Owen Cunningham Wilson’s mother Laura Wilson is a photographer while his dad Robert Andrew was an advertising executive. Growing up as the middle of two brothers - Andrew (eldest) and Luke (the youngest) saw Wilson, like many middle children, seeking attention to stand out from his siblings.
Wilson's youth was scattered with incidents of his minor trouble-making and in his tenth grade at St Mark's School of Texas he was expelled for stealing a teacher's textbook so he could finish his maths homework faster.
After finishing his sophomore year, Wilson headed to a military academy in New Mexico before attending the University of Texas, where he was to meet long-term friend Wes Anderson. Both Anderson and Wilson shared a mutual love of acting and collaborated on a script that would become Wilson's big screen film debut – 'Bottle Rocket' in 1994.
Wilson had in fact made a short version of the script in 1992 and starred in it with his brothers before hooking up with notable screenwriter L.M. 'Kit' Carson who helped fund the script into a full-length feature.
While Bottle Rocket failed to ignite critical interest in Wilson due to little support from the studio, he would appear in Anderson's next two directorial pieces and the pair worked together again on a script that become the film 'Rushmore' in 1998.
Relocating to LA permanently in the mid 90s helped Wilson find work quickly thanks to his relaxed and assured screen presence and his ability to portray a plethora of characters, not only the comical. Wilson's trademark twice-broken nose initially made him an unlikely candidate for the hot-shot male lead but he found small roles in 'The Cable Guy' (1996) and take-it-with-a-pinch-of-salt farce 'Anaconda' (1997) that helped make his name and face more instantly recognisable to the critics and studios.
Wilson was able to reap the rewards from the Oscar-nominated hit of 1997 'As Good As It Gets' by seeing his name on the credits as associate producer. Following his closet success on this front, it was to be the following year's international blockbuster 'Armageddon' (1998) that propelled Wilson's acting talents to the fans and media worldwide.
Reunited with Wes Anderson again in writing 'Rushmore', the film scored small-scale commercial success but attracted a cult following due to the script's uniquely charming plot and comedic undertones. Following the critic points earned from penning Rushmore, Wilson returned in front of the camera in minor hit 'The Minus Man' (1999) and 'The Haunting' (1999) - which was not received well as fans of the original Shirley Jackson novel found it a poor comparison.
'Shanghai Noon' (2000) was a surprise hit in which Wilson starred alongside Jackie Chan and later the same year he appeared in international hit 'Meet the Parents' with Robert de Niro and Ben Stiller - a frequent co-star of Wilson's who had at that point starred in three other films with the actor – 'The Cable Guy', 'Permanent Midnight' and 'Head Vision and Jack'.
While Wilson's career was continuing to rise, his amorous social life was also keeping the gossip columnists busy. A gossip site even awarded him the moniker 'The Butterscotch Stallion', a nod to his appetite for female companionship.
Linked to a string of famous actresses and models, Wilson's first confirmed A-list relationship was with Sheryl Crow in 2000. The romance came to an end though a year later, despite it being Wilson's first serious relationship in the public eye and he's since been quoted as saying, "The story of our relationship is the same story I've had with most of my relationships. I was lucky enough to find a great girl and, because of my lack of... focus, the relationship went south".
Reunited with Stiller again for the 2001 surreal 'Zoolander', Wilson's over-the-top comedy turn was followed by a straight role in the action film 'Behind Enemy Lines'. The film was received positively and Wilson fared well in proving he could play more than just the clown, in holding his own alongside legendary Hollywood actor Gene Hackman.
Hackman had in fact seen Wilson's performance in Shanghai Noon a year earlier and recommended he play opposite him in the action flick. Clearly an acting duo with potential, the two had the chance to work together again in Wilson and Anderson's third joint outing, 'The Royal Tenenbaums'. Taking writing, producing and acting credits, the film's all star cast including Wilson's brother Luke, Ben Stiller (again), Angelica Huston and Bill Murray and was a financial and critical winner - earning an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay.
