- After filming All the Pretty Horses (2000), she became a vegetarian.
- It was rumored that she donated her entire The Hi-Lo Country (1998) salary to the Mother Teresa's children's sanctuary in Calcutta after spending a week there volunteering. This was later denounced by Cruz, according to a Reuters news article in 2001.
- Daughter of Eduardo (merchant) and Encarna (hairdresser).
- Brother, Eduardo.
- Academic curriculum: Finished 2º B.U.P. (2nd. year of secondary school). Had 4 years of dance performance with Cristina Rota, several dance courses at New York, 9 years of classic ballet at the Conservatorio Nacional and 3 years of Spanish ballet with Ángela Garrido. Also had Jazz Dance course with Raúl Caballero.
- Volunteered in Uganda for 2 months in 1997 with then boyfriend Faiz Ahmad.
- She founded a non-government organisation (NGO) called Sabera Foundation. Together with Nacho Cano and other Spanish entertainers, they have set up a home, a school and a clinic for homeless girls and people suffering from tuberculosis in Calcutta. Two documentary programs were made for Spanish TV on this project. Unfortunately differences of opinion caused a collapse in the project and Sabera Foundation tragically no longer exists.
- Dated Tom Cruise. [2001-January 2004]
- She was named after the song "Penélope" by Joan Manuel Serrat.
- Her sister Mónica Cruz is now a TV star in Spain. She starred in "Paso adelante, Un" (2002) as a young dancer with a famous aunt.
- Voted the 7th Sexiest Female Movie Star in the Australian Empire Magazine September 2002.
- Lived with Nacho Cano, Spanish musician, part of the trio (famous in Spain) called "Mecano", a pop music group. Penelope appeared in one of the band's video-clips "la Fuerza del Destino" and that's where her romance with one of the two Cano brothers that form part of the group along with the singer Ana Torroja begun.
- Best friends with actresses Goya Toledo and Salma Hayek.
- Ranked #23 in Stuff magazine's "102 Sexiest Women in the World" (2002).
- Likes to keep stray cats.
- Learned Italian because she wanted her part in the movie Non ti muovere (2004) really badly. It paid off and she went on to win the Italian equivalent of the Oscars for Best Actress.
- Speaks four languages: Spanish, Italian, French and English.
- Was accompanied by Matthew McConaughey to the Grammy Awards in 2005. The couple met on the set of Sahara (2005).
- Shares her birthday with Jessica Alba & Jay Leno
- Spanish citizen.
- Two of her boyfriends have been named "Sexiest Man Alive" by People Magazine: Tom Cruise (in 1990) and Matthew McConaughey (in 2005).
- Sister of Mónica Cruz
- Bigas Luna was determined to have her starring as the lead character in the torrid Edades de Lulú, Las (1990), but Penélope was only 14. They agreed that she was too young for the role and Francesca Neri was cast instead. Two years later, Luna's fixation with Cruz resulted in her breakthrough performance in Jamón, jamón (1992), her first film, famous for her somewhat erotic scenes. They eventually collaborated again in Volavérunt (1999).
- Claims that Victoria Abril's powerful performance in Pedro Almodóvar's ¡Átame! (1990) ("Tie me up, tie me down!") determined her to become an actress.
- Ranked as #51 in FHM's "100 Sexiest Women in the World 2005" special supplement. (2005)
- She claims her role in Bigas Luna's "Jamon, Jamon" psychologically scarred her for life. She was a teenager when she was cast in the film which required her to do nudity and sex scenes.
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