Why Eva Mendes and Ryan Gosling Are So Protective of Their Private World

Inside Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes' Private Relationship

If Eva Mendes is ever going to be Ryan Gosling's date to an awards show, seemingly this year's Oscars would be the time to make that move. 

He's not only nominated for Best Supporting Actor for Barbie, his third career nod, but he's set to perform Best Original Song contender "I'm Just Ken," which is just a little cup of everything to look forward to at the March 10 ceremony.

But should Mendes continue to sit this one—i.e. awards season—out, it means nothing as far as the overall health of their decade-plus relationship. Rather…status quo, friends. Status quo.

Because, in case you hadn't noticed in the almost 13 years the parents of daughters Esmeralda, 9, and Amada, 7, have been a couple, they don't do red carpets. They last took a photo on one at the March 28, 2013, New York premiere of the film that brought them together, The Place Beyond the Pines.

And not that Mendes, who's celebrating her 50th birthday March 5, was ever the most splashily out there of actresses, but once she and Gosling became an item she started paring back considerably on public appearances and rededicated her social media to business pursuits.

photosCelebrity Couples Who Found Love on Set

"Mami's first fashion week in over 10 years!," she posted to Instagram Feb. 24, along with a series of shots showing her all dolled up for Dolce & Gabbana's show during Milan Fashion Week. "Yup, I haven't gone to a fashion event since I've been a Mama. Time flies when you're mommying."

Splash News/Shutterstock

Of course, it's not as if her 6 million followers haven't been treated to an array of eye candy over the years, Mendes being a style and beauty icon, after all. But it was some time before she re-cracked the window into her private world. 

And that didn't always go so well, people being awfully quick with a bad take or nasty comment in this day and age.

Not usually one to wade into the fray, in early 2021 Mendes clapped back at a commenter who had speculated that she wasn't posting much because she'd had "work done" and was unhappy with the results. 

"I'm posting less because I really want to be present for my family," the Hitch actress interjected. "My little ones need me and posting takes up too much time. As far as getting work done, I'll do that whenever I please. But no, that's not the reason. The reason is I personally cannot juggle family and social media."

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But Mendes has steadily opened up more about being a mom and is inclined to give Gosling—"Mi Hombre, Mi Vida, Mi Amor"—more public shows of support, as well.

"So proud of my man," she posted Jan. 24 when the Oscar nominations, including eight for Barbie, were announced. "So much hate when he took on this role. So many people trying to shame him for doing it. Despite all the #Notmyken ridicule and articles written about him, he created this completely original, hilarious, heartbreaking, now iconic character and took it all the way to Oscars. So beyond proud to be this Ken's Barbie."

Never mind the actual Ken doll their daughters would leave lying around the house, ever the afterthought.

Mendes has been banging the drum for Gosling's embodiment of Barbie's boyfriend, crediting her D&G look—including black cat-eye shades and a leopard-print coat—to "My Ken & Sofía Loren" and paraphrasing one of her man's most memorable press tour quotes when she thanked the fashion house for "letting me Dolce as hard as I could."

So it's obvious that she's rooting for him, whether or not she's in the room where "I'm Just Ken" happens live for the first time or not.

photosStars Who Were Almost Cast in Barbie

As Esmeralda and Amada got a bit older, Mendes—who welcomed both children without any follow-my-journey fanfare whatsoever—got increasingly comfortable sharing at least a few details about her home life, such as when she divulged on The Kelly Clarkson Show in October 2019 that Gosling knew his way around the kitchen.

Looking at a photo of them from the first screening of The Place Beyond the Pines at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival, Mendes amusingly recalled, "That's literally me going, like, 'I'm not in love with him! I'm not in love with him! What? I'm not in love.'"

And when Kelly Clarkson fawned over how great Mendes looked in the shot, Mendes leaned over the couch, rested her chin in her hand, and sighed, "Look at him, though."


Not that it was news that Mendes was gaga for the La La Land star, but the first rule of their relationship for years was that they didn't talk about their relationship.

