Nicole Kidman Biography

Penelope Cruz, a charismatic Spanish actor of substance, has made a name for herself in the world of cinema. From a young age, she showed a passion for acting and worked hard to pursue her dreams, despite facing initial rejections. Her determination paid off when she was cast in the movie ‘Jamon, Jamon’ in 1992, earning her nominations and recognition. This marked the beginning of a career that would lead her to Hollywood, where she became the first Spanish actress to win an Academy Award and receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In the following lines, we will delve into her life, childhood, and profile.

Quick Facts

  • Name: Penélope Cruz Sánchez
  • Age: 49 Years
  • Born Country: Spain
  • Spouse/Ex: Javier Bardem (m. 2010)
  • Father: Eduardo Cruz
  • Mother: Encarna Sánchez
  • Siblings: Eduardo, Mónica
  • Children: Leo Encinas Cruz
  • Height: 5’6″ (168 cm)
  • Notable Alumni: Spain’s National Conservatory
  • Education: Spain’s National Conservatory

Childhood & Early Life

Penelope Cruz Sanchez was the oldest of the three children born to Encarna Sánchez and Eduardo Cruz. While her mother was a hairdresser and personal manager, her father was a retailer and auto mechanic. Raised as a Roman Catholic, young Cruz spent much of her childhood at her grandmother’s apartment. Often she indulged in playing acting games and re-enacting commercials that left her friends and parents amused. As a child, she was interested in dancing and also attained training in classical ballet at Spain’s National Conservatory for nine years. The dance lessons instilled in her focus, determination, and discipline which came in handy in the future. Her tryst with cinema started when she was ten and her father brought home a Betamax machine on which the family watched movies together. The movie ‘Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!’ by Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar inspired her to take up acting professionally.


Her entry into the world of cinema wasn’t a rosy one as she faced rejection a number of times. However, not the one to give up, she persistently continued with her endeavor to bag herself a role. In 1989, she auditioned at a talent agency and impressed the judges with her talent, presence, and acting skills, beating out more than 300 other girls for the role. Her first stint in front of the camera was for the Spanish pop group ‘Mecano’ music video, ‘La Fuerza del Destino’. She was regularly featured on television throughout the 1990s and made her big screen debut with the feature film ‘Jamon, Jamon’ in 1992. Her next release was the Academy Award-winning movie ‘Belle Epoque’. She established herself as a successful Spanish and Italian film actor in 1996. In 1997, she worked with Pedro Almodovar for his film ‘Carne Tremula’ and earned critical recognition globally. Her other offerings for the year 1997 include ‘Love Can Seriously Damage Your Health’, ‘Live Flesh’, and ‘Open Your Eyes’. In 1998, she was seen in films like ‘Don Juan’ and ‘The Girl of Your Dreams’. In 1999, she was seen in ‘All About My Mother’, a film directed by Peter Almodóvar. At the age of 25, she decided to move to Hollywood and her first Hollywood offering was ‘Woman on Top’. She had a string of successful films including ‘Vanilla Sky’ and ‘Blow’. However, her subsequent releases did not perform well at the box office. In 2006, she was cast in ‘Bandidas’ and ‘Volver’, for which she received numerous awards and recognitions. In 2007, she starred in Woody Allen’s ‘Vicky Cristina Barcelona’ and won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Her latest releases include Woody Allen’s 2012 film ‘To Rome with Love’ and ‘A Matador’s Mistress’.

Major Works

‘Vanilla Sky’ marks the highpoint in her career graph. Cast opposite Tom Cruise, the film was very well received at the box office and earned a whopping $200 million worldwide. It went on to become her highest grossing film till date.

Awards & Achievements

She won the Empire Award for Best Actress for her role in Volver in 2006. In 2008, she was presented with the highly esteemed Academy Award and BAFTA Award in the category of Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of the character of Maria Elena in ‘Vicky Cristina Barcelona’. In 2011, she was presented a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, becoming the first ever Spanish actress to be conferred with the prestigious Star.

Personal Life & Legacy

She was in a romantic relationship with ‘Vanilla Sky’ co-star, Tom Cruise for three years, from 2001. However, the two separated ways in 2004. She began dating ‘Vicky Cristina Barcelona’ co-star Javier Bardem in 2007 and the couple got married in 2010. They have two children together. She is close friends with Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar and owns a clothing line.

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