Paula Maxine Patton (born December 5, 1975) is an American actress. She is mostly known for her appearances in the films Idlewild (2006), Déjà Vu (2006), Mirrors (2008), Swing Vote (2008), Precious (2009), Just Wright (2010), and Jumping the Broom (2011).
Early life and career
Patton was born in Los Angeles, to Joyce (née Vanraden), a European-American school teacher, and Charles Patton, an African-American lawyer. She grew up in Los Angeles, attending Hamilton High School. She started college at UC Berkeley, transferred to USC Film School after her first year, and graduated magna cum laude. Shortly after completing her studies, she won a three-month assignment making documentaries for PBS. Later she worked for the Discovery Health Channel as producer for the show Medical Diaries.
Her first acting role was a small part in 2005's Hitch, which starred Will Smith and Eva Mendes. She followed that with a small part in the drama London and appeared alongside OutKast members Andre Benjamin and Big Boi in Idlewild.
Patton's big break came in 2006 when she landed the pivotal role of Claire Kuchever in the science-fiction thriller Déjà Vu, starring Denzel Washington and Val Kilmer. She played television reporter Kate Madison in 2008's Swing Vote. She appeared in the film Mirrors, alongside Kiefer Sutherland, in 2008. She also appeared in her husband Robin Thicke's "Lost Without You" video in 2006. In Precious, a film based on the novel Push by Sapphire, Patton plays Blu Rain, a teacher at an alternative high school in New York. There she encounters and mentors the main character, Precious.
In fall 2010, Patton was announced as succeeding Sharon Stone as the new full-time assistant district attorney on the NBC legal drama, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. However, Patton landed the lead female role in Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol and thus her role on SVU was reduced to one episode. She was replaced by Melissa Sagemiller.
Patton is married to songwriter/singer Robin Thicke, son of Alan Thicke and Gloria Loring. Their son, named Julian Fuego, was born on April 6, 2010.
Patton provided additional singing vocals for Usher on his 2004 album Confessions. She provided the female vocal counterpart on the song "Can U Handle It?" which was co-written by her husband Robin Thicke.