Ryan Gosling came along and completely changed Eva Mendes’ life plans.
“The Place Beyond the Pines” actress had no intention of having children before she met her co-star Gosling on the film’s set. “It was the furthest thing from my mind. Ryan Gosling happened,” she tells Women’s Health for their May cover story. “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.”
Mendes, 45, admits the first several years of parenthood were a significant challenge. “We’re just starting to get out of survival mode,” she says. “I’m starting to feel like a person again.” Mendes and Gosling, 38, share two children: four-year-old Esmeralda Amada and two-year-old Amada Lee.
“I felt a lack of ambition, if I can be honest,” Mendes says, reflecting on her body of work in Hollywood after two decades. “I feel more ambitious in the home right now than I do in the workplace. We have an amazing support group: Ryan’s mom, my mom, Ryan’s and my sisters. It’s a village that helped us. My heart goes out to women who do this alone.
“Every day is such a learning experience – they challenge you in so many ways. Like, I’m their mom. I have to rise up, and hopefully, most of the time I do, but sometimes it’s definitely maddening,” she says of parenting. “The whole fame component is super scary when you try to raise your kids. What I try to emphasize is that I don’t let them see me put attention to how I dress.”
For Mendes, it is important her kids see her as a caregiver and not a superstar. “They’ve never seen me get ready for something; they’ve never seen me at work. Which is fine for whoever wants to do it that way, but the way I keep it normal is by not letting them see me in these situations. I’m just Mom. And I’m more than happy to just be Mom.”
The actress can now dedicate more time to her fitness, though working out is definitely not something she looks forward to: “I’m envious of women who enjoy working out because I have the worst attitude about it. My vanity gets me to the gym – and obviously health reasons – but I’m kicking and screaming the whole way through.
“I have blood work done at least twice a year because I have high blood sugar, and high cholesterol runs in my family,” she reveals when asked about her diet. “I’m not squeaky-clean healthy. I have a sweet tooth, so I can’t keep anything in the house.”
The May 2019 issue of Women’s Health is available April 23.