It's almost easy to forget that Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem have one of the strongest marriages in Hollywood—the notoriously private couple rarely speaks about each other in interviews and they don't show off their relationship on social media. But the parents of two have been married for over 10 years, and aside from their personal relationship, they also have a good working relationship: They've starred in several critically-acclaimed movies together. In February 2022, they even made Oscars history as the sixth married couple to be nominated in acting categories in the same year.
It's not easy to find out too many intimate details about their love for each other, but here's a look at what we do know about Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem's relationship.
- After first meeting in 1992, Penelope and Javier reunited and started dating when filming the 2008 film Vicky Cristina Barcelona.
- They quietly got married in a private ceremony in the summer of 2010.
- They have two children, a son born in 2011 and a daughter born in 2013.
- In 2018, they starred in the film Everybody Knows together.
1992: First Meeting
Penelope and Javier were friendly for years before they started dating. The two first met in 1992 while filming the Spanish comedy-drama Jamón Jamón. During an interview with GQ UK, Javier talked about how, although there was "obvious chemistry between [them]," nothing romantic happened because "she was underage." He joked, "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 the movie as you're here because of it!' It was a very sexy film. It still is."
It was another 15 years before the two ended up working together again, and that time, the reunion led to a relationship. In 2007, Penelope and Javier got together again for the Woody Allen film Vicky Cristina Barcelona. Javier told GQ UK that before that, they had kept in contact "but we were traveling." He explained that when they started working together again, neither one of them would make the first move.
"I don't know if we were shy or trying to be too professional," he said. "Anyway, it got to the very last day of filming and nothing had happened. So I thought, 'F***! We better get drunk!' Luckily a friend of ours threw a wrap party and, well, the rest is history. Thank god!"
October 2009: Private Engagement
About two years after they started dating, Us Weekly reported that Penelope and Javier had quietly gotten engaged. Neither made any public comments about it or addressed the rumors that Penelope was pregnant.
Later, when talking about Penelope in an interview with GQ UK, Javier said, "She has what I call the loving blood. Passion for everything. That's what I find attractive. There is beauty and there is being sexy. Penelope has both."
February 2010: First Public Appearance
A few months after getting engaged, the couple made their first public appearance together at the 2010 Goya Awards. Around that same time, they both attended the Cannes Film Festival for the premiere of Javier's movie Biutiful. During the closing awards ceremony, Javier gave Penelope a sweet tribute.
As he accepted the Best Actor award, Javier said, "I share this joy with my friend, my companion, my love: Penelope. I owe you a lot and I love you so much."
July 2010: Secret Marriage
In the summer of 2010, Penelope and Javier had a small and private wedding in the Bahamas. It was held at a friend's house and the only people to attend were family members.
January 2011-July 2013: Growing Their Family
In a later interview with Vulture, Javier talked about how things had changed for them, saying, "Life has changed. We have grown. 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."
September 2017: Reunited on the Big Screen
Ten years after working together on Vicky Cristina Barcelona, the couple joined forces again for another movie. They starred in the biopic Loving Pablo, where Javier played Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar and Penelope played journalist Virginia Vallejo, his love interest.
During a later interview for Vanity Fair, Penelope talked about working with her husband in movies, saying it's more meaningful "because I really respect his opinion—obviously his is one of the most important opinions in my life. You are doing your work in front of this other person who is [on screen] not your husband. You feel a little more observed [than you would with different co-stars], but you know you are being observed by someone who you trust, who has your back."
May 2018: Another Collaboration
Less than a year later, the couple appeared on screen together again in the Spanish film Everybody Knows, which was released in the US in February 2019. In an interview with Vanity Fair, Penelope talked about learning how to balance her personal and professional life, saying, "The fact that [Bardem and I] lean on each other and trust each other so much really helps." She added that making movies together "is not something we plan to do every two years...just once in a while, if it feels right."
January 2019: Penelope Talks About Working Together
During an interview with Marie Claire, Penelope spoke about what she likes and doesn't like about working on films with her husband. She said that working together is "not something we want to do that often, partly out of a desire to protect what we have." She went on to say that while it's easier because of how well they know each other, it's "scary" to think of it happening every year. "You never know if that might mix things up too much. My instinct is that it would. I think it’s better for it to just be once in a while, even though they’ve been very good experiences."
She added, "Or if we do work together, we wouldn’t want to always play a couple. For instance, in Everybody Knows, they have a past, but they’re not together. In Loving Pablo they are, but then they’re also a very different couple, which helps."
June 2019: Remaining Private
During an interview with Tatler, Penelope addressed the secrecy surrounding their relationship. She said that 10 years ago they made a decision "not to talk about our relationship. It would feel very strange to do it a different way. I just couldn’t do it."
December 2021: Javier Opens Up
While promoting his film Being the Ricardos and speaking to ET at the end of 2021, Javier talked about how "it helps" to have his wife by his side during awards season. He said, "I'm very proud of her. She did amazing in Parallel Mothers, Pedro Almodóvar's movie, and of course, it helps to be, like, to tease with each other, like, 'What's going on with you? What's going on on your side?' 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."
January 2022: Possible Musical?
When speaking to ET about how she would love to do another musical again, she added that she would love to do one with her husband. "I saw my husband singing in the Ricardos and he did an incredible job!" she said. "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. And then because I danced for 18 years, ballet, and I'm a big fan of the dance world and music, it's such a powerful art for me, even more than cinema, so for me the genre of musicals is a dream! I've only done one, so I hope I can repeat it someday."
Who knows, maybe a musical is in their future!
February 2022: Making Oscars History
Most recently, the Hollywood power couple made history when they became the sixth married couple to be nominated for Academy Awards in acting categories in the same year. Javier was nominated for best actor for his role in Being the Ricardos and Penelope was nominated for the same award for her role in Parallel Mothers.
Javier told The Wrap that when they found out they had been nominated, it was "a beautiful day at home." He added, "We were holding on to each other, trying to fit on the same sofa, and there were so many things to pay attention to." He went on to say, "It’s extraordinary, having that moment of sharing something so special with your wife. It really makes the thing way more valuable. I mean, it is valuable, of course, but the fact that you can share that with your wife for the tremendous, amazing work she does in Parallel Mothers, it’s special."