Their existence as human beings is verifiable, but their status as a couple of going on six years and the parents of two children is provable only via the sparest shreds of evidence, including a couple of birth certificates and a few spoken acknowledgements that have escaped from the actors' mouths while in a public setting.
Though Ryan and Eva started out as your average celebrity couple in that they didn't exactly invite attention, nor did they eschew it, but there were walks to grab coffee, some date nights and a trip to Disneyland, as well as two red carpet appearances—to date, the only water in the photographic well. They even did a Funny or Die video together very early on, in 2011.
But in hindsight, those red carpet photos probably wouldn't even exist if they hadn't both been in a movie that needed promoting, the dour 2012 drama The Place Beyond the Pines.
That film, for all its tear-jerker elements, provided the setting in which our heroes met and fell in love before embarking on a very un-Hollywood quest to live their joint life out of the spotlight.
No cute couple shots on Instagram, no birth announcements by way of magazine covers, no premieres, no award shows, no nothing.
It's as if once they had found each other, they headed home, locked the door, rolled up the welcome mat behind them and made their house disappear. As though once they decided to get really serious, they decided that the public had had enough photo opportunities.
And while they haven't taken every pain to be left alone—they do still live in the Hollywood area, after all—Eva and Ryan have succeeded at being so low-key as a unit that they've managed to welcome two new human beings into this world in as quiet a fashion as possible despite Gosling's ever rising profile as an actor and Eva remaining in demand for all things beauty and fashion.
"What people don't know about me is that I love being home," Mendes says, rather ironically actually, in the latest issue of Shape, which features the designer and taste-maker on the cover. "Instead of being on the red carpet, I'd rather be home with my girls."
Well, yeah! We hate to break it to you, Eva, but that's exactly what people have already figured out about you.
That, and you and Ryan have one of the most trusting, secure relationships around, because otherwise it might be weird to see your partner off night after night to red carpet appearances—particularly this past year with Gosling's La La Land becoming the hottest thing in show business since Botox—and not feel a twinge of "hmm, maybe I should go to this one."
Instead, Gosling has taken to giving Mendes subtle shout-outs from the screen, whether while hosting Saturday Night Live (though she was with him in New York that time and attended the after-party) or while giving his acceptance speech at the Golden Globes.
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Gosling even took a little crap online (actually, he probably never saw it, but memo to Ryan: you got crap) for calling Mendes "my lady" and showering her with appreciation for holding down the home front while he was off making La La Land.
Some were annoyed that he didn't say her name (because she's famous, unlike the sound mixer's significant other, which makes it OK for the sound mixer to just say "my wife" or "my girlfriend"), while still others didn't like the imagined patriarchal implications of what he said, as if Mendes was putting "her man's" career first and her happiness second.
None of which was implied in Gosling's speech!
And, he did say "Eva and Ezzy, I love you" as he was signing off from SNL in 2015, a pronounced shout-out to Mendes and their little girl Esmeralda, who was joined by sister Amada last April. He also, for the record, said her whole name when, asked what drew him to his partner, he flat-out replied, "That she's Eva Mendes. There's nothing else I'm looking for."
For starters, Mendes may have taken a breather from acting, her last major role being in the 2013 HBO movie Clear History and her last big-screen appearance coming in the Gosling-directed Lost River, but she has refocused her attention toward running her various businesses (and yes, toward her family, like a lot of moms tend to do, or only wish they could do).
She's the creative director and face of Circa Beauty and she just put out a spring collection for her signature line with New York & Company—and she stays model-ready all the time to exhibit her various wares.
Moreover, Mendes mentions Gosling in conversation far less than he mentions her (we presume she knows his name is "Ryan") and really sticks to business when she's doing appearances for her clothing and makeup lines.
And the lack of name-dropping when each is out doing his or her job is part of their deal. Mendes' Instagram account is a Gosling-free zone, the closest she's ever come to acknowledging his existence on social media being this appraisal of Janelle Monáe's outfit on Globes night: "Obviously this wasn't my favorite moment of the night....But it was definitely my favorite style moment of the night. The stunning and talented@janellemonae is killing me with this look. So so so beautiful."
Gosling even implied that Mendes didn't love it when he went overboard talking about her in public, saying in 2015, "She indirectly picked things that became very important to different people involved [with Lost River]. She hates credit and she'll even be mad that I'm giving her that credit. But she was very helpful in so many ways."
Promoting The Nice Guys in May 2016, when asked about the girl-to-boy ratio in his house recently rising to 3-to-1, Ryan confirmed that was at least true, adding, deadpan, "It's heaven. It's like walking through a field of flowers every day. I live with angels."
Deftly directing the conversation right back to his movie, which co-starred Russell Crowe, he added self-deprecatingly, "It's a ray of sunshine in a dark time, because with Russell, really, it's sad. It's sad that we've turned out this way."
Now, the press could press Mendes and Gosling more, but it's likely that would result in each beating a retreat back to their fortress, which Mendes isn't that inclined to leave anyway.
"I'm sorry. I'm shutting down," she told The Edit, not unkindly, in 2013 when an interviewer ventured a question about her boyfriend. "I'm such a weirdo. I literally lose my ability to speak—and you were doing so well."
Her concerns about privacy only deepened once they became parents.
"Whether we like it or not, privacy is going to be very difficult for Esmeralda. I think it's unfair but that's our reality," Mendes told Violet Grey in 2014. "So Ryan and I decided early on to give her as much privacy as we could. And my pregnancy was the first opportunity to give her that.
"It's such an intimate time for the mother, too. I know that it seems all very innocuous when you're flipping through a tabloid at the doctor's office or see a photo of a pregnant lady online, but I find the media's 'bump watch' obsession to be both intrusive and stressful. So I made a decision to eject myself from it completely. I was like, 'Annnnd I'm out.'"
She wasn't kidding.
Perhaps once their daughters are a little older, Mendes may feel inclined to join Gosling on a red carpet again—or vice versa, for one of her appearances. Not that they need to make it rain, but the relentlessly tapped photo well could certainly use even one new drop to ease the drought.