They did go out—to parties and restaurants, of course, and it's practically mandatory in Los Angeles that celebrities hike—but the couple's photographed public life since they met on set in 2011 takes up a relatively tiny portion of the Cloud.

But once they had moved beyond the Pines, Mendes and Gosling quickly reverted to being one of the most elusive pairs in Hollywood, giving up nothing about their romance. 

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Knowing the cat would be out of the bag the second she stepped outside, Mendes steered clear of cameras for months leading up to the births of Esmeralda in 2014 and Amada in 2016, meaning no one outside the family's inner circle even knew that she was pregnant until about seven months along, both times.

Throughout, while he was as affable and meme-able as always, and sweetly acknowledged his children's arrivals, Gosling was reluctant to go into detail about his real-life leading lady.

North Woods / Splash News

"I know that I'm with the person I'm supposed to be with," he tersely told ET Canada in 2015. Asked what it was that drew him to her, he replied, "That she's Eva Mendes. There's nothing else I'm looking for."

They were on the same page about what they were looking for, meanwhile, because Mendes told Women's Health in April 2019 that having kids was "the furthest thing from my mind," until she met the one person who fit the bill.

Why Eva Mendes and Ryan Gosling Are So Protective of Their Private World

"Ryan Gosling happened," she explained. "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."

Dave Allocca/Startraksphoto.com

Ironically, in 2011, Gosling told The Times in London that he'd actually like to be making babies, but wasn't, so he was trying to keep busy in the meantime.

"When someone comes along, I don't think I'll be able to do both and I'm fine with that," he added. "I'll make movies until I make babies."

He had three extremely different films in theaters that year: the rom-com Crazy, Stupid, Love, the violent thriller Drive and the political drama The Ides of March.

Yet he managed, while making babies (if not at exactly the same time), to shoot The Big ShortThe Nice Guys and La La Land. And, fully aware of how he was able to keep at it, he astutely thought to give credit where it was due in a very public setting.

photos40 Fun Facts About Ryan Gosling

"I would like to try and thank one person properly and say that, while I was singing and dancing and playing piano, and having one of the best experiences I ever had on a film," Gosling said in January 2017 while accepting his Golden Globe for lead actor in a musical or comedy for La La Land, "my lady was raising our daughter, pregnant with our second and trying to help her brother fight his battle with cancer.

Paul Drinkwater/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

"If she hadn't taken all that on so that I could have this experience, it would surely be someone else up here other than me today—so," he looked intently into the camera, "sweetheart, thank you. To my daughters, Amada and Esmeralda, I love you." (And then he dedicated his award to the memory of Eva's brother, Juan Carlos Méndez Jr., who died in April 2016, 12 days before Amada was born.)

In the moment, that was an unprecedented glimpse behind closed doors from Gosling, who usually prefers to talk about literally anything other than his private life in interviews. Asked about Christmas presents for Mendes and the kids in 2016 on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Gosling charmingly pivoted to saying he wanted to get a new Roomba to help out his existing Roomba, because he felt so bad that the first one was always tirelessly cleaning.

Meanwhile, Mendes hasn't been in a movie since Gosling directed her in Lost River, which they made in 2013 and was released in 2015.

But, make no mistake, her pivot to fashion and other pursuits—including her upcoming debut children's book, Desi, Mami & the Never Ending Worries—was on purpose. And she has relished being a mom first and foremost.

photosEva Mendes' Best Looks

"I don't like saying 'take me away,' but essentially that's what work does," Mendes told Latina in the summer of 2016. "I think it can be very, very healthy if it's something that feels worthwhile."

But "right now I feel very fortunate to be home with my kids. I feel so lucky, and I'm just taking advantage of that." 

Clarkson asked Mendes in 2019 at what point did she realize, since pressing pause on acting, that she had picked "the way harder job?"

Adam Christopher /NBCUniversal

"Every day," Mendes replied. "And people are so sweet, they really try to, like warn you, prep you when you're pregnant—but nobody can prep you. Nobody. And nobody told me it was really going to be a job. And a job that I needed an incredible amount of skills for—like in different areas!"

