Trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in London, England.
Her father, Henry E.B. Okonedo, was Nigerian. Her mother, Joan Allman, is from a Jewish family (they immigrated from Poland and Russia to England).
Gave birth to her only child -- a daughter, Aoife Okonedo Martin -- in June 1997, at age 28. Child's father is her former boyfriend, Eoin Martin.
Attended and graduated from the University of Cambridge in Cambridge, England.
Invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) in 2005.
In 2005, Okonedo became the first black actress since Angela Bassett in 1994 to receive an NAACP Image Award nomination for the same role in which she was nominated for an Oscar. Previous Oscar nominees Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Halle Berry and Queen Latifah were not nominated by the NAACP for the same roles.
She was awarded the OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in the 2010 Queen's Birthday Honours List for her services to drama.