Zoe Saldana got teary-eyed as she paid tribute to her mother, Asalia Nazario, during a surprise party honoring the matriarch that was filmed for a new, uplifting web series.

The show, AOL Originals' My Hero, premieres on Friday and was executive produced by the Star Trek and Guardians of the Galaxy actress. It focuses on celebrities and the people who've helped change their lives for the better. In a video Saldana shared on her Twitter page on Throwback Thursday, she and her sisters, Mariel and Cisely, express touching words to their mother, who had to make difficult decisions for her family following a horrible tragedy.

"You are the ultimate rock star because you became my friend, because you showed us your humanity when we were too young to understand," said Saldana, her voice wavering, as her mother was seen wiping away tears with a handkerchief. "We got it and I'm so grateful for that. So, thank you."

Saldana was born in New Jersey and lived with her family in Queens in New York City as a child. Her father, Aridio Saldaña, was from the Dominican Republic, while her mother is originally from Puerto Rico. When the actress was 9 years old, her dad died in a car accident.

"He was very possessive of his daughters. And he had the best laugh," Saldana recalled in an interview with the  U.K. newspaper The Telegraph that was posted in July. "He laughed with an open mouth: my sisters and I are told that we laugh that way. You would never think the way I laugh belongs to my body. I laugh like an old Latino man."

Nine months after his death, Nazario sent the actress and her sisters to the Dominican Republic, to live with their grandparents. Saldana told Glamour Magazine's Glam Belleza Latina in 2013 that her family spoke Spanish at home and mastered the language through seven years of schooling in the Caribbean country.

"New York was not a good place to be raising kids in the late 1980s and 1990s," Saldana told The Telegraph, adding that her mother "made the best decision—we are here because of that decision."

"I've never met anybody with the vulnerability and the strength that my mom has," the actress says in a promo video for My Hero that was released earlier this year.

The actress is set to become a mother herself and is currently expecting twins with husband Marco Perego.

In the Dominican Republic, Saldana took up dancing, studying different genres. The family later moved back to New York, where the actress finished high school. She then took up acting and got cast as headstrong, talented teenage ballerina Eva Rodriguez in the 2000 dance-themed movie Center Stage, which marked her breakout role.

Two years later, she starred opposite Britney Spears in the movie Crossroads. More movie roles, alongside A-list stars, would follow.

Saldana appeared with Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl in 2003 and played an immigration officer (and foreshadowing: a Star Trek fan) who interacts with Tom Hanks in the 2004 movie The Terminal before she made her debut as Uhura in a 2009 Star Trek reboot film, a part she reprised in a 2013 sequel, and also portrayed Neytiri in James Cameron's blockbuster Avatar, the highest-grossing big screen film in history, and is set to play the part again in three sequels.

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