Edward and Natalie Ortega raised Jenna and her five siblings in the California desert
While Jenna Ortega played Wednesday Addams on-screen, off-screen, she grew up with five siblings and her parents, Edward and Natalie Ortega.
Edward and Natalie's first child, Isaac, was born in 1998, followed by Mariah in 1999, and Mia in 2000. Jenna was born in 2002, and her younger twin siblings Aliyah and Markus were born in 2004.
The family grew up near Palm Springs in the California desert, and Jenna’s mom would make the long drive to Los Angeles for her daughter's auditions. The sacrifice paid off because Jenna landed roles as early as 12, appearing on Jane the Virgin and Stuck in the Middle.
But who are Edward and Natalie Ortega? Read on to learn about their road to parenting Jenna Ortega and the support they have provided throughout her career.
They have six children
Jenna is the fourth in a family of six kids. "I have five siblings — two brothers and three sisters,” Jenna told PEOPLE in 2019. “I'm the fourth kid. We all have scattered schedules and are kind of all over the place, but when we do get to spend time with each other we try to do that. We love to talk smack with one another and be goofy … but we're all very supportive of each other."
They raised their family in a famous location
Edward and Natalie made their home in Coachella Valley near Palm Springs, California — the same place where the famous Coachella music festival has occurred since 1999, three years before Jenna was born. She started attending the festival when she was a teenager.
"Once you get to high school, it's what all the ‘cool kids’ do,” she told PEOPLE. “Weekend 2 is locals' weekend. I have seen some incredible acts that I feel like I would have never seen otherwise. One year I saw Ice Cube and Snoop Dogg. There's such a wide variety of music and there's something new to appreciate every time we go. I don't think I'll ever be over the hype."
Natalie got Jenna her big break
According to Cosmopolitan, Jenna’s start in Hollywood came from Natalie showing her mom pride. She posted a video of Jenna to Facebook, and a family friend connected her to a casting agent.
They set examples of a strong work ethic
Natalie is an emergency room nurse, and Edward is a businessman. "So, four or five times a week, my mom was a full-time ER nurse, but she would drive me — it was a six or seven-hour round trip L.A. and back for auditions ... and she has five other kids," Jenna said on Jimmy Kimmel Live! “She was one of the best ones, too.”
They encourage Jenna’s career but don’t spoil her
Jenna’s first big role was in 2014, when she was just 12, playing a young Gina Rodriguez in Jane the Virgin. "I have a very supportive family," Jenna said at a press conference. "They sacrificed a lot so that I could do what I do.”
The actress also said her parents have "no interest whatsoever" in the entertainment industry. She continued, "I could come home from work with cool people, prominent people, people I looked up to, and they weren’t interested. They were like, ‘Hey, you didn’t do the dishes before you left, so you’re going to have to do them all week.' "
They watched Jenna host Saturday Night Live in 2023
When Jenna hosted Saturday Night Live in March 2023, she gave her parents a shout-out in her opening monologue. “When I was a kid, I wasn’t old enough to watch SNL yet, so I took a tour of the SNL building with my parents,” she said on the show. “They said, 'Wouldn’t it be amazing if you hosted someday?' It seemed impossible then, but now I’m here tonight and my parents are in the audience.”
They prioritize their heritage and their family traditions
Edward is Mexican American, and Natalie is of Puerto Rican and Mexican descent. In a PopSugar interview, Jenna described celebrating birthdays with pinatas and making tamales at Christmas. “My dad makes amazing tacos and carne asada and my mother makes the best homemade beans,” Jenna told PopSugar when she was just 13. “My siblings and I cannot get enough! They are probably my favorite food.”
The kids were raised to be bilingual. "Since my father does not speak Spanish, trying to teach my siblings and me the language, when we were little, was a struggle," Jenna added. "My mom is bilingual because her grandmother babysat her often and taught her Spanish. The plan was for her to speak it to us and for my father to speak English so that we could learn both languages."
Jenna and her parents travel the world together
In February 2023, Jenna and Natalie traveled together to Paris. They were spotted at the Louvre and at a Paris Saint-Germain soccer match where Jenna wore a custom jersey with her name on it. Just a month later, Natalie posted a photo to Instagram with Markus in New York City.
In fact, the family loves to travel so much that when Natalie wished Jenna a happy birthday on Instagram in 2019, she used a selfie of the pair on an airplane. “Happy Birthday Reeree!” she captioned the photo. “I love you so much and am so so proud of you ❤️.”
They play soccer as a family activity
When Jenna was talking to The Cut about her Adidas ambassadorship, she said, “It’s really, really exciting for me and my family as well. We were a really big soccer family, and we would have our little competitions on the weekend. And we always wore Adidas to practices.”
Natalie shows her family pride in big ways
Edward’s Instagram account is private, but Natalie’s is public, and she has more than 122,000 followers. In February 2023, she posted a side-by-side photo of Jenna wearing a gown on a red carpet and Mia wearing scrubs.
“Two of my girls wearing very different outfits and doing very different things in life,” she captioned the photo. “Both came from me, and both raised by me. I’m equally proud of both of them and love them very much❤️❤️ #proudmom.”
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