Zoe Saldana: 'Avatar' almost caused a breakdown
August 9th, 2011
10:11 AM ET

Zoe Saldana: 'Avatar' almost caused a breakdown

Zoe Saldana’s star was already on the rise when it skyrocketed to the top of the A-list following 2009’s “Avatar.”

But all of the work and effort she put in to playing Neytiri nearly caused an emotional breakdown, Saldana tells the September issue of Latina magazine.

“The year after ‘Avatar’ was just emotionally overwhelming,” she recalls. “I was traveling all over the world, waking up in different time zones. Your body gets exhausted, and by the end of the year I just collapsed.”

That exhaustion nearly led to emotional turmoil for the 33-year-old actress.

“I was in Paris training for ‘Colombiana,’ sitting in my hotel room, and I couldn’t stop crying. I couldn’t stay awake,” she says. “I must have slept for an entire month. It took me the rest of the year, even as I was working and shooting ‘Colombiana,’ to pick myself up…Thank God my family was there.”

Saldana, who is close to her two sisters and their kids, says she is looking forward to building her own family one day. But while her sights are set on having a few kids, it may be a while – Saldana has yet to settle on a wedding date or a dress following her engagement to Keith Britton in July of 2010.

“I don’t think that far ahead,” she tells Latina before adding, “Listen, I know I’m lucky…I’m not an easy cookie to deal with. But I think the only reason we’ve made it this long is because we don’t listen to anybody but our¬selves. We’ve still managed to sustain a relationship in a world where half of the people we know are divorcing or going through problems….It’s like that song we both love by Frank Sinatra—we did it our way.”

Read the rest of Zoe Saldana's interview in Latina magazine when the September issue arrives on newsstands August 16.

Filed under: Avatar • Celebrities • movies

soundoff (95 Responses)
  1. heliocracy

    Avatar nearly caused me to have a breakdown as well. Movie sucked.

    August 15, 2011 at 3:04 am | Report abuse |
  2. qwerttrewq

    This is the most interesting thing they have to say about her..poor baby lol. I've barely slept the last 3 years from work, (which I enjoy..that's the price).

    August 10, 2011 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
  3. HArryPotty

    Zoe is SoOooO fine. Wish I had a woman that looked that.

    August 10, 2011 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  4. @myk

    Zoe is clearly black. However she can have more than black in her dna. Like some people if they know their family geneology they can have , welsh, english german, native american, black and chinese in their background. Perhaps she's proud of her mixed heritage.

    August 10, 2011 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joyce

      Didn't you read the previous comments?! In Dominican Republic, most people are Black and Mulatto (half Black, half White), but they speak Spanish (which means they're Hispanic). In PR (which is also my place of origin), depending on the area, there's a little bit of every one (the north and western coasts are predominately White, while the east is mainly Black, the South is a melting pot, and the central area has some Taino descendants.

      BTW, the term "Latin America" is a French term; it was first used by French conquerors to difereciate the Latin based speaking countries (Spanish, Portuguese and French) from the Anglo speaking countries. In other words, Latin/Latino is more of a regional term, while Hispanic, Lusitanic, or French is more related to the language spoken.

      Last, but not least; the race thing. About 53% percent of the Spanish speaking people in the US are WHITE!!!! Why? BECAUSE THE SPANISH LANGUAGE CAME FROM SPAIN!!!!!!!
      I mean, the last time I checked, Alexis Bledel, Benicio del Toro, William Levy, Ramon Esteves (Martin Sheen's real name) are very White, and very Hispanic. Now, the following people Cristina Milian, the late Celia Cruz, Sammy Davis Jr., are Black people who happen to be...HISPANIC!!!!

      August 13, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  5. @Ron31

    Latino/Latina/Latin is not a race! Her ethnicity is Dominican and Puerto Rican. Her race is black. There are Black latinos and white latinos and biracial latinos. Like here. Our nationality is American, but american is not your race.

    August 10, 2011 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  6. AGeek

    If you like the fat paycheck, that's what you trade for it, you daft b-tch. Now, shut the hell up. Nobody is going to feel sorry for you. I'm sure you don't feel sorry for us when we're forking over gobs of money and I'm willing to bet you don't cry on your way to the bank.

