Natalie Portman is an actress with dual American and Israeli citizenship. Her first role was as an orphan taken in by a hitman in the 1994 action film Léon: The Professional, but mainstream success came when she was cast as Padmé Amidala in the Star Wars prequel trilogy (released in 1999, 2002 and 2005). She currently portrays Thor's love interest Jane Foster.
Portman was born in Jerusalem, Israel. She is the only child of Shelley (née Stevens), an American homemaker who works as Portman's agent, and Avner Hershlag, an Israeli citizen who is a fertility specialist and gynecologist. Portman's maternal ancestors were Jewish immigrants to the United States (from Austria and Russia); her mother's family had changed their surname from "Edelstein" to "Stevens". Her paternal grandparents were Jews from Poland and Romania. Natalie's paternal grandfather, Zvi Yehuda Hershlag, was born in Poland, in 1914, and moved to then-Mandatory Palestine, where he was an economics professor, in 1938; Zvi's parents died at Auschwitz. Natalie's Romanian-born great-grandmother was a spy for British Intelligence during World War II.
Portman's parents met at a Jewish student center at Ohio State University, where her mother was selling tickets. They corresponded after her father returned to Israel and were married when her mother visited a few years later. In 1984, when Portman was three years old, the family moved to the United States, where her father received his medical training. Portman, a dual citizen of the United States and Israel, has said that although she "really love[s] the States... my heart's in Jerusalem. That's where I feel at home."
Portman and her family first lived in Washington, D.C., but relocated to Connecticut in 1988 and then lived in Jericho, New York, on Long Island, in 1990.