Cote de Pablo’s incredible life story

If you’re a fan of crime dramas, you’ll know that as soon as an episode of NCIS comes onto the screen, you just can’t look away! This epic television show has been on our screens since 2003 and has since played a huge role in our lives. We have learned from the stories and the characters just how extraordinary life in the Naval Criminal Investigative Service can really be, and we’ve seen just how rough and ready the characters need to be to pull through with their investigations. Over the years, we have been introduced to countless characters who have had a positive effect on our lives, but none have ever come as close to Cote de Pablo. This Chilean native made her NCIS debut in 2005 and starred on the show for a whopping eight years before waving goodbye to her cast and crew – but that doesn’t mean we’ve forgotten about her.

In fact, her character Ziva David has stayed with us since she departed from the show, and we haven’t been able to stop wondering about the member of the Israeli special forces who later found a place within the team. With her tough personality, her quick-thinking, and her loving personality, Ziva was one of our favorite characters on the show. Although we would like to believe that Ziva and Cote go hand in hand, it’s important for fans to distinguish the actor from the character – and that’s what we try to do. Of course, we know that Cote doesn’t walk around wearing her NCIS cap, wielding weapons and attacking enemies all day, but the two women do have similarities. They are both strong-willed, they are both incredible friends, and they have both suffered in their lives. But have you ever wondered what Cote de Pablo’s life was really like? Check out her incredible life story below…

Mysterious love life

Whenever it comes to the lives of celebrities, we all like to know as much as we can about their personal relationships – especially the romantic ones. A lot of the time, actors and actresses are very open to the public about their intimate affairs, intent on gaining the publicity that it might spark. But NCIS star Cote De Pablo has always been very mysterious about her love life – you can tell by the mischievous grin you see here on her face.

The first boyfriend

Now don’t get us wrong… Cote has definitely told us about one person in her love life. For 15 years, she was very vocal about the fact that she was in a relationship with Ecuadorian actor Diego Serrano. They originally got together way back in 2000, and kept their relationship going for 15 whole years! Now, that’s a really long time for a couple to be together and not be married. It certainly raises a few questions, such as why didn’t they get married? Was there something else going on?

Jealous guy

We’re not suggesting anything rash, so there’s no need to get upset. Getting married is a big decision, so we can’t imagine it must have been easy for them to pull that trigger, but 15 years? And why did they eventually break up? Did it have something to do with her relationships with fellow cast members on NCIS? More specifically, a certain special someone named Michael Weatherly? Their onscreen characters had a romantic relationship, so that may have sparked some jealousy in Serrano.

Intimate moments

It’s more than just the fact that Pablo and Weatherly shared a number of kisses on NCIS – it’s the fact that sometimes these onscreen relationships can spark certain moments off screen. This why it’s hard to be in a serious relationship while you’re in Hollywood – there’s always a chance you might fall for someone on the set, who you’ve been sharing all kinds of “pretend” intimate moments with. Perhaps something happened between the two, and she kept it quiet.

Hard to resist

Imagine that you’re an actor, and you’re playing a role that involves you having a romantic relationship with this woman. Looking at the stunning picture of her that you see her, you can understand that it would be hard not to fall for this girl. In fact, insiders from the set of NCIS revealed that Michael Weatherly flirted with her during her initial audition for the part, to see if they had that romantic spark.

Platonic relationship?

We’d like to ask your opinion about something. Do you believe that there’s such a thing as a purely platonic relationship? There are some who believe that there is actually no such thing. There are some who believe that no matter how much a man and a woman maintain they are just friends, there will always be “something” between them. This is the reason romantic partners get jealous – and perhaps it’s what ultimately tore Cote and Serrano apart.


Cote De Pablo is also a singer, and she actually sang a cover of the Tom Waits song “Temptation” during an NCIS episode. We find it fitting to note this particular song she sang, because it connects to the subject we’re discussing right now. Maintaining a romantic relationship is tough, and there were probably some strong temptations that ensued between Cote De Pablo and Weatherly. They may be acting in this picture, but it’s hard to deny the tension between them.

