Ryan Gosling is at the top of almost everyone’s Hollywood crushes, but he is Ken-ough for actress and wife Eva Mendes. Keep reading to discover the story behind one of the most private Hollywood couples.
Born in Ontario, Ryan was raised in a strict Mormon family with expectations to behave, which troubled him as he "didn't like being told what to do." But in reality, he was on the move for big things early.
After seeing Sylvester Stallone in First Blood (1982), he brought knives to school and threw them at students. Ryan was pulled out of school after that and homeschooled. His parents divorced when he was 13. Ryan told The Telegraph, "I grew up with my mother and sister, so I've just been programmed to think like a girl."
Eva, on the other hand, was raised on the other side of the continent. Born in Miami to Cuban parents, Eva was one of four siblings and had to fight for the limelight. When she was young, her parents decided to relocate the family to Los Angeles. There, she remembers “sharing one bathroom with four kids.”
Eva’s mom, also called Eva, worked in LA’s famous Mann’s Chinese Theater (commonly known as the TCL Chinese Theater) in the 1980s. Eva told Violet Gray, “As a kid, I would often tag along with her.” Like Ryan, Eva’s parents were strict, so she was “under strict instructions to stay close by.”
How He Began
Ryan began his journey to stardom early when he was cast in Disney’s The All New Mickey Mouse Club after an open casting call in Montreal. Ryan moved to Orlando and performed alongside other Mouseketeers, Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake. In 2012, he revealed it was the greatest two years of his life. Until then, at least.
He moved to LA at 17 and began pursuing more “serious films” 2 years later in 2000. Ryan appeared in Remember The Titans and The Believer, films that put him on the map. He then worked with Sandra Bullock in Murder By Numbers. Ryan next got a coveted role in The Notebook with Rachel McAdams in 2003. This was only the beginning.
How She Began
While Ryan avoided studying and just went to work, Eva followed the learning route. She left college in 1994 to study under renowned acting teacher Ivana Chubbuck. Appearing in music videos, minor TV roles, and commercials, Eva spent the late 90s building her career from the ground up.
Her career took a “pivotal” turn when she earned a small role in the iconic Denzel Washington film Training Day. On the cusp of success, she told Cinema Blend that appearing in that film kept her acting. “ I was ready to quit acting. I was so bored, doing terrible, cheesy, horrible films, and I was like, what am I doing?”
Look At Me, I'm Sandra B
Having met one another on the set of Murder By Numbers, it didn't take Ryan and Sandra Bullock long to make it official. They revealed the new relationship at the film's premiere at Cannes Film Festival in 2002. He was only 21 when he and the 38-year-old actress hit it off.
Even though Sandra was 16 years older than Ryan, she later credited him with making her more "chill." While the couple ended things in 2003 thanks to "show business," Ryan said Sandra (and his next love) were "the greatest girlfriends of all time" to the Independent. Well, he said it a few months shy of meeting someone else.
Eva's Busy Elsewhere
In the early years of Eva's burgeoning career and right before she appeared in the Fast and Furious film series alongside her on-screen romantic Paul Walker, Eva had her eyes set on one man. George Augusto is a Peruvian film and music producer, and the two dated from 2002 until 2011.
In 2011, after their breakup, Eva told Hollywood Life why the relationship ended. "I just don't think marriage is as necessary as society makes it." She also reiterated a similar perspective in 2007: "I feel like the institution of marriage is a very archaic thing. I don't think it fits in my world today."
Hot N’ Cold With Rachel
Ryan’s breakout role in The Notebook alongside Mean Girls’ Rachel McAdams was one of the relationships of the early 2000s. The two had gained notoriety as the on-screen lovers who absolutely despised each other off-screen. Reportedly, each begged the producers to fire the other from the movie.
Years after filming ended, the two reconciled. Ryan told E! “We started getting the idea that maybe we were wrong about each other.” Even though he never expected it, Ryan and Rachel dated for three years on and off. No one knows why the couple ended things, but Private Ry blamed it again on the ills of the industry.
Amidst all the relationship drama, Ryan’s career was soaring. He had starring roles in Blue Valentine opposite Michelle Williams, earning Ryan his first Golden Globe nomination. He became the Hollywood heartthrob in Crazy, Stupid, Love, working with later longtime collaborator Emma Stone.
