Zoe Saldana: ‘I have been in relationships where a man has disrespected me’

Zoe Saldana

Zoe Saldana covers the August issue of Marie Claire to promote Guardians of the Galaxy. The photoshoot is very fresh and pretty. Zoe looks gloriously triumphant and like she’s finally comfortable posing in front of a camera. I’ve noticed that photographers often don’t know what to do with Zoe. They’re often like, “Hey, pose awkwardly with this chair.” This is a much more natural looking shoot. Well done.

The interview is a bit odd. The article promises that Zoe “will hand you your ass on a silver platter.” Less talking, more doing. Zoe does a lot of talking here. She runs the gamut of topics to convince us that she’s a badass. You know what? She is a badass in some of her films. Columbiana was a cinematic misfire, but Zoe was pretty fierce. She’s playing the most notorious assassin in the universe, Gamora, in Guardians. So here are some “badass” quotes. I actually agree with a lot of what she’s saying here:

On hubby Marco Perego: “I don’t do the ABCs. I do what my heart says, what my heart feels. So from the moment I met my husband, we were together. We knew.”

What she’s learned about relationships: “Not to settle. If you’re not happy with a person, leave. And wait until you find that one person who makes you feel good about yourself every single day and is not expecting you to change, but to grow.”

On disrespect: “I have been in relationships where a man has disrespected me, and I don’t need to be friends with that man anymore. I don’t want to be the one going, ‘I’m cool, because I’m friends with all my exes.’ There’s a reason why you’re called an ex. I crossed you off my list. Moving on. You cross a line, you need to know that you’re going to walk this earth knowing that there’s an individual who has no respect for you.”

Her dream roles: “I would love to play Nefertiti or Cleopatra or the Queen of Sheba. We preserve more male history than we do female. We have to preserve it. No more complaining. We have to do it.”

Her personality: She describes herself as an “iron-fisted lady,” a woman who “will not take any bullsh-t,” and someone who was known during her teenage years as a “bad seed.” “You cross me as a lady, it’s over,” she says, dark eyes flashing.

Growing up in Dominican Republic: “I had many female bullies growing up who wanted us to be submissive and to follow and to kiss ass, and that’s the last thing any Saldana will ever do, honestly.”

Her refuge: “I love coming to New York because my family is here. But I’m always busy working, so I make them all come sleep over with me. They bring their pillows, and we get extra beds. My grandma lies on the couch. It’s just delicious.”

[From Marie Claire]

Let’s get the Cleopatra talk out of the way. Zoe will never play that character no matter how badly she wants it. There would be so much criticism from such casting news that it would never happen.

I do agree with Zoe about cutting off ex-boyfriends who disrespect. It’s harder to cut off spouses in such situations. Marriage is always more complicated, especially when kids are involved. When it’s just a boyfriend and there are no children? Cut that sucker loose and don’t pretend to be friends. Zoe had a 10-year relationship with Keith Britton before she hooked up with Bradley Cooper. I don’t know if Keith “disrespected” Zoe, but I have a hunch that she is talking directly to BCoop. Just look at what Jennifer Esposito had to say about him.

Zoe Saldana

Zoe Saldana

Photos courtesy of Fame/Flynet & Boe Marion/Marie Claire

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74 Responses to “Zoe Saldana: ‘I have been in relationships where a man has disrespected me’”

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  1. Farah says:

    Why would Zoe playing an African queen be a controversy? It would be much better than the mess of a white washed Jolie/Fincher movie that was planned for a while. I know, Cleo was of Greek decent, but that makes it more likely she was a light skinned black woman, like Zoe.

    • paola says:

      I don’t think is about her skin color but more about the fact she isn’t a great actress and she would never pull off such a big role. She lacks star quality in my opinion. I wouldn’t even define her a beauty. Nice body..but the face is meh.

      • FF says:

        There’s a cultural meme that strongly indicates that some people consistently fail to see acting ability when the actor in question is a WoC. Ijs.

        To my mind she’s a great candidate for the part.

        If the picture was Fincher/Jolie at some point it’s because studios feel safe with her as an audience draw, and because Fincher is familiar with Jolie via working with Brad.

