The Inspirational Life Story Of Actress Cote De Pablo


When Cote de Pablo abruptly retired from NCIS in 2013, a lot of fans were left with numerous unanswered questions. Not only did fans want to know why she had decided to leave, they wanted to know what was next for the beloved actress. The guessing games and hours of wonderment can be put to an end. Today we’re going to tell you Cote de Pablo’s life story. Not only will we cover her childhood and the years she dedicated to NCIS, but we’ll talk about her most recent and even future plans.

She Was Once A Waitress

Starting points are hardly ever in the lap of luxury. Cote de Pablo was no exception to the rule. Upon finishing her education in theater at Carnegie Mello University, she found herself completely out of work. That said, she took the beaten path to New York City in hopes of making it big. She didn’t immediately come upon big gigs on Broadway, but instead took up waitressing at an Indian restaurant in Manhattan.

Finding Her Place Wasn’t Easy

Although Cote is native to Santiago, Chile, her parents moved her to the United States when she was 10-years-old. Starting anew in a country far from your own is never easy, and Cote found herself struggling for a few years. It was only when she went to performing arts high school that things really started to change for her. She had at last found her place in life. She described the experience best when she said, “….my friend had the perfect saying for it: ‘You found your tribe.’ We’re not Chilean or Argentinean or Brazilian or Russian. We’re actors.”

She Was Only 15 When She Started Acting

From a young age Cote had already mustered up a passion for acting and she approached it with dire determination. This determination all paid off at the age of 15, when she landed her first role on television. Along with Entertainment Tonight’s Carlos Ponce, a young Cote hosted a Latin-American talk show called Control. This was the first spark in a career that would soon catch fire.

Cote’s Initial Dream Was To Be A Secretary

Before ever dreaming about becoming a huge Hollywood sensation, Cote wanted to be a secretary. She revealed this during an interview with TV Guide when she stated, “Believe it or not, I wanted to be a secretary, much like Maggie Gyllenhaal in The Secretary. I had clips all over and markers, and you know, the old-fashioned typewriters… I like to follow direction… and, by the way, I became an actor, so I’m kind of doing it anyway.”

Her Real Name Isn’t Cote de Pablo

Upon moving to Miami, Florida at the age of 10, Cote realized that many people couldn’t pronounce her real name which was María José de Pablo. To make things easier on everyone she changed her name to Cote which was already the Chilean nickname for her name. She further explained her nickname when she said, “..I told them to call me Coty. Then I found out there was a beauty line called Coty, and I hated that! So I changed it to Cote [KOH-teh]. A lot of people don’t get it, but in Chile, if your name is María José, they call you Cote.”

She Found Her Path With A Little Help From Her Teacher

Upon moving to the USA, Cote found that mastering English would be one of her toughest challenges. That said, she had an amazing teacher that wouldn’t give up on her. One of the only words she knew in English was “run.” This teacher guided her to a place of understanding by enrolling her on the track team. She talked about her experience on The Late Show, “…before I knew it, I was a little track and field star. And I remember, he would say in the middle of a competition, he would scream and get very red and scream, ‘Cote, run!’ And that’s all I knew.”

She Had To Choose Between Broadway And Television

Throughout her high school career Cote focused primarily on musical theater. Anyone who knew her would have expected her to have stuck to that path, but her moment of truth came when she was offered to do The Mambo Kings Broadway show at the same time she was offered NCIS. She found herself unable to decide which path to go down. Thankfully, Broadway canceled The Mambo Kings and she took the role on NCIS.

The Life-Changing Role

When scoring the role of Ziva David, a former Israeli Mossad officer turned NCIS agent on NCIS, Cote really didn’t know what to expect. TV roles can often provide long-term security but ultimately typecast an actor to a certain role or could be written off quickly if the character fails to give the show a desired stir. Luckily for her, the role of Ziva David was a huge success that lasted eight seasons and it brought her nationwide fame across the United States.

She And Weatherly Had Instantaneous Chemistry

While auditioning for the part of Ziva David, Cote was asked to act alongside Michael Weatherly. This was so the network executives could see if there was any chemistry between the two. To the delight of everyone, the pair seemed to have an amazing connection right off the bat. Michael went off script during the audition, brushed her hair and said, “You remind me of Salma Hayek.” Cote let roll right off her back. The mixture of her temper and his flirtiness made for great television entertainment.

Why Cote Really Left NCIS

Cote left NCIS fans in shock when she left NCIS. When news broke it was said that she was leaving for “undisclosed reasons.” Later, the exact reason was revealed. She’d go on to say things like the scripts weren’t good enough and that the character wasn’t getting treated with respect. De Pablo stated, “I’m horrible at saying goodbyes because I’ve been saying goodbyes ever since I left my country [Chile] when I was 10, so even though I did not utter the word goodbye, I was able to hug them and let them know how much I loved them. And that’s all that matters.”