Why she left

But regardless of what was going on behind the scenes in her intimate love life, fans were still upset to say goodbye to Ziva David, Cote’s character on NCIS. But fans may be even more interested to find out exactly the reason why. Regarding her decision to leave the show, she said it had to do with “political” things, as well as the “scripts being not good enough.” Wow, those are some pretty harsh words to say. She must have really been upset about something – but what was it?

Can’t buy me love

In addition to the previous things we just mentioned, there were a few other reasons she decided to leave the show. She mentioned she didn’t like the script, and here’s why: After years of “crafting” her character and “loving her” as well, she began to feel that her character wasn’t “being treated with the respect that she deserved.” She also said that “all the money in the world” couldn’t buy her, if she didn’t feel respected by the producers.

Beliefs of reincarnation

There are certainly a lot of interesting facts about our lady friend from our favorite crime show, NCIS, and here’s one that may surprise you. There are many differing opinions out there in the world regarding what happens to us when we die – and if you asked Cote De Pablo, she would tell you that she believes we get reincarnated to live again. She claims that “one lifetime is too short” to purify one’s soul – and therefore a few tries are required.

Moving abroad

Moving to a brand new country is never easy – and Cote de Pablo experienced this during the early stages of her life. Although she spent her first few years living in her hometown of Santiago in Chili, her family uprooted and moved to the US when she was just ten years old. To start with, Cote struggled to fit into life in America and wondered where she fit in with the others in her neighborhood and in her class. Thankfully, she soon enrolled at a performing arts high school, where she discovered that she did have allies in her life. She had fellow actors.

What’s in a name?

You might have always marveled over Cote de Pablo’s wonderful name, but it seems as though that isn’t her real name! When she was born, she was given the name María José de Pablo and kept this name throughout her early life in Chili. Yet, when she moved to the United States, Maria soon realized that those around her struggled to call her by her actual name. So, she decided to make things easier for her life in America and asked friends and family to call her Cote, which is pronounced Koh-teh. She has since kept this name during her professional acting career.

An unusual career goal

Before she discovered that she wanted to be an actress, Cote de Pablo had an unusual career goal. During an interview with TV Guide, Cote confessed that she wanted to be a secretary when she was younger. She hoped to one day adorn a desk just like the lead character in the drama movie, The Secretary, and that’s all she could think about in life. She wanted a typewriter, she wanted a demanding boss… she wanted the whole lot! Well, there’s still time to change careers, Cote!

A school struggle

When she moved to the United States, Cote did not know how to speak the language. She had grown up in Chili and only ever conversed with fellow Chileans in her native language, Spanish. During fifth-grade, Cote found solace in one of her teachers, who took pity on her and her lack of English knowledge. Rather than ignoring her struggles, this teacher encouraged her to learn one word at a time. In fact, one of the first words she ever learned was ‘run’ after she became a member of the track team.

Finding her passion

After spending her early teen years as one of her high school’s best track and field stars, Cote knew that she didn’t want to continue within the world of sport. As she experimented with extracurriculars and new activities, she soon stumbled upon the realm of performing arts. By the time she was 15 years old, she had fallen completely in love with acting and scored her first professional role. Just a couple of years later, she was offered the chance to co-host the talk show, Control.

Looking for a job

Although she had been given numerous acting opportunities before her college years, Cote de Pablo still decided to enroll at Carnegie Mellon University and pursue her career in music and theater even further. However, when she finished her degree and left her college dormitory behind her, Cote found herself stuck in a rut. With no acting jobs lined up, she decided to reach for the stars and move to the Big Apple. To pay the rent, she was forced to work as a waitress to bus tables and earn her keep.

Making a decision

After months and months of auditions, Cote eventually secured a professional acting offer for a Broadway show called The Mambo Kings. However, Cote soon realized that a long wait can often bring multiple opportunities at once – and she was soon faced with a decision. Although she was offered the Broadway show, she was also offered the chance to take on a new character in the crime show, NCIS. Which one should she choose? The decision was eventually made for her after the Broadway show fell through.

Changing her life

Naturally, Cote was over the moon to discover that she had been given a role on the crime show, NCIS – but there was a part of her that was wary. She had known many actors and actresses to get lost in large television productions, and she didn’t want to waste her time with something that wouldn’t give her the chance to shine. However, it seems as though she had nothing to worry about because her role as Ziva David has since changed her life forever. In fact, she took on the role for eight years!

