Eva Jacqueline Longoria (born March 15, 1975) is an American actress, producer, director, activist and businesswoman. Longoria’s career began in 1998, when she won the title of Miss Corpus Christi, and later began entering talent contests that led her to Los Angeles; shortly after, she was spotted and signed by a theatrical agent. Eva began to raise her profile after having roles as Isabella Braña on the CBS soap opera The Young and the Restless from 2001 to 2003. In 2004 she signed as Gabrielle Solis on the ABC television series Desperate Housewives. For her work on Desperate Housewives she received a Golden Globe Award nomination. She has also starred in films such as Harsh Times (2005), The Sentinel (2006), and Over Her Dead Body (2008).
Besides acting Longoria has ventured into business and has released various books. Longoria is also known for her charity work and was named as the Philanthropist of the year by The Hollywood Reporter. Longoria has been married twice; she married actor Tyler Christopher in 2002 and the pair were divorced by 2004 and she married French basketballer Tony Parker in 2007 however the pair divorced in 2011.
Early life and education
Eva Jacqueline Longoria was born on March 15, 1975 in Corpus Christi, Texas, the youngest of four daughters born to Mexican American (Tejano) parents Ella Eva (Mireles) and Enrique Longoria, Jr. She was raised Roman Catholic. She worked at a Wendy’s restaurant for three years while in high school.
Longoria received her Bachelor of Science degree in kinesiology at nearby Texas A&M University-Kingsville. During this time, she won the title of Miss Corpus Christi, USA in 1998. After completing college, Longoria entered a talent contest that led her to Los Angeles; shortly after, she was spotted and signed by a theatrical agent. While auditioning for roles, Longoria worked as a headhunter for four years.
She received her master’s degree in Chicano Studies from California State University, Northridge in May 2013, following three years of study. Her thesis was entitled, “Success STEMS From Diversity: The Value of Latinas in STEM Careers.”
Longoria landed her first television role in 1999 after meeting Executive Producer Gary Ghiaey at a political reception in Los Angeles. Ghiaey hired her to host the weekend destination segment of his television show “L.A. In A Day”. Longoria went on to guest star in an episode of Beverly Hills, 90210. Another guest appearance in General Hospital the same year brought her big break on the CBS Daytime soap opera The Young and the Restless, portraying Isabella Braña from 2001 to 2003. After leaving The Young and the Restless, she was seen on the now-canceled Dick Wolf revival of Dragnet. Following Dragnet, she starred in two ill-fated productions – Señorita Justice, a poorly received direct-to-video film, and a television film titled The Dead Will Tell.
In 2003, Longoria was cast as adulteress Gabrielle Solis in the ABC comedy-drama Desperate Housewives, later commenting on her career success by stating, “I think it’s funny when people say I’m an overnight sensation, because I’ve been working at it for 10 years.” Shortly after her debut on Real Housewives, Longoria starred in a poorly received direct-to-video film titled Carlita’s Secret, for which she was also co-producer. In 2006, she was rewarded for her performance as Gabrielle Solis in Real Housewives when she was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy along with her co-stars. She was awarded the ALMA Award and named entertainer of the year that year. She also starred opposite Michael Douglas and Kiefer Sutherland in the 2006 thriller The Sentinel, which was her first major role in a theatrical movie. In 2006, she played the character Sylvia in Harsh Times starring Freddy Rodriguez and Christian Bale.
In the 2000s, Longoria appeared in several high-profile advertising campaigns and numerous men’s magazines, reaching No. 14 in the FHM “Sexiest Women 2008” poll, and appearing on the cover of various international women’s magazines including Vogue, Marie Claire and Harper’s Bazaar. People en Español listed her among its “Most Beautiful People” for 2003. Longoria continues to be included in lists of Hollywood’s Most Beautiful and was listed No. 1 in Maxim’s Hottest Female Stars of 2005 and 2006, becoming the first woman to top the list in two consecutive years. She was ranked No. 9 in the magazine’s Hot 100 of 2007 list. In honor of Maxim’s 100th issue in 2006, Longoria was featured on a 75-by-110-foot (23 by 34 m) vinyl mesh replica of its January 2005 cover located in a Clark County, Nevada desert.
