by | Mon., Mar. 5, 2018 9:20 AM
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and are a couple. That's what we know—and we barely know that.
Their existence as human beings is verifiable, but their status as a couple of going on seven years and the parents of two children is provable only via the sparest shreds of evidence, including a couple of birth certificates and a few spoken acknowledgements that have escaped from the actors' mouths while in a public setting.
Ryan and Eva started out as your average celebrity couple in that they didn't exactly invite attention, nor did they eschew it, but there were walks to grab coffee, some date nights and a trip to Disneyland, as well as two red carpet appearances—to date, the only water in the photographic well. They even together very early on, in 2011.
But in hindsight, those red carpet photos probably wouldn't even exist if they hadn't both been in a movie that needed promoting, the melancholy 2012 drama The Place Beyond the Pines.
That film, for all its tear-jerker elements, provided the setting in which our heroes met and fell in love before embarking on their determined quest to live their joint life out of the spotlight.
No cute couple shots on Instagram, no birth announcements by way of magazine covers, no premieres, no award shows, time no nothing.
It's as if once they had found each other, they headed home, locked the door, rolled up the welcome mat behind them and made their house disappear. As though once they decided to get really serious, they decided that the public had had enough photo opportunities.
And while they haven't taken every pain to be left alone—they do still live in the Hollywood area, after all—Eva and Ryan have succeeded at being so low-key as a unit that they've managed to welcome two new human beings into this world in as quiet a fashion as possible despite Gosling's movie stardom and Eva remaining in demand for all things.
"What people don't know about me is that I love being home," Mendes said in the, featuring the designer and taste-maker on the cover. "Instead of being on the red carpet, I'd rather be home with my girls."
Well, yeah! People kinda figured that out over the years, especially when Gosling hit all the 2017 award shows as a nominee and she was...well, at home, apparently.
But it's also become rather apparent that Eva and Ryan have one of the most trusting, secure relationships around, because otherwise it might have been weird to see your partner go off night after night to red carpet appearances—particularly when Gosling's La La Land became the hottest thing in show business since Botox—and not felt a twinge of "hmm, maybe I should go to this one."
Instead, Gosling has taken to giving Mendes subtle shout-outs from the screen, whether while hosting Saturday Night Live (though she was with him in New York that time and attended the after-party) or while giving his acceptance speech at the 2017 Golden Globes.
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Gosling even took a little crap online (actually, he probably never saw it, but memo to Ryan: you got crap) for calling Mendes "my lady" and showering her with appreciation for holding down the home front while he was off making La La Land.
Some were annoyed that he didn't say her name (because she's famous, unlike the sound mixer's significant other, which makes it OK for the sound mixer to just say "my wife" or "my girlfriend"), while still others didn't like the imagined patriarchal implications of what he said, as if Mendes was putting "her man's" career first and her happiness second.
None of which was implied in Gosling's speech!
And, he did say "Eva and Ezzy, I love you" as he was signing off from SNL in 2015, a pronounced shout-out to Mendes and their little girl Esmeralda, who was joined by sister Amada last April. He also, for the record, said her whole name when, asked what drew him to his partner, he, "That she's Eva Mendes. There's nothing else I'm looking for."
A post shared by Eva Mendes (@evamendes) on Feb 21, 2017 at 10:03am PST
Mendes did, however, go with Gosling to South by Southwest in March, where he attended the premiere of his movie Song to Song, but you only knew that because she Instagrammed a pic of the theater.
On her end, Mendes has taken a breather from acting, her last major role being in the 2013 HBO movie Clear History and her last big-screen appearance coming in the Gosling-directed Lost River in 2015, but she has refocused her attention toward running her various businesses and yes, toward her family (like a lot of moms tend to do, or only wish they had the resources to do).
And even then, she's away from her daughters more than enough for her liking.
"I don't know how I found balance," Mendes told E! News in September while talking about the fall collection for her New York & Company signature line, which featured a newly expanded array of sizes to suit more body types. "I think it's like a day-to-day kind of struggle, you know. And then the guilt! Oh my God, nobody warns you about the guilt that you feel when you do work!...I'm all for, obviously, taking care of myself—that's how I can take care of them, of course—but that guilt that's just kind of always there..." She sighed. "It's like, 'Ugh, this is going to be there forever now.'"
Meanwhile, she just —still a Gosling- and kid-free zone—that she has a new collection coming soon, and she stays model-ready all the time to exhibit her various wares.
But while Mendes has publicly acknowledged Gosling on purpose fewer times than he has mentioned her (we his name is "Ryan") and traditionally sticks to business when she's doing appearances for her clothing and makeup lines, she can't help but talk about her kids more these days. That's what mommies do.
"My older daughter who just turned 3, she's kind of oblivious that I do anything but be her mom, and I'm OK with that," she told us with a huge smile on her face.
As for the girls' personalities, Amada and Esmeralda are "pretty opposite," Mendes said. Smiling slyly, she added, "They're both angels, they're just different kinds of angels."
The closest Mendes has ever come to on social media was last year's of 's outfit on Golden Globes night: "Obviously this wasn't my favorite moment of the night....But it was definitely my favorite style moment of the night. The stunning and [email protected] is killing me with this look. So so so beautiful."
But this lack of mentioning each other by name, for the most part, is part of their deal.
Gosling even implied that Mendes didn't love it when he went overboard talking about her in public,, "She indirectly picked things that became very important to different people involved [with Lost River]. She hates credit and she'll even be mad that I'm giving her that credit. But she was very helpful in so many ways."
Promoting The Nice Guys in May 2016, when asked about the girl-to-boy ratio in his house recently rising to 3-to-1, Ryan confirmed that was at least true, adding, deadpan, "It's heaven. It's like walking through a field of flowers every day. I live with angels."
Deftly directing the conversation right back to his movie, which co-starred, he added self-deprecatingly, "It's a ray of sunshine in a dark time, because with Russell, really, it's sad. It's sad that we've turned out this way."
Now, the press could press Mendes and Gosling more, but it's likely that would result in each beating a retreat back to their fortress, which Mendes isn't that inclined to leave anyway.
"I'm sorry. I'm shutting down," she told The Edit, not unkindly, in 2013 when an interviewer ventured a question about her boyfriend. "I'm such a weirdo. I literally lose my ability to speak—and you were doing so well."
Her only deepened once they became parents.
"Whether we like it or not, privacy is going to be very difficult for Esmeralda. I think it's unfair but that's our reality," Mendes in 2014. "So Ryan and I decided early on to give her as much privacy as we could. And my pregnancy was the first opportunity to give her that.
"It's such an intimate time for the mother, too. I know that it seems all very innocuous when you're flipping through a tabloid at the doctor's office or see a photo of a pregnant lady online, but I find the media's 'bump watch' obsession to be both intrusive and stressful. So I made a decision to eject myself from it completely. I was like, 'Annnnd I'm out.'"
Perhaps once their daughters are a little older, Mendes may feel inclined to join Gosling on a red carpet again—or vice versa, for one of her appearances. The couple actually threw caution to the wind and let themselves be photographed hand-in-hand at the Saturday Night Live after party when Gosling last hosted in September—the SNL bash apparently being such a must-do that it was worth breaking their no-photographs-please policy.
At least for one night.
(Originally published March 9, 2017, at 4:21 p.m. PT)
For more on Ryan and Eva's private world, watch E! News tonight at 7 and 11 p.m.
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