The untold truth of Thor's wife

The Marvel Cinematic Universe's very own Thor has been brought to life by actor Chris Hemsworth ever since the popular film franchise's first installment centering on the God of Thunder hit the big screen back in 2011. His role in the MCU, which have, of course, included his appearances in the headline-making Avengers films, launched the Aussie native into international superstardom shortly after he tied the knot with actress-model Elsa Pataky. Over the last decade, Hemsworth has won over the hearts of comic book nerds everywhere for his portrayal of the powerful Asgardian warrior — but, while his real-life wife's name admittedly holds slightly less pop cultural clout, the Spanish starlet's own life and career have been just as interesting and impressive.

With dozens of acting credits to her name, Pataky has been working steadily in show business for over 20 years. In addition to her on-and-off screen work, this multi-talent has also graced countless magazine covers, all while enjoying some downtime with her family of five at home in Byron Bay, Australia. Think you know all there is to know about Elsa Pataky? Keep on scrolling to find out the untold truth of Thor's wife.

There are two action heroes in this marriage

While Chris Hemsworth is best known for his work within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, wife Elsa Pataky once starred in a multi-billion-dollar, action film franchise of her own. Between 2011 and 2017, the actress played Elena Neves opposite Vin Diesel's Dom Toretto in The Fast and the Furious series. The long-running role served as her most popular gig to date, but, after portraying the patrol office character in four flicks, Pataky's on-screen alter ego was shockingly killed during a kidnapping in The Fate of the Furious.

"I think all stories have to have a beginning and an end, and it was a long trip for this character," Pataky told The Hollywood Reporter at the time. "The relationship with Dom and her job were really interesting. They were in love, but … it was a beautiful way to end it. Very dramatic and very sad." Calling the experience itself "special," the movie star added that The Fast and the Furious crew felt "like a family" to her, and even went on to tease Elena's possible resurrection. "You didn't see Elena die, so you never know," she said. "In this franchise, there are characters you think are dead, and they come back. So there's always a hope. We'll see."

Did her whirlwind romance come with a price?

After meeting through a mutual dialect coach in early 2010, Pataky and Hemsworth got engaged just nine months later and married that December, according to People. Over the next three years, the couple would welcome three children, daughter India Rose (born in 2012) and twin sons Tristan and Sasha (born in 2014). During those early years, their whirlwind romance and decision to expand their brood coincided with Hemsworth being thrust into the international spotlight alongside his Marvel counterpart Thor. The quick succession of this personal and professional combination understandably put a strain on their relationship.

"We did everything very quickly — I don't know how we survived as a couple," Pataky later admitted to Vogue Australia in 2018, adding, "It puts a lot of pressure on a marriage, but we came out good because there is a lot of love between us and we are very strong personalities but love each other so much. We make it work." Of their marital success, the model-actress went on to say, "I think our years together have been great. Every marriage has ups and downs — it's constant work to be in a successful marriage and stay together forever."

Did she unknowingly tattoo her own fate?

Years before she would meet husband Chris Hemsworth, a 15-year-old Elsa Pataky got a Thor symbol tattooed on her arm, according to Vogue Australia. Of course, her future Aussie beau would go on to play the God of Thunder in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and this strange coincidence has not been lost on the actress herself. "Yes, it's about Thor and I ended up marrying who plays Thor!" Pataky told the media outlet in 2018. While this begs the question of whether the Madrid-born star unknowingly tattooed her marital fate, she admitted, "It is shocking how things in life [turn out]." Indeed! However, Pataky added, "I just liked that [symbol] and the legend he had was so beautiful and I wanted to keep it."

Well, we can't argue with that logic. According to Norse Mythology for Smart People, Thor's Hammer, a.k.a. Mjöllnir, symbolizes "an instrument of blessing, consecration, protection, and healing." Throughout their relationship, tattoos have continued to hold special meaning for Pataky and Hemsworth. The married pair shares matching tattoos on their wrists. Both Hemsworth and Pataky reportedly have the initials of their first names, followed by the initials of their children's first names, using the Runic alphabet. So, when translated, their wrists feature the ink "C," "E," "I," "T," and "S," which presumably stand for Chris, Elsa, India, Tristan, and Sasha. Talk about #ParentingGoals.

