Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes’s daughters, Esmeralda and Amada, supposedly have no clue that their parents are A-list movie stars. And the public, in turn, knows very little about the actors’ daughters – until recently, when Mendes replied to a fan’s question on her Instagram and shared something about their family dynamic.
Even this revealing one-off admission was highly unusual; discretion is par for the course in Mendes and Gosling’s ultra-private relationship. The pair never officially confirmed their relationship in the press, nor did they reveal their pregnancy news to the public, either. Only after tabloids broke such news did the couple comment – but they have rarely offered up information of their own accord.
Parenthood has gone much the same way for Gosling and Mendes. While some parents, famous or not, share myriad photos of their kids online, there’s hardly a trace of the A-listers’ daughters on social media. And that’s precisely what got fans scratching their heads – why didn’t the mom-of-two ever share photos of her little ones? Surprisingly, the inquiry got a response from none other than Mendes herself.
In May 2019 Eva Mendes spoke to website OprahMag.com and corrected a long-standing myth about her relationship with her partner, Ryan Gosling. People had assumed that the pair met in 2011 on the set of their movie, The Place Beyond the Pines. Indeed, that was when dating rumors first started to swirl for the actors.
However, Mendes revealed eight years later that the couple had known each other long before filming, even if they weren’t yet romantically involved. She said, “There’s such special work in The Place Beyond the Pines. We had known each other for a while already, so to work together was really exciting.”
Off-camera, though, romance did start to blossom for the on-screen couple. Mendes and Gosling held hands on a date to Disneyland, a trip that landed them in the tabloids. The loved-up images were enough to get people talking about a potential new couple, but both of the stars would keep mum about their relationship status for a long time to come.
In fact, Mendes and Gosling remained tight-lipped as more and more evidence emerged that pointed to them being an item. When Mendes appeared on an episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show in May 2012 the talk show host tried to ask about her relationship with the La La Land actor. But all the actress would do was giggle and refuse to comment.
A month later, an eagle-eyed fan spotted Mendes at Brock University’s graduation ceremonies in Toronto, Canada. Also in attendance was Gosling, which made sense: his mother, Donna, would be receiving her diploma that day. And, it seemed, he had brought along his girlfriend to celebrate the big day with his family.
More than a year passed, and yet the couple remained quiet about their relationship status, even though the world was aware that Mendes and Gosling were very likely an item. For her part, she wouldn’t speak about her beau to website The Edit during a September 2013 interview about her fashion line with New York & Company.
During the chat, Mendes had no issue discussing the clothes she had designed for the collection. But when the interviewer brought up Gosling, the actress professed herself unable to respond. She said, “I’m sorry. I’m shutting down. I’m such a weirdo. I literally lose my ability to speak – and you were doing so well.”
Because Mendes and Gosling were so private, the tabloids latched onto the couple’s public behavior in a bid to divine developments in their relationship. And in early 2014 they clocked some unusual activity from the actress. She supposedly refused to walk through an X-ray scanner at an airport, which got people wondering: was the Hitch star pregnant?
Mendes brushed off the rumors while on another installment of ellen in 2014. She said, “It’s so ridiculous. It all started because I didn’t want to go through the scanners at the airport. You know those X-ray scanners, which are really creepy? They basically see you naked, right? And not only that, but there’s a radiation aspect to it, so I always opt out.”
But the pregnancy story was back in vogue with the tabloids by the summer of 2014. Supposedly, a source had confirmed to Us Weekly magazine that Mendes was, indeed, pregnant with her and Gosling’s first child. Two people who didn’t comment on the rumors were the parents-to-be themselves – but that was to be expected from the notoriously private pair.
According to Us Weekly’s July 2014 exclusive, Mendes was already seven months pregnant, which would put her due date around September. But the month came and went without her or Gosling making an announcement that they had actually welcomed a child. That job would, once again, go to the tabloids.
TMZ broke the news in October 2014 that Mendes and Gosling had welcomed a child the month prior. The gossip website had managed to source a facsimile of the baby’s official birth document, so it could confirm that the pair had welcomed a daughter into their family on September 12 in Santa Monica, California. And they had named their newborn Esmeralda Amada.
It took two more months for Mendes to confirm that she had, indeed, become a new mom. At that time, she opened up to beauty website Violet Grey about her daughter’s name – and nothing more. She said, “Ryan and I both love the Esmeralda character from the Victor Hugo novel, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and we just think it’s a beautiful name.”
Mendes explained Esmeralda’s middle name, Amada, as well. She said it “was [her] grandmother’s name. It means ‘beloved’ in Spanish.” Clearly, the pair loved the name because, when they welcomed their second daughter in April 2016 – a pregnancy that neither she nor Gosling ever confirmed to the press – they chose Amada as her first name.
Once again, it was TMZ that found the baby’s birth certificate and revealed that Mendes and Gosling had welcomed Amada Lee on April 29 of that year. The actress did open up to Latina magazine about her two daughters sharing a moniker: Esmeralda’s middle name was Amada’s first name.
Mendes explained, “We had a few names picked out for our new baby, and when she was born, we didn’t feel like those names were her. We came up with a few more, even that morning, and tried them out. We were like, ‘What about Viviana?’ But we just kept going back to Amada.”
Indeed, Amada’s birth had come during a dark time for Mendes: her brother, Juan Carlos, lost his battle with cancer in the weeks leading up to her delivery. So, the Training Day actress said, “It was an emotional time with the passing of my brother. We thought how beautiful to go with what made us emotional and with what felt like her. When we looked at her, we thought, ‘Aww, Amadita.’”
