Why Ryan Gosling's Daughters Don't Like Playing Barbie With Him

Ryan Gosling took the world by storm with his performance as stereotypical Ken, one of the many recognizable Kens in "Barbie," a 2023 summer blockbuster that's earned over $1 billion worldwide. While Gosling has received plenty of acclaim for his role as Ken on the big screen, when he's at home, his daughters Esmeralda and Amada are not as impressed with their dad's rendition of the characters inhabiting their own Barbie world.

Esmeralda and Amada like to think beyond the box, and their dolls are anything but the traditional Barbie or Ken."They have all their own names, very complicated lives, backstories, interrelationships, history — you gotta know it all," Gosling informed ET Canada. In addition to knowing the dolls' biographies, Gosling's daughters expect their dad to be caught up on plot details and character relationships. "If you are playing with the two that are estranged now for some reason ... it's like, 'Get out of here,'" the actor explained.

In the "Barbie" movie, Gosling's Ken has the somewhat ambiguous job of "beach." In contrast, his daughters have given their Kens more real-world occupations, like Darrell, a grocery store employee. However, like in the film, Esmeralda and Amada's Barbies have little time or attention for the Kens. "One of the Barbies' names is Gym Class. And Gym Class met Darrell at the grocery store, but Gym Class, she's focusing on herself right now," Gosling told The New York Times.

Ryan Gosling lets his daughters take the lead

While they might not be playing Barbies together, Ryan Gosling prioritizes being with his two daughters, Esmeralda and Amada, who he shares with fellow actor Eva Mendes. After his kids were born in 2014 and 2016, Gosling took a four-year hiatus to focus on his family. Reflecting on his life before and after becoming a parent, the actor remarked to GQ, "It was so much better than I ever had dreamed for myself."

To maximize their time together, Gosling included his daughters when he was creating his version of Ken. The girls helped him amp up the character's comedic aspects, and, according to "Barbie" director Greta Gerwig, Gosling nailed his portrayal of the iconic doll. "Even when he is hilarious, it's never the actor standing outside of the role commenting on or judging this person," Gerwig informed GQ. "He doesn't try and make you know that Ryan Gosling knows that this is silly."

Esmeralda and Amada also went on set to watch part of the movie's filming.  However, given how Gosling's kids felt about him playing Ken in the first place, the actor is somewhat reluctant for them to watch "Barbie" in its entirety. "It was, I think, weird enough for them that I played Ken anyway," Gosling divulged to Hello! "I might like, you know, just hold off on them seeing the full Ken energy."

Ryan Gosling didn't play Barbies with his sister

If Ryan Gosling doesn't always adhere to the specifics of his daughters' Barbie dominion, it may be because he didn't play with them as a kid. Neither the actor nor his older sister, Mandi Gosling, had the dolls. However, he was able to relate to the "Barbie" script based on childhood memories of his revered older sibling. "She was doing all the things all the time ... getting me to school safely and then she was the president of that school," Gosling informed ET Canada. "It was Barbie land. When I got to set I was like, 'This is just like my house.'"

In recent times, Mandi's supported her brother by accompanying him to awards ceremonies and the "Barbie" movie's Canadian premiere. In contrast, Gosling's partner Eva Mendes isn't comfortable appearing at red-carpet events out of an abundance of caution for her family's privacy. Like Gosling, Mendes has also taken time off from work to be with daughters Esmeralda and Amada while they're young. 

Even if he missed out on Barbie as a kid, Gosling's daughters are definitely giving him a tutorial in this type of pretend play. After the actor mentioned the intrigue and intricate lives of Esmeralda and Amada's Barbies and Kens in his interview with ET Canada, one viewer commented, "Ryan definitely understands how girls play Barbies! I played out full-on soap operas with my Barbies. Fights, feuds, affairs, kidnappings. Basically all the drama."