Her acting hiatus

As Hemsworth skyrocketed into superstardom, Pataky largely put her own acting prospects on the back burner in order to support her husband's career and to raise their kiddos at home (via GQ). However, she was more than happy to make this professional sacrifice for the sake of her loved ones.

"I've followed my ambitions and I have worked where I've been able to, but since 2012 my energy has gone practically 100 percent into my family," Pataky told El País in 2014, adding, "I think it's important to enjoy the moment. Unlike other women I am lucky enough to be able to be with my children 24 hours a day and I don't want to waste even a second." In terms of levels of fame, she and Hemsworth essentially "swapped roles" in the early 2010s, she went on to explain. "Now Chris is at a wonderful moment in his career and I am there to support him," Pataky reasoned. "I feel very proud to be his wife. I was Elsa Pataky for a long time and I don't mind being Mrs. Chris Hemsworth — although that does sound a bit old-fashioned."

From wannabe journalist to Spanish superstar

Before focusing on an acting career full-time, Pataky studied journalism and took some acting classes at the CEU San Pablo University in her home country of Spain. According to her biography on her website, the future model-actress left the program during her senior year after being cast as Raquel Alonso in the Spanish TV series Al salir de clase in 1997. From that point on, there was no turning back — and the multi-hyphenate has since turned this career shift into her own inspirational life motto.

"I always tell people, don't be scared of moving out of your comfort zone because if you are, you'll miss out on so much life," Pataky told Elle magazine in 2018. "Almost every person I've met who has had the courage to leave everything and have another experience, they have never regretted it. Just go, leave everything, who cares what is going to happen? You'll have to start again? Great!"

Her topless photo lawsuit

For five long years, Elsa Pataky and her attorneys worked their way up the Spanish court system to seek justice against Ediciones Zeta. According to The Telegraph, the publishing group was allegedly responsible for printing topless photos of the actress on the cover of its Interviú magazine in March 2007. The long-lens snapshots in question had reportedly been unknowingly taken without Pataky's consent at a Riviera Maya beach resort on the coast of Mexico as she changed her clothes during an Elle magazine photo shoot, for which she'd been posing topless with her hands strategically covering her breasts.

By September 2012, the Spanish Supreme Court had accepted her case and ultimately ruled in her favor. In court documents obtained by The Telegraph, the country's highest court overturned a previous Madrid court judgement (that had determined there was no "breach of privacy" due to the public location of the shoot), stating that the "stolen images" were indeed an "invasion of privacy" and "were taken furtively" at a private location. While this certainly wasn't the only time the tabloid industry and paparazzi have gone too far, Ediciones Zeta was ordered to pay Pataky 310,000 euros (a little more than $347,000) in damages, and the star's years-long lawsuit finally came to a triumphant close.

She left Tinseltown for a life Down Under

With growing fame comes heightened media attention, and the Pataky-Hemsworth clan understandably grew tired of battling the prying cameras of the paparazzi in Los Angeles. According to News.com.au, the married pair decided to ditch the glitz and glamour of Hollywood for a quieter life in the Marvel actor's native Australia, and settled their family of five in a $9 million mega-mansion in Byron Bay in 2014. 

"I'll never live in LA again," Pataky told The Sydney Morning Herald in 2018. "We will travel back there for work when we need to, but I can't see myself living in a city again." She continued, "I always wanted to be in a place like [Byron Bay]," explaining, "Growing up I was very happy in nature, with animals, and I dreamed of living in a place where my kids can run around with no shoes on, surrounded by all kinds of animals." 

Since they've been able to raise their kids largely out of the spotlight, the couple's children apparently don't realize their mom and dad are known around the world. While speaking with Hola! in 2019, Pataky said, "They think their parents are like the other parents, and that's what I think they have to think all their lives." She went on, "That their parents maybe appear in movies or on TV every once in a while, and for them it's the most normal thing in the world, and they don't have to think there's a difference at all."

