Penelope Cruz was born in Madrid and was named after a song
by Joan Manuel Serrat. Penelope's parents are Eduardo Cruz, a
retailer, and Encarna Sánchez, a hairdresser. Penelope Cruz was
a dancer as a child and young teen. She completed 2º B.U.P. (2nd
year of secondary school), but dropped out of school at the age
of 15 after she beat more than 300 other girls at a talent
agency audition. Penelope received nine years of classic ballet
training at the Conservatorio Nacional in Madrid, four years of
dance performance with several dance courses at the Cristina
Rota School in New York, and three years of Spanish Ballet with
Ángela Garrido. She also had jazz dance courses with Raúl
Penelope Cruz first achieved fame when she appeared in the video clip La fuerza del destino for the Spanish synthpop group Mecano (see La forza del destino for the reference to the Italian work). She later started a relationship with Nacho Cano, a member of the group, which lasted for several years.
Penelope was a TV presenter for the teen-oriented program La Quinta Marcha, in collaboration with Jesús Vázquez.
Penelope's first major films were Jamón, Jamón and the more widely known (in the U.S.) Belle Epoque, a film which won an Academy Award for Foreign Language Film.
In 1997, Cruz starred as Sofía alongside Eduardo Noriega in Abre los Ojos, directed by Alejandro Amenábar, and in 2000 she appeared with Matt Damon in All the Pretty Horses. In 1999, she appeared in Pedro Almodóvar's Todo sobre mi madre, which won an Academy Award for Foreign Language Film.
In early 2001, Penelope Cruz appeared in the film Vanilla Sky with Tom Cruise, which sparked a supposed three-year relationship with the actor. Vanilla Sky was the Hollywood remake of Abre los Ojos ("Open Your Eyes"), and Penelope played the same part in both films.
After Cruz's second appearance on the TV series Punk'd (her first backstage debut), and during an interview on CBS's The Early Show (aired on April 4, 2005), Cruz remarked that her friend/Mexican actress/Bandidas co-star Salma Hayek has threatened to "punk" Cruz for helping Ashton Kutcher with the bathroom trick at Kutcher's Geisha House, his second restaurant, in Hollywood, California.
Penelope Cruz has a younger brother Eduardo, who is a singer, and a younger sister Mónica Cruz closely resembles her: a similarity exploited for some Spanish TV ads. In the 2000s, Mónica left her dancing career and achieved note on her own in the youth-oriented TV series Un Paso Adelante. They are also distant cousins of Alexandra Cruz.
Cruz is a vegetarian, a decision made after filming All the Pretty Horses in 2000.
Penelope speaks four languages: Spanish, Italian, French and English. Cruz learned Italian because she wanted a part in the 2004 movie Non ti muovere, and she went on to win the Italian equivalent of the Oscars for Best Actress.
Penelope Cruz has donated a number of sums of money and time to chairty works. In 1997 she volunteered in Uganda for two months with then boyfriend Faiz Ahmad. It was rumored that she donated her entire fee from the film The Hi-Lo Country to the Mother Teresa's children's sanctuary in Calcutta after spending a week there volunteering, but this was later denied by Cruz.
Penelope Cruz lived for a period of time with Spanish musician Nacho Cano, part of the pop music trio "Mecano". Cruz appeared in one of the band's video-clips "la Fuerza del Destino"
After Penelope appeared in 2001 in the film Vanilla Sky with Tom Cruise, they supposedly had a three year relationship. He had recently split from his wife Nicole Kidman. Cruise and Cruz split in January 2004.
After filming Sahara in February 2005, Cruz started dating actor Matthew McConaughey. In May 2006, they released a joint statement to People, saying that they "have decided to take time off as a couple. Due to busy work schedules and so much time apart, they mutually decided four weeks ago that separating was the best thing to do at this time."
Spanish press has been linking Penelope Cruz to Academy Award winner Adrien Brody, whom she co-stars in the upcoming film Manolete. Penelope herself has denied the rumors.
Film List for Penelope Cruz
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