The Truth About Penelope Cruz And Javier Bardem's Relationship

Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem are truly a dream power couple. The pair have similar career trajectories, having first met back in 1992 when they co-starred in "Jamón, Jamón" and each working their way up to multiple Oscar nominations. In 2022, they became the sixth married couple in cinematic history to receive Oscar nominations in the same year (per Gold Derby).

Of course, their marriage isn't all awards and films, though it might seem like it! The pair are mom and dad to two children, Leo and Luna, who they both love and protect fiercely. And despite the fact that they kept their relationship under wraps for several years before getting married in 2010, they both seem very confident in the love they share together (per Us Weekly).

As Bardem told Entertainment Tonight, one reason their marriage is so strong is that they are able to keep perspective, despite all the success they enjoy. As he put it, "But at the same time, we know how to take all of this. ... We know that we have to take it with distance. Because otherwise it's too crazy." Here's a look at one of Hollywood's true dream teams, and how they're approaching more than 10 years of marriage together.

Javier Bardem said there was 'obvious chemistry' when they met

Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem's relationship goes all the way back to 1992, when the two met while on the set of the film "Jamón, Jamón." The role was a huge for Cruz at the time and marked her debut in a feature film. According to Refinery29, Cruz was only 17 years while the twosome filmed the movie — a fact that Bardem told GQ he was well aware of.

Despite the fact that he admits to sharing "obvious chemistry" with his younger co-star, Bardem told GQ that the two didn't have a relationship outside of the film. The movie itself is pretty steamy, with Bardem admitting to the publication that if his own daughter wanted to shoot the same movie while underage, he would never let her. However, he does plan to show the movie to their two children some day. He said, "One day we're going to have to show the kids — imagine! 'Mummy, Daddy, what did you do in the movies together?' 'Well, my children, you should celebrate this movie as you're here because of it!'"

Javier Bardem almost didn't date Penélope Cruz at all

It would take Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem 15 years to actually get together. Appropriately enough, they were co-stars yet again in the Woody Allen film "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" when sparks finally flew. However, Bardem once told GQ that he almost didn't date Cruz at all because of her fiery disposition.

As Bardem told the publication, he worried when they first met that he wouldn't be able to handle Cruz's energy. He explained, "She has that feistiness. There are those scenes where we are arguing, she's throwing plates and so on. I had to wonder, 'Do I really want this?' She has what I call the loving blood. Passion for everything."

There's actually another reason why things almost didn't take off between the two: Neither of them was ready to make the first move! Bardem said that a wrap party thrown at the end of filming helped them both find the liquid encouragement they needed to express their very real, and very mutual, interest in one another.

They kept their relationship private for years

Once Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem were together, it seemed like they realized they had something so good it needed to be protected. In fact, many people likely didn't realize the couple were official until the news that they had gotten married came out in July 2010. The Guardian reported that the two had a small wedding made up of only members of their family as guests; they got married at a friend's home in the Bahamas.

Later that month, Bardem surprised everyone — including Cruz — when he dedicated his Best Actor award from that year's Cannes Film Festival to his new wife. While Cruz's eyes filled with tears, Bardem said, "I share this joy with my friend, my companion, my love: Penelope: I owe you a lot and I love you so much" (via Hello! magazine). The pair sealed the speech by blowing kisses at one another, much to the surprise and delight of their fellow attendees.

Cruz told Tatler, as reported by Oprah Daily, that she's always been happy the pair have been ultra-private when it comes to their love. In fact, she said she couldn't imagine being any other way. She shared, "It was a really good decision for us, not to talk about our relationship. It would feel very strange to do it a different way. I just couldn't do it."

Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem have starred in multiple films together

Some Hollywood couples don't like working together, but others seem to relish it. It's pretty clear that Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem would place themselves squarely in the latter camp. After meeting on the set of their 1992 film "Jamón, Jamón" and reuniting on screen in "Vicky Cristina Barcelona," they once more co-starred in a project in 2017's "Loving Pablo."

Then in 2019, they appeared on the big screen in yet another film, "Everybody Knows." While speaking to Marie Claire about working alongside her husband in the film, Cruz was quick to point out that while they enjoy working together, it's not something they want to do constantly. The reason is in large part due to the couple's ongoing quest for as much privacy as they can possibly have. Cruz explained, "In fact, it's not something we want to do that often, partly out of a desire to protect what we have."

She also explained that, while it's nice to work with Bardem because they know how one another acts, the prospect of doing so every year makes her worry that the act would "mix things up too much." For now, it seems that they're happy with their occasional projects together.

