Helle Meri, née Pihlak, born on March 14, 1949, is a professional actress. She was born and grew up as the fourth child in a blacksmith’s family in Rapla Borough, the County of Harjumaa. After secondary school she continued her studies in the drama department of the Tallinn Conservatoire. Since graduating from the Conservatoire in 1972, she appeared on the stage of the Estonian Drama Theatre in Tallinn for twenty years.
The Estonian audience and theatre critics welcomed Helle Meri’s appearances in the plays of Estonian classics August Kitzberg and Anton Hansen Tammsaare. Also the roles in the plays of the modern Estonian drama writers Jaan Kross and Jaan Kruusvall were successful. Alongside those she has appeared in musical performances, plays for children, variety shows and films. Tours and guest performances of the Estonian Drama Theatre have taken her to audiences in Riga, Vilnius, Kiev, Moscow, Vladivostok, Berlin, Toronto, and several other cities.
In her school days, Helle Meri was a sports girl. Basketball was her special favourite, and for some time she was a member of the national youth basketball team. Also today, Helle Meri finds sports to be a fascinating area of life.
Helle Meri left the Estonian Drama Theatre in April 1992, when her husband Lennart Meri was appointed the first post-war Ambassador of the Republic of Estonia to Finland.
In autumn 1992, the first elections took place in the newly independent Estonia. On October 6, 1992, Lennart Meri was sworn in before the Riigikogu as the President of the Republic of Estonia. Ever since, Helle Meri has fulfilled the duties of the spouse of the President. She has accompanied President Meri on state visits and on his travels around Estonia. Her wishes have been considered in working out the Estonian presidential etiquette after the restoration of independence.
Helle Meri has supported the cause of charity in the Republic of Estonia. She is the patron of the SOS-Kinderdorf in Estonia.
Helle Meri is mother to daughter Tuule Meri, born in 1985.