Maria Bello was born on 18th April 1967 and raised in a Polish/Italian household in working class Norristown, PA, where she attended a Catholic school which did not have a theater department. In fact, acting was not even on Bello's radar until she took a drama class at Villanova University as an elective in a schedule otherwise filled with political science and pre-law courses.
In 1992, she combined her dedication to the arts with a passion for social causes that had previously informed her law career, by co-founding Harlem's Dreamyard Drama Project. The Dreamyard was a nonprofit arts and education program that paired working artists with at-risk kids, eventually giving a voice and a better chance at academic achievement to thousands of kids across the city.
She subsequently began getting better offers, playing complicated women who were typically hard-as-nails on the outside but warm and vulnerable on the inside. She went mainstream with two memorable roles in quick succession: starring as a hooker with ties to Mel Gibson in Payback.
Kevin Costner and Tommy Lee Jones in a timely examination of the lives of downsized executives, "The Company Men" (2010). Bello also had the chance to flex her comedic muscles as Kevin James' long-breastfeeding wife in the crowd-pleasing comedy "Grown Ups" with Adam Sandler and Salma Hayek.