Maggie Gyllenhaal was born in New York City. Maggie is the daughter of director Stephen Gyllenhaal and writer/producer Naomi Foner, and the sister of actor Jake Gyllenhaal. Gyllenhaal's mother and father are descendants of the Swedish noble Gyllenhaal family, although his last Swedish ancestor was his great-grandfather, Anders Leonard Gyllenhaal.
Maggie Gyllenhaal grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from the Harvard-Westlake prep school. While there, Maggie attended a semester away program in Vershire, Vermont called The Mountain School. She graduated from Columbia University in 1998 and spent a summer studying at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts.
Maggie Gyllenhaal's first film roles were directed by her father: Waterland (1992), A Dangerous Woman (1993), and Homegrown (1998). After graduating from college, Maggie had a number of supporting roles, notably co-starring with her brother in Donnie Darko in 2001.
Gyllenhaal's break-out role was in Secretary, which earned Maggie widespread acclaim including a Golden Globe nomination. She has followed up with roles in Adaptation., John Sayles's Casa de los Babys and Mona Lisa Smile alongside Julia Roberts.
Maggie Gyllenhaal has appeared on the stage on both sides of the Atlantic in, Anthony and Cleopatra and Homebody Kabul among others.
Maggie Gyllenhaal has modeled for Miu Miu, a branch of the Prada fashion house, and for Reebok.
Maggie has been in a relationship with actor Peter Sarsgaard since 2002; they announced their engagement in April 2006 and are expecting a child in late 2006. Sarsgaard is close friends with her brother Jake and co-starred with him in the film Jarhead. Maggie also maintains a friendship with her Mona Lisa Smile co-star Kirsten Dunst, who once dated Jake.
In April 2003, she spoke at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in her first college speaking engagement. Her comments focused on criticisms of the film industry and what her experience had been like to that point.
Gyllenhaal drew fire after an interview with NY1 at the 2005 Tribeca Film Festival where she suggested that the United States was somewhat responsible for the September 11, 2001 attacks. Maggie Gyllenhaal stated, "I think America has done reprehensible things and is responsible in some way..." Maggie Gyllenhaal later said she regretted what she said and "that neither the red carpet nor an interview about a movie is the right place to talk about my politics."Maggie Gyllenhaal later met with Port Authority officer Will Jimeno and his wife, Allison, who Gyllenhaal depicted in the 2006 film World Trade Center. Gyllenhaal said she would have left the project if they wanted her to, but Allison said they felt comfortable with her and "had no problem with her in this movie. "Gyllenhaal also said she had "nothing but gratitude and admiration" for firefighters and that she wished she "had been more gentle and more thoughtful" with her comments.
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