Emma Charlotte Duerre Watson was born in Paris, France to parents, Jacqueline Luesby and Chris Watson. When Emma was five her parents divorced, and she then moved to Oxfordshire, England with her mother and younger brother, Alexander. Since the divorce, Emma's extended family has grown as her parents both have new partners. Her father has a son named Toby, and identical twin daughters, Nina and Lucy, and her mother's partner has two sons. Emma spent much of her childhood residing in England with her mother and stepfather, younger brother, and two stepbrothers.
From the age of six, Emma knew that she wanted to be an actress and, for a number of years, she trained at the Oxford branch of Stagecoach Theatre Arts, a part-time theatre school where she studied singing, dancing and acting. By the age of ten, she had performed and taken the lead in various Stagecoach productions and school plays, including "Arthur: The Young Years" and "The Happy Prince". In 1999, casting began for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001), the film adaptation of British author J.K. Rowling's bestselling novel. Casting agents found Emma through her Oxford theatre teacher. After eight consistent auditions, producer David Heyman told Emma and fellow applicants, Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint, that they had been cast for the roles of the three leads, Hermione Granger, Harry Potter and Ron Weasley.
The release of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001) was Emma's cinematic screen debut. The film broke records for opening-day sales and opening-weekend takings and was the highest-grossing film of 2001. Critics praised the film and the performances of the three leading young actors. The highly distributed British newspaper, 'The Daily Telegraph', called her performance "admirable". Later, Emma was nominated for five awards for her performance in the film, winning the Young Artist Award for Leading Young Actress in a Feature Film.