While the actress is certainly no stranger to the spotlight, she has still managed to lead a relatively private life, so private, in fact, fans don’t know much about her. If you’re curious to learn more about the Israeli powerhouse of a star, read on to find out!
You have probably seen her on-screen but may not know who she is. Gal Gadot hails from the land of Israel and was born on April 30th, 1985. She was born in Petah Tikvah and later moved to the city of Rosh HaAyin before eventually finding herself in Hollywood.
Gal herself described her upbringing as a very positive one but also sheltered in some ways. She admitted that, given today’s technology, it was enriching to have a childhood without a cellphone, and that was more focused on being with her friends.
Mom & Dad
Gal’s good upbringing is most likely thanks to her parents. Her mom, Irit, was a physical education teacher while her dad, Michael, was extremely devoted to his family and provided for them as an engineer.
Gal’s mom must have instilled in her a love for staying active as she had a very active childhood and reportedly took part in sports like volleyball, tennis, and basketball. No doubt her active childhood helped her later on when she would take on the physical challenges of playing Wonder Woman.
A Painful Past
Irit, Gal’s mom, is a first-generation Jewish Israeli, and her dad, Michael, is from a long-line of generations born in Israel. Her maternal grandmother escaped from Europe before World War II, while her maternal grandfather was still stranded in Europe during the invasion.
Gal’s great-grandfather and countless other family members tragically perished during the Holocaust, and only her grandfather managed to survive. Through all of the experiences that he had, Gal has said that her grandfather is “like a damaged bird, but hopeful, positive and full of love.”
Gal’s roots and family are very important to her, and she does not hesitate to honor her heritage or her family. She also is very passionate about the family she has created for herself. In 2016, she posted on Facebook about those closest and most precious to her.
Gal has credited her parents with instilling her with quality values and a good work ethic. But she doesn’t just look at her own accomplishments; she is also a big cheerleader for her sister Dana, whom she described as a 'ray of sunshine' in her Facebook post.
One of the most endearing aspects of Gal is her grounded, family life. This is not only seen in the family she has with her husband Yaron but also in the special relationship she has with her mother, Irit.
While Gal has certainly given the honor to her family members, it’s clear to see that they, too, deeply love and admire her. Her mother’s Instagram is primarily devoted to showcasing her pride in her daughter’s accomplishments, her love for them, and her grandchildren.
Her Earliest Jobs
Most people start their first job in their teens as they begin the transition into adulthood, and it was the same for Gal Gadot. Working in retail, restaurants, and paper routes are typical early careers.
Because of her work ethic, Gal had no problems starting out flipping burgers; for her, making money was more important. That’s right; she started out working at the famous fast-food chain Burger King when she was a teen.
Israel requires all of its young people to serve in the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) for a few years after graduating. But, right after Gal graduated from high school and served in the army, she took part in the Miss Israel celebration of beauty in 2004. It was her mom that encouraged her to take part in the competition, and it ended up in tremendous success.
Gal humbly admitted that she never thought she would win the competition, but she did! But she soon found out that winning the prestigious competition actually came with some responsibilities that she was unfamiliar with.
After being awarded the title of Miss Israel, Gal then competed in Miss Universe. The 2004 event took place in Ecuador, but she decided to not let the weightiness of the event get to her. Being an independent woman, Gal decided that the rules for competitors were not going to infringe on her individuality.
Gal admitted that she could have done more to increase her chances of winning. She was not the most punctual, but she said that many of the expectations were unreasonable in the competition. Although she won Miss Israel, she did not actually finish in the final top 20 of the Miss Universe competition.
A New Experience
When she turned 20, Gal took her turn serving in the IDF. Her position was not one of an active fighter or of being sent on dangerous missions. Instead, she had the important role of training soldiers for combat.
Although the weaponry basics were a part of her boot camps, Gal spent a lot of time in the gym training the soldiers, so they were in peak condition. In fact, she held the role for two years, putting her colleagues through the necessary physical challenges, so they were ready.
Something very special happened for Gal when she was in the army. She met the love of her life, Yaron Versano. Versano, ten years her senior, is a property developer and was at the same festival as Gal in the middle of the desert. The two soon became a couple after they mingled among the same group of friends.
