Salma Hayek on Valentina, values, and her nontraditional relationship

03/03/2008 at 10:41 PM ET

Salma Hayek wears many hats — actress, producer, activist, and most recently, mother. With the September arrival of Valentina Paloma, her daughter with PPR CEO François-Henri Pinault, the 41-year-old multitasker has more on her plate than ever before.

Sitting down for a Glamour interview in her kitchen with V-Day founder Eve Ensler, Salma nurses her now 5-month-old baby girl and chats about her pregnancy (yes, she did have gestational diabetes), her hopes for Valentina, and just how it is you keep a relationship going when your fiancé lives on the other side of the world.

Click below for the interview highlights.

On the transition to motherhood:

I believe that change keeps you young. I’m alate bloomer; I always have been. I’m 41, and I know a lot of womenthink that this is the time when you start getting depressed. To that Isay, “No, no, no, no, no!” I’m having the best time of my life.

The best thing that’s ever happened to me isthis thing that has happened to so many women, which is having a baby.Every second is magical, every smile.

I cannot get enough of it,because I am not sitting here thinking, "What am I going to do with mylife?" I’ve already established my career. I think it’s very good tohave a child at this age. I’m in a great place.

On her pregnancy:

I really embraced pregnancy. I enjoyed it. Itcame to me and I said, “OK, this is where I go now.” I had diabeteswhile I was pregnant. I became huge. And I said, “This is what it takesfor me to have this baby, and I really want it.”    

Then you don’t know ifit’s going to be healthy; you are completely out of control. So theexperience really makes you humble.

On what has surprised her most:

Well, I have to confess something — I wanted a boy. At the beginning I did. Probably because I wasafraid. I think women suffer a bit more than boys, and there is alwaysconflict between mothers and daughters.  

But now that she’s here, I’m sohappy she’s a girl. And I can’t imagine there ever being conflictbetween us, because I’m in a state of innocence where I love everythingshe does. If she does a poop and I have to change the diaper, I lovethat moment!

On how Valentina has changed her personally:

I don’t remember very well who I was before.Part of me feels like it’s so new and so strange to have a baby, andpart of me feels like I’ve known [her] face forever. Somehow I amreally relaxed within the chaos of having a baby — and anyone who’s amother knows it’s very hard to relax, because there is so much to doand worry about!

I just feel so fortunate to be her mother, and itmakes me excited about the rest of my life, because I will get towitness her transformation every day. I feel I was born to have thisgirl.

On how François is with Valentina:

He warned me from the beginning that he getsvery nervous when babies are so little — he thinks he’s going to breakthem! But he plays with her, sleeps with her, loves her, kisses her.He’s not obsessed like me. But he’s had two [babies] before!

How their relationship works — François lives in Paris, Salma in LA.

To most women it’s crazy. But everyrelationship is unique, and in order to make it work you have to bewilling to listen — not only to your partner, but to the relationshipitself. You have to be brave enough to say, “This is who we are: Wemight not look like the perfect couple, or like our parents did, butthis is our love story.”

On if she wishes they could be together more often:

Wishing is a good thing. But wishing you couldbe together more is so much better than wishing you could get the hellaway from someone. [laughs]

François is very generous in hisrespect for me: He not only gets out of my way, but he’s completelysupportive. He pushes me in the right direction. He challenges me witha sense of humor.

I feel lucky to have found a man who is so smart andsuccessful in his own right, so there is no competition between us. Heunderstands I was happy and had a great life before I met him.

On if marriage is something she cares about — she and François are currently engaged:

Right now I am just enjoying my baby. Do Ithink we are going to get married? Probably. Will it make a difference?I hope not.

I don’t have a need for marriage. You want to grow old withsomeone, you want to have a partner and to have children — we have allthose things. Some people need the commitment. Maybe we’ll just makethe party!

On her hopes for Valentina:

Life will always be a struggle, and we willalways have to work on making the world a better place. But then,working at it is what brings people together.

I hope Valentina will bemuch more involved than I have been, and smarter about it than I was,because she will grow up in the middle of our conversation and it willbe a part of her everyday life. I will make sure she has activists andartists to talk to, and she is very lucky in that respect, because I’vesurrounded myself with extraordinary human beings in many differentareas. She will grow up listening to conversations that she’ll beprivileged to hear.

Perfection is the end of evolution. Sothere will always be something to work on. And what’s great is that Iknow she’ll be part of it.

Source: Glamour, April issue

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Allison on

Wow, what a great interview. She’s a very clever lady and has such a great view of life, and in the way she expresses it. Good for her, i hope all three of them have a wonderful life together.

Colleen on

I really admire Salma as a mother and as a woman. I can’t wait until my issue of Glamour arrives so I can read the rest of the interview.

