling hosted the season opener of "Saturday Night Live" on Sept 30, 2017, but despite his able performance that night, fans really lost their minds when he stepped out for the show's afterparty with partner Eva Mendes in tow. The two are so rarely seen in public together that images of them holding hands on a New York City sidewalk that evening felt like a special treat.
2018 was another big career year for Ryan Gosling, who starred as Neil Armstrong in "First Man" alongside "The Crown" actress Claire Foy. The movie made the rounds at the Toronto Film Festival and the Venice Film Festival, earning lots of buzz.
Ryan Gosling, seen here with his daughter Esmeralda in June 2018, loves being a father. "Your whole life, you hear what it's like to have kids, and all the clichés are true. I felt I knew that everything would be different, but until you experience that, there's no way to really know what people mean," he told GQ in 2016. "Eva's the dream mother, and they're dream babies, and it's like a dream that I'm having right now. I'm dreaming it all."