Gal confessed to "Vogue" in 2020 that she knew almost immediately that Yaron was the one for her. While she was the one to initiate the relationship, Yaron told her that he also knew right away that she was the one for him too. The couple has been married since 2008.
A Famous Face
Gal had said that she was really not comfortable in front of the camera, at least when she was younger. But it did help her become a widely recognized face. In 2007, she was featured in "Maxim" magazine as one of the most beautiful women in the IDF.
After landing the spot in "Maxim," Gal began receiving offers to model. Many companies came looking for Gal to be in their advertisements, and, in 2008, she became the face of the Israeli clothing brand Castro.
Beauty And Brains
Even with a slew of modeling offers from different companies, Gal decided to pursue higher education. She chose IDC Herzliya in Israel for her college studies and was planning on becoming a lawyer. Though she may have been pursuing a career in law, the love of acting was still waiting to blossom.
Gal had said that the show "Ally McBeal" had made an impression on her when she was younger. She found the character of Ally to be deep which appealed to Gal’s personal outlook.
First Steps Into The Spotlight
When she had just finished her first year of law school, her agent contacted her about an opportunity to be the next bond girl. The part was meant to be for the role of Camille Montes in "Quantum of Solace," but at the time, it did not interest Gal, and she turned it down. She explained to her agent that she did not want to pursue acting at the time and that she was going to focus on her education.
But, after some persuasion from her agent, she decided to attend the audition. Unfortunately, Gal did not land the part, and it instead went to actress Olga Kurylenko. But another opportunity would soon open up for the young law student.
Her First Steps
Despite the rejection from the role of Camille Montes, Gal didn’t close the door on her desire to act. She instead was able to take a role in an Israeli TV series. It may not have been a Hollywood blockbuster, but it was still a great opportunity to expand her acting abilities.
The show was called "Bubot," and the plot centered on the interpersonal drama of a group of people working in the modeling industry. Given her background in modeling, it was a great fit for her first role.
The Fast And Furious Girl
She may not have been chosen for the role in "Quantum of Solace" but Gal had made an impression on the casting director. When they were looking to fill the roles for the fourth film in the "Fast & Furious" franchise, they remembered her. This time, Gal landed the role of Gisele.
She says that playing Gisele in the film reminded her of her time in the army. Gal thinks that she was awarded the role because she was knowledgeable about the weapons used in the production. Her former military training and knowledge certainly didn’t hurt!
Doing Her Own Stunts
The "Fast & Furious" film franchise is known for its adrenaline rush plots and high-end action sequences. The blockbuster films have drawn audiences from around the world with car theatrics, fire, and lots of other special effects sequences.
Gal wanted to prove her worth, and so she joined the cast immediately, eager to prove herself and become a part of the cast family. She never needed to worry as she soon stood out by doing nearly all of her own action sequences and stuntwork herself.
After joining the "Fast and Furious" franchise, Gal soon garnered attention from both audiences and Hollywood. Her newfound fame started to bring in more acting opportunities for the rising star. Later within the same year, she appeared on the big screen; she also appeared on the small screen.
Gal’s next opportunity was on the TV series "Entourage." She may have only appeared on one episode, but it only continued to open more doors for her. She was then cast as Olivia in "The Beautiful Life," the American teen drama.
Gal’s career was really beginning to take off; she had now shared the big screen with some major stars. She starred alongside comedians Steve Carell and Tina Fey in the hilarious film "Date Night."
Gal also landed a role next to an even bigger star when she took the role of Naomi in the action movie starring Tom Cruise, "Knight & Day." She probably never imagined as a young girl that she would act next to the star of "Cocktail," "Top Gun," and "Rain Man"!
More Than An Actress
As an actress, Gal was used to staying in different hotels around the world. Her globetrotting eventually inspired her and her husband to open their very own boutique hotel together in Tel Aviv. The Varsano is a unique stay for those stopping in Tel Aviv with its homey, low-key luxury.
The inspiration for the hotel’s design came from a hotel in LA that was made up of apartments. The couple then decided to create their own place for the weary traveler as they each harnessed their special abilities for the project. With her humble work ethic still alive and well, Gal even did the laundry at the hotel!
