Get the latest from TODAY
For a long time, Eva Mendes never saw herself having children.
"It was the furthest thing from my mind," she told Women's Health for the cover story of the May issue.
One person then changed her entire outlook.
"Ryan Gosling happened,'' she said. "I mean, falling in love with him. Then it made sense for me to have … not kids, but his kids. It was very specific to him."
The "Hitch" actress, 45, is now a mother to daughters Esmeralda, 4, and Amada, 2, whom she has devoted herself to raising while taking a step back from acting in the past five years.
Mendes also reflected on Gosling's sweet tribute to her and her late brother after Gosling won best actor for "La La Land" at the 2017 Golden Globes.
Gosling, 38, thanked her for the sacrifices she made by raising their children while he furthered his own acting career.
"I would just like to try and thank one person properly,'' he said in his speech. "While I was singing and dancing and playing piano and having one of the best experiences I’ve ever had on a film, my lady (Mendes) was raising our daughter, pregnant with our second and trying to help her brother fight his battle with cancer.
"If she hadn’t taken all that on so I that could have this experience, there would surely be someone else up here other than me today."
He then dedicated the award to her brother, Juan Carlos Mendez, who died at 53 of throat cancer, less than two weeks before Amada was born.
Mendes told Women's Health she wasn't even watching the ceremony at the time because she was watching PBS Kids with her daughters. She got a call from her sister to put on the show right as Gosling went to give his speech.
"It was like a dream," Mendes said. "But really, what I heard was that he said my brother’s name. It was the most beautiful gesture, and I had no idea Ryan was going to say it. Losing my brother was incredibly difficult."
Mendes also spoke about growing up as the daughter of a single mother and how she tries to keep her own daughters grounded while being raised by two famous parents.
"What I try to emphasize is that I don’t let them see me put attention to how I dress,'' she said. "They’ve never seen me get ready for something; they’ve never seen me at work. Which is fine, for whoever wants to do it that way, but the way I keep it normal is by not letting them see me in these situations. I’m just Mom. And I’m more than happy to just be Mom."