Oscar-nominated actress Salma Hayek would like you to know once and for all that she married her husband François-Henri Pinault because she loved him, and not his money.
Appearing on Dax Shepard’s podcast Armchair Expert this week, the 54-year-old Frida actress opened up about how she deals with such sexist assumptions. Pinault, 58, is the honorary CEO of French luxury fashion house Kering, the parent company to brands such as Bottega Veneta, Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga and Gucci. According to Forbes, the self-made billionaire is worth USD $42.5 billion (AUD $54.8 billion).
“I didn’t know who he was,” Shepard began, with Hayek listening in. “I just heard or maybe read in a headline that you had married a very rich guy, maybe that’s why she married him. I don’t know. I meet him and I’m like, ‘this guy is so foxy, the confidence, his eyes, he’s so good looking and charming’.”
Hayek agreed saying Pinault made her “a much better person” and allowed her to “grow in such a good, healthy way.” She says she has let their long relationship speak for itself when fielding outlandish accusations that she married Pinault for his billions.
“When I married him, everybody said, ‘It’s an arranged marriage, she’s marrying him for the money’, Hayek said. “I’m like, ‘Yeah, whatever b*tch, think what you want’. Fifteen years together and we are strong in love and I don’t even get offended.”
Hayek and Pinault met in the spring of 2006 at a gala at the Palazzo Grassi in Venice. “It’s such a romantic, amazing story, but it is mine. I don’t want to vulgarise it by making it into a story to make myself interesting,” Hayek said in 2019 interview. The pair actually got married twice; once in a city hall ceremony in Paris, and for a second time in a star-studded affair in Venice in Italy. Actresses Charlize Theron and Ashley Judd were among the guests spotted arriving in gondolas to the venue.
Hayek, who shares a 13-year-old daughter named Valentina with Pinault, describes her husband as “magic”, but did point out that such insults were not always only aimed at her.
“There is a discrimination also to rich men. Immediately you think because somebody’s rich, [they] might not be a good person, might be somebody materialistic, might be somebody that doesn’t have values …,” Hayek explained. “There is all these preconceptions and I heard them, by the way. It was the last thing I wanted — it was not my type at all. And I came in with the preconceptions and he [melted] them all away.”
“It’s not just an insult to me. I’m not the one being judged only,” she continued. “They cannot begin to imagine what a joy that human being is.”
Pinault founded Kering in 1963. At the time it was a wood and building materials company. In 1999, Pinault changed its direction when he bought a controlling stake in the Gucci Group. Pinault reportedly owns a 3000-piece art collection which includes works by Picasso and Mondrian.
Elsewhere in the interview Hayek detailed the unknown trauma she experienced on the set of the 1995 film Desperado. New to the movie business, Hayek said she cried all the way through the filming of the love scene with co-star Antonio Banderas. She was all but 27 years old, although she maintained she was an “absolute gentleman.”