Sizzling on set

Cote’s NCIS character had a special relationship with Michael Weatherly’s character – and when they were casting Ziva, the casting directors wanted to ensure that the pair had chemistry. Because of this, Cote had to audition alongside Michael. Although she tried her best to stick to the script, it was Michael who flipped things around. To see how she would react, he started to improvise and flirt with Cote. While she was a little taken aback, she took it on the chin and flirted back, earning her the role.

A surprise exit

Over the course of her eight year NCIS career, fans from around the world fell in love with Cote’s character. Because of this, they were understandably upset when she announced her surprise exit from the show. Since her departure, Cote has been asked numerous times about her reasons for leaving, and she has not held back. She has spoken to TV Guide about the matter and noted that she was not happy with how her character was treated in the script and wasn’t ready to give in to its unreasonable demands.

Letting her live

Before she became one of the biggest actresses in the world of Hollywood, Cote was dating one of the most famous actors in the world of Hollywood at the time. In fact, she dated Diego Serrano for a whopping 15 years before their paths veered off into different directions, and it seems as though he was one of the best things to happen to her life. During one emotional interview, Cote noted that Diego would make sure she made the best out of her life and not miss out on a single moment.

Television challenges

Like all actors and actresses, Cote has had to memorize countless monologues and scripts over the course of her career. However, she has since noted that her time on NCIS was the most difficult challenge she has ever faced. Just two days before she was due to appear in a hugely important scene, the production crew sent her over a monologue that was not in English… but in Hebrew! She spent the next 48 hours teaching herself the language and the monologue, and eventually smashed the scene.

Bring Ziva back!

Although we know her reasons for leaving NCIS, fans were still outraged when she announced that she wasn’t going to return to her character. Yet, they didn’t just shout and scream over social media. Instead, they decided to do something about it. One devoted fan created a ‘Bring Ziva Back’ petition that was later signed by thousands of fans across the globe. The producers listened to the outcry of the fans and even offered Cote more money to take back her role. However, her decision was final, and Cote declined the offer.

A struggle with her weight

With so many fans behind her, it’s no surprise that many of them think that Cote de Pablo is incredibly beautiful. Yet, it seems that this actress has often struggled with her appearance and her weight. After coming off a common contraceptive, Pablo immediately started to gain weight. In just eight weeks she gained over 15 pounds, and she felt incredibly self-conscious about her weight. She has since lost the weight and maintained a healthy balance, but she still remembers how the extra weight made her feel.

Opposites attract

They always say that opposites attract, and this was definitely the case for Cote de Pablo and Diego Serrano. As a self-confessed home lover, Cote would choose to spend her free time relaxing at home and staying away from the hubbub of Hollywood life. However, Diego was the complete opposite. He would spend his evenings with fellow actors and spend his free time at prestigious parties. Because of this, Cote has noted that Diego was the “worst influence” on her life, but she loved him for this.

A child of God

When Cote was a child in Chili, she grew up in a devout Catholic household and spent her early years practicing the faith. Although this started to wane when she moved to the United States and began her acting career, her belief in God was tested when her grandmother fell ill. Cote did not want to see her grandmother suffer and asked God to take her quickly – and she passed away just 20 minutes later. Since then, Cote has made an even bigger effort to maintain her religion and continue being a child of God.

A fearful prop

When Cote was on NCIS, she played a tough Israeli special forces officer by the name of Ziva David. Because she was trained in intense combat, Ziva was the kind of character who would always be carrying and using guns. However, it seems as though Cote is not a fan of them herself. She has always been scared of the weapons and was very reluctant to use one on set. Yet, she knew she had a job to do and managed to get through all of her gun-wielding scenes.

A real-life stuntwoman

Although she did not like to carry any weapons during her time on NCIS, Cote did get her hands dirty. In fact, she got her whole body dirty! Whenever Ziva David was required to undertake a stunt, the producers chose not to bring in a stunt-double. This was because Cote chose to do her own stunts while on the show. She would jump out of explosions, she would take part in extreme action shots, and she would even hurt herself on set. It was all in a day’s work for Cote!