With her stable man throughout the 2000s, Eva also saw excellent career success. She became a household name with her role in Hitch opposite Will Smith. Eva then worked with Joaquin Phoenix in We Own The Night and took dips into comedy with appearances in The Other Guys and Knocked Up.
The Start of Something Special
Fresh off the commercial and critical success of Blue Valentine, Ryan Gosling expressed to writer and director Derek Cianfrance his desire to play a bank robber. Luckily for the actor, Derek was working on a film about a father who robs to help his newly discovered son. And so, the character of Luke was written for Ryan.
Newly single Eva was brought into the film right away. He told Cinema Review, “She has such a magnetic screen presence… I saw the deep, thoughtful, warm, generous, unpredictable person inside Eva.” Her character, Romina, was a change of pace for the actress, who hadn’t done a serious film in some time.
The Place Beyond the Pines
Before filming began, Ryan worked his rear off. He gained 40 pounds of muscle and learned to ride a motorcycle for two months. Director Derek told Focus, “We were filming in places with beehives and mosquito infestations.” When Hurricane Irene hit New York state, not even that could stop this production and their eventual love.
Even with appearances in only half of the film each, Ryan and Eva shared enough time together to hit it off. The real-life locations, unglamorous surroundings, and minimal budget may have helped the duo bond. The first scene Eva filmed on set was the major love scene, and a “trembling” Eva “left the crew speechless.”
We know we’re skipping the timeline a bit here, but with this interview in 2023, we just can’t help ourselves. Ryan told GQ, “It’s true that I wasn’t thinking about kids before I met her, but after I met Eva, I realized that I just didn’t want to have kids without her.” Does this man say anything wrong?
Ryan still looks back on the experience as one of the most rewarding of his life. He continued, “There were moments on [the film] where we were pretending to be a family, and I didn’t really want it to be pretend anymore. I realized that this would be a life I would be really lucky to have.” We’re not crying, you are.
Happiest Place on Earth
For the first time ever, and despite the secrecy of their future long-term relationship, the couple was spotted in the spot for any new lovers to dalliance: Disneyland. This surprise spotting in September 2011 was just a short month after shooting for Place Beyond the Pines wrapped.
The then-rumored couple were seen holding hands. One lucky observer told People, "They were very playful. Eva was skipping around like a little girl…She would lean into him and hold his arm the entire time." If we were on a date with Ryan Gosling, skipping would be toning down the excitement.
No Kisses on the Carpet
A year following the completion of filming of Place Beyond the Pines, Eva and Ryan got dressed up for the film's premiere at the Toronto Film Festival. While it was now commonly known that the on-screen couple was an off-screen couple, neither confirmed nor denied speculations.
The pair behaved professionally and didn't give fans any PDA they wanted. Eva later told Kelly Clarkson her honest thoughts while at the event, "That's literally me going, 'I'm not in love with him. What? I'm not in love.' Because we were trying to be very professional." Professionalism is dull, Eva. Smooch him!
The Duo’s Dalliance
Eva and Ryan may be victims of stereotype because their next outing was just about as cliche or romantic as it gets. The couple were seen wandering around Paris for a few weeks while Eva was on location for a shoot. Onlookers spotted them dining close to the Eiffel Tower and touring the city.
They even toured the city’s catacombs, where singer Edith Piaf and poet Oscar Wilde are buried. Talk about romance. Eva also later joined Ryan in a visit to his family in Ontario to celebrate his mom’s graduation from her degree. Fellow graduates and parents snapped the couple with excitement.
A Very Drunk Christmas
In a Christmas skit for Funny or Die’s Drunk History, Ryan starred alongside Jim Carrey as Santa Claus and Eva as his wife in a very drunk telling of the classic story The Night Before Christmas. The two probably wanted to give being married a spin, and let’s just say it definitely suited them.
In the skit, the duo lay beside one another in bed as the storyteller of the clip narrates their words tipsily. As always, Eva looks like a dream, and Ryan delivers a comedic performance with no mistakes. This was before the world even knew how talented Ryan was in comedy roles.
Rumors of Split
The couple attended the theatre premiere of Place Beyond the Pines in 2013, marking the last time they would make a red carpet-appearance together. Ever. A few months later, there were rumors Eva and Ryan had split. Of course, the duo did absolutely nothing to provide answers.
The reason for their supposed split, you ask? Paparazzi hadn't photographed the notoriously private couple for months. However, Eva dispelled rumors about her Valentine's Day plans. She told Ellen DeGeneres, "I'm not a big Valentine's Day person. I'll probably just order a deep dish and watch The Notebook or something." Wink, wink.
As if not appearing on red carpets together wasn't enough, the couple is always quick to refuse to answer questions about their partner. Eva was asked by a reporter from The Edit about how things are with Ryan, and the actress quickly ended the conversation there. She said, "I'm sorry. I'm shutting down."
Laughing, she added, "I'm such a weirdo. I literally lose my ability to speak." A few years later, a fan asked her Instagram why they keep the relationship on lock. She commented, "I have always had a clear boundary when it comes to my man…As far as Ryan and I, it just works for us this way, to stay private."
The Lost River
After over 20 years of exclusively acting, Ryan decided to try working behind the camera. His directorial debut film, The Lost River, was also written and co-produced by the temporarily former actor. With a supporting role from Eva, fans expected to hear the duo talk about each other more openly. Boy, were they mistaken.
Not only did Eva not take any interviews, she didn’t even accompany Ryan to the Cannes Film Festival premiere of the film. Perhaps the reaction may have been a bit more positive if she had been there. The film wasn’t well received and, sadly for us Ryanators, the actor hasn’t returned to writing or directing since.
While on The Ellen Degeneres Show in February 2014, Eva shut down the rumor that she was pregnant. She revealed, "It all started because I didn't want to go through the scanners at the airport." Fans thought she was avoiding the X-rays due to a hidden bump. However, despite her dismissal, they were absolutely right.
Seven months later, Eva and Ryan welcomed a baby girl. Eva is aware her fans know basic math, right? She later told Australian radio station Nova 96.9 Fitzy & Wippa, "I never wanted babies before until I fell in love with Ryan, and it kind of worked out to where I was 40 and having my first baby."
Looking for Our Eva Mendes
A year after the birth of Esmeralda, Ryan and Eva were just as loved up as ever. In an exclusive interview with Hello!, Ryan openly shared his devotion to Eva in a rare show of public affection and shared his belief she is 'the one.' He revealed, "I know that I'm with the person I'm supposed to be with."
When the interviewer asked what quality he looks for in a woman, he answered, "That she's Eva Mendes. There's nothing else I'm looking for." Boyfriends, husbands, and single men around the world take notes. The 2015 Christmas marked the first year of Esmeralda "taking it all in" and the last year of being the only child.
Why Stop at Just One?
Baby No. 2 didn’t take long to rock up to the Gosling-Mendes party. Eva and Ryan welcomed their second daughter, Amada, in 2016. Older sister, Esmeralda, had the middle name Amada, so the second baby was an unexpected but happy arrival. With two daughters, Ryan became a girl dad, but that probably suited the future Ken.
He told Sunday Style, “I was in dance class and things like that. Also, I just grew up around a lot of girls.” The arrival of Amada also coincided with Ryan’s career skyrocketing to new heights, as he appeared in La La Land, The Nice Guys, and Blade Runner 2049 in just a few months.
Standing on Shoulders of a Mountain
With great success off-camera, so too came success on-camera for Dad Ryan. For his role in Damien Chazelle's hit musical film La La Land, opposite former flame from Crazy, Stupid, Love Emma Stone, Ryan achieved critical acclaim for his performance and a vast array of awards, including a coveted Best Actor Oscar nom.
In his acceptance speech at the Golden Globes, Ryan dedicated his award to Eva and her brother, Juan, who passed from throat cancer. He said, "While I was singing, dancing, and playing piano, my lady was raising our daughter, pregnant with our second, and trying to help her brother fight his battle with cancer."
Letting a Few Secrets Slip
In 2019, Eva revealed how she manages to parent with Ryan to Access Hollywood, "It's so fun and beautiful and maddening. It's so hard, of course, but it's that feeling of ending your day and putting them to bed, and Ryan and I look at each other like, 'We did it; we came out relatively unscathed.'"
Amidst the craziness of Covid, Eva was vocal online about her relationship with Ryan. She revealed that he is "an amazing chef AND baker." She later spoke with Forbes, saying, "Hopefully, it's showing my girls that there are no gender-specific roles that one must take on." Forget 'Sexiest Man Alive', how about 'Dad of the Year'?
Still Keeping It Quiet
In another post, one fan commented on her photo, "Wouldn't mind an appearance by Ryan on this page." Eva responded to the comment with her reason for not sharing photos of Ryan. She said, "As far as Ryan, I'll only post [flashbacks] of things that are already 'out there.' My man and my kids are private. That's important to me."
With the release of Ryan's first photo as Ken, Eva shared the photo on her Instagram with the caption, "So F excited for you to see this...". She added, "#Thatsmyken." One fan asked which photos Ryan was responsible for taking on her social media, which Eva revealed "none." According to Eva, Instagram is only for the girlies.
Family Man First
In 2022, Ryan revealed he had started to take on more film roles in consideration of what would enable him to travel with his kids. He told Heat, "I'm like a dad first, and part of the reason for doing the film [The Gray Man] was this opportunity for us to go to these interesting places and be there with my kids."
Ryan added that, although he was expecting the kids to revel in the excitement of France, their favorite part of the trip was "the fruit plate at the hotel." He also decided to play Ken in 2023's Barbie partly for his daughters, saying, "I'm making it for them… it's the first time I think they kind of are understanding."
As a firm representative for celebrities that love the 'Gram, Eva likes to stay on top of her content, partly due to her businesses. In an otherwise ordinary video, Eva shared her "everyday cleaning must-haves." She didn't plan on sharing the sexy screensaver she had of Ryan on her lock screen. Very relatable energy.
In an interview with People to promote a fashion partnership, Eva revealed that home is "[her] man and [her] kids.” She added, "Wherever they are, that's just what it is." You are right if you're sensing a theme in the content source. While Ryan has been booking gigs like no other, our information comes solely from Eva's Insta.
Ryan Opens Up
In a remarkably candid feature for GQ, Ryan divulged that he couldn’t see himself as a parent until he discovered Eva’s pregnancy. “Eva said she was pregnant. I would never want to go back, you know? I’m glad I didn’t have control over my destiny in that way because it was so much better than I ever had dreamed for myself.”
He continued, “I was looking for her, you know? But it all makes sense now.” How can men compete with him? He also revealed that Eva is a reliable source of insight for the Barbie actor. “I just lean on Eva. She knows what’s important, always. She just somehow knows. So if ever I’m in my head about it, I just ask her.”
Fans of the couple were in a frenzy when Eva uploaded a photo to her Instagram of a tattoo that read “de Gosling.” In Spanish, ‘de’ means ‘of,’ so the tattoo implies that Eva Mendes was now ‘of Gosling.’ With Eva’s Cuban background and strong connection to the culture, it wasn’t totally impossible.
An interviewer asked Eva point-blank whether the tattoo meant what we thought it did. Eva mischievously replied, “But who says we weren’t already? I like to keep it all mysterious. I’m a very mysterious woman.” However, the ruse was up. Eva slipped on Australia’s Today when she called Ryan her “husband.” Gotcha!
Gosling-Mendes’ Stay Off Socials
In another revealing Instagram post, Eva shared her views on allowing her and Ryan’s daughters access to the internet. The caption read, “When my kids ask me if they’re old enough to go on the internet, social media, or anything requiring WiFi,” paired with a GIF of the actress vehemently shaking her head.
She accepted that her rules and attitude will be challenging to maintain down the track as her children grow. She commented, “In my house, children do not have access to the Internet.” Those kids will probably never know how famous their parents are. Well, at least until they can steal their mom’s iPad.
E for Eva
As a result of Eva and Ryan's strict no-red-carpet appearances as a couple, Ryan got creative to share the premiere with his wife, even when she couldn't physically be with him. At the Barbie global premiere in LA, Ryan wore a pastel pink bespoke suit with a small necklace in Barbie font that read 'E.'
Ryan, quite literally, kept Eva close to his heart. When Access Hollywood asked the actor what it means to be with Eva, Ryan said, "It means everything." With a duo of two actors who love and support each other, even from afar, Eva and Ryan may be Hollywood's most private duo, but they're no less perfect for each other.