Meg Ryan, née Margaret Mary Emily Anne Hyra (born November 19, 1961 in Fairfield, Connecticut) is an American actress who specializes in romantic comedies, but has worked in other film genres as well.
After graduating from Bethel High School, Ryan studied journalism at New York University. She went into acting to earn extra money while in school. After her first role in a feature film, Ryan (now using her screen name) played Betsy on the daytime drama As the World Turns from 1982 to 1984. Directors for this show especially liked working with her because she could cry on cue.
After several TV film and smaller movie roles, her first full blown hit in a leading role was the romantic comedy When Harry Met Sally.... The movie was favorably received and typecast Ryan as a bubbly, charming, feisty, but incurable romantic. She made several attempts to break away from this stereotype, and garnered some critical acclaim for her work in When a Man Loves a Woman (where she played an alcoholic) and Courage Under Fire (where she played a military officer killed in combat). Many of her films of the 1990s were hits not only in North America, but also abroad. She had a very popular onscreen pairing with Tom Hanks; some compared their chemistry to Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy. They starred in three films together, and their last, (1998's You've Got Mail), was Ryan's last major box office success for some years to come.
Ryan married actor Dennis Quaid on Valentine's Day in 1991 after co-starring in two films with him. Quaid and Ryan had one child together, Jack Henry, born April 24, 1992. The couple divorced on July 16, 2001 after she had an affair with actor Russell Crowe, with whom she was working on a movie. When the film (Proof of Life) failed, director Taylor Hackford blamed Crowe and Ryan's affair and the ensuing negative publicity it garnered. Some believed this affair, along with Ryan ageing beyond the "cute" persona of her onscreen characters, hurt her popularity with the American public. She has not had a major box office success since knowledge of the affair became public.
Asteroid 8353 Megryan was named in her honor.
In January 2006, Ryan brought home her newly adopted daughter from China. The baby is less than one year old and was originally named Charlotte True, but later Ryan said "I already had to change her name. I thought she was Charlotte and she's just not...she's a Daisy."
Meg's mother, Sue Ryan Jordan, is a 27-year survivor of breast cancer and is a breast cancer advocate