Salma Hayek got her big break at the age of 22 when she became a soap opera star in her native Mexico. Within five years, her life would change again as she successfully broke into Hollywood, eventually going on to star in major movies like Frida, Traffic, Desperado, and Fools Rush In. But nearly two decades after she first graced the silver screen, with scores of Hollywood films to her name, Hayek's life changed profoundly once more.
At age 41, Hayek delivered her daughter, Valentina. Her late-in-life pregnancy, however, came with complications, including gestational diabetes. Read on to find out what the actor's worst symptom of the blood sugar disorder was, and how she regained her health in the years after her baby was born.
READ THIS NEXT: This Was Bruce Willis' First Sign of Aphasia, Coworkers Say.
Hayek developed gestational diabetes while she was pregnant.
The actor and her partner, the French businessman François-Henri Pinault, welcomed their daughter, Valentina Paloma Pinault, in 2007. Hayek has shared that she gained 50 pounds during her pregnancy, which she says caused her to develop gestational diabetes.
The experience, she said, was both frightening and humbling. "You don't know if [the baby is] going to be healthy; you are completely out of control," she told Glamour in 2008. However, the Dogma star added that she was able to make peace with her pregnancy complications, given how grateful she was to be carrying her child. "This is what it takes for me to have this baby, and I really want it," she told the magazine.
READ THIS NEXT: Wayne Osmond Says This Was His First Sign of a Brain Tumor.
She says her worst symptom was being nauseous for nine months.
Hayek didn't learn until later in her pregnancy that she had developed gestational diabetes. "It occurs in women who have high blood sugar levels during pregnancy," the House of Gucci star told Parents in 2014 (via Huffington Post). "I didn't know whether I was feeling bad because I was pregnant or whether something was seriously wrong. I was nauseated for nine months, which can be one of the symptoms," she added.
While most women with gestational diabetes do not notice any symptoms, others may experience increased hunger, thirst, frequent urination, fatigue, or dry mouth. Experts from Cedars-Sinai confirm that nausea and vomiting are among the most common symptoms in women who do experience signs of gestational diabetes.
For more health news delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
She says it was all worth it to become a mother to her daughter, now 14.
Before her pregnancy, Hayek longed to become a mother but feared she would never have the chance. "I had a child late in life," she told Red Online in 2017. "In Tale Of Tales, I identified with my character's desperate desire to have a child, and maybe feeling that you could never be happy or complete, that your life is not complete, without this. I've had that yearning, that longing, and that pain… I always wanted to have a lot of children, and I was not able to," she said.
"My body, as a miracle, had one," she continued. "The huge blessing I've had is that my husband has three other children. So I have four. And they are all so different," said the star.
Hayek added while speaking to Glamour that she now feels complete, having grown her family at just the right time in her life. "I just feel so fortunate to be her mother, and it makes me excited about the rest of my life, because I will get to witness her transformation every day."
It took years for her to recover from pregnancy.
Hayek says her pregnancy woes continued long after her daughter was born, in part due to the challenge of losing weight safely. "The pregnancy was really difficult for me. I thought, 'As soon as this baby's out, I'm just going to lose all the weight super fast because I'm going to breastfeed,'" she said on Oprah in 2008. "It's a lie; It's not true."
The Frida star shared at the time that while she was eager to lose the weight that had caused her complications, she wanted to make sure she didn't trigger any new health problems by losing it in an unhealthy way. "There are shortcuts, but it's not good for the baby," she said. "So I'm taking my time. I've lost a lot—most of the weight—and I'm very proud of it because it's been really hard work studying what can I eat that's healthy," she explained.
Now 55, Hayek reportedly stays fit and healthy through a combination of yoga, dancing, swimming, weight training, and walking with her dogs. Having avoided long-term complications of her gestational diabetes, she continues to be in some of the best shape of her life.