Spy Kids star Alexa PenaVega opens up about why she and husband Carlos stepped away from spotlight
Five years ago, Spy Kids alum Alexa PenaVega stepped away from the spotlight to live a much more secluded life in Maui, Hawaii, with her husband, former Big Time Rush star Carlos PenaVega, and their three kids – and now, the actress has revealed that she decided to swap her Hollywood lifestyle for the Aloha state so that she could devote herself to ‘living for Jesus.’
Alexa, 33, and Carlos, 32, who are both Christian, spent years in the industry, but decided in 2017, after welcoming their first child together, that they were going to relocate their family from California to Hawaii ‘to be part of a community that shared their faith.’
While discussing her and Carlos’ upcoming joint memoir, What if Love is the Point? Living for Jesus in a Self-Consumed World, with Fox recently, Alexa opened up about their decision to move, revealing that ‘God pulled her out of Hollywood’ after she said she began to feel ‘trapped in the entertainment world.’
Spy Kids alum Alexa PenaVega and her husband, Big Time Rush star Carlos PenaVega, stepped away from the spotlight to live a much more secluded life in Maui, Hawaii, five years ago
Now, the actress has opened up about why they decided to swap their Hollywood lifestyle for the Aloha state. They are pictured in Hawaii with two of their three kids
Alexa (pictured in 1990), 33, and Carlos, 32, both spent years in the industry, but decided in 2017 that they were going to relocate their family from California to Hawaii
Alexa also revealed that Carlos was ‘really struggling’ with ‘rejection’ after doing numerous auditions and not getting the roles, explaining that it ‘was just becoming too much for him.’
‘Carlos was really struggling with the industry,’ she shared. ‘Every audition he went on, it would get down between him and one other guy and the other guy would always get it.
The actress (pictured in 2017) explained to Fox recently that she began to feel ‘trapped in the entertainment world’ and that her ‘job had become her identity’ before the move
‘The rejection was just becoming too much for him. This went on for a full year. At the time, I was pregnant.
‘We’d always talked about moving to Hawaii, but later on in life, like a retirement plan. But we also knew that we didn’t want to raise our kids in Los Angeles.’
Alexa said she wasn’t sure what they should do, so she turned to her faith for an answer, explaining that it felt like God was telling her, ‘You guys need to get out of here. It’s time,’ for Carlos’ sake.
But the former child star admitted that she ‘wasn’t excited’ about making the move since she ‘loved her career and LA,’ adding that she felt like she was being forced to move just for her husband.
Then, one day, she had a realization while she was ‘praying in her car,’ and she discovered that she needed a change just as much as he did.
She continued, ‘It stopped me in my tracks because all that time, I thought we were just moving for Carlos. But I needed a heart reset.
‘I was the one trapped in the entertainment world and needed to take a step back. My job became my identity.
‘God pulled me out of that so I could learn how to be an awesome mom and an awesome wife. God helped us build that foundation in our family. And once I had that revelation, I felt at peace.’
She added that Carlos (seen with his BTR bandmates in 2011) was ‘really struggling’ with ‘rejection’ after doing numerous auditions and not getting the roles before relocating
The former child star (seen with her kids in Hawaii) said she soon fell in love with the ‘Maui culture’ after making the move, which is all about ‘family and community’
‘We were ready to be part of a community that shared our faith. And we found that in Hawaii,’ she gushed. ‘LA is so jaded, but here, people are just living’
As a kid, Alexa guest starred in a slew of TV shows like ER, Ghost Whisperer, and the Bernie Mac Show. But it wasn’t until she was cast as Carmen Cortez in the popular children’s movie Spy Kids in 2001 that she was truly propelled into the spotlight.
After that, Alexa continued to act, starring in three more movies as part of the Spy Kids franchise, as well as landing roles in other big films like Sleepover, Odd Girl Out, Walkout, Remember the Daze, and Machete Kills, among others.
She met Carlos, who is most known for acting in the Nickelodeon show but also appeared in Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide and Summerland, at a bible study group in California.
They soon fell in love, and tied the knot in January 2014. Their first son, Ocean, was born on December 7, 2016. Another son, named Kingston, then came on June 30, 2019, and they welcomed a daughter, named Rio, on May 7, 2021.
Since moving to Hawaii, Alexa explained that she has fallen in love with the ‘Maui culture,’ which is all about ‘family and community.’
The couple (pictured in 2015) met at a bible study group in 2012. They wed in 2014 and have since welcomed three kids together
Alexa is most known for her role in Spy Kids in 2011 (pictured) but she also starred in Sleepover, Odd Girl Out, Walkout, Remember the Daze, and Machete Kills, among others
‘It’s pretty amazing,’ she gushed. ‘Hawaii is loaded with young families who love God and are growing in their faith.
‘Your kids are outdoors all day long,’ she gushed of her life in Hawaii. ‘We’re not inside on our phones or playing games. We’re enjoying nature, getting our feet in the sand, the dirt. Kids can be kids’
‘Your kids are outdoors all day long. We’re not inside on our phones or playing games. We’re enjoying nature, getting our feet in the sand, the dirt. Kids can be kids.’
Alexa recalled spending the early years of her own childhood on a ranch in Florida, before her family relocated to California, explaining that ‘some of her best memories’ come from the time that she lived on the farm.
‘The small time that we were there made such a massive impact on me. I always knew that’s what I wanted for kids,’ she explained.
‘The Maui culture is about family, about community. I think that’s something that was getting lost when we were living in Los Angeles.
The mom-of-three admitted that they faced a bit of a ‘culture shock’ when they first made the move, but that they worked hard to ‘educate themselves’ on Hawaii’s culture
Throughout the book, Alexa (pictured with her husband and kids) also opened up about struggling with an eating disorder as a teen. But she said God eventually ‘pulled her out of it’
Alexa (seen left in 2007 and right in 2016) said, ‘Once I started talking about it with others, I felt like those chains holding me back were finally beginning to break’
‘I will say Los Angeles is a place that offers you a lot of opportunities. But it doesn’t necessarily have a family culture. You move [there] to work and make it.
‘For us, we wanted to get out of that because we were ready to be part of a community that shared our faith. And we found that in Hawaii … I don’t know, I feel like LA is so jaded. But here, in Hawaii, people are just living.’
The mom-of-three admitted that they faced a bit of a ‘culture shock’ when they first made the move, but that they worked hard to ‘educate themselves’ and be ‘respectful to the community that they were moving into.’
Throughout the book, Alexa also opened up about struggling with an eating disorder as a teen, which she said ‘wrecked her for years.’ But she told Fox that God was what eventually ‘pulled her out of it.’
‘One morning, I woke up, and I just knew it was time [to get help],’ she said. ‘And once I started talking about it with others, I felt like those chains holding me back were finally beginning to break. It was rough, but I was able to reach the other side of it.’