Ryan Gosling Said He Took on the Role of Ken for His Two Daughters—But They Have Yet to Watch 'Barbie'

He explained why he and partner Eva Mendes haven't let them see their dad's award-winning performance.

Ryan Gosling Christmas Song
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The world has gone crazy over Ken Ryan Gosling and his performance in Barbie. To us, he will never be "Just Ken," and to the two daughters he shares with his partner Eva Mendes, he isn't Ken at all, he's "Just Dad."

And, though it seems as though the entire world has seen Gosling's award-winning turn in the Greta Gerwig-directed film, at the 2024 Santa Barbara International Film Festival on Saturday, January 13, Gosling told E! News that his daughters Esmeralda and Amada haven't watched Barbie.

“I don’t know if you should watch your father as Ken," he said. "I don’t know what age is a good age to see your father do that.” 

For the record, Esmeralda is nine, and Amada is seven, and Gosling has previously said that he took on the role of the iconic doll for his girls.

“I knew that they loved it because they kept saying at first, ‘Hey, can we go to Target?'” he recalled. “And we go to Target, and then they’d slowly go by the Barbie aisle. And my wife and I sort of realized, ‘Okay, I think it’s time to let them have Barbies.’ And no interest in Ken, which was pretty interesting, too.”

And ergo is why Gosling decided to take on the role of the life-sized plastic figure as “a way to sort of make something both for and with them."

Okay, then, so why not show them the film?

Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Gosling did say that "they’ve seen little parts of it” and "they came to set one day when I did a big musical number.” (Maybe "I'm Just Ken"?)

While their daughters haven't seen the film, Mendes has been a vocal supporter of the film and Gosling's role in it.

The actress posted a photo of the actor after "I'm Just Ken" won Best Original Song at the 2024 Critics Choice Awards, and added the caption, "I LOVE HIM!!!!"

Gosling also mentioned Mendes in his acceptance speech for the Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival Saturday night.

"I got to meet the girl of my dreams, Eva Mendes," he said onstage of what his career has brought him. "I have two dream children. I dreamed of one day making movies and now movies have made my life a dream. So the way I see it, there's no way I've contributed half as much to cinema as cinema has contributed to me."

As much as I adore this couple, I can't handle them gatekeeping Barbie from their kids. Those sweet girls deserve to watch that cinematic masterpiece!

A post shared by Eva Mendes

A photo posted by evamendes on

Fleurine Tideman
Freelance Writer

Fleurine Tideman is a freelance writer who is always ready to discuss celebrities, entertainment, mental health, relationships and anything else her busy brain comes up with. She comes from the small, rainy land of the Netherlands, but she uses the flexibility of her work to travel around Europe and explore new places. She spent several years working in the travel industry, which taught her how to fit insane amounts in her hand luggage. She has a degree in Psychology and Anthropology, which she uses to psychoanalyse herself and others. She’s a regular contributor for Betches, and you can also find her work on Pop Sugar, Insider, Time Out or her own blog, Symptoms of Living. At Marie Claire, she’ll be covering celebrity news, usually written to the sounds of Taylor Swift.