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Zoë Saldana and husband Marco Perego-Saldana have been married since 2013 and have three children-Zen, 4, and 2-year-old twins Cy and Bowie.
In a recent interview, she explained why they're raising the boys in a gender-neutral household.
Let's revisit how the pair first met, and what attracted them to each other.
Look up the definition of #CoupleGoals and you’ll find a photo of Zoë Saldana and Marco Perego-Saldana. Okay, maybe we’re exaggerating, but outside of the plotlines written for a romantic comedy film, never have we ever seen a couple more loving and supportive of each other, with modern, inclusive views when it comes to parenting.
Recently, the actress, 40, revealed that she and Perego-Saldana, 40, are raising their sons-4 year-old Zen and 2 year-old twins Cy and Bowie-in a gender-neutral environment, incorporating toys marketed towards girls and boys in their household while flipping the script on traditional gender roles.
“We have a very gender-neutral environment where my husband participates in a lot of tasks that were normally given to women and vice versa,” she told US Weekly. “I get to do a lot of male things, which is, I don’t know, put the TV together, fix things that break. We’re sort of a very gender-fluid household. I think it’s important to raise boys in that environment, and girls as well.”
When one of their twins made a comment that boys were stronger than girls, Saldana took it upon herself to craft an answer that would debunk that stereotype. Her ultimate mission? “[To] not bring all this charge that you have as an adult and as a woman into their lives. They’re a blank slate.”
So how'd they get to raise this family in the first place? She and Perego-Saldana have always been progressive in terms of their views-he took her last name, after all-and while we’re super-familiar with her, he prefers to stay out of the spotlight. Keep reading to learn more about him, his background, and when they knew it was love.
Marco Perego-Saldana is an artist.
Perego-Saldana always had an interest in art but it wasn’t until 2002 that he decided to follow his aspirations and, well, become an artist. He moved to New York and began gaining recognition after film producer Gilda Moratti bought one of his paintings.
“I was living [in] Spanish Harlem without money and I was living on 104th Street,” he told the New York Observer. “One day what happened was, I come to her and I say, 'Listen, look at my work, tell me what you think. If it is a joke I will try to find something else.” She recognized his talent and bought a painting, a move that kicked off his career and allowed him to sell his work for anywhere between $15,000 to $30,000 a pop.
A post shared by Marco Perego-Saldana (@marcoperegosaldana) on Mar 13, 2016 at 9:34pm PDT
A post shared by Marco Perego Saldana (@pirateyadimar) on Feb 5, 2016 at 4:41pm PST
Much of his work provides underlying social commentary and has been featured at Art Basel, the Royal Arts Academy in London, Zurich’s Galerie Gmurzynska, and the Museo Tuscolano in Rome. In 2008, Perego-Saldana painted the background for Dolce & Gabbana’s "Where Fashion Meets Art" campaign.
He's from Italy and is a former soccer player.
Perego-Saldana grew up in Salo, Italy. His mother was a stay-at-home mom and his father was a waiter. When he moved to New York, he took on jobs as a busboy, waiter, and soccer teacher to support himself before he made it big in the art world.
A post shared by Marco Perego Saldana (@pirateyadimar) on Mar 19, 2016 at 9:28am PDT
When he was growing up in Italy, Perego-Saldana was an avid soccer player from a young age, and was selected to play in Venice’s professional team. Unfortunately, he suffered a leg injury when he was 21, ultimately ending his career in soccer. It all worked out, though-once he recovered from the injury, he decided to move to the U.S. and pursue a career in art.
A post shared by Marco Perego Saldana (@pirateyadimar) on Feb 29, 2016 at 11:08am PST
Saldana knew it was love at first sight.
When you know, you know, right? In May of 2013, the pair were spotted kissing at the premiere of Saldana's then-latest flick, Star Trek: Into the Darkness. While they are said to have been friends before for five years, this led to speculation that they were dating.
In September of 2013, Saldana and Perego-Saldana were photographed wearing wedding rings, and, as it turns out, they actually married in a private ceremony in London the summer of 2013. She had been previously engaged to Keith Britton, CEO of My Fashion Database, who she split from in 2011 after dating for 11 years.
A post shared by Zoe Saldana (@zoesaldana) on Mar 14, 2019 at 8:50am PDT
A post shared by Marco Perego Saldana (@pirateyadimar) on Feb 14, 2016 at 5:05pm PST
According to the actress, she knew it was the real deal as soon as they met.
“I don’t do the ABCs, I do what my heart says, what my heart feels. So, from the moment I met my husband, we were together. We knew,” the actress told Marie Claire in 2014. "I met my husband, I wasn't going to try it out and see if it works. No, I felt it. I went with the feeling.”
Yep, the couple kept their marriage a secret at first.
Sandala and Perego-Saldana officially tied the knot in July of 2013, though it wasn’t until September of that year when the rest of us heard the news, accelerated by those matching rings. Sneaky.
Though her first pregnancy was leaked by the press, they announced it in the most perfect way, taking her baby bump on a literal spin on the shuttle at the Washington-Dulles Airport.
A post shared by Zoe Saldana (@zoesaldana) on Sep 19, 2014 at 10:28pm PDT
Perego-Saldana chose to take her last name.
While Saldana was proud of his decision to do so, she initially tried to talk him out of it. “I told him, ‘If you use my name, you’re going to be emasculated by your community of artists, your Latin community of men, by the world,” she previously told InStyle. “But Marco just looks up at me and says [she puts on a cute Italian accent], ‘Ah, Zoe, I don’t give a sheet.’”
The bold move sparked a debate online (of course), which prompted the two to put out a beautiful joint statement, encouraging men to stand up for change and redefine masculinity. “Men, you will not cease to exist by taking your partner’s surname. On the contrary-you’ll be remembered as a man who stood by change. I know our sons will respect and admire their father more because their father lead by example,” they wrote.
Naturally, he's Saldana's number one fan.
Perego-Saldana isn’t super active on social media, but never hesitates to put up a doting post proclaiming how proud he is of his wife. He’s also supportive in ways beyond her professional accomplishments. He has been a constant supporter in her humanitarian efforts, especially in the midst of the #MeToo movement, joining affiliated groups and having conversations with her about how men can make positive change.
A post shared by Zoe Saldana (@zoesaldana) on Jan 20, 2018 at 3:04pm PST
A post shared by Zoe Saldana (@zoesaldana) on Jan 22, 2018 at 8:29pm PST
“My husband has been an inspiration in this whole thing. The conversations we’ve been having, safely and intimately, have been evolving and it’s been very rewarding. He is part of a #MeToo group. We have to broaden the narrative of #MeToo,” she previously told Cosmopolitan UK.
“The same way it applies to victims, it should apply to men who were blind who have now seen. If there is one thing I have to advise, it's to be kind to the men who are making an effort and don't put them all in one box. Let's not do to others what has been done to us. If we know how bad it's felt for so long, then we know what not do and how not to teach.”
Perego-Saldana's nickname is adorable.
As a nod to his insanely good hair and physical features-and Saldana's role in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl-Perego-Saldana has gained the nickname “Pirate Perego.” He’s cool with it-his Instagram handle is @pirateyadimar, after all.
A post shared by Marco Perego Saldana (@pirateyadimar) on Sep 21, 2015 at 5:29am PDT
He also happens to be Saldana’s exact type. When asked what she looked for in a man, Metro UK reports that the actress stated, “A badass renegade! A pirate! A pirate who can cry. Oh my god!” Sounds about right.
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