Avril Lavigne branched out from recording music, pursuing careers in feature film acting and designing clothes and perfumes. She voiced a character in the animated film, Over the Hedge, in 2006. That same year, she made her on-screen feature film debut in Fast Food Nation. In 2008, Lavigne introduced her clothing line, Abbey Dawn, and in 2009, she released her first perfume, Black Star, which was followed by her second perfume, Forbidden Rose, in 2010 and her third perfume, Wild Rose, in 2011. In July 2006, Lavigne married her boyfriend of two years, Deryck Whibley, lead singer and guitarist for Sum 41. The marriage lasted a little over three years, and in October 2009, Lavigne filed for divorce. Whibley and Lavigne continued to work together, with Whibley producing her fourth album, as well as Lavigne's single, "Alice", written for Tim Burton's film Alice in Wonderland.
Avril Ramona Lavigne was born in Belleville, Ontario. Her father, Jean-Claude Lavigne, named her "Avril" after the French word for the month of April. At the age of two, she began singing church songs with her mother, Judith-Rosanne "Judy" (née Loshaw). Judy recognized her two-year-old daughter's talents after hearing her sing "Jesus Loves Me" in church. Avril Lavigne has an older brother, Matthew, and a younger sister, Michelle, both of whom teased her when she sang. "My brother used to knock on the wall because I used to sing myself to sleep and he thought it was really annoying."
When Avril Lavigne was five years old, the family moved to Napanee, Ontario, a town with an approximate population of 5,000. Although she struggled with paying attention in school, sometimes being kicked out of class for misbehaving, her parents supported her singing. Her father bought her a microphone, a drum kit, a keyboard, several guitars, and converted their basement into a studio. When Lavigne was 14, her parents would take her to karaoke sessions. Lavigne also performed at country fairs, singing songs by Garth Brooks, The Dixie Chicks, and Shania Twain. She also began writing her own songs. Her first song was called "Can't Stop Thinking About You", about a teenage crush, which she described as "cheesy cute".
Avril Lavigne would go on to sell more than 30 million copies of her albums worldwide, becoming one of the top-selling artists releasing albums in the U.S., with over 10.25 million copies certified by the RIAA. In 2009, Billboard named Lavigne the No. 10 pop artist in the "Best of the 2000s" chart. She was listed as the 28th overall best act of the decade based on album and single chart performance in the U.S.
Lavigne became interested in appearing on television and in feature films. The decision, she said, was her own. Although her years of experience in making music videos would be to her advantage, Lavigne admitted her experience in singing removed any fear of performing on camera. She specifically mentioned that the video "Nobody's Home" involved the most "acting". Her first television appearance was in a 2002 episode of Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, performing "Sk8er Boi" with her band in a nightclub. She later made a cameo appearance in the 2004 film Going the Distance. The main characters bump into her backstage at the MuchMusic Video Awards after her performance of "Losing Grip".
She moved into feature film acting cautiously, choosing deliberately small roles to begin with. In November 2005, after going through an audition to land the role, Lavigne travelled to New Mexico to film a single scene in the 2007 film, The Flock. She starred as Beatrice Bell, the girlfriend of a crime suspect, appearing alongside Claire Danes and Richard Gere. Gere gave Lavigne acting tips between takes. On her role in The Flock, Lavigne said, "I did that just to see how it was and to not jump into mainstream acting too fast". The Flock would not be released in American theatres, and because it would not be released in foreign markets until late 2007, it would not be considered Lavigne's debut. The film made $7 million in the foreign box office.
Lavigne's feature film debut was voicing an animated character in the 2006 film Over the Hedge, based on the comic strip of the same name. She voiced the character Heather, a Virginia Opossum. Recording the characters' voices was devoid of interaction with other actors. Avril Lavigne stated, "All the actors went in individually, and director Tim and screenwriter Karey and directors were there with me every time I went in, and they made it go so smoothly; they made me feel comfortable.... That was the interesting part, going in by yourself, with no one else to kind of feed off of." Lavigne found the recording process to be "easy" and "natural", but she kept hitting the microphone as she gestured while acting. "I'd use my hands constantly and, like, hit the microphone stand and make noises, so Tim and Karey had to tell me to hold still.... It's hard to be running or falling down the stairs and have to make those sounds come out of your mouth but keep your body still." Lavigne believed she was hired to perform Heather because of her rock-star status. "The director thought I'd give my character... a bit of attitude". The film opened on 19 May 2006, making $38 million over its opening weekend. It went on to gross $336 million worldwide.
Both Over the Hedge and Fast Food Nation opened at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival, which Lavigne attended. Avril Lavigne felt honoured to be able to attend and was proud of her work. When asked if she would pursue her film career, she stated that she wanted to take her time and wait for the "right parts and the right movies." Avril Lavigne was aware of the roles she had chosen. "I wanted to start off small and to learn that I wouldn't just want to throw myself into a big part." In August 2006, Canadian Business magazine ranked her as the seventh top Canadian actor in Hollywood in their second-annual ranking Celebrity Power List. The results were determined by comparing salary, Internet hits, TV mentions, and press hits.