Penelope Cruz on how motherhood changed her and working with husband Javier Bardem for the first time as a couple

Becoming a mother had a profound impact on Penélope Cruz. The Murder on the Orient Express actress — who shares son Leo, six, and daughter Luna, four, with husband Javier Bardem — opened up to her Hollywood friend Gwyneth Paltrow for Interview magazine, candidly speaking about how motherhood changed her.

“I used to be so afraid about what people were going to think of me, if I was going to be accepted, if I was going to be loved,” the Spanish actress confessed. “I put a lot of energy into the perception of myself. When I became a mother—almost seven years ago—something very deep changed in me, where I really don’t care about a lot of the stuff I used to care about before.”

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penelope-cruz-javier-bardemVIEW GALLERY The actress, who married Javier in 2010, is a mother-of-two Photo: Venturelli/WireImage

She added, “That’s part of growing up, and now I have to go through other tests that life will put in front of me. I have new fears now.”

Since welcoming her son in 2011 and daughter in 2013, the Loving Pablo star has made an effort to not be separated from her children. Penélope shared, “I try to travel no more than we have to. I’ve only been away from my kids for a day and a half in almost seven years. I’ve had to do that three times, and I’m hoping it can stay that way.”

The 43-year-old noted, “When I’m not working, I’m taking time to be a mother. I can manage in the kitchen.”

penelope-cruz-motherhodVIEW GALLERY Penélope confessed that motherhood changed her Photo: Joe Maher/FilmMagic

Penélope’s own upbringing has helped her combat scrutiny in Hollywood. “My mom worked very hard to raise us, as did my dad, without bullsh-t. I’ve always had a real sense of rootedness in family and reality. It’s not like I’m proud of the values I have, because I don’t feel like they’re up to me—they just come from the way I was raised,” she shared.

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“I’m rooted by the things I’ve seen in my mom, the things I admire in her. And in my father. When it comes to talking about aging as an actress, I feel like, ‘What the f-ck? I’m not going to give you even two minutes to honor your question.’ It doesn’t deserve that,” the mom-of-two said. “Something changed when I gave birth to my daughter. I started thinking, ‘Come on, it’s 2017. Why do women still have to be talking about this? It’s crazy.’ That sense only got bigger when I had children.”

cruz-bardemVIEW GALLERY The pair starred in their first film as a couple in the 2017 drama movie Loving Pablo Photo: Venturelli/WireImage

Penélope stars alongside her husband Javier, 48, in the drama Loving Pablo. The film marks the first time that the pair has worked as a couple. While the Hollywood stars met on the set of the 1992 movie Jamón Jamón, they didn’t fall in love until after 2008’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona.

“The first time we worked together as a couple was in Loving Pablo. I was a little worried about playing these characters who are so cruel to one another—like, how was that going to work? But it went great,” the Oscar-winning actress revealed. “We were there to help each other and protect each other, and the director is one of our best friends. We felt like it was the three of us together.”

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