Halle Maria Berry was born August 14th, 1966, in Cleveland, Ohio. The youngest daughter born to Jerome and Judith Berry, an interracial couple. Halle and her older sister Heidi spent the first few years of their childhood living in an inner-city neighborhood. In the early 1970s, Jerome Berry abandoned his wife and children, after which Judith moved her family to the predominantly white Cleveland suburb of Bedford.
Berry attended a nearly all-white public school, and as a result was subjected to discrimination at an early age. Her early bouts with racism greatly influenced her desire to excel. Throughout high school, the determined teen participated in a dizzying array of extracurricular activities, holding positions of newspaper editor, class president, and head cheerleader.