        The subtext is rather why Zoe wasn’t a contender for such a project post-Avatar, or even someone like Lupita Nyong’o now. That might be how Hollywood rolls but why push that kind of thinking here? I’m sorry but Cleopatra looking like Jolie in the middle of Africa is somebody’s wishful thinking and highly unlikely. Or were they planning on reprising her Mighty Heart look?

    • Cloud&feather says:

      The Ptolemaic Dynasty frequently intermarried, so that is unlikely.

    • Kim1 says:

      Jolie is still doing Cleopatra

    • An says:


      Saldana resembles Cleopatra far more than Jolie does.

      • Kels says:

        It’s well known that the real historically accurate Cleopatra, unlike Jolie (or Saldana), was no beauty. She was mostly Greek, short and homely. Gee..who fits that description. Lmao

      • An says:

        Well, then they should get someone “ugly” to play her (or Aniston as you’re alluding to) but this is Hollywood. They don’t do anything historically accurate but it’s not out if the realm of possibility to ask for them to not white-wash a film about an African pharaoh.

      • Stef Leppard says:


    • starfan says:


      Go check out the new Christian Bale “Moses” mess that’s coming out. All white cast. They even have white people with brown tan going on. But they do have their obligatory token Ben Kingsley. We’re still in 1930s I guess. Hiring POC is a no no.

      • Farah says:

        It’s sad that Hollywood refuses change. Movies with “minorities” make money. And yet, they’ll give any straight, white male a million chances to flop, but if a POC or member of LGTBQ community does, sorry no chances for decade.

      • Hanna says:

        They’ll make these movies before Cleopatra:
        Tom Hardy + lots of bronzer = Julius Caesar
        Channing Tatum + a little eyeliner = Genghis Khan
        Leonardo DiCaprio + Birkenstocks = John the Baptist
        Money makers, all of them.

    • Kels says:

      Farah, you need to calm down. Since when has a film adaptation of the well received book about Cleopatra (that Jolie/Fincher were/are interested in) been considered a mess? It doesn’t even exist as a thing yet. Nary a storyboard or outline or a screenwriter selected. So how/why would it be a mess? You and your jealousy need to have several seats. Two Oscar winners, which include a charismatic lead actress and a film that’s still in the idea stages? You act like you time traveled into the future and reviewed it for rotten tomatoes 2017.

      Also, as others stated: people aren’t talking about race, they’re talking about Zoe Saldana being a bore of a mediocre actress. It says a lot about her narcissistic personality that she names 3 historic notorious Queens and rulers when nothing in her acting background suggests she has the charisma and authority to pull that off.

      If anyone’s playing Nefertiti or Queen Of Sheba it should be Lupita.

      This woman as Nina Simone is a dang travesty.

      • An says:

        Erm… I don’t think it’s jealousy as much as frustration over Hollywood’s white washing of films and them shutting out POC in their films. Like that Christian Bale mess mentioned above. We’re in AFRICA (when it comes to Cleopatra) not America. No amount of Oscar’s are going to change Jolie’s etnicity.

      • Farah says:

        @Kels When was I not calm in my original comment? Hollywood has a LONG history of white washing, the Christian Bale movie included. Angelina Jolie, regardless of her being an Oscar winner is not the same ethnicity as Cleo. I’m a Jolie fan. I like her. I’m not dragging her. Sure, Zoe is not as good of an actress as Angie, and she probably shouldn’t play Cleo, but she physically resembles all documented reports of Cleopatra much more than Angelina does. That was simply my point. I’m just sick of white washing in general.

      • FF says:

        Why does she have to ‘calm down’? You’re the only one saying she’s agitated. She made the very valid point that straight white males are cast for their considered potential, while PoCs are cast based on their results. Which often translates as them not being given as many chances – if any – unless someone really insists on it, and are quickly set aside for a failure that won’t slow down said straight, white male.

    • Kels says:

      Also, light skinned? Zoe Saldana is a medium brown skinned girl. Rosie Perez is ‘light skinned.’ Tisha Campbell is ‘light skinned.’

    • manta says:

      Talent or ethnicity aside,I don’t really find Saldana or Jolie accurate for the role of a young woman who accessed to the throne at 18, gave birth to Cesar’s son in her early 20s etc…
      On an older post, everybody seemed to find ridiculous Witherspoon casting herself for the part of a 20 something.
      It’s the same for me here. Unless the film centers around Cleopatra’s last years.