Wilson has been known to feature as part of the so-called Frat Pack of Hollywood - a modern update of the 80s brat pack brigade. Featured in this group are fellow actors Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jack Black, Steve Carell, Will Ferrell and brother Luke. Wilson is the only member of the group to be Academy Award nominated thanks to his writing efforts for The Royal Tenenbaums.
Returning to fan-favourite plot lines - a buddy comedy - Wilson's turn in 'I Spy' in 2002 and 'Shanghai Knights', a sequel to the first hit with Chan - proved his diversity once again but neither film saw big box office successes.
Unable to collaborate on a script with Anderson again due to a busy schedule, Wilson instead starred in Anderson's 'The Life Aquatic' with Steve Zissou (2004), which reunited many of the cast members from The Royal Tenenbaums. Wilson's part as Bill Murray's would-be son was written specifically for him as special compensation for not writing with Anderson.
'Wedding Crashers' in 2005 took $200 million at the US box office alone and was a rip-roaring success worldwide and lending his voice to Pixar's animation 'Cars' would reach out to a younger fan base.
Starring in the comedy 'You, Me and Dupree' in 2006 would be a success on two levels - in Wilson's personal and working life. After the film's release, rumours that he had fallen for his recently separated co-star Kate Hudson set the tabloids scribbles into overdrive.
Initially playing it secret, by early 2007 the couple were photographed across the world looking every inch a pair in love and Wilson's brother even began to acknowledge their romance during interviews. Yet in June, word spread that the pair had split, for no apparent reason - using the common line that they would both remain good friends.
Wilson however did not take the break-up as well as the public had anticipated. On 26 August he was taken to hospital in California after his brother Luke reportedly found him at home in the aftermath of a failed suicide attempt - slitting his wrists and taking an overdose. Wilson's publicist released a statement from the actor that said in part, "I respectfully ask that the media allow me to receive care and heal in private during this difficult time." Wilson's suicide attempt was widely suggested in the media to be a direct result of his split with Hudson a couple of months earlier.
Wilson subsequently dropped out of filming 'Tropic Thunder', a comedy he was set to start shooting later in August 2007 with buddy and eight-time co-star Ben Stiller.
Following the incident, which his lawyer later put down to depression, Wilson limited the amount public appearances he made as he put his life back together. He made an appearance at the LA premiere of 'The Darjeeling Limited' in October 2007 to promote another Wes Anderson movie he had filmed, which opened a month after his suicide bid. The movie was a moderate box office success.
He made an appearance at the 2008 Academy Awards in the same year that his movies 'Drillbit Taylor' and 'Marley & Me' were released. While the former received mostly negative reviews, the latter had a more positive reception and was a runaway success at the box office.
Teaming up with Stiller, Wilson starred in 'Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian' (2009), which was another successful commercial outing for him. Next came two voice roles in the animations 'Fantastic Mr. Fox' (2009) and 'Marmaduke' (2010), which paved the way for a live action appearance in 'How Do You Know', a huge critical and box office disappointment.
However, Wilson put the failure behind him to achieve commercial success with 'Little Fockers', another collaboration with Stiller, which incidentally was panned by critics.
Ever the busy actor, Wilson also appeared in 'Hall Pass', the animation 'Cars 2', 'Midnight in Paris' and 'The Big Year' in 2011.
Commenting on his next film, in which he voices a character, Wilson said: "It's a project I'm working on with Woody Harrelson - we've wanted to work together on something for a while. With 'Free Birds', we're trying to go back in time and change the Thanksgiving menu."
On 10 January 2011, it was announced that Wilson's girlfriend Jade Duell, who he met in 2010, was expecting their first child. Robert Ford Wilson was born on 14 January 2011.
Wilson told entertainment show Access Hollywood about fatherhood: "You really do have this bond, this real connection with this thing that a month ago wasn't even here. It is strange... Their cries are like beautiful music!"
In June 2011, it was reported that the couple had split up because the actor was afraid to commit. It was thought that Duell had moved to New York with their son, while Wilson stayed in Santa Monica.
It now seems that the couple are back on track although the actor is now being a lot more private about his personal life than previously. However, it was revealed that he had another child with his personal trainer Caroline Lindqvist in 2014.