Before playing a drug dealer on one of the most famous television shows of all time, Aaron Paul grew up with a Baptist minister for a father and acted in plays for his local church.
Actor Aaron Paul was born in Emmett, Idaho, and grew up in Idaho until moving to Los Angeles at 17 years old to pursue his dreams of becoming an actor.
Let’s take a much closer look at the early life and career of Mr. Paul, and how he landed on his most well-known Breaking Bad role alongside Bryan Cranston.
Growing Up in a Tight Knit Family
Paul was born on the 27th of August 1979 to a largely religious family, with his father being a Baptist minister. He was the youngest of four other children to parents Darla and Robert, and he was actually born a month premature in the bathroom of their family home.
His family were quite close while growing up in Idaho, and he was rather well-behaved for the most part.
He once told a story about his twelfth birthday when he bought Pearl Jam’s new record at the time with some money he had saved up, only to discover that he had missed his sister giving birth. Here’s an excerpt from his anecdote:
“I came home with my new birthday gift I had just bought myself and I was beaming, could not wait to listen to it. I opened the door to my home and I could feel the silence in my bones. My house was empty. Now you need to know that I come from a very large family and to walk inside of our home with nobody there was extremely rare. I mean it was my birthday after all and nobody was home. I was alone.”
He then played the new album for hours on end, before hearing the phone ring. It was his mother, and she was ringing to tell him of the news.
“My mother then explained to me that my sister had just given birth. She had given birth to a little girl the same day pearl jams first album came out. On my birthday.”
In eighth grade at Centennial High School which was in Boise, Idaho, Paul embarked on his first classes in acting. He had originally appeared in plays for his church, but decided to take the thought of acting more seriously.
Soon enough, Paul graduated from high school in the late ‘90s and made the big move to LA. The budding actor had just $6,000 and a 1982 Toyota Corolla to his name.
A Long Journey to His Big Break in Breaking Bad
While he may have not expected to get a breakthrough straight away, Paul ended up having to wait an entire 10 years before getting his big break in Hollywood.
He worked as an usher in a film theater in Universal Studios, as well as several other temporary jobs while trying his hand at countless auditions.
During these auditions, Aaron had a realization – he needed to give himself a stage name. He started using “Paul” as many casting directors were having difficulties with pronouncing his real surname, Sturtevant.
In 1999, he appeared in several TV shows, including Melrose Place, Beverly Hills 90210, and 3rd Rock from the Sun.
He also got a spot on The Price is Right, where he missed out on winning a car and overbid when it came to the Showcase.
In the midst of his TV and film endeavors, Paul scored roles on commercials for Vanilla Coke, Juicy Fruit gum, and Corn Pops.
Finally, he got his first big role in an HBO series titled Big Love, where he appeared in 14 episodes spanning from 2007 to 2011. In 2008, things really started to look up as Paul was cast as Jesse Pinkman in Breaking Bad.