She added, deadpan, "A chauffeur, a cook, a personal assistant to an abusive boss. And they're not grateful!" Mendes turned to the audience with a smile. "Do they get grateful?" she asked. "Does it happen at some point?"

She and Clarkson, also a mother of two, proceeded to have a good laugh about the joys and bittersweet hilarity of parenting. "And any other profession you would need to take a test, or pass tests," Mendes added. "The only test I had to pass was a pregnancy test."

Asked to name the most difficult part of motherhood, she quipped, "The amount of snacks I have to carry with me all day long…I even need to take food in the car to go to the market!"

photosStars Celebrate Mother's Day 2023

And Mendes' sense of humor proved invaluable when, in 2020, she took to Instagram to share a candid selfie of what "full on mom mode" really looked like mid-COVID-19 pandemic.

"I've graduated from my man's sweats to a robe. All day. File under: stopped caring for now," she captioned the shot. "These days my kids are getting my full on attention. It's challenging for sure but they need me now more than ever."

That was still the case in 2023 when Mendes joked she'd become "a chauffeur, a water girl" and "a wiper-downer" when her two girls become "sweaty all over each other." Initially, she confided on a July 5 Instagram Story, "this summer was supposed to be easy. I was like, 'Bring boredom back.'"

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But pandemic pressures didn't change Mendes' approach to keeping her kids to herself, relatable parenting anecdotes aside.

BlayzenPhotos / Splash News

"I have always had a clear boundary when it comes to my man and my kids," Mendes explained to an Instagram commenter in April 2020 when asked, if she was so uncertain of what to post with the world gone haywire, why not just share some family photos? "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. And I won't post their image until they're old enough to give me consent. As far as Ryan and I, it just works for us this way, to stay private."

They also can't help that they simply like being at home with each other and their girls.

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"My kids are growing up so fast I need to keep an eye on the clock in a way I never used to," Gosling told British GQ in late 2021, time on his mind at a Tag Heuer event. (Fitting that Mendes gave him a watch for his first Father's Day.)

Mendes talked about how agonizing it could be just leaving for work for the day because, as much as she enjoyed designing her own clothing line, those were hours spent away from the kids. 

"Oh my God, nobody warns you about the guilt that you feel when you do work!" she told E! News in 2017. "I'm all for, obviously, taking care of myself—that's how I can take care of them, of course—but that guilt that's just kind of always there…" She sighed. "It's like, 'Ugh, this is going to be there forever now.'"

At least she and Gosling feel less as if they're just frantically trying to keep two humans clean and fed, rinse, repeat—but it's a process.

"We're just starting to get out of survival mode," Mendes told Women's Health in 2019. 

In 2021, Gosling admitted to GQ that the girls' formative ages made it a "tough time" for them to be away from other kids and most family members during quarantine. "So, we did our best to entertain them. I think Eva and I did more acting in quarantine than we have in our whole careers."

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Well, Mendes had told E! News pre-pandemic that she was open to getting back into the game, if she found the right project.

Brian Kendall

"I just think now that I'm older and that I'm a mother, I would obviously choose my roles differently," she said. "I'm just a walking example for these girls and I take that very seriously, so it would have to be something that feels appropriate and that would still be fun for me. It's a lot of parameters, you know? But yes, I would be very excited."

And though she couldn't predict that she'd one day be co-starring with her in-house leading man in a 24/7 production of "The Pandemic Chronicles," at the time Mendes was 100-percent down to work with Gosling again.

River Callaway/Variety via Getty Images

"My most fun experience was being on set with him when he was directing," she said. "It was really so creatively satisfying being in it together, and he's such an amazing director. I would love that experience again, for sure."

As for Gosling, he told E! News at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival in January—where he was flying solo, as usual—that his "greatest experience" making a film was costarring with Mendes 13 years ago, so he hoped they'd work together again one day.

And should that ever come to pass, we will not take it for granted.

Case in point: We've cherished every bit of evidence of their romance, so keep reading to follow the trail:

(Originally published Nov. 9, 2019, at 4 a.m. PT)

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