After a string of public relationships with some of the biggest stars on the planet (Tom Cruise! Matt Damon! Matthew McConaughey!), Penélope Cruz is fiercely protective of her marriage to fellow Spanish actor Javier Bardem, with whom she had a son in 2011. In an age where some celebrities are tweeting their birth announcements from the delivery room, it was months before any details about baby Leonardo hit the news and the Academy Award winner has made only two movies — "To Rome with Love" and "Twice Born" — since she had her child. "Maybe I'll make one movie a year, maybe two, but it's not going to be more than that because I have other priorities now," she tells Harper's Bazaar.
While Cruz spends time in Los Angeles — she looked stunning in a gray, off-the-shoulder dress from Armani Privé on Oscar night — her home base is and always has been Madrid, which is just the way she likes it. "When I come here now, I have so many memories," she says about L.A. "Some of them good, some of them not so good. I have lived beautiful moments here, but I don't want to live here. It is not the place where I want to raise my kids." Asked to elaborate about her son, she says: "I talk about him all day long, even to strangers in the street; it is my favorite subject! But, you know; this is my job."
Your next opportunity to see Cruz on the big screen will be in June when the Woody Allen-helmed film "To Rome with Love" hits theaters. "I love being around Woody," says Cruz, who won her Oscar for her work in Allen's "Vicky Cristina Barcelona," which came out in 2008. "Watching him direct, and sometimes he falls asleep while they are lighting the next shot. I take pictures of him because he picks the strangest positions. I always think he is going to fall of his chair… That whole shoot I laughed so hard."
Cruz, who has been the face of Lancôme's Trésor since 2010, says she became obsessed with acting after seeing a Meryl Streep movie as a child — and she's still a huge fan. "Now I kiss her whenever I see her!" Cruz laughs. "She must think I'm crazy." The women became extremely close while doing a magazine photo shoot several years back for the AIDS charity (RED). "As soon as she got to the set, I had to sit topless on top of her. It was the most interesting love scene I've ever done."
The actress, who describes herself as "stubborn" and "persistent," gushes about being much "happier in my 30s than I was in my 20s," but she's still a work in progress. "I am living for every day and trying to have less fear, less worry," she says. "But I have always worried about everything; it's in my nature. It's the thing that makes me suffer the most. I don't like that about myself because it's really painful. That's still my main thing to work on." Something she's mastered? The art of humor, noting: "One thing that I am proud of: I am really capable of laughing at myself."
Read more about Penelope in the May issue of Harper's Bazaar.
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