Dianne de Leeuw was born in California to a Dutch mother and a father with dual US/Dutch nationality. When she was an up and coming figure skater, her grandfather expressed the wish that she would compete for the Netherlands, rather than the US. She first competed for the Dutch title in 1971, and won it right away, claiming the title until 1976. She developed into a world class figure skater, winning her first international medals in 1974. In 1975, she defeated semi-compatriot Dorothy Hamill for the world title, which did not sit well with the American press. In 1976, she also won the European Championships (following two silver medals), and the Dutch media expected her to become the successor to Sjoukje Dijkstra. However, she lost to Hamill and placed second. She ended her competitive figure skating career later that season and joined an ice show, touring North America. At present, she is a figure skating teacher together with her husband and former coach, Doug Chapman.