Penelope Cruz 'terrified' of driving

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Penelope Cruz has a fear of driving after witnessing her younger sister get run over when they were children.

Penelope Cruz

Penelope Cruz is terrified of driving after witnessing her sister get run over.

The 'Ferrari' actress experienced a "great trauma" when she was just nine years old after her younger sibling Mónica Cruz was hit by a car and lost consciousness, resulting in the 49-year-old star developing a reluctance to ever get behind the wheel.

She told America's Elle magazine: "I have a fear of driving. My sister was run over by a car in front of me when I was eight or nine. I remember she was wearing a red coat.

"And for me, time stopped. It’s a great trauma, because I saw her losing consciousness. And I was numb in the hospital, telling people, ‘Oh, my sister just got run over by a car.’”

Monica, now 46, made a full recovery, but Penelope suspects she "would have been hysterical" if she witnessed such a severe accident in adulthood.

The 'Vanilla Sky' actress - who has Leo, 12, and 10-year-old Luna with husband Javier Bardem - revealed she has therapy to find a "balance" to deal with the level of empathy she feels.

Explaining she experiences a "back-and-forth dance between fiction and reality" which "plays into a certain stereotype" of actors, she added: “I’m lucky to have it, but maybe it makes me feel or suffer things more.

"I can feel it; it’s like a hypersensitivity in every way - visually, to sound, to people’s feelings.

"It’s been one of the main things I deal with in therapy: how to work a balance so I can keep feeling those things without making those feelings my own.”

But while Penelope finds some of her roles "uncomfortable and painful" as a result, she thinks they always make her a better person by the end of a shoot.

She said: "Sometimes [the characters I play] can be uncomfortable and painful. It’s hard to let them go, but at the end, I always feel they made me a little bit more compassionate than I was two months ago.

"And with the safety net that you know this is not your reality. It creates less judging and more compassion in every area of my life.”

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