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Halle Berry was one of Hollywood's most successful actors. Then she was cast as Catwoman.

This post deals with alcohol abuse and domestic violence, and may be triggering for some readers. 

When actor and Hollywood royalty Halle Berry won an Oscar in 2002, she thought her career would skyrocket.

She was at the top of her game, having starred in multiple hit films. So in 2004, when she starred in Catwoman, Berry didn't expect the harsh reaction that followed. 

Watch: Catwoman 2004 official trailer. Post continues below.

Video via Movieclips Classic Trailers.

We take a look back at Berry's rise to fame, the impact Catwoman had, and her life off-screen.

A pageant queen turned actor.

Halle Berry was born on August 14, 1966, in Ohio to father Jerome and mother Judith. Her parents then divorced when she was four, leaving her mum to raise her two children on her own. 

"There's lots of abuse in my childhood. I grew up with an alcoholic father that was very abusive, both verbally, emotionally, physically," Berry shared on the podcast Fresh Air.

"My father was just trying to survive. He was trying to find himself, find his manhood. And he was doing the best he could, and while he failed me and my family miserably, he really was only working with the tools he had been given."

Growing up in a heavily white neighbourhood, Berry said she often felt "insecure".

"It was sickening how much I craved being liked. I was Miss Everything: cheerleader, student senator, on the newspaper, the honour roll, you name it," Berry reflected

By the time Berry was 18, she had competed in the Miss Teen All American pageant, which she won. Only a year later, Berry began attracting media attention when she was the first runner-up in the 1986 Miss USA pageant, and when she represented Ohio in that year's Miss USA Universe competition.

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Deciding to pursue an acting career, Berry's breakout role was in Spike Lee's 1991 film Jungle Fever, as "with that movie, people realised I could act," she said to Hello! Magazine.

Additional films included Boomerang where she starred alongside Eddie Murphy, the biopic Introducing Dorothy Dandridge (which she won a Golden Globe and Emmy for), X-Men and The Flintstones. 

Another highlight would have to be her work in the Bond film Die Another Day in 2002.

But of course the fact that Berry was a woman of colour also resulted in a lot of "missed opportunities" due to discrimination.

"I never even got the chance to read for The Silence Of The Lambs or Indecent Proposal," she said. "The excuse is that a Black woman would change what the movie was all about." 

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When Halle Berry won an Oscar, she thought her career would skyrocket.

In 2002, Berry won the Best Actress Oscar for her role in Monster's Ball, becoming the first Black woman to do so. 

Reflecting on the lack of representation in the film industry - particularly the fact she is one of the few Black women to win a Best Actress Oscar - Berry said: "I do feel completely heartbroken that there's no other woman standing next to me in 20 years. I thought that night meant a lot of things would change, that there would be other women. I thought that I would have the script truck back up to my front door and I'd have an opportunity to play any role I wanted. That didn't happen. But what I do know happened that night is that so many people of colour got inspired."

Halle Berry in 2002 at the Academy Awards. Image: Getty. 

The one movie that threatened to kill Halle Berry's career.

After winning her Oscar, Berry's career was at an all-time high. But in 2004 when she played Patience Phillips, a woman who develops cat-like powers in the DC Comics-inspired film Catwoman, her credibility took a hit.

The film was a major box-office disappointment and racked up seven Golden Raspberry 'Razzie' Awards, including Worst Picture, Worst Actress, Worst Director and Worst Screenplay. 

To her credit, Berry actually went to accept her Razzie Award saying in her 'acceptance' speech: "First of all, I want to thank Warner Brothers for putting me in a piece-of-s**t, God-awful movie. It was just what my career needed! I was at the top, and then Catwoman just plummeted me to the bottom. Love it! It's hard being on top. It's much better being on the bottom."

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And although Berry's ability to laugh and poke fun at the film is pretty remarkable, it was a real blow for Berry and something that would stick with her for years to come.

Halle Berry in Catwoman 2004. Image: Warner Bros. Pictures. 

Of course, Catwoman didn't end Berry's acting career. She did go on to direct and produce films, as well as starring in some recent movies like Bruised and Kidnapped. 

But Catwoman certainly didn't help Berry's career.

Reflecting on the immense criticism faced, she said on Jimmy Kimmel Live! in 2021: "The disheartening part was, I didn't direct it, I didn't produce it, nor did I write it. I was just the actress in it. But for all these years, I have carried the weight of that film. And whatever success it had or didn’t have somehow seemed like it was all my fault. But it really wasn't my fault. But I've been carrying it."

The 2004 film is also in the news currently, given movie The Batman is currently screening, with Zoë Kravitz starring as Catwoman this time around.

Berry spoke with Variety that she hopes the difference between the 2004 and 2022 Catwoman will be the chance for Kravitz to make her own interpretation of the role. 