Cote’s First Love

If you remember the hit Fox series Time of Your Life, you’ll definitely remember Diego Serrano. In 2000, Cote and Diego crossed paths and the two didn’t separate for fifteen years. She had credited Diego by saying that if not for him, she’d be the most boring girl in Los Angeles. Apparently, he’d always encourage her to live.

NCIS’s Biggest Challenge for Cote

A part of being an actor is transforming yourself into someone outside of who you are. Naturally one would assume this to be pretty difficult, but for Cote is was much more difficult. Two days before making her first appearance on the show, Cote was handed a script of a phone conversation that was completely in Hebrew. She dedicated the next two days to mastering that script. She didn’t sleep for two days, and at the end of those two days, she struck success.

There Was A Petition To Bring Ziva Back

It should come as no surprise that during her eight-year run on the show, Ziva David became one of the most beloved characters. When she suddenly vanished after eight years, fans were completely heartbroken. They decided that they weren’t going to stand for Ziva not being on the show and created an online petition. Furthermore, CBS got thousands of letters from fans who demanded that they bring Ziva back. CBS offered Cote a ton of money to reprise the role of Ziva, but she refused.

Cote Had Her Share Of Health Issues

Success and luck had propelled her name to stardom in eight short years. That said, when it came to Cote’s health, luck wasn’t completely on her side. She described a point in her life where she gained fifteen pounds within the time frame of two months. As it turns out, this weight gain was due to her getting off birth control pills.

About Diego Serrano: “He’s The Worst Influence That I Have Ever Had”

The relationship between Cote and Diego was complicated. While they did share a lot of happy moments together, the two were also very different people. Cote was a homebody and Diego was a party animal. In one interview, Cote said, “he’s the worst influence that I have ever had in my life, and I love him for it.”

Her Heartbreak

After a fifteen year romance, Diego Serrano and Cote de Pablo called it quits. When it comes down to the reason surrounding their breakup, neither Cote nor Diego have opened up about it. Cote has always prided herself on being a very private person, and her fans aren’t at all surprised that she has chosen not to speak on the matter. Since the pair split, Cote hasn’t dated anyone publically.

Her Spiritual Awakening

Growing up in Chile, Cote was raised in a Catholic home. Her relationship with God jumped to new heights when she was 21-years-old. Hearing the news that her grandmother had cancer, a devastated Cote cursed God and said, “If you exist, you will take my grandmother within twenty minutes. If you don’t, I’ll never believe in you again.” Within ten minutes her Grandmother passed on, and Cote strengthened her relationship with God.

Cote de Pablo Actually Fears Guns

NCIS features Cote de Pablo portraying Ziva David, a former Israeli special forces agent. For Ziva- weapons, fighting, and sabotage all came as second nature. For Cote- this couldn’t be further from the truth. Before landing her big role on NCIS, Cote had never touched a weapon before. In fact, she was afraid of them. One would ever guess this watching the show.

Cote Performs Her Own Stunts

While Cote is known to shy away from a weapon, she is all for getting a huge rush of adrenaline. Back in her NCIS days, she’d perform her own stunts. During an interview, she really touched on the challenge, “In one episode…we had to pretend the truck was moving so we had to keep ourselves moving the whole time. I remember my knees were all bruised up because I had to fall so many times.” Furthermore, Cote stated that she likes coming home after a long day of performing stunts because it leaves her feeling fulfilled at the end of the day.

She Was Frequently Injured On The Set Of NCIS

Stunts on television and film come with their fair share of real-life risks. This is the whole reason behind why stunt doubles are hired. Cote paid no mind to the risk and would demand that she perform her own stunts. This, of course, resulted in a number of injuries on the set. During one of the rehearsals, Cote ended up badly injuring her neck. Lucky for her, she was able to completely heal.

In Chile She Is Unknown

Despite acting for eight years on one of the world’s most popular television shows, if you mention her name in Chile,  nobody would know who you were talking about. That said, Cote rejoices in the feeling of anonymity. For her, this means she can go back to her hometown and enjoy it in peace. Although, she did mention that she loves when someone from Chile recognizes her on the streets. She stated, “it is different when an American says this than someone from Santiago.”

She Stays Clear Of All Social Media

Today it would be quite the mission to find anyone who doesn’t own at least one social media account. That is unless you know where to find Cote de Pablo. She treasures her privacy so much that the actress holds back from showcasing any part of her life on social media. She pointed out how many celebrities constantly complain about their lack of privacy, whilst they simultaneously showcase their every move online.