Mendes concluded the interview by explaining that, in her culture, a shared family name wasn’t that strange – though she had to explain that to her partner and the wider audience too. She said, “In true Latin fashion, we reuse names all the time. I actually told [Ryan], ‘This is common in Latin culture, so it wouldn’t be crazy.’”
For Mendes, using the name “Amada” twice wasn’t as unexpected as the fact that she had become a mom in the first place. She splashed across the cover of Women’s Health magazine in April 2019 and she admitted in her interview that she hadn’t always wanted kids: that is, until she met Gosling.
In the interview, Mendes said that kids were “the furthest thing from [her] mind” before her actor beau came into the picture. She explained her change in opinion by saying, “Ryan Gosling happened. I mean falling in love with him. Then it made sense for me to have… not kids, but his kids. It was very specific to him.”
Indeed, Gosling has made equally as gushing admissions about his home life. In a December 2015 interview with Hello! magazine, he was asked what qualities he looked for in a partner. He responded, “That she’s Eva Mendes. There’s nothing else I’m looking for.” In the same piece, he said, “I know that I’m with the person I’m supposed to be with.”
Gosling paid tribute to his partner on larger platforms, too. In January 2017 he nabbed a Golden Globe for his leading role in La La Land, but didn’t take the credit for his win. Instead, he said in his acceptance speech, “You don’t get to be up here without standing on the shoulders of a mountain of people. There’s no time to thank everyone.”
With that, Gosling praised his partner, Mendes, and their children – and that was it. He said, “I would like to try to thank one person properly and say while I was singing and dancing and playing piano and having one of the best experiences I’ve ever had on a film, my lady was raising our daughter, pregnant with our second, and trying to help her brother fight his battle with cancer.”
Gosling concluded, “If she hadn’t have taken all that on so that I could have this experience, it would surely be someone else up here other than me today. So sweetheart, thank you. To my daughters Amada and Esmeralda, I love you. And if I may, I would like to dedicate this to the memory of her brother, Juan Carlos Mendez.”
And yet, as Gosling nabbed awards and Mendes continued designing her New York & Company line, the pair managed to lead a private home life with their kids. The latter told OprahMag.com in May 2019 that neither Esmeralda nor Amada had any idea that their parents were famous actors.
Mendes admitted, “They are not aware. We are definitely just mom and dad to them, and we’re trying to keep it that way as long as possible. […] It’s not like we have our own movies playing or anything like that! We are just mom and dad, so we are having fun just being that to them.”
In the same interview, Mendes broached the subject of privacy, particularly when it came to her daughters. She put her and Gosling’s allegiance to their family plainly, saying, “We just want to make sure our kids are protected and have somewhat of a normal kid experience. So, keeping them out of the public as much as possible, just feels right and normal to us.”
What Mendes would say about Esmeralda and Amada was that she and Gosling encouraged them to explore their artistic talents. She said, “There’s crayons in every room and there’s always paper available so that they can create. I just think it’s so beautiful that children are natural creators, and they are, too. They just want to make stuff, which is so cool.”
After that, Mendes did share a drawing done by one of her daughters. The colorful drawing featured a woman with long, blue hair that contrasted her red-orange lips and dress. The 2 Fast 2 Furious actress explained in the Instagram caption, “This is me. By my kid. It’s pretty accurate.”
In another Instagram post, Mendes explained why her feed contained so little about her daughters: even the drawing was but a small glimpse into her family life, after all. It started with a fan inquiry, though. Someone wondered in the comments section why the actress never shared photos of Esmeralda or Amada.
Mendes wrote back, “I have always had a clear boundary when it comes to my man and my kids. I’ll talk about them, of course, with limits, but I won’t post pictures of our daily life. And since my children are still so little and don’t understand what posting their image really means, I don’t have their consent.”
With that, Mendes concluded that she’d only share photos of Esmeralda and Amada at a certain point in their lives: when both girls could provide consent for their mom to share photos online. She then wrote, “As far as Ryan and I, it just works for us this way, to stay private,” and sent her fan “loads of love” before signing off.
Afterwards, fans lauded Mendes for her willingness to share why she posted so little about Gosling and their two daughters. In response to the positivity, the actress wrote, “I don’t mind explaining myself sometimes. I care about people and their questions. So I’m happy to answer honestly. But thanks for saying thanks! Sending you lots of love out there.”
Since then, Mendes has rigidly stuck to her promise to keep her daughters’ faces off of social media. Instead, she has shared more photos and videos of art that have inspired her. She has also posted photos of herself with captions that give a very small glimpse into her life at home with her family-of-four.
On April 29 – Amada’s birthday, according to TMZ – Mendes posted a self-portrait with a caption that mentioned her daughter. She wrote, “Tired Mama. Stayed up laaate trying to make my baby’s 4th birthday extra special since she won’t see the family.” Her youngest had to celebrate her birthday while the country hunkered down in quarantine, of course.
Once again, Mendes’ fans responded to her post, and many shared their kids’ quarantine birthday plans. One wrote that they wanted to ensure their children had parties so they weren’t “bored or lonely” on their big days. The actress wrote back to suggest whipping out Christmas decorations as she did to spice up Amada’s celebration.
Another mom replied and said she was “so with” Mendes on her comment about being a “tired momma,” as she had a five-year-old daughter. The Girl In Progress star gave one final glimpse into her home life with Esmeralda and Amada. She wrote, “I have a five-year-old as well. I gotta say it’s my favorite year so far! So fun! And somewhat (somewhat!) reasonable.”