Renée O’Connor was born in Houston, Texas, to Walter and Sandra O’Connor (now Wilson), and raised in Katy, a Houston suburb. She attended Taylor High School and the Houston High School of Visual and Performing Arts. Renée has one older brother, Chris.
Renée appeared in commercials, including one for McDonalds, a feature film called Night Game (1989), and some work for The All New Mickey Mouse Club (1989) (aka “The Mickey Mouse Club) in 1989. She also made guest appearances on TV shows such as NYPD Blue (1993), before starring as “Deineira” in the Hercules TV movie Hercules: The Legendary Journeys – Hercules and the Lost Kingdom (1994). She caught the eyes of executive producers Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert, who cast Renée in the 1994 film Darkman II: The Return of Durant (1995). Soon after, Hercules’ sister show, Xena: Warrior Princess (1995) was launched, and Renée was cast as “Gabrielle”, Xena’s trusty sidekick.
Until 2001, Renée resided in Auckland, New Zealand, where “Xena” was filmed. She was married to restaurant owner Steve Muir (a kiwi, or New Zealander) in October 2000, in Austin, Texas, and they had a son. However, after the series ended, Renée returned to Texas and was divorced from Steve. In 2005, she had a baby girl with her new boyfriend, actor Jed Sura.