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"I remember having that argument, 'Why can't Catwoman save the world like Batman and Superman do? Why is she just saving women from a face cream that cracks their face off?' But I was just the actor for hire. I wasn't the director. I had very little say over that," she reflected.

"I definitely feel like there's been a turning point. I'm more encouraged that as women, we are feeling confident enough to tell our stories. And there is a place for us to tell our stories. For so long, our experiences have been told narratively through the guise of men."

Image: Getty. 

An allegedly abusive relationship and a highly publicised custody battle: Halle Berry's relationships.

In 1993, Berry married American baseball player David Justice. Over four years later, the pair divorced, amid persistent rumours that Justice had been abusive towards Berry in the relationship.

"Over the past 20 years, I've heard people saying, 'Isn't that the dude who hit Halle Berry in the head?' or they'd scream, 'Hey Justice, hit the ball like you hit Halle!'" he told PEOPLE in 2015. "Not only did David Justice not do that, David Justice never hit her, period," Justice said, speaking in third person. 

As for Berry, she has remained quiet on the issue. It was confirmed however that Berry was granted a temporary restraining order following their divorce.

Halle Berry and David Justice. Image: Getty. Then in 2001, Berry married R&B singer/songwriter Eric Benét. She also adopted Benét’s daughter India, who lost her mother in a car accident when she was just 15 months old.

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But in the same space of time as her first marriage, Berry divorced Benét after four years together. 

Benét ended up admitting to cheating on Berry during their relationship, which caused a lot of hurt for Berry. She said in an interview with Oprah Winfrey: "I had an emotional breakdown. I knew for a fact this is not my fault because I knew I had been a good wife. I had given a lot of myself."

Later in 2005, Berry then confirmed she was in a relationship with French-Canadian model Gabriel Aubry.

By 2008, the couple had welcomed their first child, a daughter named Nahla Ariela Aubry.

Halle Berry and Gabriel Aubry. Image: Getty. 

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By April 2010 however, Berry and Aubry confirmed their split. Legal troubles then ensued. 

They became involved in a highly publicised custody battle over daughter Nahla, and it wasn't until June 2014 that they reached an amicable custody agreement. 

Following her split from Aubry, Berry began dating French film actor Olivier Martinez. The two got engaged in March 2012 and married in France in 2013. 

But in 2012, while the pair were engaged, Martinez and Berry's ex Aubry got into a physical altercation outside her home.

Image: Getty. 

Both men had to be hospitalised after the fight. Witnesses told TMZ that the altercation began when Martinez approached Aubry in Berry's driveway, the men then arguing in French. It was Aubry who allegedly threw the first punch. TMZ reported that Aubry had a broken rib, facial bruising and a possible head injury, while Olivier was left with a broken hand and a neck injury. Aubry was arrested and booked for misdemeanour battery. He was released that evening on $20,000 bail.

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Three years later in 2015, Berry and Martinez filed for divorce. 

Then in September 2020, Berry went 'Instagram official' with her current partner Van Hunt, a Grammy-Award-winning artist. 

"Halle has found a soulmate in Van," a film source told PEOPLE. "She feels greatly loved by him. She is very happy and secure in the relationship. Right from the start, they had great chemistry. You could tell that Halle was pretty crazy about him."

As for what Berry has said about the relationship, she said at the Elle Women in Hollywood Awards: "My love, love, love — my sweetheart. I've never had a man that has lifted me up and let me be all that I am."

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At the age of 46, Halle Berry had her second child.

Age 46 in 2013, Berry and then-husband Martinez fell pregnant, which was not only a surprise to the world but apparently to Berry herself. 

"I didn't think it was possible at my age, honestly. They call it a 'geriatric pregnancy'. I was on my way to kind of premenopausal, so to have this happen was a huge shock," she shared with Ellen DeGeneres. 

Amid Berry's pregnancy news, medical professionals were quick to point out that while falling pregnant naturally over the age of 40 is possible, it often requires medical intervention.

"When you hear of people in the public arena who are pregnant in their 40s, the obvious suspicion is that they've availed themselves of fertility treatment, but aren't being transparent about it," Dr Joshua U. Klein told Health.com at the time. "I'm not saying that's what Halle Berry did, but the odds are against her having conceived naturally at her age."

In 2013, Berry gave birth to son Maceo Robert Martinez. Now in 2022, Maceo is eight years old and Nahla is 13.

"They put the JOY in my world. Love heals everything, and love is all there is," Berry said about motherhood. "These two are everything to me."

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If this post brings up any issues for you, or if you just feel like you need to speak to someone, please call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) – the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service. It doesn’t matter where you live, they will take your call and, if need be, refer you to a service closer to home.

Feature Image: Warner Bros. Pictures/Getty/Mamamia.