She may save the world on screen, but Gal Gadot knows her most important role is being mother to her two daughters. Here she tells Karen Anne Overton just how she manages the juggle
When Wonder Woman made its cinematic debut in summer 2017, no one could quite have anticipated what a global smash it would be. The superhero genre was beginning to feel tired and overdone, coming off the back of a bad spell overall for the film industry. And yet there was something about Wonder Woman that captured the imagination, not just of comic book fans, but of young girls who aspired to emulate the leading lady. It was empowering – indeed, if there’s such a thing as a blockbuster glass ceiling, Diana Prince’s alter ego smashed right through it.
But for six-year-old Alma Versano the novelty has worn off, having become used to her mother stepping into that famous costume. “She thinks it’s cool but it’s not that great to her,” says Gadot. “I’m just ‘mum’. She doesn’t pay so much attention. Even when I’m talking to someone about Wonder Woman, she tries any which way she can to change the topic! But she has certainly learned that every woman is a wonder woman. She literally says that, which I love.”
The 32-year-old star may not have super strength or be able to fly in real life, but she is definitely of the formidable female variety. An enviable combination of beauty, brains and brawn, Gadot went straight from high school into the Israeli Army where she served for two years before, at the age of 18, she was approached to enter the Miss Israel beauty pageant. With her gamine physique and gracious, but steely charm, Gadot won the title, but eventually eschewed a career as a full-time model to focus on studying for her original career path as a lawyer – something she would have fulfilled had Hollywood not been knocking on her door so insistently.
But every woman has her limits, and even Gadot admits to struggling when she found herself in the initial stages of pregnancy while filming ensemble blockbuster Justice League alongside fellow superheroes Ben Affleck and Jason Momoa. “I didn’t tell anyone because you just don’t broadcast it in the beginning,” she explains.
“But it became more apparent when I had such bad sickness, not just morning, but afternoon and evening too. I felt terrible. I was literally on set, shooting a scene and in my head the whole time I’m saying, ‘don’t vomit, don’t vomit. Just keep it in, please don’t vomit.’ How I didn’t throw up on the guys is a miracle, I was waiting for it to happen.”
Fortunately, as she was so early into her pregnancy it wasn’t necessary to hide her growing belly; that is, until it came to the reshoots months later (a problem that was remedied with CGI trickery). When it is remarked that Maya – born in March 2017 – essentially stars in the film, Gadot retorts jovially: “She has an entry on IMDB! It took me years to become established, yet she wasn’t even born and already an actress.”
It is often perceived that celebrities have an easy time of balancing parenthood with their careers, what with their wealth and the supposed army of nannies at their disposal, but one can hardly envy Gadot, who found her career hitting the stratosphere right around the time she had planned to expand her family with her husband, Israeli real estate developer Yaron Versano. She explains how, despite some issues during filming, she actually planned it that way, adding: “These things aren’t always so easy to schedule but it worked, in the sense I wasn’t too pregnant for Justice League nor too far gone to promote Wonder Woman. There’s never the perfect time – I think every woman, every couple knows that; but you can try to make things a little easier.”
The actress says it has been easier second time around, as she knows what she’s doing. She discloses, rather surprisingly, that when Alma was born she felt unprepared. “I was very nervous as a young mother.
“With Maya, I’m able to enjoy it all much more. I’ve also seen that having a second child changes the dynamics of your family, and I have to make sure that Alma still gets a lot of love and attention from me even though I’m spending so much time with Maya. But Alma is curious, and she loves her little sister. It’s a beautiful time for our family,” she beams.
It also appears she and Versano are more in love than ever, with Gadot referring to him as a ‘great man’ who supports her in everything. “He’s the best. I love every moment I spend with him and my daughters. He is also a very successful businessman and is very involved in that. But even though we are both busy with our work, family life comes first. I am a very, very happy woman who can hardly wait to come home to my family every time I finish work on a film.”
Having cemented her place as one of Hollywood’s most bankable actresses, Gadot can afford to take a well-earned break with her brood – though both a Wonder Woman and Justice League sequel are surely inevitable. Yet even the glamour and glory of playing a beloved heroine pales in comparison to the thrill of simply being ‘mum’.
“It’s the best feeling in the world to create life,” muses Gadot. “I may play a goddess in Wonder Woman, but I feel like a true goddess after giving birth and being the mother of two beautiful daughters.”
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