    August 10, 2011 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Futon Torpedo

    RED FLAG!!! this is a red flag for any of her family that cares for her. Heath Ledger, Sheen, Downey....im just sayin.

    August 10, 2011 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Matt

    Hey Zoe, please dial 1-800-BOO-HOO-HOO

    August 10, 2011 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
  9. j0nx

    You can tell by looking at her that she's an emotional train wreck filled with drama. Stay away guys!

    August 10, 2011 at 7:02 am | Report abuse |
  10. DeeCee1000

    Pleeeese donate to Somalia if you can. Anything will do. A little goes a long way but please don't forget the famine in Somalia. Find a reputable organization to donate, Unicef, Oxfam, Worldvision, Savethechildren. Please donate.

    August 9, 2011 at 11:35 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Chris Hughes

    I'm afraid she's headed down the same road as Halle Berry; both are obviously capable of delivering thoughtful, convincing performances (Berry in Monster's Ball, Saldana in Avatar), but they seem to gravitate towards sensationalistic B movies which spend a lot of time playing up their scorching looks.

    August 9, 2011 at 11:21 pm | Report abuse |
  12. myk

    what is it with this chick..One minute she's part black.. The next she's part dominican...Part mexican, part alaskan, part irsh, part indian. I do know one thing...She's CORNY

    August 9, 2011 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Mario

    OMG shut up! If youre too stupid to take care of yourself (and you could easily afford it Zoe), then it's your own fault. I'm not going to feel sorry for some millionaire actress that wants everyone to feel sorry for her. Try working multiple minimum wage jobs just to survive and getting little sleep because you can't afford it.

    August 9, 2011 at 10:17 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Brian

    Oh my god! Why is this tragic story not be aired on networks and Websites around the world? This is a tragedy. This poor woman never asked for fame or riches. She just wanted to be a thespian. Why won't people just give her what she wants and deserves, which is to fade quietly into oblivion, hopefully never to be seen and definitely never to be heard again? What a joke!!!

    August 9, 2011 at 10:08 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Fed Up

    Cry me a river. "I am so sucessful that I am tired. I am tired of 5 star hotels with room service". Try raising a family and working 2 and a half jobs just to make end meet and then tell all of us how tired you are.

    August 9, 2011 at 8:55 pm | Report abuse |
  16. MaryinPA

    Boo Frickin Hoo
    Avatar was not much of an acting job .

    August 9, 2011 at 8:16 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Yoda

    Yoda says, "Tap that I would."

    August 9, 2011 at 8:04 pm | Report abuse |
  18. the_dude

    Poor little princess dont you cry your next multi-million dollar paycheck will make it all seem better

    August 9, 2011 at 7:25 pm | Report abuse |
  19. strangways

    Awww, poor Zoey – which VIP event to go to? Does she get the LV purse or the Ferragamo? should she buy a Bentley or a Jag... or maybe an Aston Martin? no wonder she "almost" had a breakdown. it's a lot to handle...

    August 9, 2011 at 7:21 pm | Report abuse |
  20. mE

    oh god!! SPARE ME!! that's why you got paid pretty high.. poor girl waking up in all different time zones.

    August 9, 2011 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  21. Alytina

    Yea, she is no name.

    August 9, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  22. sarah S

    She wasn't really complaining. she was admitting to being run down after doing that movie and that it caused her to be cry from exhaustion. and are all of you saying if you have money you're not allowed to cry or be effected by something? thats fkked up.

    August 9, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Mark Stewart

    Jeff you're exactly right stunning is the word for this beauty.

    August 9, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
  24. jeff

    she is absolutely stunning! believe me sweetheart id put up with any emotional baggage you might come with 🙂

    August 9, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Alyntina

    There has been worse on CNN.

    August 9, 2011 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
  26. Nikki

    Seriously how is this worthy of being featured on CNN?? It is just ridiculous.

    August 9, 2011 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
  27. Alyntina

    Yes @evelyn I am very beauitiful I hope that you know that you are to.In my case it's not just physical it's also spiritual.

    August 9, 2011 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
  28. Mr. Coldweather

    Yeah, I'm sure it's very mentally exhausting to make millions of dollars on pretty much your first movie. If Avatar hadn't skyrocketed her to the top she'd be doing independent movies by obscure directors on IFC and making chump change.

