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How Babies and ‘Barbie’ Changed Ryan Gosling’s Life

It’s hard to believe that Ryan Gosling almost didn’t play Ken in last summer’s megahit Barbie. When he was initially offered the role by director Greta Gerwig and the movie’s star and producer Margot Robbie, he passed, citing scheduling conflicts and concerns over how he would bring the iconic blond doll to life. “I was like, ‘I can’t be the guy that messed up the Barbie movie,’” he’s said. Gerwig and Robbie were adamant he was the right man for the job and continued to lobby him until he eventually relented.

The rest is movie magic history. It’s impossible to imagine anyone other than Gosling inhabiting the role of the misguided, lovesick and often neon-clad Ken. His hilarious turn and undeniable “Kenergy” helped the flick rake in $1.4 billion in ticket sales globally and earned him a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination.

Gosling, 43, appreciates the fanfare. “The movie’s success is a dream come true for Ryan, and being nominated for an Academy Award is obviously a massive honor,” says a source. But at the end of the day, he’s just as happy out of the spotlight, enjoying the quiet life at home in Santa Barbara, California, with his longtime partner, Eva Mendes, 49, and their two daughters, Esmeralda, 9, and Amada, 7.

“Ryan doesn’t relish attention,” says a second source. “It’s part of the job for him, but he much prefers letting others shine. He doesn’t need to be the star of the show.” Adds the first source: “Parading around the Hollywood scene has never been Ryan’s thing.”

Getty Images

For Gosling, home is where his heart is, which is why he stepped back from Hollywood for four years between 2018 and 2022. “My priorities changed, and I wanted to be with my kids,” he told GQ of the extended break from showbiz. “It’s going super fast. I hear the clock ticking. I don’t know how much time I’m going to get, and I don’t want to spend it in the wrong place. I know I’m not spending it in the wrong place if I’m with my family.”

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According to the first source, Gosling also needed to recharge his batteries after starring in a slew of back-to-back movies, including The Nice Guys, La La Land (for which he received a Best Actor Golden Globe and a Best Actor Oscar nomination), Blade Runner 2049 and First Man. “Spending time with Eva and the kids was obviously the top priority, but he also needed a break,” explains the source. “Ryan tends to work in big spurts, then takes time off so he can come back to the next challenge with a full tank.”

Robbie has called her Barbie costar “the most glorious human being.” Jaap Buitendijk/Warner Bros.

Gosling has said fatherhood wasn’t on his mind before hooking up with Mendes. They started dating while filming 2012’s The Place Beyond the Pines, where they played parents to a young child. “I wasn’t thinking about kids before I met her, but after I met Eva, I realized that I just didn’t want to have kids without her. And there were moments on The Place Beyond the Pines where we were pretending to be a family, and I didn’t really want it to be pretend anymore,” he said in his GQ profile. “I realized that this would be a life I would be really lucky to have.”

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He and Mendes are in total agreement about keeping their relationship private — and their little girls out of the public eye. “They are trying to keep their daughters’ lives as normal as possible and don’t want them growing up in Hollywood,” says the second source. The couple doesn’t employ nannies, preferring to be hands-on with the kids. When Gosling is on set working, the source says Mendes typically has family members stay with her to help care for the girls.

Mendes has said she and Gosling are not comfortable “exposing our very private life that we value.” Robert Kamau/GC Images

The first source says it can be difficult for Mendes when Gosling is away for long periods. (When Gosling won his Golden Globe for La La Land in 2017, he memorably thanked Mendes for holding down the fort while he filmed.) “Like any couple, they have some challenges to navigate,” says the source, “but they work through these things fairly seamlessly.”

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Still, Mendes, who’s taken an acting hiatus since starring in Gosling’s 2014 directorial debut, Lost River, isn’t slacking while her husband grinds. In 2022, she became the co-owner and brand ambassador of Skura Sponge, and she’s releasing a children’s book, Desi, Mami, and the Never-Ending Worries, on September 17. “My latest project is a true labor of love,” she wrote on Instagram on February 22. “Being the Mami to my two little girls has inspired me to write my first picture book.”

Gosling and Mendes started dating in 2011 while filming The Place Beyond the Pines. Cover Images

Sources say Gosling is thrilled to take over domestic duties when Mendes gets busy with work. “When Eva travels, Ryan is more than happy to stay home,” says the second source. Adds the first: “Ryan always encourages Eva to pursue the projects she believes in and gladly steps up to the plate to take care of the kids whenever she needs.”

Gosling loves being a girl dad. “He reads to the kids, takes them to games, puts them to sleep, cooks their dinners — everything, really,” says the first source, adding that having another child “wouldn’t be totally out of the question” for the actor. “He devotes almost all his time to his family. He enjoys taking care of the girls and spoiling Eva, too.”

Mendes is the brand ambassador and co-owner of Skura Style, often repping their antimicrobial sponges on Instagram. Skura Style

Quality time with Mendes typically includes a nice home-cooked dinner followed by some snuggle time on the couch. “Ryan loves to cook for Eva, and once the kids are asleep, they’ll enjoy one of their favorite shows together.” (Gosling recently told Variety he’s a big fan of The Bachelorette, adding, “I watch a lot of reality TV. A lot.”) While the pair occasionally hit the town for date nights, the source says they “prefer hikes and trips to the beach over fancy restaurants or a big party.”

Next up, Gosling will be promoting The Fall Guy alongside costar Emily Blunt before the action comedy hits theaters on May 3. (There’s also been talk of a Barbie sequel and a Ken-centered spinoff, but nothing is confirmed yet.) The second source says Gosling will take another extended break from acting “when he feels like it’s time.” Says the first source: “It’s a go-with-the-flow situation. Right now, Ryan and Eva are enjoying the best of all worlds.”

 

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​Us Weekly

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