Eva Mendes on Naming Her Daughter Esmeralda: “We Love The Hunchback of Notre Dame”

Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes

Literary love! Eva Mendes sat down with Wendy Williams for her talk show on Wednesday, Sept. 16, just a few days after her daughter’s first birthday, to explain the unlikely origins of her baby girl’s name.

“We love The Hunchback of Notre Dame, we loved the name, the cartoon and the novel … it just kind of kept coming back to us,” the actress explained of Esmeralda’s unique moniker. “It’s actually a very popular Latin name, so it’s easy for my father and certain family members that still don’t speak English to pronounce. That was a good selling point.”

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Mendes, 41, and longtime boyfriend Ryan Gosling, 34, celebrated little Esmeralda’s birthday with a low-key, family-centric fete at their home in Los Angeles over the weekend. 

An eyewitness told Us Weekly that the couple hosted approximately 20 people at the intimate gathering on Saturday, Sept. 12, which included Mendes’ mom and sister and Gosling’s sister (she brought a homemade birthday cake for the special occasion).

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“It was a quiet and casual party, not the typical celebrity first birthday blowout with vendors and other celebrity guests,” the source told Us. “It looked like it was just their simple style and more about family and close friends coming together to celebrate Esmeralda.”

Having such a close-knit family nearby has also helped the actress to raise Esmeralda without the help of a nanny, she told Williams on Wednesday.

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“I’ve never appreciated my family so much, they’ve been amazing,” she said. “I don’t technically have a nanny, but I do have help. I’m certainly not anti-nanny, you do what you need to do as a parent, but I’m so grateful that I have help with my family and [Ryan’s] family.”

Mendes and Gosling, who met on the set of The Place Beyond the Pines in 2011, welcomed Esmeralda to the world on Sept. 12, 2014. 

And this past March, the typically private first-time dad couldn’t help gushing about the pair’s bundle of joy.

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“I really like working with my friends; I love all of these people,” Gosling said at the 2015 SXSW Film Festival premiere of his directorial debut, Lost River. He and Mendes worked together professionally on the film.

“I have a baby with one of them,” he added. “I have complicated, powerful female characters in my life, and that’s growing.”

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