HITTING CRUZ CONTROL She may be an Oscar-winning actress, married to Javier Bardem and best friends with Salma Hayek – but, as discovers, Penélope Cruz is no ordinary celebrity. In fact, she’d be happy working in a beauty salon…
When I meet Penélope Cruz tucked away in a garden room in the very chic Grand-Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat on the French Riviera, the 43-year-old actress looks every inch the glamorous Hollywood icon. Her red Alaïa dress hugs her petite yet curvaceous figure and, as you’d expect from a former ballerina, her posture is perfect. Only the tiny lines around her eyes as she smiles and invites me to sit down give a nod to her age.
In the age of social media, where with a quick Instagram scroll you can discover what Gwyneth Paltrow is doing on holiday with her kids, or how the Beckhams are celebrating their daughter’s birthday, Penélope represents a very different type of celebrity: one who likes her private life very private. When she started dating her now husband, Javier Bardem, while the pair were filming Vicky Cristina Barcelona, they managed to go undetected for months, with rumours circulating about Bardem and co-star Scarlett Johansson instead.
They now have two children, six-year-old Leo, and Luna, who has just turned four. While Javier has continued to make films, Penélope has taken a step back. ‘My priorities have really changed over the years. I want to raise my kids and I don’t want to be away from them,’ she explains. ‘The first question I ask about a film is where in the world is it being shot, the next question is when, and then I look at the project. I don’t want projects that would represent that challenge, in terms of not being able to be together.
‘This year, I’ve started to work a bit more, but my rhythm is never going to be the same as when I was 25, when I was doing four films a year. Because that’s not the rhythm I want in my life: I want quality time with