Robin Virginia Gayle Wright was born on April 8, 1966 in Dallas, TX. Her divorced mother, a Mary Kay cosmetics executive, raised her in San Diego, CA. As a child, she wanted to live in a third-world country when she grew up, nursing poor and dying children. She started her professional career at age 14, hoping to save enough money to finance a monthlong trip to Europe. She ended up modeling in Paris and Japan. At 15, she dated actor Charlie Sheen. After graduating from high school she decided to pursue a career as an actress. She quickly landed the role of Kelly Capwell on daytime soap opera Santa Barbara (1984) and received three Emmy nominations.
Her big movie break came in 1987 when she starred in blockbuster hit The Princess Bride in the title role. Three years later, she met Sean Penn while filming State of Grace. The next year, while filming Denial, she met Jason Patric. The two were briefly romantically linked. That year she was offered the role of Maid Marian in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves but declined because she was pregnant. She and Sean Penn welcomed daughter Dylan Frances later that year.
The Playboys and Toys followed. Then, in 1994, she starred in Forrest Gump and was nominated for a Golden Globe award for her performance as Jenny. After turning down 14 projects, she played the title role in Moll Flanders. She married Sean Penn on April 27, 1996. She lives in Santa Monica with Penn and their daughter Dylan and son Hopper.