Javier Bardem Gushes Over Penelope Cruz: ‘I’m Very Proud of Her’

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A love that was years in the making! Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem knew each other for more than a decade before their relationship became romantic, and since then, they have managed to keep their personal lives relatively private.

The couple met while filming the 1992 film Jamón, Jamón. They reunited for 2008’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona and sparks flew.

Cruz and Bardem began dating in 2007. They secretly tied the knot in July 2010 and went on to welcome two children: son Leo in January 2011 and daughter Luna in July 2013.

The actress reflected on the start of her relationship with the Eat Pray Love star in Marie Claire’s February 2019 issue. “You know it’s the beginning of something, but you don’t know what it’s the beginning of,” she explained at the time.

Cruz noted that she did not rush into settling down, although it was always one of her goals. “My life is … a very different life. But it’s the life that I always wanted since I was a little girl,” she said. “When I was 4 or 5, I was already performing, and the characters in my games were always mothers. I really wanted to be a mother, for as long as I can remember. But I did it when I felt the time was right — the right time, the right person.”

The American Crime Story alum and Bardem have continued to act together through the years as their dynamic evolved both on screen and off. “Life has changed. We have grown,” he told Vulture in February 2019. “Everything is different once you’re a family. That is the priority, as it should be. We’re no exception from that. We work as hard as we can, but we recognize how hard we can work depends on each other’s needs. It’s important not to be confused by fiction. Fiction is fiction, reality is its own thing.”

The Skyfall actor acknowledged how his approach to starring alongside Cruz changed over time. “When you’re younger — because we’ve worked together many times over the years, we met when I was 21 and she was 16 — you tend to confuse one for the other, or mix them,” he elaborated. “Now, I’m going to be 50 in a few weeks, and I don’t do this anymore. She’s the same way. You must always know when you’re working on a level of recreation, outside of real life.”

He concluded: “Penélope and I, we have to protect the ‘us.’”

Scroll through the gallery below to revisit Bardem and Cruz’s relationship.