    August 9, 2011 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
  29. Mina

    He isn't unemployed CC he has his own business several employees the boss get it we can lay up all day if we like but we don't kid's away on vacation.My man's no Hef but financially he's getting there and furthermore I can practically do as I please because i've got it like that,I was just playing with you about the s**ing before but d*mn dude you do seem rather frustrated,get some.

    August 9, 2011 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • charlie crack

      Ive got some...whatever, whenever I want...if you were playin...say so......I can take a joke...not frustrated, just thought you were attempting to be mean......my apologies....glad hubby has own biz.......so does my family....we own three bakeries....more power to ya......but I have some sour diesel PUFF PUFF PASS if you both wana relax a little........(no offense intended, seriously, my bad)

      August 9, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  30. Peace

    Yeah, I know that page! LOL Hang tight, there's always light at the end of the tunnel! You be good yourself! Try to have a 🙂 day!

    August 9, 2011 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
  31. @alyntina

    Yes Fox stays true and sticks by all their lies.(And the dummies who listen to them) @ Kenji This is an entertainment site, not news.fyi

    August 9, 2011 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
  32. TruthInEntertainment

    James Cameron (Director of Avatar) has a VERY LONGSTANDING HISTORY OF BEING ABUSIVE TO HIS CAST AND CREW! In fact, he is probably one of the most loathed directors around (keeping good company with Oliver Stone, another megalomaniac!) Cameron is prone to prolonged screaming sessions and hissy fits. He is emotionally ABUSIVE to the very people who make him rich. And, yes, I've worked with him, know people who've worked with him, and know of what I speak. And, yes, people continue to sign up to work with him because they want to be associated with his blockbuster films. I cannot deny the fiscal success of his endeavors. However, I will not excuse his abhorrant and immature behavior. Zoe took so much crap from him, it was scary!

    You wonder why Cameron has been married/divorced 3...4? times now? He's so full of himself, he's impossible to be with!

    August 9, 2011 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alex

      And I know people in the industry too and the fact is you know what you're getting into when you sign up. Especially on high profile films like Avatar where a lot of money is at stake you know there will be directors acting tough, fellow actors acting tough. If you go into acting you develop a thick skin or you get out of the business because after the film come the reviews, and also comments by know-nothings like us whenever articles on you appear on unmoderated websites like this. Add the fact she also had to contend with the inevitable backlash from Trekkies after taking on the role of Uhura – if all she did was cry for a month, she came out on the good side of the deal.

      August 10, 2011 at 9:35 am | Report abuse |
  33. Kenji

    Why is this newsworthy enough to be on the homepage of CNN.com? There are so many other worse things going on in the world.

    August 9, 2011 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  34. Peace

    Hey Charlie! Thanks for that! Probs w/gf? With all going on in your life, I think I know why. That takes it toll on any relationship. I truly understand. Hang in there & keep smiling! Visit Mario, too! (Ya know that will help! 😉 )

    August 9, 2011 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • charlie crack

      Thanks. School, bills, life etc......but I'm still truckin'. Yep, if mario and I could get together it would be "uplifting" lol........he made a comment yesterday....and we both are on the same page.....was cool to see his post with all goin on.....be good Prez........

      August 9, 2011 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  35. Alyntina

    Jealousy nothing goods going to come to you so stop feeling that way.

    August 9, 2011 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
  36. CelebrityTranslate

    "It took me the rest of the year, even as I was working and shooting ‘Colombiana,’ to pick myself up"
    "Ok, so this movie isn't that great, and my acting...well, I know I can do better, but you see, I was not myself. But now I am, so go marvel at how I even managed to get through a scene without collapsing in tears, give me an Oscar. And I promise I will try harder in selecting and acting in my next movie. Thank you."

    August 9, 2011 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
  37. Norm

    Geez. Get a real job. Then I'll care about your emotional breakdown.

    August 9, 2011 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Professional

      Sorry but nobody has emotional breakdowns from jobs like yours at Burger King. You think flipping burgers for a few hours a day like you do is harder than putting in 120 hour work weeks for 2-3 years straight? The entertainment industry is nothing but strict deadlines that are too short, deadlines that are all in the public eye and cant be missed, every minute is worth money and has to be used. The most important deadline in your life is making sure the fries come out of the fryer before they burn, must be really stressful.

