Zoë Saldana is one of the most famous actresses in Hollywood today. From starring in big franchise films like Guardians of the Galaxy and Avatar to partnering with brands like Corona and Adidas, Saldana is everywhere. But what about her personal life? Here’s what we know about her husband, Marco Perego Saldana, and how they choose to raise their three children.
It Was Love At First Sight
The couple began dating in March of 2013, shortly after Saldana called it quits with Bradley Cooper, who she had been dating for the past two years. According to the actress, she felt a connection with Perego Saldana before they even locked eyes.
“I just saw him from behind,” she told USA Today. “It was 6:30 in the morning, I was on a flight to New York. And I can’t even describe it to you, it was a vibration. He turned in that moment because he felt the vibration as well.”
Saldana continued, “I know people don’t believe in it; I didn’t believe in it. I’m a very Sigmund Freud person, I’m very logical. But that—I’m OK not having an explanation for that. Because I don’t need to explain that. It was enough that I felt it. And that was it.”
After a whirlwind courtship, the couple wed in 2013—just four months after they met. “I don’t do the ABCs,” she explained to Marie Claire in a 2014 interview. “I do what my heart says, what my heart feels. So from the moment I met my husband, we were together. We knew.”
All About Marco Perego Saldana
Perego Saldana led a very interesting life before he crossed paths with his now-wife. He was born in Italy and spent most of his early life training to be a soccer player. Perego Saldana was even selected to play for a professional team in Venice, but a leg injury ended his soccer career when he was just 21 years old.
After that, he moved to Brazil to try and recover from his injury, and even played a little more. However, by 2002, Perego Saldana decided to give up on soccer and move to New York, where he would pursue his dream of being an artist.
“I was living [in] Spanish Harlem without money and I was living on 104 Street,” he said in a 2007 interview with the Observer. He worked in restaurants and as a soccer coach to make ends meet before he got his big break.
Perego Saldana convinced a friend’s sister, film producer Gilda Moratti, to come and see his art. She liked what she saw, bought a painting, and the artist’s career took off. “My first show in New York was unbelievable, you know, because they show up like 700, 800 people in Ingrao Gallery,” he explained. “My story was unbelievable, because I come here and I come from [a] very normal family, you know? My father is a waiter, my mum stays at home.”
Nowadays, Perego Saldana’s paintings and sculptures sell for anywhere between $15,000 to $30,000. “It [is] incredible,” he laughed. “I live[d] in Spanish Harlem, you know, and now Giorgio Armani would like to buy a painting.”
How The Saldana Family Approaches Gender Norms
The couple are committed to upholding gender equality, and that starts in their own home. In 2015, the pair revealed that Perego Saldana had decided to take his wife’s last name. “I tried to talk him out of it,” she told InStyle. “I told him, ‘If you use my last name, you’re going to be emasculated by your community of artists, by your Latin community of men, by the world.’ But Marco looks up at me and says [in an Italian accent], ‘Ah, Zoë, I don’t give a sheet.'”
The couple explained the decision further in a Facebook post, writing, “Why is it so surprising, shocking—eventful that a man would take his wife’s surname? Women have never been asked if it’s ok for them to give up their names—why doesn’t that make the news?”
The pair also do their best to raise their three sons in a gender-neutral environment, from providing their sons with boy and girl toys, to sharing household tasks equally. “We have a very gender-neutral environment where my husband participates in a lot of tasks that were normally given to women and vice versa,” Saldana shared. “I get to do a lot of male things, which is, I don’t know, put the TV together, fix things that break.”
Saldana and Perego Saldana clearly have a strong bond, falling in love from the moment they first encountered each other. From the artist taking his wife’s last name to keeping a gender-neutral home, the couple is committed to raising their boys in a progressive home.