They were paid the same for their work in Everybody Knows

In 2018, Penélope Cruz revealed to Variety that she and Javier Bardem were paid the same amount for their work on "Everybody Knows." After being asked if she and Bardem received the same salary, Cruz smiled and replied, "Actually, yes." While she didn't offer up exactly what that dollar amount was, it's safe to assume it's a pretty hefty one. After all, in 2001, Cruz was paid $2 million for "Vanilla Sky" (via This Is Money), and her salary has presumably steadily increased over the years.

It shouldn't come as too much of a surprise that Cruz and Bardem are paid the same. As Vulture has noted, their career trajectory has been similar. The publication noted that both began acting while they were still fairly young, and have made a variety of types of films from independents with Pedro Almodovar to majorly successful films in Hollywood. On top of that, the two share Oscar history: They have both received three nominations and won an Oscar each.

Cruz's confirmation came while she, Bardem, and Asghar Farhadi, who directed "Everybody Knows," were being interviewed at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival. After nodding alongside Cruz and Bardem in response, Farhadi used the question as a springboard to praise the pair for how they work together. He said, "It's so refreshing to see how they separate their work from their private life, and what a deep respect they have for each other."

Javier Bardem and Penélope Cruz are perfectly in sync when it comes to their kids

Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem are mom and dad to two children, their son, Leo, and their daughter, Luna. When it comes to raising their kids, it seems like the two are perfectly in sync — especially when asked about how they let their children navigate the world of the internet and social media.

Cruz explained to "CBS Sunday Morning" that her own relationship with social media is complex; she doesn't use it often, and when she does, it's with great intention. This mentality extends to her children, who aren't allowed on social media at all because she wants to protect them. She explained, "I'm very tough with technology, for example, with my kids." While she lets them watch movies and shows, she won't let them have social media accounts "until [they're] at least 16."

It's clear that Bardem also shares Cruz's protective instincts when it comes to their two children. As he told Slant magazine, becoming a father has taught him a powerful lesson: your family is always worth protecting. He said, "To have a family is to be in a room that's sacred, meaning that I'm not going to let that go or let anything invade that room."

They share their values with their children

When it comes to the lessons that Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem are trying to impart on their two children, the pair are very clear. Both draw on their own childhoods, with Bardem telling Entertainment Tonight that he hopes his kids have the same values he grew up with. He explained, "I just want them to be nice, honest, caring, loving people." 

Cruz agreed, and added that her own parents were very disciplined and focused, which is something she hopes to instill in her own kids. She shared, "My parents taught us great values. They were very hard workers. They didn't take anything for granted."

When asked about how their kids have impacted their work (or if they have at all), Cruz was quick to say that she's hoping to get into animated films that her children will appreciate. While it's safe to say that neither Cruz nor Bardem have made especially family-friendly movies, the mom of two did admit there was one big film she kept trying to get a part in to no avail. She told Entertainment Tonight, "I tried to get into 'Frozen 2.' That was the one [I wanted], but no way."

Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem once made Prince late for his own concert

Everything between Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem isn't all work — the pair definitely know how to have fun together. Sometimes, though, that fun has come at the expense of lots of other people ... like hundreds of them. As Bardem once explained to "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon," the two were having dinner with a friend ahead of one of Prince's shows when they inadvertently delayed the production by an entire hour.

As he told the story, he was enjoying the meal, which was followed by dessert. Then they realized that no one had come to fetch them for Prince's show. He took things into his own hands, explaining, "So I step out of the room and I say, 'Hey, we are here.' 'Are you finished?' 'Yes.'" Then Prince came and said, 'Are you done?' 'Yes.'"

After being ushered to their seats for the performance, the two were mortified when they realized it began nearly as soon as they took their seats. He said, "We were like, 'Oh my god, they've been waiting an hour for us to finish the dinner."

Penélope Cruz wants them to do a musical together

In early 2022, Penélope Cruz also told Entertainment Tonight that watching her husband take on the role of Desi Arnaz inspired her to want to pursue working on a musical together. As she explained, they've both been surprised by the other's ability to sing, and she thinks it would be fun to explore that. She said, "I saw my husband singing in the 'Ricardos' and he did an incredible job! He was feeling the same way I was feeling when I did 'Nine,' when I had no idea that I could sing but then Rob Marshall convinced me after doing a couple of tests that I could."

Cruz went on to add that the two have yet to tackle a musical at all, and that family friend and frequent collaborator Pedro Almodóvar would be the ideal director for such an effort.