A few injuries

However, choosing to do your own stunts isn’t always a good idea. Over the course of her NCIS career, Cote would often go home with injuries on her body. Most of the time, these injuries would be small scratches and treatable burns, but there were other times where she needed medical attention. In one incident, Cote did not have the time to rehearse a fairly dangerous stunt and severely hurt her neck when she jumped straight in. Luckily, she made a full recovery and was rarely hurt after that.

An American icon

Thanks to her career on NCIS, Cote de Pablo is an American icon. Fans rush to see her on the street, and she is invited to all of the best Hollywood parties. Yet, it seems as though this fame does not stretch as far as her home country. In fact, Cote is relatively unknown in Chili – something that she often uses to her advantage. When she wants a little break from the world of fame and fortune, she takes herself back home and relaxes in the anonymity. It’s the perfect break.

Taking a break

The role of a celebrity is a complicated one, and you’re expected to showcase your whole life on social media for your fans. Yet, Cote de Pablo is a very different kind of celebrity. She has chosen throughout her career to stay away from social media and does not use any form of social media platform. She has chosen to keep her life private and know that her information is her own, rather than publish it for the whole world to see. This is why many fans respect her even more.

A singing sensation

Although most of us know Cote de Pablo for her acting skills, it seems this leading lady also has another talent under her sleeve… she is also a singer! In the past, Cote has been picked up by major movie and television producers to use her vocals on their productions, and she has numerous singing credits to her name. Most notably, she allowed her NCIS fans to marvel over her angelic voice during the popular episode, Last Man Standing. She has also performed with the famous singer, Roberto Pitre in the past.

After the show

After Cote de Pablo left NCIS, fans wondered whether her acting career would go downhill – but she has since proved us all wrong. Since telling the world that she wants to be more creative with her acting skills, she has since been offered numerous projects that allow her to do just that. In recent years, she has put her name to many characters within television series’ such as The Dovekeepers, as well as the movie, The 33. However, she has yet to find a long-lasting role that will test her talents.

Making her own life

Over the course of her career, Cote de Pablo has truly made a name for herself as someone who does not give in to societal demands. She has vowed to make her own life and career for herself and has been incredibly outspoken about other actors in the industry. She is often questioned by the media about having children, getting married, or taking on other roles, but has told them time and time again that she is not going to be pressured into anything. She is going to make her own decisions in life.

A hefty net worth

In the past decade or so, Cote de Pablo has proved herself to be a hugely talented actress, and her net worth is the perfect example of this. With her long-running role on NCIS as well as her other projects, Cote has been able to work up an impressive net worth of $4 million. Although this is proof that all of her hard work has indeed paid off, we have a feeling that this isn’t enough for Cote. She wants more, and she wants to use her creativity for even more projects.

Not about that life

While many celebrities spend their evenings attending glamorous parties and getting themselves ready for the red carpet, Cote de Pablo has always shunned this lifestyle and isn’t the kind of actress to be a part of this life. During one interview, she has noted that she is an “old soul” and one who is more of a “hippy” than a glamorous celebrity. She also confessed that she prefers to play older characters, rather than younger characters who are obsessed with their looks and being a big name in society.

She’s incredibly health conscious

Although she may deny the high life, Cote de Pablo does engage in a popular celebrity activity. In her free time, she loves to go to the yoga studio or practice yoga in her home. After hurting her neck while performing a stunt on NCIS, Cote found that yoga helped ease the pain and reclaim the strength she lost during her resting period. She has continued this activity to this day and spends her free time practicing Vinyasa – a form of yoga that focuses more on breathing and meditation.

Close to home

Because Cote has chosen her roles carefully, she has always chosen movies and shows that are closer to home than those that rely heavily on fiction. One role that did this was the true drama movie, 33. This movie followed the lives of Chilean miners who found themselves stuck in a mine for a whopping 69 days. In this movie, Cote played one of the miners’ wives, and it seems as though the role was perfect for the Chilean native because she was able to empathize with the role.

