Paula’s family lived across the street from the 20th Century Fox lot when she was growing up and she was a fan of films from her earliest years. Her mother, who also appreciated good films, was a schoolteacher, and her father a lawyer. Paula claims that as a girl she would escape by “pretending to be someone else” so it was not a surprise that she acted in high school plays at Hamilton Magnet Arts High School. Her favorite role was that of Abigail in “The Crucible.” However, she went on to study film at the University of Southern California in a summer program, and won a 3-month assignment making documentaries for PBS. This led to her working as a production assistant for TV documentaries, and also for Howie Mandel’s talk show. She progressed to actually producing documentary segments for Medical Diaries (2000) airing on Discovery Health Channel. Paula now professes that she liked what she was doing, but her dream remained the same as when she was small so she took acting lessons and shifted gears to become a performer.
Patton’s first acting role was alongside Will Smith and Eva Mendes in 2005’s Hitch. She followed that with a small part in the drama London, and appeared alongside OutKast members Andre Benjamin and Big Boi in Idlewild.
Patton was also the leading lady in the 2006 film Déjà Vu, a thriller starring Denzel Washington and Val Kilmer, and played television reporter Kate Madison in 2008’s Swing Vote. She appeared in the film Mirrors, alongside Kiefer Sutherland, in 2008.
In Precious, a film based on the novel Push novel by Sapphire, Patton plays Ms. Rain, a teacher at an alternative high school in New York. There she encounters and mentors the main character Precious, as well as other students.
In late 2010, it was announced that Patton would replace Sharon Stone as the new full-time assistant district attorney on the NBC legal drama, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. However, Patton landed the lead female role in Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol and her role on SVU was reduced to one episode. She was replaced by Melissa Sagemiller.
Following the success of Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol Paula Patton went on to star in four more successful movies, Disconnect (2012) with Jason Bateman – Baggage Claim (2013) with Taye Diggs and About Last Night (2014) with Kevin Hart and 2 Guns (2014) with once again Denzel Washington.
Patton married songwriter/singer Robin Thicke in 2005 and a son, named Julian Fuego who was born on April 6, 2010. Although the couple mat the age of 16, (In 1991 at an under-21 hip-hop club called Balistyx when Thicke asked her to dance) they didnt officially began dating until 1993. Sadly, they announced their separation on February 24, 2014 after 21 years together and almost nine years of marriage. On October 9, 2014, Patton officially filed for divorce and joint custody of their son.
On December 4, 2013, Legendary Pictures announced that Patton would be joining the cast of Warcraft film adaptation, set to be released in March 2016.