EntertainmentCelebritiesJavier Bardem, happy with his wife Penélope Cruz and...

Javier Bardem, happy with his wife Penélope Cruz and their two children

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He was the first Spanish actor to win an Oscar and has his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Javier Bardem is, without a doubt, a ‘beast’ of cinema capable of becoming any character and doing it with ‘cum laude’ registration.

However, Bardem was not going to be an actor but a rugby player. He came to play in the lower categories of the Spanish team and until 90, with the CR Liceo Francés in Madrid (Spain). But art ended up prevailing over sport and after studying Painting at the School of Arts and Crafts, and working as an advertising cartoonist, he continued his training at Estudio Corazza, with which he is still closely linked today.

That sport had lost the battle in his life responded to a purely genetic issue, and that is that he was born into a family of actors. They were his grandparents, Rafael Bardem and Matilde Muñoz Sampedro; his mother, Pilar, and his older brothers, Carlos and Mónica. And even his uncle, Juan Antonio Bardem, and his cousin Miguel de él dedicated themselves to the cinema, although not as actors but as directors.

At the age of two, his parents divorced

Javier Ángel Encinas Bardem, as his name is, came into the world on March 1, 1969 in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (Canary Islands, Spain). His mother, in homage to the son he had and who died shortly after birth, gave him his name, Javier, in the same way that she bore the name of her deceased older sister.

When the actor was two years old, his parents divorced and his mother, Pilar, left the Canary Islands to return to Madrid with her children. According to her memoirs, her relationship with her husband, José Carlos Encinas Doussinague, was very complicated and her children did not have an easy life with him either. Even so, she explains to the actress that they were devastated when he died on November 14, 2011, a victim of leukemia. Javier would say very little about him but he would dedicate the Goya won by ‘Boca a boca’ to him.

Debuted at the age of four

At only four years old, Bardem made his debut on the sets with a small appearance in the series ‘El Pícaro’, about which he tells a funny anecdote. Fernando Fernán Gómez had to point a gun at him and he had to laugh, but, on the contrary, he got scared and started crying, whereupon the veteran actor said: “It’s okay, leave him alone, he’s a dramatic actor.”

During the 80s, he made a few appearances in series such as ‘Second Teaching’ or ‘Central Brigade’, but success came with the controversial Bigas Luna film ‘Las edades de Lulú’ (1990) . With that film he became an essential actor in the films of the Catalan director and in the next one, ‘Jamón, jamón’ (1992), he would meet who, almost 20 years later, would be his wife: Penélope Cruz.

His forceful physique and that broken nose, not because of rugby but because of an attack by a stranger in a disco, made him very often propose roles of tough and rude men. And they fit him perfectly, because in 1994 the awards for them began to rain down on him. The first, the Fotogramas de Plata for Best Actor for ‘Huevos de Oro’, also by Bigas Luna, which was followed by a collection of awards for the films ‘Numbered Days’, ‘The Detective and Death’, ‘Mouth of Mouth’ and ‘Tremulous Flesh’.

Relationship with Cristina Payes

At that time, and despite the insistent rumors of an affair with Aitana Sánchez-Gijón and Penélope Cruz, Javier had a stable relationship with the Catalan Cristina Payés, a journalist with whom he shared his life in Barcelona for 10 years.

In 2000, came the film that would allow him to gain definitive recognition from critics and the public, with his first Oscar nomination: ‘Before Night Falls’. She got into the shoes of the persecuted Cuban writer Reinaldo Arenas, losing 14 kilos and achieving an excellent Cuban accent. Three years later another of his most remembered films would arrive, ‘Los lunes al sol’, which won him the Goya for best male performance, and in 2004 he triumphed again, embroidering the role of José Luis Sampedro in the film ‘Out to sea‘.

International projection

Foreign directors set their sights on him and offers from many of the greats did not stop raining down on him. Thus, in 2008, he said yes to Woody Allen, filmed ‘Vicky Cristina Barcelona’ and began to win awards for his role as a hired killer in ‘No Country for Old Men’ (‘No Country for Old Men’) (2007 ), by the Coen brothers. For this film he would receive a Golden Globe, a BAFTA and finally the Oscar, which he dedicated to his mother in an emotional speech: “Mom, this is for you, for your parents, Rafael and Matilde, for the Spanish comedians who carry the dignity and pride of our trade. This is for Spain.”

Love appeared 20 years later

His love life turned upside down after filming with Woody Allen. At his orders, Javier would meet Penélope again and begin a relationship that would lead them to the altar in July 2010, in a secret ceremony held in The Bahamas. A few months later, Penelope would give birth to her first child: Leo Encinas Cruz. On July 22, 2013, his second daughter, Luna Encinas Cruz, was born .

‘Biutiful’ made him the best actor of the year again in 2010, winning a Goya for his role as a father willing to do anything for his family, and he also shone in ‘Eat, pray, love’ (‘Eat Pray Love’) ( 2010) and ‘Skyfall‘ (2012), where he plays the last villain facing agent 007. In 2015 he premiered ‘The Gunman’ (‘The Gunman’) alongside Sean Penn and ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge ‘ (‘Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales’) in 2017.

Without mincing words

But Bardem is not only a magnificent actor. He is also a tireless and outspoken activist. He still remembers the blow he gave the Aznar government the night he received the Goya for ‘Los lunes al sol’. The war against Iraq was waged and Bardem released in front of the entire country: “I want to say to the rulers that, even if they win the elections, they do not have a blank check to govern. They have the obligation to listen to the people and we are the majority and we say no to the war”.

From that day on we got to know a little more about the committed and caring Bardem. To those who fight for the self-determination of the Saharawi people, to those who seek to denounce misery by producing the documentary ‘Invisibles’ and to those who do not lack occasions to give their, for many, uncomfortable opinion, like this one on the crisis: “This government wants to alleviate the debt of this country with pencils and school notebooks. And save the banks instead of helping the mortgaged and providing decent housing. I want to emphasize that this is not about party colors, but about sensitivity. Humanitarian problems are linked to the absolute lack of sensitivity of those who create them. Raw and resounding, like his characters.

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