Salma Hayek was born in Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz, Mexico to
Lebanese father Sami Hayek (oil company executive) and Spanish
mother Diana Jimenez (opera singer). Raised in a wealthy,
devoutly Catholic family, she was sent to the Academy of the
Sacred Heart, Grand Coteau, Louisiana, at the age of 12. She was
also an accomplished gymnast, with aspirations of becoming an
After leaving the school due to alleged behavioral problems with the religious sisters who ran the school, Hayek returned to Mexico for a period, but then Salma was sent to Houston, Texas, to live with her aunt, where she stayed until she was 17. She subsequently moved to Mexico City for college, where she studied International Relations. To the chagrin of her family, Hayek decided to drop out in order to pursue a career as an actress.
At the age of 23, Salma Hayek landed the title role in Teresa (1989), a successful telenovela (Mexican soap opera) which earned her star status in her native country. Later, in 1994, Hayek starred in El Callejón de los Milagros ("The Alley of Miracles"), which has won more awards than any other movie in the history of Mexican Cinema.
Despite limited fluency in English, Hayek moved to Los Angeles, California, in 1991 to study acting with the hopes of starting a career in Hollywood. Robert Rodriguez and his producer wife Elizabeth Avellan soon gave Hayek the break she needed, starring opposite Antonio Banderas in 1995's Desperado. This movie brought Hayek to Hollywood's attention, as moviegoers proved to be as dazzled with Hayek as Rodriguez had been.
Salma followed her success in Desperado with a brief but memorable role in From Dusk Till Dawn. In 1999 she co-starred in Will Smith's big-budget Wild Wild West and played a supporting role in Kevin Smith's Dogma.
Frida, co-produced by Hayek, was released in 2002. Starring Hayek as Frida Kahlo, and Alfred Molina as her unfaithful husband Diego Rivera. The film also featured an entourage of stars in supporting roles, including Antonio Banderas, Ashley Judd, Geoffrey Rush, Edward Norton and Valeria Golino. Her performance won her a Best Actress Academy Award nomination.
In 2003 Salma Hayek reprised her role from Desperado by appearing in the final film of the Mariachi Trilogy, Once Upon a Time in Mexico.
In December 2005 Salma Hayek directed a music video for Prince, titled "Te Amo Corazon" ("I love you, sweetheart").
Hayek dated fellow actor Edward Norton for four years, between 1999 and 2003, and then Josh Lucas from 2003 until 2004. Concerning marriage Hayek has said, "Women have been taught that in order to have a place in the world, an identity, they must marry and have children. If that's the life you truly want, great. But for many women, marriage is only about needing the world to know that someone desires them enough to say, 'Here's a contract to prove that I love you and will commit to you for the rest of my life.' For these women, no contract equals no validation - and, thus, no reason for existing."
As of 2006, Salma is single and has homes in Los Angeles and Mexico. She is rumored to have been linked to British actor Jude Law shortly after he apologized publicly for cheating on actress Sienna Miller.
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