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Eva Mendes Reveals What Helped Her Get Through Her Brother's Death, 'It Was Tough'

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By Jeff Mazzeo

Eva Mendes is addressing the death of her brother for the first time publicly. Her brother, Juan Carlos passed away three years ago but the star just opened up to PEOPLE Magazine at the launch of her New York & Company clothing line on Thursday.

"It's been tough," the 45-year-old actress said when asked about how she was holding up after her brother's passing. "Thank God I had my baby; it was a week after he passed. So there was something to move forward. There was poetry to it all.”

Eva's Baby Was Born Days After He Passed

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Mendes' brother died on April 17, 2016, after a battle with cancer. He was 53 years old. Eva's youngest brother, Carlo Méndez, made the sad announcement on his Instagram at the time. Carlo said that his brother, Juan Carlos, “fought with all his might and power” and that he leaves behind a 13-year-old and a 5-year old.

12 days after his passing, Eva gave birth to their second beautiful daughter, Amanda Lee, with longtime love Ryan Gosling. Mendes is a mother of two, Esmeralda Amada Gosling is 5-years-old and Amanda Lee Gosling is 3 and a half years old.

Eva Remembers Her Brother

“My favorite memories are when he used to, at Thanksgiving or a big dinner or Christmas dinner, roast everybody but roast you hard,” Eva told PEOPLE.

“Of course, I miss him incredibly, and that’s an understatement, but I’m holding on to that tradition. I’m so happy that he gave me that," she continued. "I don’t think I could carry it on the way he did, but those are some fun memories because he would really get raw.”

Ryan Gosling Dedicated His 'La La Land' Golden Globe To Juan Carlos

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Ryan Gosling, Mendes' partner, won the Golden Globe award for his part in "La La Land" in 2017. When he accepted the award, he was eternally grateful to Eva for the sacrifices she made in their relationship. He also took the time to dedicate the award to her brother Juan Carlos.

"I’d like to try and thank one person properly, and to say that while I was singing and dancing and playing piano and having one of the best experiences I’ve ever had on a film, my lady was raising our daughter, pregnant with our second, and trying to help her brother fight his battle with cancer," Ryan said.

"If she hadn’t taken all that on so that I could have this experience, it would surely be someone else up here other than me today. So, sweetheart, thank you. To my daughters, Amada and Esmerelda, I love you. And if I may, I’d like to dedicate this to the memory of her brother, Juan Carlos Mendes."

How Eva Got Her Groove Back

Giphy | Team Coco

Mendes also opened up about how she is getting a little bit of her passion for work and projects back now that the girls are older and starting school. “They’re starting school and so I’m feeling like I finally have a little time to myself. But also, I’m starting to find that ambition again that I lost a little bit,” she told PEOPLE. “I was fine with losing it, it was a natural thing, but it transferred, the ambition was in the home.”

Eva continued, “I’m still in the home, but I’m getting more of that call to work again. That’s exciting because it’s happening naturally. It’s exciting to feel that again.”

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