They kept their relationship quiet before announcing it to the world. "It was a really good decision for us, not to talk about our relationship," the parents of two believe.
Spanish actors Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz's sizzling chemistry in the 2008 film Vicky Christina Barcelona did not stay confined to the screen. They knew each other decades before that having worked in together in the Spanish film Jamón Jamón in 1992. Since then, the couple has gotten married and have two children together now, and have worked together on multiple projects.
Despite the immense public interest in their life, they keep things under wraps. "It was a really good decision for us, not to talk about our relationship," she told Tatler. "It would feel very strange to do it a different way. I just couldn’t do it." The couple lives in Madrid and shields their children from attention as much as possible. In fact, the fiercely protective mother has refused to speak about them at interviews.
They were reserved right from the beginning of the relationship. The summer that was a turning point for her, she said she and Javier were only friends. However, much has changed since then.
“You know it’s the beginning of something, but you don’t know what it’s the beginning of,” she told Marie Claire. “My life is...a very different life. But it’s the life that I always wanted since I was a little girl. When I was four or five, 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.”
It was only two years after they started dating that they made their first public appearance as a couple at the 2010 Goya Awards, the Spanish equivalent of the Oscars. She accompanied him to the Cannes Film Festival premiere of his movie Biutiful, where he publicly declared his love for the gorgeous actress at the festival's closing awards ceremony.
"I share this joy with my friend, my companion, my love: Penelope," the Eat Pray Love actor said while accepting the Best Actor prize. "I owe you a lot and I love you so much," he said, according to Hello! Magazine.
They have great professional chemistry as well. About working together, Penelope told Vanity Fair, “The fact that [Bardem and I] lean on each other and trust each other so much really helps."
In the summer of 2010, they quietly married in the Bahamas where only family was present for the ceremony. They have come a long way since then and they have grown together, Javier says.
"Life has changed. We have grown," he told Vulture. "Everything is different once you’re 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."
When they were younger, they allowed the lines between fiction and reality to blur but maturity and experience have put things into perspective for them. Both of them are Academy Award-winning actors who know that one is a job and the other real life. And that's how they manage to strike a balance and keep their marriage a healthy and happy one.
“Maybe I did that [extreme method] experiment when I was younger—because we both started acting when we were very young. When I was younger, in my 20s, I thought the more I would torture myself and the more I would stay in character for months, the better I would be . . . but then I realized that [torture] is not related to [performance], that I have a life and a job," Penelope told Vanity Fair. She has learned to create clear lines between the two since then, and it's the same with her husband.
"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. 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 re-creation, outside of real life," he said, adding, "Penélope and I, we have to protect the 'us.'"
If that isn't romantic, what is?