A huge achievement

No matter what she gets up to next, it’s fair to say that Cote de Pablo has come a huge way since breaking onto the acting scene. Not only has she scored herself a leading role on the one of the most popular crime dramas of all time, but she has also pushed herself creatively and artistically. Whether she continues to score roles or whether she decides to take a break from acting, she will definitely go down in history for her impressive work over the course of her career…

Staying single

Although many fans were convinced that Diego and Cote were perfect for each other, it seems as though the pressures of fame and fortune put a strain on their relationship. The couple did not formally announce the reason for their break up, but many fans suggest that Cote’s rise to fame and busy schedule played a part in their separation. While it seems as though Cote has since gotten over this heartbreak, she has not dated anyone since they parted ways. Hopefully, she will find the person of her dreams soon.

Against plastic surgery

In a time where external physically beauty is given so much focus, celebrities are constantly under a lot of pressure to maintain an image. And when they make the kind of money they make, getting plastic surgery isn’t such a big expense for them. However, for Cote De Pablo, she isn’t feeling it. She feels very strongly that people shouldn’t do it, women especially. She said it’s “important for women to learn to say no” in regards to it.

Would never do it

For Cote, she believes that there is too much emphasis on the physical aspect of things, and she hopes to change the way women are perceived. When she was asked if she herself would ever get plastic surgery to get a role, she said that she “would never” do it. As far as she’s concerned, if they’re not giving it to her “for talent,” she is “not interested.” We totally understand where she’s coming from – you go girl!

Playing by her own rules

While her beliefs about plastic surgery are certainly valiant, they reflect on something much greater than resides within Cote’s persona – the ability to be her own woman. She isn’t interested in playing by the same rules as everyone else. Or at least, she refuses to be made into something she’s not. This type of life mindset is prevalent as well when it comes to something that goes all the way back to her Chilean roots – the subject of baptism.

Chilean inquisition

Regarding the subject of baptism, Cote opened to Latina magazine and told a story about something that happened when she returned to Chile, her hometown. After going back there for a brief visit, she was “grilled about having kids,” and furthermore whether or not she would baptize them if she ever had them. Although she was under a lot of pressure, she explained that baptism may not be something she wants for her future kids: “Our lives are very different.”

Best friend mama

But we would hate to leave you with the belief that there is any kind of bad blood between Cote and her familial roots. On the contrary, her and her mother are actually best friends – something that not everyone knows. Her mom visits Cote for sometimes two to three weeks at a time, and Cote is always happy to visit her mom in Chile. And when Cote was asked what her and her mom’s favorite activity to do together is? Cooking.

Game of Thrones lover

But although Cote is from Chile – she is a modern woman of America, who loves modern American shows. And one of her number one favorite shows is none other than Game of Thrones. She told TV Guide that she’s an “avid” Game of Thrones fan, but her reasoning may surprise you. While most lovers of the show enjoy it because of its elaborate dialogue and monumentally shocking scenes, she’s got her own reasons for loving the show.

Her ideal genre

Apparently, the reason Cote De Pablo loves Game of Thrones so much is because of the way the women dress. According to her, her ideal show is one where you get to see women with “long beautiful hair,” wearing corsets and lavish wardrobe. Any show like that, and she’ll “be there watching.” She also admitted to being a big fan of the men and their beards. Well Cote, why didn’t you say so in the first place?

Insider NCIS facts

But while it’s certainly fun to talk about the kind of shows that Cote De Pablo loves to watch, we feel the need to revisit the one show that made her a star – NCIS. In fact, we have some very interesting new updates regarding her character’s departure – and her possible return… Wait, what? Did you just hear us correctly? That’s right… Ziva David, the character who Cote’s played, may not be as gone as you think she is.

Cote’s mysterious hint

When Ziva David’s untimely death happened on the show, there was a lot of strange speculation as to whether or not she really died. This was because the body was never really shown to the audience, and many people wondered whether David might actually be still alive, and on the brink of possibly returning someday. And guess what… Cote spoke up about it as well: She actually hinted that there might be a chance Ziva is still alive – and that’s not all.

Heart wrenching reunion?

After Cote hinted that her NCIS character Ziva David may still be alive, she also added that she and fellow agent Tony DiNozzo may experience a romantic reunion of sorts. Well, that makes sense… If Ziva would return, it would make sense that she and Tony would be thrilled to see each other – those two really are a cute on screen couple. So come on, show producers! How about we get these lovebirds back together?