It can be difficult for child actors to come out of the bizarre situation of being a famous Hollywood kid with a job and transition into an adult actor, but Christina Ricci has done just that. From the get-go, she has held her own with older, well-established co-stars. Her film debut was in 1990’s Mermaids in which she played Cher’s daughter and Winona Ryder’s sister in a 1960s period piece.
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From there she went on to perform in one of the most iconic roles of her career as Wednesday Addams in the 1990 film adaptation of the 1960’s television series The Addams Family and its sequel, Addams Family Values, in which Wednesday famously turned a Thanksgiving play into complete chaos. Her specialty of playing slightly dark, sardonic, deadpan young women was underway. She continued to work throughout her teen years and successfully transitioned into adult roles. How did she do it and what’s she up to now?
From Cher’s Daughter To a Richard Nixon Mask
After Addams Family Values, Ricci continued what was becoming her specialty of ‘90s remakes of vintage stories when she starred as the love interest of Casper the Friendly Ghost in 1995’s Casper. Several memorable, high-profile movies followed, starting with Now and Then, in which she played the young 1960s version of Rosie O’Donnell’s grown ‘90s character. Gold Diggers: The Secret of Bear Mountain alongside Anna Chlumsky, another child actor who would successfully transition into adult roles, Bastard Out of Carolina, in which she had a cameo role as a young woman who has escaped rural poverty. She also starred in yet another remake of a ‘60s era film, That Darn Cat, and a disaffected young teen named Wendy Hood in The Ice Storm, in which she made out with young Elijah Wood while wearing a Richard Nixon mask. (In a departure from her typical ‘60s period piece, it took place in the ‘70s.)
When interviewed about her career as a child actor as an adult, Ricci told Indie Wire “I had a very hard time with fame as a child, being interviewed and being asked about my life…I was very reactive and aggressive and I acted out. No child should be held up for adults to criticize, question, interview, weigh in on.”
“The Goth Girl, The Alternative Chick, The Youthful Indie Darling”
In 1998, Ricci turned 18 and made a string of movies in which she suddenly stopped playing roles of children and young teenagers and started playing more adult roles. It was at this point that she more or less officially became known as what Indie Wire called “the Goth girl, the alternative chick, the youthful indie darling.” Her first adult roles were a pair of quirky, dark performances, first as a manipulative con artist teen in the black indie comedy The Opposite of Sex, then as a tap dancer turned kidnap victim turned love interest in Buffalo ‘66, written and directed by Vincent Gallo. A small role in the trippy adaptation of the trippy Hunter S. Thompson novel Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas followed, in which her character drops acid with Dr. Gonzo, played by Benecio Del Toro. She then played a pipe bomb enthusiast in Mogan Freeman’s comedy Desert Blue.
Ricci hosted Saturday Night Live in 1999 and went on to appear on the television show Ally McBeal as well as in a diverse series of films, including the comedy Pecker directed by John Waters, the thriller Bless The Child with Kim Basinger, and a pair of movies co-starring Johnny Depp: Sally Potter’s period piece The Man Who Cried and Tim Burton’s adaptation of Sleepy Hollow.
She continued playing a wide range of characters throughout her 20’s and 30’s, including writer Elizabeth Wurtzel in the 2001 adaptation of Wurtzel’s book Prozac Nation, the ex of a disillusioned movie star in I Love Your Work, the girlfriend of a neurotic writer in Woody Allen’s Anything Else, an aristocrat born with the nose of a pig in Penelope, an abused sex addict named Rae who is held captive by a religious farmer played by Samuel L. Jackson who is looking to save her soul in Black Snake Moan, and the girlfriend of serial killer Aileen Wuornos, played by Charlize Theron, in the biopic Monster. In her acceptance speech for the Best Actress Academy Award, Theron called Ricci the film’s “unsung hero.”
More lighthearted roles included Speed Racer’s girlfriend Trixie in the live-action adaptation of Speed Racer, a worker at a Renaissance fair in the romantic comedy All’s Faire In Love, the voice of Vixy in The Smurfs 2, and a kind-hearted waitress in the Adam Sandler-penned Bucky Larson: Born To Be A Star.
Over the last dozen years or so, Ricci has primarily focused on a series of television roles. In 2009 she appeared in three episodes of the Holly Hunter drama Saving Grace. In 2011 and 2012 she played a stewardess in the ABC ‘60s period piece Pan Am, in which she acted alongside and even shared an apartment with a not-yet-famous Margot Robbie.
In 2014 she played accused ax murderer Lizzie Borden in the Lifetime movie Lizzie Borden Took An Ax and reprised the role for an eight-part miniseries, The Lizzie Borden Chronicles. Keeping with her tradition of playing a complicated variety of roles, she portrayed F. Scott Fitzgerald’s artist and socialite wife Zelda Fitzgerald in the Amazon Studios series Z: The Beginning of Everything. In 2019, she made another historical drama for Lifetime, appearing as a journalist and activist Nellie Bly in Escaping the Madhouse: The Nellie Bly Story. Most recently, Ricci appeared alongside Christopher Walken in the Canadian film Percy and acted in the horror anthology series 50 States of Fright.
In 2021 she began starring in the popular critically acclaimed showtime series, Yellowjackets, for which she received a Primetime Emmy Nomination as well as appeared in Tim Burton’s Netflix comedy-horror series, Wednesday.
Does Christina Ricci Have Any Children?
Christina Ricci dated actor and director Adam Goldberg from 2003 to 2006. They met on the set of the movie All Over The Guy and she appeared in his movie I Love Your Work, per Today. She was engaged to actor Owen Benjamin, who she met while making All’s Faire In Love, in 2009, but they ended the engagement within a few months.
In 2012, Ricci started dating camera operator James Heerdegen after they met on the set of Pan Am. They married in 2013 and have a son, Freddie, who was born in 2014. In 2020, Ricci filed for divorce from Heerdegen, citing “irreconcilable differences,” per USA Today. She has asked for full custody of their son.
Ricci went on to marry Mark Hampton in October 2021, two months after they revealed she was expecting their first child together. They welcomed their daughter, Cleopatra, aka Cleo, in December 2021.
“My heart has exploded. @riccigrams and baby Cleo are doing fantastic, we’re all resting after such an eventful morning … welcome to the world baby Cleopatra Ricci Hampton,” Hampton captioned a photo of the sleeping baby.