      • FF says:

        Yeah but this is like saying Carey Mulligan wasn’t the right age for her role in An Education. Age is a commonly fudged variable in the Hollywood film-making process.

        Which is why implying that Zoe can’t play the part because of similar considerations is so ridiculous.

        PoCs rarely seem to get roles nowadays unless it’s biographical ly impossible for a white actor to play the part – and sometimes not even then.

    • maynot says:

      Macedonian descent . Consider that 2000 years ago Greeks were more blond/ ginger & light skinned than the present ones. Their ancestors did came from the Northern Regions. Alexander himself didn’t have Mediterranean features, he is remembered as a blond/ light brown with delicate features.

    • P.J. says:

      Not quite. In some of the most highly respected anthropological texts, not only is Cleopatra’s Greek/European heritage & ethnicity discussed in depth, but her painfully regularly MIS-described looks are as well: Cleopatra has always been described as having fair white skin, light eyes and wavy auburn/red hair. She was not at all African herself but was merely relocated their during her late childhood/early teen years in a political gamble made by elders.

      So you see, just going by looks alone, Jolie is without a doubt a better match. At the end of the day, hell, all day every day, Greek + caucasian/European does not ever equal brown skin/African in appearance. Sorry to be all former Anthro major here, but it’s a little crazy how over time history has been so misguided in their attempts to make this woman into whatever the world wanted her to be. And as another poster above also pointed out, Cleopatra was recorded as not being any type of looker either! (It’s African born Queen Nefertiti who was the oft recorded mind blowingly great beauty.)

      • Ange says:

        This ^

        Not to mention she had a hooked nose that would rival a falcon lol. Apparently Cleo’s biggest assets were her brains and a marvellously melodic speaking voice.

  2. AG-UK says:

    I agree about the exes..

  3. IL says:

    Totally agree about the exes too. I had an ex who wanted to be “mates” and “hang out” after we broke up, even tho he had been a complete and utter bastard when we were together. I’m talking verbal abuse, cheating, mind games etc. Acted all hurt and confused when I wouldn’t pretend to be friends with him after we broke up. Idiot. Completely wiped him. Best thing I ever did.

  4. Janice Smith says:

    Arsinoe, Cleo’s sister had african blood according to some research

    And Cleo was supposed to be fugly (or jolie laide) right?..so I don’t understand why Jolie is doing this project. Hollywood is such a bland place…

    • Kim1 says:

      Maleficent is closing in on $700M primarily because of Jolie.Hollywood is about green as in dollars.If a POC wants to play Cleopatra then they need to raise the money through investors and stop waiting for Hollywood.

      • An says:

        Why should we accept that Hollywood only caters to white people when they’re less than 10% of the worlds population?!

      • FF says:

        And I bet if PoCs did this and started making bank the cry of ‘why so segregationist’ would be thrown up.

        (I’m not even getting into how Jolie’s popularity is made by publicity and opportunity, and how that is made by people being willing to cast her and publicise her, and her being cast is made by people being willing to see her as their idea of the part – which comes back to the opinions on threads like this.)

    • Cloud&feather says:

      Arsinoe is only thought to have black heritage because Hilke Thuer decided her skull looked like those of an African or an Egyptian. This has been debunked. The skull is not an indicator of race. This was the same faulty “science” that dictated one could be a criminal, etc. by feeling the lumps on their head (phrenology).

  5. bettyrose says:

    Word about being friends with exes. Sometimes it works, other times you need to sever all ties. There’s no one right approach.

    • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

      Agree. I have ex boyfriends where the spark just faded for no particular reason, and we’re friends. Anyone who lied or treated me badly is gone. Why would I want a friend like that? It depends on the circumstances.

      • Lady Macbeth (HiddlesF) says:

        I didn’t keep in touch with any of my exes either, except one.
        The others, who cares? I don’t believe in the politically correct friendship after a failed relationship, at any cost. Better to sever ties. Just my two cents.

  6. AnneSB says:

    I usually like women who play badass in movies, or badasses in real life, but…. Zoe Saldana just rubs me the wrong way. I can’t point my finger at what it is. Maybe because she seems like a try-hard?