Cote de Pablo Loves To Sing

We mentioned above that Cote de Pablo got her start in musical theater and that she was once offered a part on the Broadway show, The Mambo Sings. Despite starring for eight years on a show with all action and zero singing, this doesn’t mean that Cote has forgotten her love of singing. On the NCIS episode, Last Man Standing she performs the Tom Waits song Temptation. She also sang on the Roberto Pitre album, Vivo En Vida.

Cote’s Life After NCIS

She didn’t exactly plan on dropping out of NCIS, it was something she felt she had to do for herself. She stated that from here on out she will only take roles which allow her a certain amount of creative freedom. In the five years since leaving NCIS, Cote has acted in The 33 and the CBS miniseries The Dovekeepers. That said, Cote still has her eyes open for that perfect project that will give her some long-term work.

Cote Likes To Follow Her Own Path

Over the past decade, Cote has cemented herself in the minds of others as a strong personality. She would never been swayed from following her heart. It meant no difference if it was her personal life or career, she had to do things her own way. She pushed further on the issue during an interview with Latina, “The last time I was home visiting Chile, I was grilled about having kids and about whether I would baptize a child when I have one. Our lives are just very different. I’m not sure if they agree, but I’m not giving up my opinion.”

Cote Has A $4 Million Net Worth

Cote de Pablo cemented her name in the show business as not only a very successful actress but a very respectable one. She bares many talents, is loved by her fans and manages to keep a classy image. Her wise choices and global acceptance has garnered her a net-worth of $4 million. No one can say that her hard work and dedication hasn’t paid off. That said, Cote is still young and we expect her networth to get even higher.

Cote Is A Self-Described Old Soul

While the Hollywood lifestyle is, without a doubt, an enjoyable one, Cote has stated that deep inside she isn’t exactly a glamorous soul. She comes from a very traditional and conservative background and treasures simple things above all else. She has described herself as ultimately an old soul or a hippie. In a past interview, she mentioned that she’d make a great old character in a movie.

Yoga Keeps The Star Centered

Yoga has been proven to increase energy, improve flexibility and elevate one’s overall health. Cote de Pablo has stated that yoga has helped her in many ways. Cote turned to yoga after she sustained a neck injury on the set of NCIS. It has stuck since then. Nowadays, she practices flow Vinyasa four to five days a week.

The film The 33 Was Close To Her Heart

After separating from NCIS, Cote appeared in the film The 33. The story follows the events of Chile’s 2010 mining crisis. It focuses primarily on the 33 miners who survived buried beneath the earth for 69 days. Cote plays the wife of Alex Vega, one of the trapped miners. This film was close to her heart. During an interview with Roger Ebert she stated, “I’m Chilean, so it really hit close to home…I saw the first, the second and the third [miners] come out and I remember I was just a mess! It was an incredible thing, and the world was glued.”

Cote Is A Firm Believer

In a day and time when religion isn’t particularly in, Cote has no problem being open about her belief in God. According to Cote, many friends question her belief, but she says that proof of him is everywhere. Looking at things like waterfalls, mountainside, and forest, how can one not believe in God.

She Is Usually Separated From Family

More than anything, Cote treasures the relationships with those closest to her. That said, Cote lives in Los Angeles while her sister lives in New York City. Her parents also live separately from her. Cote’s mom currently resides in Chile while her father and brother are living their everyday lives in Miami.  This must be gut-wrenching for the young actress.

She Is Inspired By Mark Harmon And David McCallum

Most actors have an extreme passion for the arts. They don’t only love theater, but they are watching movie after movie and not just the stuff that is hitting the cinemas at the present moment. They are watching the classic films from the 1940’s and 1950’s and studying up. Cote’s prime acting influences and mentors are Mark Harmon and David McCallum.

Her Fans Weren’t The Only Ones Sad She Left NCIS

While Cote de Pablo’s fans were very sad she left NCIS, they weren’t the only ones. Fellow actors on the show expressed their sad feelings as well. Actor Mark Harmon who plays special agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs has publicly stated, “I don’t know how you define this show any longer without cote.” And Marina Sitris who plays Orli Elbaz has said, “sad to hear Cote is leaving NCIS. She’s a wonderful woman and I so enjoyed the storyline we shared. She will be sorely missed.”

Her Parents Got Divorced

Sadly, when Cote was still a young girl living in Chile, her parents had a falling out so dramatic that they ended up getting a divorce. Her father took off to the United States while her mother maintained a life in Chile. Despite the challenge of keeping up an international relationship, Cote visits her mom often and they bond over cooking.

