Here’s Why You Never See Eva Mendes Anymore

As a Hollywood idol, Eva Mendes is a woman who seemingly has it all. Not only is she beautiful and talented, but she also has her very own leading man at her side in the form of fellow heartthrob Ryan Gosling. So why do we never see her in films anymore?

In the 2000s, Mendes’ career was definitely on the up. That decade saw the actress find fame with films such as Once Upon a Time in Mexico, 2 Fast 2 Furious and Hitch. And in later years, Mendes also became known for her relationship with fellow movie star, Ryan Gosling.

But though they’re among Hollywood’s most elite couples, Mendes and Gosling are notoriously private. They rarely appear in public together and have kept their two daughters firmly out of the spotlight. And Mendes has retreated from life in the public eye even further, having not made a movie since 2014.

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It’d be fair to say that Mendes comes from a pretty ordinary background. The future star was born in March 1974 in Florida. But following her Cuban mom and dad’s break-up, she’d later relocate to California. And while she’s considered a beauty now, in 2007 the actress told the Australian newspaper The Sydney Morning Herald that she was bullied by her siblings because of her “buck teeth.”

Still, from an early age Mendes dreamed of a more exciting lifestyle. “I was poor. I came from a lower-middle-class family so I would imagine all kinds of things,” she recalled. “I thought I was going to be an astronaut and an opera singer when I was really little. Then I thought about being a movie star when I saw Annie. I was seven then.”

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While Mendes seemingly had her eyes set on Hollywood from childhood, it’d be another two decades before she got her big break. And at one point, it looked like she’d follow another path altogether. She took up a place at college for a marketing degree, but her life changed after she appeared in a neighbor’s photography book.

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Mendes’ pictures caught the eye of a manager, who signed her up for a handful of commercial gigs. Gradually, the jobs became bigger, until she finally got cast in a movie. But Mendes admitted that she took the work “without having a clue what to do… I’d never had an acting class in my life. I was terrible!”

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To improve her acting skills, Mendes hired Ivana Chubbuck, a renowned acting tutor. And gradually, the up-and-coming star began to carve out a film career. “There hasn’t been one movie that has taken me straight to the top,” she later reflected. “It’s been little by little, which is great because I have a feeling that I wouldn’t have been able to deal with it. I would have run away and quit.”

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Mendes’ early roles included Training Day and 2 Fast 2 Furious. But her real breakout came in 2003, with not just one movie but a trio of high-profile films that were all released that year. They were Once Upon A Time In Mexico alongside Johnny Depp, Out Of Time with Denzel Washington, and Stuck On You, which also starred Matt Damon.

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Seeing her movie career finally take off was emotional for Mendes and her mother. The actress recalled how her mom became teary in a limo on their way to a premiere. Mendes revealed, “She showed me a note I had written to her when I was nine years old. It said, ‘Mum I’m going to take care of all your bills and I’m going to pick you up in a limousine.’”

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With her growing success, Mendes wasn’t only able to cover her mother’s living expenses but also put a roof over her head. The actress’ motivation was to give back to her mom for all the sacrifices Mendes’ mother had made over the years. The actress explained that her aim was to “save my mom who suffered so much to make my life OK.”

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Bigger roles were to follow for Mendes, including starring alongside Will Smith in 2005’s Hitch. Her casting in the movie put her among the first minority actors to take a leading role in a mainstream rom-com. And what’s more, she won glowing reviews for her performance.

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Not all of Mendes’ roles over the years have been as well received, though. One glaring example was The Women, the female-led 2008 comedy in which she co-starred alongside Debra Messing, Annette Bening, Jada Pinkett Smith and Meg Ryan. Mendes’ turn in the widely panned movie put her in the running for a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actress.

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Another of Mendes’ movies that flopped was The Spirit, which – unfortunately for her – came out the same year as The Women. The film was again slammed by critics at the time. And it even earned a spot on Empire magazine’s list of “The 50 Worst Movies Ever,” coming in at number 32.

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Despite these occasional flops, though, Mendes did also enjoy some career highlights around this time. Her 2007 movie Ghost Rider reached number one in the North American box office and earned close to $230 million globally. That same year, she also appeared in the critically acclaimed We Own the Night. And 2009’s Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans was hailed as one of the best releases of the year.

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More success followed for Mendes with the 2010 comedy The Other Guys. The film, which also starred Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell, was a hit, raking in more than $170 million at the box office worldwide. Two years later, her role in Girl in Progress saw Mendes nominated for an ALMA Award.

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Also in 2012, Mendes appeared in the fantasy flick Holy Motors. The actress claimed to have found the part fulfilling, even though it’d initially been intended for the British supermodel, Kate Moss. In an interview with the U.K. newspaper The Daily Telegraph in 2013, Mendes said that the film was “the coolest, most creative thing I’ve ever done.”

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Mendes’ next prominent movie role came courtesy of the 2012 drama The Place Beyond the Pines. The film was well received, and it was especially significant for the actress because it kick-started her romance with co-star Ryan Gosling. The pair apparently began dating on set but would remain hush-hush about their romance for some time.

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In fact, over the course of their nine-year relationship, Mendes and Gosling have only been seen publicly together on a handful of occasions – when they were doing press for The Place Beyond the Pines. But the intensely private couple have gone from strength to strength behind closed doors. They’re now parents to two daughters: Esmeralda, born in 2014, and Amada, who arrived two years later.