The Hotel Changes Hands
Gal and Yaron enjoyed the project of building a hotel from the ground up, and it was a reflection of the shared hard work and creativity in their relationship. But the hotel was, of course, not the only major project in their individual and collective lives.
In 2015, Gal and Yaron decided to sell The Versano to the incredibly wealthy Israeli-Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich. Abramovich started his career by selling rubber ducks in his homeland of Russia and has been known to spend his wealth on soccer clubs and yachts. But he was also still a businessman and decided to throw down a check for $26 million for The Varsano.
Wonder Woman In The Making
Gal eventually auditioned for a role in "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice," but she actually did not know which character the director was auditioning her for. Director Zach Snyder and asked her if she was familiar with the character of Wonder Woman, to which she said she was.
Knowing a potentially huge role lay ahead of her, Gal confessed to "Glamour" magazine that she did her best to keep calm about the audition but was stunned that she was handed the opportunity.
Even with the early-on success in her career, Gal admitted that, before her breakout role, she went through a season where she seriously considered giving up on acting. She told "Sunday Today" that all of the rejections she endured before she finally landed any roles really took a toll on her psychologically.
Additionally, traveling between LA and her home country of Israel also weighed heavy on her. She shared her internal struggles with Yaron and that she was thinking about going back to school and leaving acting altogether. But then came the call from Warner Brothers.
The Making Of A Super Hero
The role of a superhero can be very physically demanding, and "Wonder Woman" was no exception. Gal said that getting into fighting shape for the role was even tougher than her training for the IDF.
Six months before she was on set, she was taught both martial arts and swordsmanship for the role of the Amazonian warrior. Even after filming began, she continued training even more for up to six hours a day.
A Real-Life Wonder Woman
With all of her martial arts and swordsmanship training and learning how to ride horses, Gal is really a real-life superhero. She gave birth to her first daughter Alma in 2011, and later, she had her second daughter Maya in 2017.
In an overexposed era, Gal and Yaron make sure to carefully shield Alma and Maya from the spotlight. However, sometimes the two of them will appear in one of her social media posts.
A Bump In The Road
One of the challenges that actresses may face in their careers is being pregnant during filming. Gal was pregnant with Maya while filming "Wonder Woman" in 2016. Filmmakers had to find a creative to hide Gal’s bump, and the answer was in post-production.
A triangular shape of the material was used for the front of her costumes which was later replaced by a piece of bright green material that could be manipulated in post. Gal said that the weird material combination made it look like she was pregnant with Kermit, the Frog!
A Controversial Role
Making films is risky as it involves a lot of time and money. And, it will be expected that the plot or casting will not suit every demographic. Unfortunately, the release of "Wonder Woman" was not warmly received by everyone. Lebanon’s government banned the film due to Gal’s previous service in the IDF.
The controversy then trickled down into other countries such as Algeria, Tunisia, and Qatar, which also banned the film. Despite the bans, "Wonder Woman" still did wonderfully wherever else it was released.
The Rival Franchise
Before she was the star of the DC Comics movie franchise, Gal was almost pulled into the Marvel universe. In 2013, Gal said she actually auditioned for a role in a Marvel movie at one time.
She said that the role would have required her to shave off her long hair and be covered from head to toe in blue paint. In the end, Karen Gillan was the one to be the hairless, blue character of Nebula in Guardians of the Galaxy.
The Need For Speed
While it may be easy to credit her time in the IDF with her ability to do her own stunts, Gal has another past secret. Though she has now put it in her past, Gal used to be an avid biker and enjoyed hopping on a motorcycle and hitting the open road.
It was after she became a mom that she decided to choose safer forms of transportation. She now keeps her adrenaline satisfied through her workouts and her action roles. A well-rounded woman, she also chooses calmer forms of physical activity like dancing to stay active.
A Dancer Too
In addition to all of her other activities as a child, Gal also took dance lessons. She really enjoyed dancing and took lessons in many forms of dance. She was so good that, reportedly, she could have pursued it professionally had her life not gone in the direction that it did.
Ballet, hip-hop, and jazz were all styles that Gal was able to explore. Due to her diverse interests, Gal may have never imagined that she would one day end up a famous actress.
Getting Behind The Camera
Gal’s big-picture mindset has not only made her a well-rounded person but has also given her an edge in the show business world. With her love for filmmaking in full bloom, Gal and Yaron decided to start their own production company. In 2019, they launched Pilot Wave Productions with the goal of selecting and telling their own stories on the big screen.