She Isn’t The Only Artist In Her Family

Cote isn’t the only artist in her family. In fact, her younger brother Francisco also has a flair for the arts. He is a Miami based DJ and plays at some of the city’s hottest parties. His older sister couldn’t be more proud of him. Guess being talented runs in the family! 

She Is A Romantic

Despite the fact that she is currently single, Cote de Pablo is a romantic. In the past, she was quoted saying, “I still get very excited when people say they fall in love. It doesn’t matter how old you are, falling in love is a beautiful thing. And I still act like I did when I was a teenager. I get fluttery and tap dance around. I’m never afraid of making funny faces or being completely goofy.

Her Number One Priority: Spending Time With Loved Ones

In the past, Cote de Pablo has stated that her priority in life is to “hang out with the ones I love, my family, my loved ones.” In fact, one of her favorite past-times is just hanging out at home, having friends over. The star is not into the Hollywood party scene and would much rather just spend time in a more calm environment, surrounded by the people she loves.

The One Health Rule She Will Never Break

Being an actress is a lot of work; sometimes the job can really drain one’s energy. It’s important for actors to find ways to maintain their energy. For Cote, the best way to do this is by following one health rule: getting eight hours of sleep every night. That’s right. Cote de Pablo never sleeps less than eight hours. She claims that if she spends hours memorizing a dialogue and then doesn’t sleep, the next day she isn’t able to recall her lines. So that’s where her glow comes from!

She Is Strongly Opposed To Plastic Surgery

Cote de Pablo is adamantly against plastic surgery. She believes that television should work to show more diverse woman than just the usual 25 to 40-year-olds. She believes that women have the power to change other people’s perception of them and that the first step is saying no to plastic surgery. She believes that the U.S serves as an example for how beauty/age should be represented in the media, “In the U.S. you see beauty campaigns with Diane Keaton and others 60, 70, and it is because they realized that there is a market with great purchasing power. Not seeing them does not mean they cease to exist.”

She’s A Huge Fan Of Game Of Thrones

When she’s not busy acting, she, like everyone else, enjoys her downtime. One thing Cote de Pablo enjoys doing is watching television. In fact, she has admitted on TV Guide that she is a huge fan of the hit drama series Game Of Thrones. She said, “any kind of show where you get to see women wear long beautiful hair, corsets, and lovely wardrobe, I’ll be there watching.”

Nature Helps Keep Her Grounded

While the glamorous Hollywood lifestyle can be fun, it can also be overwhelming. The constant media attention, fans, and paparazzi can be much to handle. Hollywood stars need to find a way to keep grounded. And for Cote de Pablo going to nature is the perfect solution. Whether it’s going on a hike or visiting some isolated (non-touristy island); the quiet of nature helps keep her grounded.

She Is An Award Winning Actress

Cote de Pablo is one talented actress. Her talents have been recognized throughout the years. In 2006, she was nominated for an Imagen Award for “Best Supporting Actress in Television” for her appearance on NCIS. She was also nominated for ALMA Awards throughout the years. And in 2011, she won an ALMA Award for “Outstanding Actress in a Drama Television Series.” Most recently, she won an Imagen Award for Best Supporting Actress in a feature film for her role in The 33. 

She Knows More Than One Language

Ziva David, the character that Cote de Pablo portrays on NCIS is fluent in ten languages. Amongst them are Hebrew, English, Arabic, Turkish, Russian, French, Italian, Spanish, German and Pashto. Although language is something that Cote does see as important, in real life she is only fluent in English and Spanish, although we are sure she speaks some Hebrew.

She Has A Dog!!

Given her complete absence on social media, we as fans rarely ever get a look into the personal life of Cote de Pablo. That said, the actress has revealed that she is the proud owner of a Labrador retriever named Spinee. Recently Spinee had to undergo so risky surgery. She didn’t give further details, but let the people know that Spinee recovered.

She Believes She Will Come Back

As mentioned before, Cote de Pablo is religious, yet she hasn’t confirmed what particular religion she is a part of. One thing that Cote has made clear is that she does believe she’ll be back here again. She has stated that one lifetime isn’t enough to purify her soul. She further stated that it will take her a couple tries.

She Is An Award Winning Actress

Cote de Pablo was born on November 12th. If you follow the zodiac calendar, you’ll be glad to know that Cote is Scorpio. It is by far one of the greatest signs of the zodiac. She has personality traits that are both stubborn, possessive and secretive. According to her charts, Cote would be most compatible with a Capricorn.

Cote De Pablo In 2018

Cote de Pablo has had quite the journey since she started out hosting Control with Carlos Ponce back in 2000. Today she has established herself as a respected actress and singer. People who are fans of NCIS will remember Ziva David for a long time. Although her career has slowed down since giving up the role, we know that it is only a matter of time before she strikes back with another huge role.