In January 2007, Longoria was chosen to be the first face of Bebe Sport. She appeared in the Spring/Summer 2007 campaign, photographed by Greg Kadel. The actress also holds contracts with L’Oréal and Hanes, New York & Co. Longoria also has a contract with Magnum Ice-Cream, and Heineken. She is a part of Microsoft’s “I’m A PC” ad campaign, and she and Tony Parker have appeared together in campaigns for London Fog. Eva Longoria became a spokesperson for L’Oréal Paris in 2005 and has continued to feature in L’Oréal TV commercials and print ads until the year 2010. In the summer of 2010 Longoria served as a judge on The Next Food Network Star. In October, Longoria hosted the MTV Europe Music Awards 2010 in Madrid, Spain. Based on her earnings within June 1, 2009 to June 1, 2010, Longoria was ranked No. 4 on Forbes Prime Time’s 10 Top-Earning Women with an estimated $12 million. More recently, she was ranked No. 14 of People’s Most Beautiful 2011.People named her one of 2012 Most Beautiful at Every Age.
After Desperate Housewives Longoria’s first project is an independent drama titled Long Time Gone, in which she will play a mistress. Sarah Siegel-Magness, who produced the award-winning 2009 film Precious, will direct the film. Then, In Who Gets the Dog Longoria will play a woman named Olive who is at war with her ex over who keeps their beloved poodle. Besides starring in the film, she has also signed on as a producer for the comedy. Longoria will also star alongside Brendan Fraser as his wife in Four Kings, a historical drama set during the French and Indian War, which took place from 1754 to 1763. The drama, directed by Damian Lee, is about a wealthy British man who hopes to create a utopian society with his wife by backing the war between Great Britain and France. And then there is an animated series by Hulu, titled Mother Up!, in which Longoria will lend her voice to the lead role. Longoria’s character is Rudi Wilson — an irresponsible New York record executive who loses her job because of a scandal and has move to the suburbs and improvise her way through parenting. Longoria topped the Forbes magazine’s list of the highest-paid TV actresses for 2011. In 2013, Longoria professed that she is a “cat lady” and appeared as a spokesperson for Sheba cat food. From 2013 Longoria also served as one of the executive producers of Devious Maids and directed the second season premiere “An Ideal Husband.” She is also an executive producer of the documentaries The Harvest (2010 film) and Food Chains (2014 film).
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Longoria opened the restaurant Beso (in Spanish: “Kiss”) in Hollywood, along with partner and celebrity chef Todd English, in March 2008. The restaurant is located on Hollywood Boulevard and is accompanied by Kiss, a Victorian-themed nightclub above the restaurant. The Hollywood Beso was scheduled to be the focus of a pilot episode for a tentative reality series called Beso: Waiting on Fame which would air on VH1 in late 2010. In 2009, Longoria and various investor-partners opened a Beso restaurant, with a nightclub called Eve above it, in the Crystals retail and entertainment district of CityCenter in Las Vegas.
In 2011, the corporation Beso LLC, owner of the Vegas restaurant-and-nightclub venture, with listed assets of about $2.5 million and Longoria as a 32 percent shareholder, filed for Chapter 11 protection, entering bankruptcy proceedings, in order to restructure nearly $5.7 million in debt and other liabilities. Longoria stated, on the occasion, that she’s looking “forward to a more pro-active, hands-on approach in the coming years” with her Las Vegas business interests. On July 28, 2011, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for Nevada, following a request filed by Beso investor Mali Nachum and her husband Ronen, who have been litigating against Longoria and other Beso investors in multiple courts, ordered Longoria to appear in Las Vegas on August 20 in order to be examined about the bankrupt restaurant’s finances.
Her first book, Eva’s Kitchen: Cooking with Love for Family and Friends hit bookstores on April 12, 2011. In 2012, and again in 2013, Longoria was paired with Iron Chef Michael Symon for a promotion for Pepsico’s Lay’s potato chips contest called “Do Us A Flavor”. The promotion encourages consumers to submit new flavor ideas and fans vote for their favorite on Facebook. The person who creates the winning flavor is awarded $1 million or one percent of chip flavor’s net sales.
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In 2006, Longoria founded Eva’s Heroes, a charity which helps developmentally disabled children. She is the national spokesperson for PADRES Contra El Cancer. She signed shoes for the Spirit of Women Red Shoe Celebrity Auction. Longoria also supports the Clothes Off Our Back Foundation, OmniPeace, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the National Stroke Association, Project HOME and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Longoria is an executive producer of Shine Global Inc.’s documentary The Harvest (documentary) which is focused on the 500,000 child migrant farm workers in the U.S. and promote awareness and support to enact the Children’s Act for Responsible Employment (CARE Act).
