Penélope Cruz Sánchez (born April 28, 1974) is a self-made Spanish actress and model famous both for her high profile roles and high profile relationships. She is the first Spanish actress in history to receive an Academy Award and the first Spanish actress to receive a star at the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Penelope Cruz is an Academy Award winner (Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in Woody Allen's "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" (2008)) who appeals to a wide-ranging audience and appears in both blockbusters and prestigious smaller films.
Born in Alcobendas, Madrid, Spain, Penelope is the daughter of Encarna Sánchez, a hairdresser and personal manager, and Eduardo Cruz, a retailer and auto mechanic. Roman Catholic, Penelope has a younger brother, Eduardo, and sister, Monica.
While growing up in a working-class town, Penelope dreamed of becoming a ballerina and studied classical ballet at Spain's National Conservatory.
Pedro Almodóvar was riding a wave of international popularity while Penelope was in her teens, and this enticed her into go on casting calls for an agent. Success took a long time.
Finally, in 1989, Penelope won a competition and hooked up with agent Katrina Bayonas. This quickly led to her acting debut in a music video for Spanish group Mecano, and television jobs soon followed.
Some of her roles were erotic in nature, involving nude scenes, but Penelope was game. The 1992 comedy "Jamón, jamón" was an early success and brought her an international following.
Penelope's first American film was "The Hi-Lo Country" with Billy Crudup. Other roles followed, but she did not really break through until playing the lead role in "Woman on Top" in 2000. "Vanilla Sky" (2001) with Tom Cruise was a huge financial and critical success, and led to a string of roles in popular films.
|Penelope Cruz with Johnny Depp in "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides."|
Some of Cruz's best known roles are as María Elena in Woody Allen's "Vicky Cristina Barcelona," for which she won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
|Penelope doing publicity with Johnny Depp.|
Penelope also had a high profile role in "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" (2011) with Johnny Depp.
Also a talented model, Penelope has been spokesmodel for French cosmetics company L'Oréal. She also has worked for Ralph Lauren and Lancôme.
|Penelope in an ad for Lancôme.|
Penelope's sister, Monica Cruz, also is a model. The two sisters have worked together designing clothes and jewelry. Penelope also owns a clothing store in Madrid, so she is very intimately involved in fashion.
Penelope has received the usual accolades of internationally known beautiful women and has been named to various "hottest women" lists. For instance, she was on People magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People in the World for 2005.
|Penelope Cruz with Tom Cruise.|
Penelope dated Tom Cruise for several years after "Vanilla Sky," with the relationship lasting for several years. Some people questioned whether the two actually were together, and Penelope sued a tabloid for questioning the relationship/
Penelope later married former co-star Javier Bardem (from "Vicky Cristina Barcelona"). They have a son and a daughter.
Penelope's nickname with friends reportedly is Pe.
I came to Los Angeles for the first time in 1994. I spoke no English. I only knew how to say two sentences: "How are you?" and "I want to work with Johnny Depp."
Penelope worked in very few television projects during her first two decades in the film industry. She finally played Donatella Versace in ten episodes of "Versace: American Crime Story" (2018).
Penelope's big break was "Jamon Jamon" (1992). The film had some sexy elements which were edgy for a minor to play. Penelope later discussed how she handled that:
When I was 16, I got "Jamon Jamon" (1992). Of course, I had to lie about my age. And I had to lie to my parents about the content of the script.
I love Salma Hayek, we've been friends for a really long time. I admire how she has come such a long way and always remained grounded and who she is. She never compromises to follow her vision and she is loyal. Such qualities only mark the great stars.
I'm strong and opinionated. Those qualities brought me a lot of problems since I was a little girl in school, saying 'I don't agree' and fighting with the children. It's part of my curiosity for life.
Penelope has over 2 million followers on her Instagram page.
Penelope Cruz keeps her children out of the public eye and has said that she will never publish photos of them on her Instagram account.