      August 9, 2011 at 7:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dewarsonrx

      Professional, you're a obviously a starving artist that is waiting to make money, and is bitter for not making it big.

      Most people have to work for a living, so that means people that work M-F 9-5, which isn't that much, have to make
      "nothing but strict deadlines that are too short, deadlines that are all in the public eye and cant be missed" just like actors.

      And as for your fast food comment: Zoe Saldana is worth +$8,000,000 (http://www.celebritynetworth.com/richest-celebrities/actors/zoe-saldana-net-worth/)

      Average fast food worker makes $18,221 per year, or 1/439 of her net worth.

      Are you seriously assuming she has it harder?

      August 9, 2011 at 8:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dewarsonrx

      hahaha, I forgot this one from Zoe: “I must have slept for an entire month"...

      When was the last time the average working person can claim that...I know my sleep doesn't pay the bills.

      August 9, 2011 at 8:24 pm | Report abuse |
  38. SmartPotato

    "And I made SO much money, and I'm a hottie with all of my limbs, and I had to travel and see other countries..." Cry me a river...

    August 9, 2011 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  39. Alyntina

    You're right Vcio,but on the other hand your hell could be my heaven,I mean it doesn't mean because she grew up rich that she's not supposed to feel pain.

    August 9, 2011 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  40. Mina

    Sorry CC I meant business.

    August 9, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  41. vcio

    And of COURSE, no one mentioned her mother is a MUCH better actress, Theresa Saldana. I'm so sick of these second and third generation Hollywood kids whining about how tough their life is. You chose this. Suck it up and deal. Your life has just been SOOOOO hard. PUHHHHLEEAASSEEE....grow up.

    August 9, 2011 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • FromUpNorth

      Um, Theresa Saldana is NOT Zoe's mother. A quick Wikipedia search would've told you that. Sort of detracts from your whole "third generation Hollywood kid" rant, doesn't it?

      August 9, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  42. Mina

    Hey C.C. Not trying to dip in your but maybe if you spent as much time s**ing your girl as you do on this blog you'd be like my man getting served homemade breakfast in bed just about every morning amongst other things.Just a thought

    August 9, 2011 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
  43. Meki60

    who cares?

    August 9, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  44. Alyntina

    Zoe's beautiful no matter what her heritage is don't you agree?

    August 9, 2011 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
  45. Alyntina

    Well at least Fox is true to its fans.

    August 9, 2011 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Darth Cheney

      ...which is SO much more important for a news organization than being factual and correct...

      August 10, 2011 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
  46. Alyntina

    @31 that's like saying Time's just supposed to interview whites only.

    August 9, 2011 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  47. charlie crack

    Today's prize is: A nice comment from someone you've been nice to. (you deserve it). You're awesome @prezpeace! You BV, ms.fernace, alecia are great, strong, admirable women. I'm goin' through tough time w/ gf. But, I wanted you to know that YOU are your prize.....an awesome person!

    August 9, 2011 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
  48. Ron31

    Wait...I'm confused I thought Latina magazine was for Latino's.

    August 9, 2011 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Semirra

      She is Dominican Ron31-that qualifies as Latina last time I checked.

      August 9, 2011 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
    • bitnar

      "Saldana" is hispanic.

      August 9, 2011 at 10:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • MoMo

      Race and ethnicity are not the same. You could be a latino and black or a Latino and white.

      August 10, 2011 at 12:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Jellomundo

      You could also be Asian, American Indian, etc. and be a Latina/o just like you can be of any race and be an "American."

      August 10, 2011 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Umm

      @momo – I think it all depends on what job, scholarship, or other benefit you're applying for, you know, whatever's convenient.

      August 10, 2011 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Carl

      No. It's for Latinas.

      August 10, 2011 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • queenbee


      "Saldana" is hispanic.–NOOOOOOOOOOO "Latina and Hispanic are not necessarily the same thing" She is Dominican –which often is African, indigenous native, and European Spanish..Hispanic is Indigenous native and European who speak Spanish–but a white Hispanic can have German, Irish or Spanish ancestry.

