Penelope Cruz is "the happiest she's ever been" since becoming a mother.

The 'Vicky Christina Barcelona' star gave birth to son Leo, her first child with husband Javier Bardem, 11 months ago and her filmmaker friend Pedro Almodovar revealed motherhood has always been her goal.

Pedro - who has collaborated with the actress many times - said: "She's the most happy. Better than always!

"She's with a man who she loves. She's a really avocational mother. In all my movies she plays a mother. She always said, 'I want to be a mother.' "

The proud mother loves showing off Leo and although their busy schedules mean Penelope and Pedro don't see each other as often as they would like, the 37-year-old actress sends Pedro, 62, pictures of her son every 15 days.

He added to UsMagazine.com: "She wanted to really experience being a mother in a complete way. She sends me photos of the baby every 15 days. I see how he's growing. He has an incredibly big smile, you cannot imagine. He's beautiful, gorgeous and he's big."