Lane made her screen debut at the age of 13 in George Roy Hill's 1979 film A Little Romance, starring opposite Sir Laurence Olivier. Soon after, she was featured on the cover of Time magazine. She has since appeared in several notable films, including the 2002 film Unfaithful, which earned her Academy Award, Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild Award nominations.
Lane has been married to actor Josh Brolin since 2004. She was previously married to actor Christopher Lambert from 1988 to 1994.
When Lane was fifteen years old, she declared her independence from her father and ran away to Los Angeles for a week with actor and friend Christopher Atkins. Lane later remarked, "It was reckless behavior that comes from having too much independence too young." She returned to New York and moved in with a friend's family, paying them rent. In 1981, she enrolled in high school after taking correspondence courses. However, Lane's mother kidnapped her and took the teenager back to Georgia. Lane and her father challenged her mother in court and six weeks later she was back in New York. Lane did not speak to her mother for the subsequent three years, but they have since reconciled.
CareerLane's maternal grandmother, Eleanor Scott, was a thrice-married Pentecostal preacher of the Apostolic denomination, and Lane was influenced by the theatrical quality of her grandmother's sermons. Lane began acting professionally at the age of six at the La MaMa Experimental Theater Club in New York, where she appeared in an production of Medea. At 12 she had a role in Joseph Papp's production of The Cherry Orchard with Meryl Streep. Also at this time, Lane was enrolled in an accelerated program at Hunter College High School and was put on notice when her grades suffered from her busy schedule. At 13 years old, she turned down a role in Runaways on Broadway to make her feature film debut opposite Laurence Olivier in A Little Romance. Lane won high praise from Olivier who declared her 'The New Grace Kelly'. At the same time Lane was featured on the cover of Time, which declared her one of Hollywood's "Whiz Kids."
In the early 1980s, Lane made a successful transition from child actor to adult roles. Her breakout performances came with back-to-back adaptations of young adult novels by S. E. Hinton, adapted and directed by Francis Ford Coppola: The Outsiders in 1982 and Rumble Fish in 1983. Both films also featured memorable performances from a number of young male actors who would go on to become leading men in the next decade (as well as members of the so-called "Brat Pack"), including Tom Cruise, Rob Lowe, C. Thomas Howell, Emilio Estevez, the late Patrick Swayze, Mickey Rourke, Nicolas Cage, and Matt Dillon. Lane's distinction among these heavily male casts advanced her career while affiliating her with this young generation of male actors. Andy Warhol proclaimed her, "the undisputed female lead of Hollywood's new rat pack."
However, the two films that could have catapulted her to star status, Streets of Fire (she turned down Splash and Risky Business for this film) and The Cotton Club, were both commercial and critical failures, and her career languished as a result. After The Cotton Club, Lane dropped out of the movie business and lived with her mother in Georgia. According to the actress, "I hadn't been close to my mom for a long time, so we had a lot of homework to do. We had to repair our relationship because I wanted my mother back".
Lane returned to acting to appear in The Big Town and Lady Beware, but it was not until 1989's popular and critically acclaimed TV miniseries Lonesome Dove that Lane made another big impression on a sizable audience, and was nominated for an Emmy Award for her role. She was given positive reviews for her performance in the independent film My New Gun, which was well received at the Cannes Film Festival. She went on to appear as actress Paulette Goddard in Sir Richard Attenborough's big-budget biopic of Charles Chaplin, 1992's Chaplin. Lane won further praise for her role in 1999's A Walk on the Moon, opposite Viggo Mortensen. One reviewer wrote, "Lane, after years in post-teenaged-career limbo, is meltingly effective." The film's director, Tony Goldwyn, described Lane as having "...this potentially volcanic sexuality that is in no way self-conscious or opportunistic." Lane earned an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Female Lead. At this time, she was interested in making a film about actress Jean Seberg in which she would play Seberg.
In 2002, Lane starred in Unfaithful, a drama film directed by Adrian Lyne and adapted from the French film The Unfaithful Wife. Lane played a housewife who indulges in an adulterous fling with a mysterious book dealer. The film featured several sex scenes. Lyne's repeated takes for these scenes were very demanding for the actors involved, especially for Lane, who had to be emotionally and physically fit for the duration. Unfaithful received mostly mixed to negative reviews, though Lane earned widespread praise for her performance. Entertainment Weekly critic Owen Gleiberman stated that "Lane, in the most urgent performance of her career, is a revelation. The play of lust, romance, degradation, and guilt on her face is the movie's real story". She followed that film up with Under the Tuscan Sun, based on the best-selling book by Frances Mayes.
In 2008, Lane reunited with Richard Gere for the romantic drama Nights in Rodanthe. It is the third film Gere and Lane filmed together. The film was based on the novel of the same title by Nicholas Sparks. Lane also starred in Jumper, and Untraceable in the same year. She then appeared in Killshot with Mickey Rourke, which was given a limited theatrical release before being released on DVD in 2009.
In 2008, Lane expressed frustration with being typecast and stated that she was "gunning for something that's not so sympathetic. I need to be a bitch, and I need to be in a comedy. I've decided. No more Miss Nice Guy". The actress has even contemplated quitting acting and spending more time with her family if she is unable to get these kinds of roles. She said in an interview, "I can't do anything official. My agents won't let me. Between you and me, I don't have anything else coming out".
In 2010, Lane starred in Secretariat, a Disney film about the relationship between the 1973 Triple Crown-winning racehorse and his owner, Penny Chenery, whom Lane portrayed.
In 2011, it was announced that Lane would play Martha Kent in Zack Snyder's Superman film that is slated for release in 2012. Synder said of her casting, "We are thrilled to have Diane in the role because she can convey the wisdom and the wonder of a woman whose son has powers beyond her imagination."
AwardsFour days before the New York Film Critics Circle's vote in 2002, Lane was given a career tribute by the Film Society of Lincoln Center. A day before that, Lyne held a dinner for the actress at the Four Seasons Hotel. Critics and award voters were invited to both. She went on to win the National Society of Film Critics, the New York Film Critics Circle awards and was nominated for a Golden Globe and an Academy Award for Best Actress. In 2003, she was named ShoWest's 2003 Female Star of the Year.
Lane ranked at #79 on VH1's 100 Greatest Kid Stars. She was ranked #45 on AskMen.com's Top 99 Most Desirable Women in 2005, #85 in 2006 and #98 in 2007.
Personal lifeChristopher Lambert in Paris while promoting The Cotton Club in 1984. They had a brief affair and split up. They met again two years later in Rome to make a film together, entitled After the Rain, and in two weeks they were a couple again. Lane and Lambert married in October 1988 in Santa Fe, New Mexico. They had a daughter, Eleanor Jasmine Lambert (born September 5, 1993), and were divorced following a prolonged separation in 1994.
Lane became engaged to actor Josh Brolin in July 2003 and they were married on August 15, 2004. On December 20 of that year, she called police after an altercation with him, and he was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of domestic battery. Lane declined to press charges, however, and the couple's spokesperson described the incident as a "misunderstanding".
Lane is also involved in several charities, including Heifer International, which focuses on world hunger, and Artists for Peace and Justice, a Hollywood organization that supports Haiti relief. However, she tries not to draw attention to her humanitarian efforts: "Sometimes I give with my heart. Sometimes I give financially, but there's something about [helping others] that I think ought to be anonymous. I don't want it to be a boastful thing."