The couple released a statement about their new venture that outlined their plans to deliver unique content about interesting people with interesting stories to tell.
A New Role
Pilot Wave Productions was taking shape before 2020. Like the rest of the entertainment industry, the production company also had to place their projects on hold. One of the proposed projects coming out of Pilot Wave is a limited series for Showtime.
In it, Gal herself will portray the legendary actress and inventor Hedy Lamarr. Hedy Lamarr was a fascinating and brilliant woman who was more than just a movie star. She also assisted in the invention of an extremely complex frequency system for missiles too.
Companies know that famous faces help sell their products and, these days, celebrities are supplementing their careers with product endorsements, from cars to alcohol and almost everything in between.
Gal also got in on the action and, in 2020, she became the new face of SmartWater. Jennifer Aniston had been the brand ambassador since 2008, but the baton was then passed on to Gal. For Gal, she certainly can’t go wrong by endorsing water!
Wonder Woman And The World
Gal’s embodiment of Wonder Woman for a new generation not only bolstered her international fame but also made her a role model for young girls. In fact, it was even celebrated at the United Nations in 2016. Gal, Lynda Carter (the original Wonder Woman), along with the President of DC Entertainment Diane Nelson, and director Patty Jenkins all attended.
The women were invited to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Wonder Woman’s first appearance. At the event, Wonder Woman was named an honorary ambassador for the empowerment of women and girls. Sadly, the decision was met with protests, and the title was removed just months later.
Trying Something New
New experiences keep life challenging and fresh. From something as fun as trying a new restaurant or as thrilling as skydiving, change is necessary for growth. Gal Gadot knows this too. For her 2017 appearance on the "Tonight Show" with Jimmy Fallon, Gal admitted that she had never tried Reese’s peanut butter cup.
Fallon soon rectified the situation and presented Gal with the candy. Though it wouldn’t have been a culinary challenge, Gal took the opportunity to try something new, live, on camera, for the first time in her life.
Making The Most Of The Situation
With the events of 2020, collective encouragement became a popular movement. Gal and fellow celebs like Kristen Wiig tried to cheer up their viewers with a rendition of the well-known song "Imagine" by John Lennon. Unfortunately, the well-meaning gesture was not received well at all.
Floods of social media backlash posts came in, citing that the celebrities were out of touch with how ordinary people were coping with the pandemic. They instead communicated that they wanted more practical support in the form of donations of food or money instead of a song.
When Gal appeared in "Maxim" magazine wearing a bikini with her fellow females of the IDF, controversy quickly brewed. It was thought that the photoshoot could increase tourism to Israel, but instead, it caused an international drama.
Female politicians around the world were outraged by the images. A member of parliament for the Labour party in the UK described the photos as “pornographic” while Maxim defended their publication choices. Gal also was shocked by the unintended drama.
Even More Controversy
Gal’s time in the IDF had both positive and negative effects on her life. While she enjoyed the camaraderie with those she served alongside, she has also faced much backlash for it in her acting career.
Her comments sparked some rage on social media, but Gal stood by her statements that supported her patriotism.
Revlon Brand Ambassador
Along with SmartWater, Gal is also one of Revlon’s brand ambassadors. Given her abundant, natural beauty and modeling background, it surely was not a tough choice for the makeup company. Unfortunately, her ambassador deal was met with controversy when a Muslim blogger turned down an award from the company because of their selection of Gal.
Blogger Amani Al-Khatahtbeh explained her actions in one of her posts and said that it was ultimately Gal’s politics that led to her decision. She even went so far as to address Gal personally in one of her posts.
When Gal took the role of Wonder Woman in 2013, she naturally faced criticism from die-hard comic book fans. Surprisingly, fans dished out superficial criticism, claiming that Gal’s slender figure was not an accurate representation of the superhero.
Gal took a stand against the critics and remained firmly planted in her identity. She also chose an intellectual approach to her argument by saying that she was probably more similar to the actual character than her critics imagined. However, the greatest proof that casting directors made the right choice in Gal was the success of the first "Wonder Woman" film.
