Ryan Gosling gave a sweet shout-out to Eva Mendes while at accepting the Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival on Saturday, January 13.
“Most importantly, I got to meet the girl of my dreams, Eva Mendes, and have two dream children,” the Barbie star, 43, said in his acceptance speech. “I dreamed of one day making movies, and now movies have made my life a dream. So the way I see it, there’s no way I’ve contributed half as much to cinema as cinema has contributed to me, but the idea that I might have given something back to the thing that has given so much to me is too great an honor for me to express.”
Mendes, 49, and Gosling share daughters Esmeralda, 9, and Amada, 7, and have been together since 2011. They are “as in love today as the first year they were together,” an insider exclusively told Us Weekly in May 2023.
“She’s his No. 1 fan and loves when he gets to do big movies, like Barbie,” a source continued. “Ryan also supports Eva in all her endeavors and just adores her.”
While accepting his honor at SBIFF on Saturday, Gosling also honored his mother, Donna, who he called “deeply instrumental” in helping him achieve success and realize his deep love for movies.
“When I was in the third grade, I had a swearing problem. I didn’t think it was a problem, but my teachers did,” he said. “My mother said it was almost impossible to get me to stop, but I remember the night she figured it out. We were at the dinner table and she said, ‘If you swear one more time, you can’t watch any movies tonight.’ And I thought that was extreme, so I used some extreme language back. She said, ‘OK, now you can’t watch movies for a week.'”
Gosling was angry with his mom. “Well, since she upped the ante, so did I. I hit her with a quick flurry of my favorites and then I dropped an F-bomb, just for good measure,” he recalled. “She said, ‘OK, well, now you can’t watch movies for a month.’ It wasn’t until that exact moment that I realized just how much movies meant to me. It was the worst moment of my young life at that point.”
He revealed his mom also found a way to encourage him to watch more movies while also making sure he honed his reading skills.
“She found my weak spot. She knew it, and soon after that she took me out of school and homeschooled me for a year. You know, with all the swearing and the not being able to read and write very well, I guess she figured that she couldn’t do much worse,” he quipped. “So part of her curriculum was weekly visits to the library to check out books I had no intention of reading. She had a solution for that too. The library had a collection of films and she made a deal with me that for every book I read, I could rent a movie.”
Gosling concluded his 15-minute speech with another shout-out to his mom: “Thank you to the Santa Barbara Film Festival for this very special honor and for letting me say all of this — and I did it all without swearing. Not even once. So I guess my mom was the big winner tonight.”