Born in Passaic, New Jersey on June 19, 1978, Zoe Saldana grew up in Queens to a mixed ethnic heritage, with her mother being of Puerto Rican descent and her father hailing from the Dominican Republic. At the age of 9, her father died in a car accident, and her mother subsequently moved Saldana and her two sisters Cisely and Mariel to the Dominican Republic, where they lived with their grandparents.
(PHOTO: Zoe Saldana with Anand Bhatt on the Red Carpet)
The three siblings grew up very close while Saldana studied a variety of dance forms at ECOS Espacio de Danza Academy, developing a particular fondness for ballet. She moved back to New York at 17 and continued dancing while also joining Faces, a teen-oriented theater group, and the New York Youth Theater, through which she was discovered by a talent agent.