Social Media Woes
Countless celebrities have been harshly criticized for their publicly shared views, and Gal Gadot is no exception. When she paid tribute to the remarkable Dr. Stephen Hawking, users came to scrutinize her post.
In an attempt to memorialize the physicist, Gal said Hawking was now ‘free from any physical constraints’ of the amyotrophic lateral sclerosis with which he lived for so many decades. Again, her well-meaning post drew intense criticism from activists. Those who fight for the rights of disabled people labeled the post “ableist.”
Troubles With The Israeli Government
Gal certainly made a name for herself in the U.S. but in her home country of Israel, she also has many proud fans. Despite the support from Israelis, Gal has run into trouble with the Israeli government. It began when she supported the political stance of her fellow Israeli, Rotem Sela.
Sela, who is also an actress and TV host, engaged in a public disagreement with the government with certain Israeli policies. She then took to social media to speak up about equal rights, with Gal supporting her.
Controversy With Pilot Wave
Though Gal has endured much criticism for some of her views, her resilience as a public figure can be applauded. One of the projects that Pilot Wave will begin is a film adaptation of the controversial Hebrew novel "Borderlife." The plot centers on an illicit romance between a Jewish woman and a Palestinian man.
The novel was met with disturbing remarks over its plot when it was released in 2014. Borderline was banned from schools for a time, so its adaptation will most likely bring potential problems for Pilot Wave Productions. But, knowing the drama she has navigated before, Gal can handle it with grace.
Dipping Into Disney
Along with endorsement deals, it's not uncommon for even the most seasoned celebrities to also lend their voices in animated films. Gal also decided to try something new and break into the animation world.
She was chosen to be the voice of Shank in the popular animated movie "Ralph Breaks the Internet." She also lent her voice to an episode of "The Simpsons" when she starred as an animated version of herself.
Given her work ethic, Gal is not opposed to taking on smaller projects, whether it is voicing an animated character, endorsing a product, or even briefly appearing in a music video.
That’s right, fans may have missed it, but Gal made an appearance in Maroon 5’s 2018 music video with Cardi B called "Girls Like You." In the video, she also appeared alongside comedian Sarah Silverman, Olympian Aly Raisman, Ellen DeGeneres, Jennifer Lopez, and more.
Her SNL Stint
For many celebrities, once a certain level of fame has been achieved, hosting "Saturday Night Live" becomes a right of passage. Gal had “truly arrived” when she was also awarded the opportunity to host SNL in 2017.
She, of course, began with an opening monologue, and one of the hilarious skits was centered around her Wonder Woman role while the others were equally amusing. Even those who were unfamiliar with her "Wonder Woman" role could appreciate the star’s sense of humor.
Her Next Project
Fans of Gal will notice that, though she enjoys the privileges of her life as an actress, she is also devoted to her family. She has been married for over ten years and is also a doting mom, daughter, and sister.
In early 2021 she announced some very exciting news on social media. Gal is pregnant with her third child! The actress posted a heartwarming photo of her, Yaron, and her two daughters in the announcement post.
With a new baby, you would think Gal may slow down, but she has many exciting projects in the works. Her next film to be released is "The Red Notice," which is set to be released sometime in 2021 on Netflix.
Additionally, Wonder Woman fans can rejoice as the third installment in the franchise has been announced. She will also star in upcoming films like "Death on the Nile," "Justice League Part 2," "Heart of Stone and Cleopatra."
Criticism Over Cleopatra
One of Gal’s many upcoming projects is the film "Cleopatra" Believe it or not; Gal also garnered criticism for this film. Despite her Middle Eastern roots, critics called the casting in the film “whitewashed” and have expressed the desire to see an African or Arab cast in the lead role of the historical figure.
Gal defended her placement in the role by reminding critics that Cleopatra was actually Macedonian in origin and that there simply were not others who would have been as well suited for the part. In all actuality, historians believe Cleopatra to be of a mixed origin.
Raking In The Money
Gal may attribute many things to her success, but she can also thank her hard work and choice of roles for where she is today. In 2020, Gal Gadot was listed as one of the highest-paid actresses of the year.
With all of her projects, she reportedly made around $30 million in 2020. She took third place, with Sofia Vergara and Angelina Jolie taking the top spots. And with all of her future roles, she’s bound to stay on this list in the future.