Naomi Watts embraces her dark side.

The 44-year-old actress is known for her optimistic outlook but she admits she likes to show off a different side to her when she's acting and isn't afraid about not looking beautiful all of the time.

In an interview with The Times newspaper, she said: ''Look, we've all got a dark side. It's just that some of us are OK with cracking it open and embracing it. I'm not looking for a pretty painting. I like something with a bit more destruction. Something that's messy.''

Naomi plays a Indian Ocean tsunami survivor in new movie 'The Impossible' and it is the latest in a long line of acclaimed movies she has worked on.

But the Hollywood's star's life hasn't always been so good, and she lived through a traumatic childhood which saw her father, Peter Watts, die of a heroin overdose when she was just seven.

Naomi - who has two sons, Sasha, five, and four-year-old Samuel, with her partner Liev Schreiber - admits her early life experiences mean she will always have issues.

She said: ''Something like that leaves a lifelong mark, there's no question about it. I've got demons and I'm someone who's been accused of presenting myself as a lighter, happy-go-lucky person. And there's possibly some untruth in that.''

When she was 14 Naomi and her family moved to Australia, before she left to make it as an actress in Los Angeles and she admits she was close to giving up on her dream.

She said: ''I spent 10 years in LA, fighting for tiny parts in terrible things and I was on the cusp of returning home but Nicole Kidman told me, 'Don't do it. Don't worry. It will only take one role.'

''Then I got 'Mulholland Drive' and it changed my whole career and life.''