Acting Journey from Spain to Hollywood
Penélope Cruz Sánchez was born on April 28, 1974 in Alcobendas, Madrid, Spain to hairdresser and personal manager Encarna Sánchez and retailer and auto mechanic Eduardo Cruz. She has a younger brother, Eduardo, who is a singer and a younger sister, Mónica, who is also an actress.
At first, Cruz had no interest in acting and devoted her time on dance, having studied classical ballet for nine years at Spain’s National Conservatory. She then received three years of Spanish ballet training and four years of theatre at Cristina Rota’s New York school.
When she was a teenager, she started to have an interest in acting after watching Pedro Almodóvar’s Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!. She went on to attend casting calls for an agent but was rejected several times because of her young age. In 1989, at age 15, she won an audition at a talent agency beating more than 300 girls.
That same year, she made her screen debut in a music video for “La Fuerza del Destino” by the Spanish pop group Mecano. She then gained recognition on the small screen as the host of the talk show La Quinta Marcha. In 1991, she appeared in an episode of the erotic French television series Elle et lui.
In 1992, at the age of 18, she made her film debut in Jamón, jamón, for which she garnered critical acclaim. For her performance in the movie, she was nominated for a Spanish Actors Union Newcomer Award and a Goya Award for Best Actress. Following her success in her debut, she went on to star in Spanish and Italian films from 1993 to 1996.
When she was 20, she lived in New York for two years to study ballet and English. In 1998, she appeared in her first American film, The Hi-Lo Country, alongside Billy Crudup. Two years later, she landed her first American lead role in Woman on Top, for which she gained good reviews. Also in 2000, she starred alongside Matt Damon in Billy Bob Thornton’s film adaptation of the bestselling novel All the Pretty Horses.
In 2001, she made her Hollywood breakthrough when she played Sofia Serrano, the love interest of Tom Cruise’s character in Vanilla Sky. Although the film received mixed reviews, her acting garnered positive reception and it became a blockbuster hit earning $200 million worldwide. This was followed by the film Blow opposite Johnny Depp, which also became a box office success.
From the early to mid 2000s, she starred in such feature films as Waking Up in Reno, Gothika, Head in the Clouds, Noel, Don’t Move, Sahara and Chromophobia. In 2006, she starred alongside Salma Hayek in Bandidas. That same year, she received critical acclaim for her work in Volver, receiving various nominations such as the Academy Award for Best Actress.
In 2008, she gained further acclaim for her portrayal of Maria Elena in Woody Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona. For her role, she won the BAFTA and Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. She earned another Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the 2009 film Nine. In 2011, she joined the cast of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, playing the role of Angelica.
Personal Life and Plastic Surgery Reports
Aside from her critically acclaimed roles on the big screen, Cruz also attracted attention for her relationship with Tom Cruise, which started in 2001 and ended in January 2004. In 2007, she began dating actor Javier Bardem, whom she has worked with in Jamón, jamón and Vicky Cristina Barcelona. Three years after dating, they married in July 2010. They have a son, Leonardo (2011) and a daughter, Luna (2013).
The actress has also been challenged with regards her physical appearance. There have been reports saying that the Spanish actress has had rhinoplasty to improve her nose. This claim was supported by plastic surgeon Dr. Paul Nassif. Aside from a nose job, she reportedly has undergone some botox treatments as well as fillers. Such reports are not unusual, especially for actresses who are nearly in their 40s; and Cruz is already 39.
These reports intensified when cosmetic surgeon Dr. Jennifer Walden stated that she’s convinced that the Spanish beauty really underwent botox treatments and fillers to remain vibrant and maintain her youthful-looking glow. Though the actress has never confirmed on anything yet when it comes to such issue, whatever it is she’s doing to look younger works perfectly for her.