      Both J Lo and Saldana and Big Pun and others are "Latina/Latinos which means they are PROUD of their AFRICAN as well as native and Euro roots–most Hispanics do not lay claim to any African ties and many Latinos DESPISE Hispanics and it is reciprocated. BIG DIFFERENCE–Brazilians are also Latinos/Latinas BUT they do not claim to be Hispanic–that is reserved for Mexicans and some in Central America.

      August 10, 2011 at 7:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • ohsnap

      Right. Latino is a culture, not a race. Like African American is not a race...it's a cultural designation. So Charlize Theron, a white South African and who is an American citizen can be labeled 'African American'. Makes all this race "I'm this and I'm that" talk look kinda stupid, huh? I think I'll stick with the designation ' of the human race'.

      September 2, 2011 at 9:56 pm | Report abuse |
  49. Alyntina

    A beautiful woman should be pampered like a queen so shut up jealousy.

    August 9, 2011 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
    • evelyn

      Only beautiful women should be pampered like a queen? I sure hope you are not unattractive! That statement is just plain idiotic. You should be ashamed.

      August 9, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • @Alyntina

      She's not that beautiful.

      August 9, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • EricLr

      Exactly, Hollywood stars deserve nothing less than the best. Let's all pay attention to her.

      August 10, 2011 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
  50. Boof


    August 9, 2011 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Thomas

      Have you ever put yourself through a massive, intercontinental travel schedule like she did? I had to do a similar bit of globe trotting two years ago and believe me - it's no f***ing fun. To get a mild sense of what it can feel like to constantly readjust your body clock, try staying awake for three days straight. Then we'll see if you still want to say something as inane as "WAHHHHH".

      August 10, 2011 at 12:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Scott

      To Thomas...If I was getting paid millions (or even 1 million) I'd get the F over it and go on withoutt complaining. The nerve of these overpaid morons to complain publicly about how hard it is to be rich and do (essentially) nothing but play pretend all day.

      August 10, 2011 at 7:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Jim C.

      Scott: Why so bitter?

      August 10, 2011 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
    • brian

      Have to agree with Scott. This was the career she picked and she was being well compensated for it. It's your job. If you don't like it then do something else.

      August 10, 2011 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Chaz

      I'll never understand why people seem to think having a high paycheck grants you super powers. People get tired no matter what they earn. People get stressed out by their environment despite whatever huge number is on their W-2. A human cannot "just get over it" just because they get paid more than someone else. that line of thinking is simple minded.

      August 10, 2011 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Jamie B

      Totally agree with you Chaz. She still did her job–and an amazing job she did at that!–and that's what counts. Everyone gets tired of their job from time to time, that's why many of us have scheduled days off or vacations. Scott, just wants to sound tough.

      August 10, 2011 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
    • sure

      thats why you make the big $$...so suck it up!

      August 10, 2011 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
    • JustMe

      Here's the thing – she *choose* to try to work a crazy schedule in order to make even more money. She has more than enough money to never work another day in her life and still live very comfortably, if she wanted to. She is a slave to her own greed and her overwhelming need for attention and validation and this is the price that she pays for that servitude.

      August 10, 2011 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • THX

      I'd love to see how she managed to "not stop crying" while she "couldn't stay awake". That takes more talent than acting in that Fern Gully rehash.

      August 10, 2011 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • jks

      So I guess if you DON'T make money you can talk about your experiences and once you DO make money you have to shut up? I don't get the "get over" idiots. She had an interview. She answered questions. If you think she's complaining then I think you have issues of jealousy and inadequacy.

      August 11, 2011 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Boof

      Thomas, I'm retired military. I served in Desert Storm and Iraq so I know a little something about stress and anxiety. Excuse me if I don't have any sympathy for this "actress".

      August 12, 2011 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
  51. Peace

    1st! NOW do I get a prize? HaHa! Exhaustion is no fun, but, I really liked that movie!

    August 9, 2011 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Big A

      ZOE is SOOO FINE, She can wake up in my TIME ZONE any day

      August 9, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • bridgett

      To some of you, she was not complaining about work or to say travel. Zoe was speaking like any human would speak if you were many places and time zones to get a job done it would cause any real human some physical problem. I've had a weekend with several engagments each day and i was exhausted and confused about the time and day.

      Her race is not an issue some people are mean and angry, please chill out and get a perpective on life.

      August 10, 2011 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |

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