    • Panache says:

      I agree. She talks a big game but do we know that any of what she says is true? It comes across as if she’s just saying these things for effect. It’s people who go on and on about how they’re one way or another that aren’t actually anything like it. But maybe she is, what do I know.

    • ella says:

      It seems like she’s always offering advice, kind of like every interview with Cameron Diaz and Shailene Woodley. That may be more the fault of their interviewers, but it bugs.

  7. GoodNamesAllTaken says:

    She makes her grandmother sleep on the sofa? Get your bad ass out of your bed and sleep on the sofa yourself.

    • It is what it is says:

      Haha!! I love this comment @goodnamesalltaken. +1

      I get what she’s saying about preserving female history, paying attention to strong women and trying to honor them. I like that message.

    • Lady Macbeth (HiddlesF) says:

      I was taken aback from that comment too. Unless the grandmother prefers to sleep on the sofa (for example my mum does, I prepare the guest room for her and she sleeps on the sofa lol)

  8. Hautie says:

    I can be polite to an “ex” when necessarily. Even if things got a bit ugly when the relationship ended. Thankfully my last “ex” was over 15 years ago. And has aged very badly. Karma came and visited his face. And I can not think of a man who deserved it more than him.

    But no, I would not ever want to keep a old boyfriend in my social group.

    And yep…. I suspect that Cooper is a Grade A asshole. Plus he has always had that serial killer look to his eyes. Which just creeps me out.

  9. Detritus says:

    Saldana is beautiful and makes me want to try that red lippy.
    Not sure if she can act well enough for the iconic roles she’s envisioning though. I’ll hold judgement until I see that new Chris Pratt movie.

  10. Tig says:

    I have always liked her roles, and find her looks quite lovely. So on board with the ex’s comment- if you wouldn’t ( and shouldn’t ) want a lying, sneaky, hurtful BF, why would you want a friend like that?

  11. Lady says:

    Is it possible to be with a man and not be disrespected? I’m dead serious and I’m not bashing men at all but this is just the case with every man I ever dated and by the sounds of it, every man my girlfriends have been with.

    • Lady Macbeth (HiddlesF) says:

      Yes it is possible, it is just chance. I only had two men who didn’t disrespect me in my life, one of my exes and my husband. The rest was crap.

    • Mitch Buchanan Rocks! says:

      There is – knowing red flags – and leaving when you spot them – can save you a lot of trouble.
      Things to watch out for : name calling – big no no, even if it is said ‘jokingly’ this is how it all begins. The joking ‘meshugeneh’ turns into the harshly said “fcking btch” – once you have no self esteem and feel trapped. The partner wants you to give your stuff away because he/she doesn’t ‘like it’ or he feels it doesn’t ‘suit you’ this starts with small things – then after a few years you find you’ve given your whole ‘self’ away and he ‘still’ isn’t happy. Doesn’t ask or take interest in your family, or puts them down even in the beginning – this is a big one – this means you are an extension of them and will not get to be ‘yourself’.

      Here is a good article as well


      it is very good to read the comments as well to see patterns of behaviors.

    • AlexandriaTheGreat says:

      Please read baggagereclaim dot com. I read Nat’s site up and down and she’s helped me realize some bad habits on my part, when it comes to attracting certain partners and having no boundaries.

    • Maria says:

      people (!) generally disrespect other people. ask your guy friends how often their girlfriends disrespect them. or if you want to blush a lot ask your parents how often you disrespected them.
      with men its just a bit more obvious. when a man disrespects me its clear, women are way more subtle and often you find it out too late.

    • maybeiamcrazy says:

      It depends on what kind of “disrespect” you are talking about. None of us are always PC and always rational. We all say stupid things to our friends/parents/partners. IMO if your bf disrespects you by lying and cheating, that is red flag. But if he forgot your birthday or was late for a date, it is not that problematic, at least for me.

  12. DJ says:

    It’s very possible that she is talking about her ex Keith Britton. Who knows if they stayed friends after the breakup? I’m probably in the minority, but I just don’t believe that Bradley is as horrible as some people make him out to be. Colleagues/friends of his always talk about how great of a guy he is. I think when someone is a horrible boyfriend, they are usually a horrible friend too.

    • Mel M says:

      Idk, I’ve known quite a few guys that were/are really sh!$@y boyfriends/husbands but had all kinds of friends and all of thier friends love them.

