Penelope Cruz is in love with life, her family, her work, her co-stars, her pets....
The Hollywood actress was born (April 28, 1974) and brought up in Spain. Penelope's family had a working class background; her father Eduardo Cruz was a car mechanic and mother Encarna a hairdresser/beautician. "My parents had to work six days a week, just so we could have the basics. I loved being part of a family like that."
The oldest of three children, Penelope Cruz is very close to her family. "My father and mother, Eduardo and Encarna, brought me and my sister, Monica, and brother, Eduardo, to love and appreciate each other." And even now Penelope says, "My mother sometimes has to stop me from being so protective with all my family. My brother can't wait for me to have a baby so that I relax a little bit." Cruz's siblings have followed her into creative fields, her sister is a professional dancer and TV actor and her brother is a musician.
As a child Penelope Cruz always dreamed of becoming an actress and began taking ballet lessons. At age 15 she dropped out of school to pursue acting full time. Penelope became a star on Spanish TV hosting the teen show La Quinta Marcha. She appeared in her first major film Jamón, Jamón, in which 17-year old Penelope had her first (and only) nude sex scene. "I was upset at the film’s content at the time, but I now feel grateful to the director [Bigas Luna] for giving me the opportunity. It was the beginning of my relationship with fame." The movie went on to win an Oscar for best foreign language film, as did another Penelope-starrer Belle Époque.
Penelope Cruz soon became known as the Spanish enchantress in Europe and won many awards for her film roles. In 1999 already fluent in French apart from her native Spanish, Penelope signed on for several Hollywood movies: Woman on Top, All The Pretty Horses, Captain Corelli's Mandolin and Blow. Due to the pressures of learning a new language and working non-stop Penelope suffered a breakdown in the year 2000.
Penelope in love with her co-stars
Penelope has been linked romantically with many of her co-star like Matt Damon, with whom there was no romance, and Tom Cruise, with whom she had a relationship. Cruz was also in love with her Sahara co-star Matthew McConaughey. "I am friends with all the people I have been with. I am very good friends with the people who have meant something in my life," claims Penelope and adds that its natural to bond with people you work with.
Cruz is believed to be dating Spanish actor Javier Bardem, her co-star in Vicky Cristina Barcelona. The movie also stars Scarlett Johansson and shows Cruz trying to live in a threesome with her ex-husband and his new girlfriend Scarlett.....with whom Penelope had a kissing scene. "She and I have been asked that question a thousand times, and we are sorry that we don’t have any funny stories to tell you about it," Cruz said when asked for details of the scene.
Penelope has been a close friend of actress Salma Hayek ever since she first started working in Hollywood. The Spanish enchantress and the Mexican hottie worked together in the 2006 western Bandidas. "We really respect each other. And I think that's why we are close friends and closer every day, because there's no B.S. in our relationship," says Cruz adding mischievously, "We share everything except boyfriends."
Penelope Cruz is also in love with her pets and she has in Madrid, "Two cats and one dog, and then I have my other dog with me in LA." Penelope says her closeness to her family has made her keen to have children although she is willing to wait. "I want a family but normal for me is very relative," she says. "I also want to adopt a baby one day even if I have my own. When I was in India I tried to adopt because I saw a baby that I fell in love with but they didn't let me because I wasn't married."
Penelope's new movie Vicky Cristina Barcelona has already won her Best Supporting Actress awards at Spain's prestigious Goya awards as well as the BAFTAs. Will Cruz also win at the Oscars?
Penelope Cruz diet and fitness
As a petite dancer Penelope Cruz was always in good shape. Later when Cruz didn't find time for working out she tried being a vegetarian for three years. "I try to eat healthy food, because I love fried food and bad things," she says. "And I love oil. You give me a plate of bread, some oil and salt and I'm happy. But, of course, you can’t eat like that all the time."
When working with famous Spanish director Pedro Almodovar in the movie Volver, Penelope was made to wear a prosthetic in her pants to make her bottoms more fleshed out and curvy. The Spanish actress has a prominent bosom and all the right curves but the director insisted, "Characters like these always have big arses. Penelope is too slim."
Penelope Cruz drinks and smokes....she and Salma Hayek smoked between takes in Bandidas. But for her next movie Penelope has been told to stop smoking: "I’m giving up cigarettes, because in Nine I have to sing!"
"I love Pilates. It was created for dancers, and it works all the muscles that you don't work as a dancer. It makes these muscles stronger and it’s a really good, complete exercise. And I love Yoga, but I haven't done it for a while." Penelope also likes to do meditation and has another beauty and health secret. "What I do is sleep." Her sleeping record, she says, is 17 hours, although she normally manages to get eight. "But I'll do 10 or 12 hours if I can."
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