love stories

How Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem Met (and Fell In Love)


Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem are one of the most fascinating couples in Hollywood.

They met in 1992, while filming the Spanish comedy-drama “Jamón Jamón.” Cruz was only 16 years old while Javier Bardem was 21.

In an interview with GQ UK in 2017, Bardem admitted that he immediately felt a deep connection between him and Cruz, even though nothing happened between them until years later.


“There was obvious chemistry between us. I mean, it’s all there on film; it’s like a document of our passion,” he said. “It was a very sexy film. It still is. Penélope’s parents were brave to allow her to do that film – if my daughter at 16 came to me with a script like that I’d have said no way!”

The pair reunited 15 years later to film Woody Allen’s “Vicky Cristina Barcelona.” At the wrap party, Cruz and Bardem finally got together.

Javier Bardem told GQ UK that although they kept in contact over the years, it wasn’t easy for them to find the courage to reveal what they really felt one for the other.


“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.”

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The two made their Hollywood debut at the 2010 Goya Awards, Spain’s main national film awards.

Speaking to GQ UK, Bardem said Cruz’s “feistiness” intimidated him at first. 

“There are those scenes where we are arguing, she’s throwing plates and so on,” the actor said in 2017. “I had to wonder, ‘Do I really want this?’ 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. Penélope has both.”

Javier Bardem and Penélope Cruz welcomed their first child, Leo, in 2011. In 2013 the couple welcomed their second child, a daughter named Luna Encinas Cruz.

In 2022, Bardem was nominated for best actor for his role in “Being the Ricardos” and Cruz was nominated for best actress for her role in “Parallel Mothers.” The actor recently recalled the exact moment in which the nominees were announced.

“When the time for actor came, I knew my name would be the first because [it starts with] B,” he said. “So if they don’t start saying the ‘Ja…’ right away, we had a problem. I heard the ‘Ja,’ and I said, ‘All right!’ And she celebrated more than me … They said Chastain, Colman, and she said, ‘too many Cs.’ But then, ‘Penelope Cruz,’ and that was the moment when we were like, ‘Yeahhhhh!'”

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