In a new interview, Eva Mendes opens up about two incredible events that happened in her life, one happy and one sad, during the same week. The 42-year-old actress lost her older brother Carlos to cancer and gave birth to her second daughter — now 3-month-old Amada Lee — with partner Ryan Gosling just 12 days later. She says,
Losing my brother brought our family closer, and we were already close to begin with. So to just see everybody be there for one another and show up, I feel so lucky to have them.
And then they were there for me when Amada was born. We had a funeral service for [Carlos] and that same week I had the baby. So it was really, really intense and obviously beyond heartbreaking, but also kind of beautiful. Being totally honest, I don’t feel like I’ve really processed that yet.
Check out a few more excerpts below.
Eva and Ryan also shares 22-month-old daughter Esmeralda Amada. On why both her daughters bear the name Amada:
My grandmother’s name is Amada. We had a few names picked out for our new baby, and when she was born, we didn’t feel like those names were her. We came up with a few more, even that morning, and tried them out. We were like, ‘What about Viviana? But we just kept going back to Amada. In true Latin fashion, we reuse names all the time. I used to know five sisters that were all Maria del Carmen, Maria Elena, Maria Liliana … [laughs]
The passing of her brother:
And it was an emotional time with the passing of my brother. We thought how beautiful to go with what made us emotional and with what felt like her. When we looked at her, we thought, ‘Aww, Amadita.’
Exposing her daughters to her Cuban culture while providing a balance of her American upbringing:
We’re constantly playing Cuban music. I speak to them in Spanish, and my mom speaks [to both girls] in Spanish. Any time I have an opportunity to introduce [them] to my culture, whether it’s through music or through food, I do. That is a main priority, for sure. I have the best of both worlds. I feel completely Cuban and completely American at the same time. I’m so thankful to my mother for coming to the States and risking it all and giving us this opportunity. I really connect with both cultures, and that’s rare. That’s a gift that she gave me and all of us.