Penelope Cruz is happier now but still misses the "antics" of her younger days.

Penelope Cruz is happier than ever as she approaches her 50th birthday

Penelope Cruz is happier than ever as she approaches her 50th birthday

The 49-year-old actress - who turns 50 next month - has admitted she prefers the relationship she has with herself now to decades past.

Pondering how experience gives you "peace of mind", she told Elle Spain: "If you ask me what my relationship with myself was like now and the one I had in my 20s or 30s, I honestly prefer the one now.

"Because of how I feel, and maybe there have been other times where I wouldn't have said it."

She added: "I take advantage of every decade, every moment, and I never think that 'I was better before.' "

While the 'Ferrari' star is happy with how she has grown and developed, she does miss the "kind of unconsciousness" that came with youth.

She said: "Sometimes I would like to do more antics and return more to that kind of unconsciousness."

She noted that while some aspects of life "have not been easy", she takes any struggles as lessons.

She explained: "Everything I've learned so far or all the mountains I've had to climb – some of which haven't been easy, and I don't mean anything to do with success or that part of the job – are part of my daily learning."

Penelope previously admitted her regular director collaborator Pedro Almodóvar, 74, has always viewed her as a mother on screen.

She told Elle magazine: “At my age, 80 per cent of the characters that I play will be about motherhood or divorce or abandonment or characters who didn’t want to have children or couldn’t or who lost children.

“I’ve played mothers since I was very young. Pedro always saw me as a mother.

“We have known each other since I was 17. He would watch me going to talk to strangers just to see their babies.

“He always saw that strong, inevitable instinct in me, and I saw him see it.”

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