      • AlexandriaTheGreat says:

        Some peoples’ behavior changes in romantic relationships. They virtually become a different person when in a partnership. A person that their close friends don’t see.

    • Tammy says:

      Cooper is a douche.

  13. Pumpkin Pie says:

    1. I love the cover and the paparazzi pic
    2. Grandma on the sofa, NO
    3. I could see both Angelina and Zoe playing Cleopatra, don’t know why
    4. What does she mean by being known as a “bad seed” during her teenage yrs?

  14. Hotrod says:

    It’s COLOMBIANA….with an OOOO, sweet jesus

  15. Mike says:

    Why are these celebrities always trying to come across as tough? Most of them are the size and weight of a potato chip and as intimidating as a kitten. Maybe she is talking about emotional toughness. After all Columbiana was a movie (a a good one) and not really her.

    • Sighs says:

      Little people are often the most fierce. Maybe not physically, but in almost every other sense of the word. And I only mean that in a “able to fight” way. I have a super high pain tolerance. I’m much tougher than my husband, who is twice my size. And I weigh about as much as a potato chip. 😉

    • FF says:

      That’s what celebs and the publications they appear in do. If she were playing a ballerina she’d be talking about dance and plie and whatever restrictive diet she was on.

      If it’s an actioner you talk about stunts and handgun practice, not puppies. Its an attempt to remain on topic with the subject you’re promoting. Or that’s the idea.

  16. TWINK says:

    Did a man disrespect her by trying to open a jar for her? jk I like her but girl was obsessed with opening her own jars for a while there.

  17. Naddie says:

    Oh my. Cut the bragging, please. Everyone is bad ass, takes shit from no one, and I ain’t talking about only celebrities.

    • OhDear says:

      You know how some people go on and on about how nice/loyal/smart/responsible/etc. they are but they really aren’t? It sounds like the case with this interview. If you’re [good quality], then you generally don’t feel the need to brag about it constantly.

  18. Tang says:

    It seems like the same women who won’t “put up with” a man disrespecting them, will remain in friendships with other women who disrespect them just as much, or more.

  19. Cait says:

    agree – stop the bragging. imho, Malala is a bad ass. Zoe just comes off as an angry woman. And why does it have to be the same historical figures over and over again? There are Caribbean/Dominican/Haitian female historical tales that deserve a “preservation” attention with the Hollywood treatment.

  20. Leaflet says:

    I like Zoe. She’s a really great actress. Pulled off Columbiana flawlessly. She did just as well in Avatar and the movie she was in with Idris and Chris Evans. I don’t get the shade on Zoe, why? If she says she’s tough, she’s tough. Every person is strong in one way or the other. And I know what she means. There was a female bully at a previous job that bullied another female coworker pretty bad and thought she’d initiate me. When she saw that I wouldn’t take her sh!t the first time, she thought she could intimidate me by talking about how tough she was. I looked at that fool, and the girl she was trying to show off in front of, which was the one she was bullying, and stood my ground hard. People like to try swing their weight around just to intimidate others, you don’t tolerate it.

  21. Hot Farts says:

    Haha!! Busted again. Bradley Cooper is a douche-dick

  22. Nikki says:

    i just saw pictures of Zoe & her mother out grocery shopping, she looks like she’s pregnant.

  23. DJ says:

    Now that I think about it there was a photo of Zoe with Keith right after they broke up, so maybe she isn’t talking about him. That doesn’t necessarily mean she is referring to Bradley, though.

  24. lile says:

    Zoe is wise and inspiring. I wish young girls in Hollywood would listen up. Stop letting these fools disrespect and humiliate you just because they are famous. Move on and leave these clowns behind. Enough already.

  25. Lux says:

    Clicking the Jennifer Esposito link just reminds me of how awesome Samantha Who was. I wish that show had lasted longer.

  26. FF says:

    Any more interpretations of Cleopatra in the Elizabeth Taylor mode are going to miss me hard. Forever. When they need some slaves or whatnot to be cast I bet they can suddenly remember PoCs exist. Pass.

    I see no reason in the world why she couldn’t play Cleopatra, nor why she shouldn’t say just that.

    Also glad she’s ditched the douche – whoever he was.