FC on

The interview sounds wonderful, and she sounds absolutely smitten with Valentina–dirty diapers and all. That’s love, hehe.

But who wouldn’t be? Valentina looks to be a wonderful baby. :) And yes, she’s as cute as she wants to be. ;)

J.J. on

Great interview. Salma is no doubt a great mother to her daughter, and I know that Salma, Francois and Valentina are going to have a great life together even though there will be struggles and challenges that they will have to face in life…but that’s pretty much with everyone. Never had I seen a person never suffer or lived the perfect life, but I had seen them get through their sufferings and hardship with strength and courage. Anyway, I know Salma will definitely raise her daughter in a proper manner so that little Valentina will grow to become a wonderful woman and human being in the future, who will inspire others =).

gabriella on

I have always loved salma. She comes across so classy and smart. She seems like a great lady and she will be an awesome mom. She is also a favorite actress of mine. As for looks salma is totally stunning, at 41 she looks better and younger than some celebrities in their 20’s and 30’s imo. It’s funny she said at first she wanted a boy, because when she got pregnant I hoped she was having a boy. I didn’t know if salma wanted a girl or boy personally of course, but I had a gut feeling she seemed like the type of lady to want a son, and now she admitted it lol. That being said valentina is adorable and I like her name. Hope we see more pictures of her soon.

Elizabeth on

Valentina looks so practical in that picture. Salma seems to take life in stride, and her daughter has that same look about her.

Starlet on

I’ve just been reading an article here in the UK about the number of couples (particularly high income couples) who are committed in every way, yet have to live in different countries, was very interesting.

Love the interview! Salma seems to have such wonderful insight to life!

NELLA on

I LOVE SALMA HAYEK, SHE’S SUCH A BEAUTIFUL AND WELL GROUNDED PERSON. VALENTINA IS ADORABLE AND I LOVE HER FACIAL EXPRESSION IN THAT PICTURE. I THINK SHE AND HER DAUGHTER WILL HAVE A WONDERFUL BOND.

Emma on

Does anyone know what his other kids are called? I love french names so would be interested to know :-)

François and Mathilde.

Simone on

Love Salma and Valentina is beautiful…her momma’s looks i would say :-)!!!!!

Carlie on

Looking at the picture, Valentina looks the image of my daughter, who’s also five months.

I love her dark brown eyes!

J-Lin on

What a great interview. I really like Salma Hayek and she seems so down to earth. Her comments are refreshing and honest. I wish her the best.

Pam on

“But wishing you could be together more is so much better than wishing you could get the hell away from someone. [laughs]“

This part is very, very true! Ha, I speak from experience. My husband travels a lot for work, and the only times we spend full weeks together are vacations, and usually by day 4 I’m ready for some alone time to read a book or whatever. They do have an interesting relationship, and while it wouldn’t work for me, it works for them and that’s what counts.

I like what she had to say about late motherhood. I had my son at 38 so I can relate. I feel like what I needed to get done personally is finished and I can focus 100% on him.

She had a nice approach to her gestational diabetes. I had complications, but I was more angry. It took me so long to get pregnant, then when I did and there were issues, I was like ‘why can’t I at least have a problem-free pregnancy after all this?’

About loving even the poop, don’t worry, that goes away by 8 or so months. And Valentina’s on breastmilk, so she has it easy. My milk dried up around 10 months, and those last two months of formula – oh god. Such stinky poops!

Kind of nice to see a celeb admit that they wanted the opposite sex at first!

Bella Mama on

i adore Salma.. Valentina is super blessed to have her as her mom..

yaosa on

I’ve always admired her work and her perspective and it’s always inspiring to see people follow their own path and be bold enough to stand behind it (like Halle, Angelina and Helena).

Her accomplishments are remarkable and I’m so happy for her in this phase of her life.

And I totally agree about the age thing…who says you have to get depressed once you hit 40 or any other age for that matter? We should celebrate that we are even here to celebrate aging!

I wish her, Francois and beautiful Valentina all the best. They are very lucky to have each other!

rebe on

What a beautiful mom and baby. They just glow. great interview . I love the comment she makes that she was ” born to have this girl” and is ” excited about her life” ….to see her daughter blossom.

lulusass on

It’s funny, i think life gives you what you need…i was the opposite of Salma i wanted a girl cos i was a girl and i knew what to do with a girl…i already had a blue print!!! I found out by accident that i was carrying a boy and it took me a while to come around to the idea. I pretended i was fine but inwardly i couldn’t let go of that aching feeling, i hate myself now for that because i am the luckiest girl being the mother of the most perfect boy i have ever known and can not imagine my life any other way! At the end of the day a healthy baby is what all of us hope for when we first decide to have a baby.

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