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As well as expanding their brood, the couple teamed up creatively again on the 2015 film Lost River. In the movie, Mendes appeared as a showgirl, while Gosling took up a spot behind the camera for the first time. And it seemed that the experience of working with her beau was a positive one for Mendes.

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Speaking to The Oprah Magazine in 2019, Mendes said of working with Gosling, “The two times we’ve collaborated, him and I, have been the two best experiences in my career. 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.”

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Moving on to her latest collaboration with Gosling, Mendes continued, “Being in the film Lost River was nothing short of a magical experience. I would love to either act opposite him again or be directed by him at some point. I just love working with him. In a career of 20+ years, to have my two most incredible creative experiences be with him, of course, I’d want a third.”

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But while Mendes seemed to have been inspired by her experiences on Lost River, the film would mark her final role for a while. In fact, as of March 2021 the movie remained her last credit in almost seven years. And the actress’ absence from the screen didn’t go unnoticed by her fans.

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In 2020, while responding to a comment on her Instagram account, Mendes addressed the reason behind her hiatus. And it turned out that there was a perfectly understandable explanation. That’s because the actress had simply decided to focus on raising her family rather than chasing a movie career.

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Writing on Instagram, Mendes stated, “As a mother now, there are many roles I won’t do. There are many subject matters that I don’t want to be involved with, so it limits my choices and I’m fine with that. I have to set an example for my girls now. But no worry I got some side hustles.”

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Mendes’ words reiterated comments she’d previously made in an interview with E! News in 2019. Back then, she’d said, “Now that I’m older and that I’m a mother, I would obviously choose my roles differently. I’m just a walking example for [my daughters] and I take that very seriously, so it would have to be something that feels appropriate and that would still be fun for me.”

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That being said, Mendes refused to rule out a return to the screen, particularly in collaboration with Gosling. “I really want to work with Ryan again,” she confessed. “My most fun experience was being on set with him when he was directing. 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.”

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Besides, Mendes still had plenty to keep her busy. In addition to bringing up her daughters, as she’d explained on Instagram, the actress had her “side hustles” to focus on. Over the years, she’s put her name to a range of homeware at Macy’s, served as a director for CIRCA Beauty and released her own fashion brand, Eva by Eva Mendes, in partnership with New York & Co.

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It would seem that Mendes takes an active role in the creation of her clothing line. Her aim is apparently to put all women at ease, no matter their shape or budget. With that in mind, no items in the actress’ collection retail at over $200, and they come in sizes zero through to 20, plus petite and tall fits.

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And it appears that Mendes’ love of fashion has brushed off on her two daughters. “They’re just creative with everything. Children are so creative,” she told E! News. “I think, unfortunately, as they grow up, society and maybe school or just people kind of take it out of us I believe.”

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“So I’m hoping to keep them in that creative space as long as possible,” Mendes continued. “I was talking about this the other day. My little girl said she wanted to wear socks on her hands to school and I was like, ‘Cool. Great. Which socks? Which pair?’ I don’t want to limit them by saying no, you can’t do that.”

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In order to harness their creativity, Mendes’ approach is to allow her girls to dress how they like. The actress explained, “If they want to wear jammies to dinner, I let them do that as long as it’s appropriate of course and as long as it’s appropriate to the weather outside. I kind of let them do whatever they want when it comes to how they’re dressed.”

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By sticking to her off-screen endeavors, Mendes gets to spend more time with her children, which are her main priority in life. But in 2019 the actress told Women’s Health magazine that prior to her relationship with Gosling, becoming a parent had been “the furthest thing from [her] mind.”

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Revealing what changed her stance on motherhood, Mendes added, “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.” But since welcoming her children into the world, they’ve become the actress’ everything.

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Discussing her experiences as a mom with E! News in 2018, Mendes confessed that her babies were now her world. And as a result, she had no intentions of returning to movies any time soon. “I’m just so obsessed with my kids that I don’t want to leave them,” the actress explained. “They’re just still so little.”

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But while Mendes was putting her all into motherhood, she admitted that she’d had help. “I don’t feel like I have it balanced at all,” the star revealed. “I kind of have been figuring it out as I’m going along and it’s just important to have a support system. I have my family, I have Ryan’s family and that’s just like, invaluable to have family around supporting you.”

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Mendes may be happy to discuss elements of her family life with the press, but for the most part she and Gosling try to protect their daughters from the media spotlight. So she never shares images of her children or Gosling on social media, preferring to let them live their lives behind closed doors.

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In fact, Mendes and Gosling have done such a good job in shielding Esmerelda and Amada from the media that the two girls apparently have no idea that their parents are famous. In 2019 the actress told The Oprah Magazine, “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.”

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Mendes added that her daughters still didn’t care what mom and dad did for a living. “They haven’t shown any interest in that, so we haven’t really had that conversation yet,” she explained. “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.”

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That being said, Mendes and her children mightn’t be able to live in their private bubble forever. In October 2020 the actress told Australian radio channel Nova 96.9 that it was “time” to get back to acting now that her daughters were “getting a bit older.” But she specified, “I don’t want to do anything violent. I don’t want to do something risqué. I think the only thing that’s left is Disney.”

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