Uma Karuna Thurman was born on the 29th of April, 1970, in Boston. Uma is the name of a Hindu goddess, while 'Karuna' is one of the four sublime abodes in Buddhism, meaning 'compassion.
Uma's father, Professor Robert Thurman, teaches Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies at Columbia University, and was once a Buddhist monk. Her Swedish mother, Nena von Schlebrugg, was a model (discovered in Stockholm by Norman Parkinson), and later a psychotherapist. Nena's mother, Brigit Holmquist, was a famous beauty (the city of Trelleborg has a statue of her), while her father was Baron Karl von Schlebrugg. Uma's uncle, John Thurman, is a professional cellist with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.
Uma has three brothers who also have exotic names: Ganden, Dechen (an actor and director), and Mipam.
Uma went to Northfield Mount Hermon, a boarding school in Massachusetts, leaving there when she was fifteen and going on to become an Elite model.
Uma was formerly married to actor Gary Oldman. She fell for Ethan Hawke on the set of Gattaca in 1997. They were married in May 1, 1998, and now have two children, a daughter, Maya Ray Thurman-Hawke born July 8, 1998 and a son Levon Roan Thurman-Hawke, born January 15, 2002.