She's fluent in five languages

Elsa Pataky isn't just an actress-model-mother-wife extraordinaire — she also has an undeniable knack for mastering languages. According to the Daily Mail, she speaks fluently in her native Spanish, as well as English, Italian, Romanian, and French — talk about impressive! Pataky has since passed this multi-lingual talent on to her own kiddos, whom she speaks to in both Spanish and English, while working hard to make sure they stay in touch with their ancestry. "[I do it] by surrounding them with Spaniards. I have almost all my family here to speak to them in Spanish," she told Hola! in 2019. "I try to educate them and tell them about typical Spanish dishes." Pataky added that summer visits to Spain also serve to help her children "experience its culture … so they never lose their roots."

While most members of the Pataky-Hemsworth household can speak more than one language, the same can't be said for Chris Hemsworth. "He promised me, he said, 'I'll be speaking Spanish in two months, there we go.' We have been together for six years," Pataky quipped on the Today show in 2017 (via the Daily Mail). However, to the Marvel star's credit, his wife went on to say, "He's improving, every year he knows one or two words more."

You may have missed her Marvel cameo

For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health — and even on the big screen — Pataky has always had her husband's back. According to Hemsworth's 2017 interview with W magazine, his real-life love stepped in to save the day when a scheduling conflict prevented actress Natalie Portman from reprising her role as Thor's love interest, Jane Foster, in a reshoot for 2013's Thor: The Dark World.

"I get to the studio. The director comes up to me and he says, 'So, basically, it's just final kiss of the movie. You have to kiss Natalie, but she's not here, so we brought in these girls,'" Hemsworth told the media outlet. However, the actor had an even better solution. "I said, 'My wife's around the corner. Let's get her in … and I won't have to explain to her what I've been doing at work from having to kiss someone else.' So she came in and that's the final kiss in that movie is between my wife and I."

Don't beat yourself up too much if you missed Pataky's impromptu and well-camouflaged Marvel debut. In addition to being the same height as Portman, she was clad in a Jane Foster wig and costume. As Portman, who'd been busy filming another project at the time, previously quipped to the New York Daily News, "That's why [the kiss] was so passionate." She noted, "It was such a perfect solution, wasn't it."

She's spoken out on diversity in Hollywood

With the #OscarsSoWhite campaign still very much a part of the conversation at the 2019 Academy Awards, it's not exactly a secret that Hollywood has a lot of work to do when it comes to diversity and equality both on and off camera. Luckily, there are celebs like Elsa Pataky, who have long used their platform to publicly put their own industry on blast when it comes to matters of gender and race.

In 2014, Pataky told El País that she and other Latina actresses had been "pigeonhole[d]" into certain roles because of their accents, and claimed that showbiz was "very cruel to women," particularly as they age. Four years later, the actress expressed to Vogue Australia that she felt encouraged by a slow but noticeable shift in Tinseltown's on-screen representation of women, different accents, and a "mix of races." Citing Israeli actress Gal Gadot's triumphant turn in 2017 DC flick Wonder Woman as an intersectional example, Pataky said, "It just shows that women have to be equal in every way, and why not? People are not just interested in a lead guy, they want to see stories from women. There have been amazing women in life, strong women who have obstacles in life but keep going … interesting stories about women." We couldn't have said it better ourselves.

Pataky and Hemsworth are going strong

Elsa Pataky and Chris Hemsworth had been working in the same industry long before they became an item in 2010, but they didn't team up on the big screen until the 2018 action movie 12 Strong — in which they naturally played husband and wife Mitch and Jean Nelson. While the wartime drama unfortunately failed to be a smash hit — grossing a respectable $67.4 million worldwide, but scoring just a lowly critical rating of 51 percent on Rotten Tomatoes — the duo's on-screen chemistry was undeniable.

"I felt like we've been rehearsing more than seven years for this part," Hemsworth quipped to the Independent at the time. "We joked while we were filming, 'If we don't have any on-camera chemistry in this movie then we're in trouble.'" For her part, Pataky admitted to Hola! that taking on these roles meant breaking the couple's no. 1 rule: filming their respective projects at different times in order to maintain a stable home life for their children. However, it thankfully was "not a long time away," she said. "I thought it was a good experience for both of us to have — doing what we love and what we are passionate about," Pataky (a.k.a. Thor's wife) shared. We love to see our favorite Hollywood power couples collaborate and create their own content, so here's hoping this married pair will continue to join forces on screen in the future!