Longoria was named Philanthropist of the year by The Hollywood Reporter for ‘her commitment to Latino causes and giving back to the community. She appeared on Fort Boyard in 2009, making over EUR20,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. In 2009, Longoria enrolled in a Master’s program in Chicano Studies and political science at Cal State University, Northridge. According to Eva, “because of my involvement with the NCLR and my charity work, I really wanted a better, more authentic understanding of what my community has gone through so I can help create change.” She graduated with her master’s degree in Chicano Studies in May 2013.
In September 2009, Longoria was appointed to a bi-partisan commission issued with the task of determining the feasibility of the creation of a National Museum of the American Latino. In October 2012, Longoria spoke at the McAfee Focus 2012 event, where the “theme of safety — beyond computers — emerged. Safety involving financial security, emotional security, and the other results from Longoria’s philanthropic efforts.”
Longoria was married to General Hospital star Tyler Christopher from 2002 to 2004.
Longoria met Spurs point guard Tony Parker in November 2004, and on November 30, 2006, the couple became engaged. They were married in a civil service on Friday, July 6, 2007, at a Paris city hall. It was followed by a full, Catholic wedding ceremony at the Saint-Germain l’Auxerrois Church in Paris on Saturday, July 7, 2007. On November 17, 2010, Longoria filed for divorce from Parker in Los Angeles, citing “irreconcilable differences”. In the divorce petition Longoria, who had taken Parker’s last name, requested that her maiden name be restored. She also sought spousal support from Parker. The couple had a prenuptial agreement that was signed in June 2007, the month before their wedding, and amended two years later in June 2009.
The same day as the divorce filing, Longoria confirmed to her friend Mario Lopez that she had discovered hundreds of text messages from another woman on her husband’s phone. Extra identified the other woman as Erin Barry, the then-wife of Brent Barry, Parker’s former teammate, and revealed that the Barrys also were in the process of divorcing. Lopez further stated that Longoria believed Parker had cheated on her earlier in the marriage with another woman with whom he had kept in touch via Facebook. In light of the divorce, Longoria cancelled her scheduled appearance at the 2010 American Music Awards. On November 19, 2010, Parker filed for divorce from Longoria in Bexar County, Texas, on the grounds of “discord or conflict of personalities”, thus establishing a legal battle over where the divorce case would be heard. Unlike Longoria’s divorce petition, Parker’s did not mention a prenuptial agreement and claimed that the parties would “enter into an agreement for the division of their estate”. The divorce was finalized in Texas on January 28, 2011, the same day Longoria’s lawyer filed papers to dismiss her Los Angeles petition.
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According to research done by Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., of Harvard University, in 2010 for the PBS series Faces Of America, Longoria’s Spanish ancestry can be traced back to her ninth great-grandfather, Lorenzo Suárez de Longoria (b. Oviedo, 1592), who emigrated to the Viceroyalty of New Spain (modern-day Mexico) in 1603, and whose family originated from a small village called Llongoria, Belmonte de Miranda, Asturias, Spain. Longoria is the Spanish spelling of this Asturian language surname. In 1767, her 7th great-grandfather received almost 4,000 acres (16 km2) of land along the Rio Grande in a land grant from the King of Spain. This land stayed in the family for over a century, and, after the US-Mexican border moved southwards as an aftermath of the Mexican-American War, it was located in American territory, enduring the influx of Anglo settlers during the Mexican-American War and the American Civil War.
Her DNA test results were: 70% European, 27% Asian/Indigenous, and 3% African. After a computer compared the DNA results of Gates’s dozen guests, tests showed that she is genetically related to cellist Yo-Yo Ma, who is of Chinese heritage. Since women have two X chromosomes and no Y chromosome, Eva doesn’t inherit her father’s Y-DNA, but she does inherit her mother’s mitochondrial DNA (genetic information passed from mother to child). Eva’s mtDNA belongs to the Haplogroup A2 making her a descendant of a Native American female, a Mayan woman from Mexico long before it was Mexico.
Longoria identifies herself as a “Texican” or Mexican-American.
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Politics and activism
She has called Arizona’s SB 1070 immigration law unconstitutional. In 2012, she was one of seven Californians named to the post of co-chair of Barack Obama’s re-election campaign. On September 6, 2012, Longoria spoke at 2012 Democratic National Convention where she endorsed President Obama’s reelection. In May 2014, she initiated the Latino Victory Project to raise funds for candidates. An executive producer of the documentaries The Harvest (2010 film) and Food Chains (2014 film), she is a supporter of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers.