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Name: Penelope Cruz
DOB: 28 April 1974
Birth Place: Alcobendas, Community of Madrid, Spain
Claim to fame: Sensational Spanish actress
- Penelope once spent a week working with Mother Teresa
- She is the first Spanish actress to win an Oscar
- She has dated 2 former Sexiest Man Alive winners, Matthew McConaughey and Tom Cruise
- Penelope owns a clothing store with her sister in Madrid
The Madonna of Madrid started out longing to be a ballerina, studying classical ballet for 9 years. She was signed to an agent at 15 and became a Spanish TV star at 16, presenting a teen talk-show for 7 years.
Penelope appeared in her first feature film, Jamon Jamon, at age 18 and won critical praise for her performance. Appearing topless in the film, she also became a major sex symbol. Two acclaimed films with the famed director Pedro Almodovar, who calls her his muse, followed before she hopped the pond to try her luck in Hollywood.
Already a huge star in Spain, her breakthrough Hollywood year came in 2001 with standout performances in Vanilla Sky and Blow. Vanilla Sky was a remake of a film she had made in Spain, Open Your Eyes, and it was where she met Tom Cruise, whom she dated for 3 years.
Penelope became the first Spanish actress to be nominated for an Oscar for her next Almodovar collaboration, Volver, in 2006. In 2008, she became the first Spanish actress to win an Oscar for her performance in Woody Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona.
Penelope’s since gone on to star in the fourth part of the Hollywood blockbuster franchise Pirates of the Caribbean, fulfilling her teen dream of working with Johnny Depp for a second time. Now married to Spanish hunk Javier Bardem, the couple had a son, Leo, in January 2011, 3 days before his dad was nominated for an Oscar.