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Celebrity Families

Why Chris Hemsworth and Elsa Pataky picked Byron Bay to raise their kids

They could settle anywhere their hearts desire, but the Hemsworths chose bring their kids up Down Under.

For the past five years, locals in beachy Byron Bay have no doubt seen a tall, very fit, handsome man, his pretty, petite blonde wife and their three surfie-looking kids walking around the streets barefoot, frolicking around on the sand at The Pass or doing the school run.
To the rest of the world, Chris Hemsworth and Spanish wife Elsa Pataky are one of Hollywood's power couples, but to the Byron community, they're just two more locals enjoying living the low-key life in the coastal northern NSW town.
And they wouldn't have it any other way.
"Moving back to Australia was a very good decision for us," Chris, 36, admits. "I can be with people and talk about things that have nothing to do with the film business. That's almost impossible in LA."
There's no arguing that Hollywood has been good to Chris, with his breakout role as Thor in 2011 catapulting him to superstardom and securing him the big pay days as one of the industry's leading men.
It's Hollywood that has afforded him the luxury of building a $20 million mega-mansion for his family on four hectares of lush land in Broken Head, and allows them to take holidays in Europe with celebrity mates like Matt Damon and his family.
Kids? Check. Dog? Check. Beach? Check. Happy? Yep! (Image: Media Mode)
But put all the fame and fortune aside, and after a long stint living in Los Angeles, Chris and his model-actress wife Elsa, 43, decided they wanted to put down-to-earth roots in a place that's best for their future – for their marriage, kids and overall happiness.
So, when Chris and Elsa decided to move to a remote property in boho Byron in 2014, it began a new – and very welcome – humble life for not only them, but their seven-year-old daughter India and her five-year-old twin brothers Tristan and Sasha.
Understandably, escaping the trappings of all the glitz and glamour that is part and parcel of the fame game and bringing up their three children in one of the least showbiz places they could think of really tickled their fancy.
"We are trying to be normal people and being able to go with the kids and there are no photographers and people following you," says Elsa. "We live on a property in the middle of nowhere, so we don't have that problem anymore. And that's what we wanted."
WATCH: Elsa Pataky speaks candidly about Christmas plans and husband Chris Hemsworth. Story continues below...

A dose of normality

Clearly appreciative of the career goals he's kicked over the years, the doting dad doesn't take his career or indeed how fortunate he is for granted.
"I don't want to be too negative about Hollywood because it's given me so many extraordinary opportunities, but I'm much more at ease back home," says the acting great.
It's that humble nature that has earned Chris the title of one of the nicest guys in the acting biz, and seen him and his equally unpretentious wife slot in with the laid-back locals.
Chris and Elsa - always a great support for each other. (Image: Getty)
Any fans who follow the couple on Instagram will know they regularly showcase the beauty of Byron as they get up to the usual family capers and adventures we all to do on our days off – whether it be having a bite at their favourite eatery in town, taking the kids surfing or taking pets (in their case a gecko) into school for the kids' show-and-tell!
Despite their fame, they don't demand or expect any special treatment – in fact they go out of their way to give back to the community, volunteering at the local public school on the odd day or two.
It's refreshing, to say the least, to see a celebrity couple so genuine and true going about their business in the background, but it's just as refreshing for Chris and Elsa to really get to know their neighbours.
"The people are really nice and really good with us," says Elsa. "In Byron Bay we feel like normal local people and that's really nice for us."

Simple pleasures

In his downtime, when he's not jetting to LA to film blockbusters like Men In Black: International or travelling the world to promote his latest film, Chris loves nothing more than the simple things in life: a morning training session, a surf down at Wategos Beach or a casual BBQ with family and friends.
"There is a very social, outdoor, active sort of energy in Australia," he says. "We like to have a good time – it's infectious… I say I'm going to stay home and next thing you know, your friends are calling you up and you're out and about!"
As an enthusiastic ambassador for Tourism Australia, Melbourne-born Chris is clearly passionate about his home country, so it was inevitable that he would end up back here once done exploring the bright lights of Hollywood. But for Elsa, a big TV and film star in her native country, moving to the other side of the world and away from her family for good was surely a harder sell.
Fishing at the beach with the kids. Image: Instagram
As it turns out, living the Australian way of life has been on the Fast & Furious star's to-do list since before she even met Chris in 2010 and started a family. And she's managed to keep a little piece of home close to her, with her photographer brother Cristian Prieto Medianu and wife Silvia Serra moving to Byron, too. Silvia even teaches Spanish at the kids' primary school!
"It is my dream. I always wanted to be in a place like [Byron Bay]," she says. "Growing up, I was very happy in nature, with animals, and I dreamed of living in a place where my kids can run around with no shoes on, surrounded by all kinds of animals."
Sounds idyllic, but for a movie star of Chris' calibre, LA is where the big jobs are – which has meant plenty of back-and-forth for work and some testing times for their nine-year marriage.
"I couldn't have done all this without her support," he admits of their often long-distance love. "She's the one who has put her own work aside so I can chase my crazy dream. I'm so lucky to have her in my life."
Elsa spending quality time with the kids. Image: Instagram

Happily ever after

Elsa happily took a back seat regarding work, saying that being seven years older she was more than ready for a change of pace. "When I met Chris, he was just starting out. I'd started young and had worked a lot. I was happy to take a break and just be a mum."
A decade on, you only have to look at their affectionate displays and cheeky social media posts to see that they're still crazy about each other. But these two are the first to admit that just like any married couple, a long-lasting relationship filled with love and happiness requires "constant work".
"We did everything very quickly – I don't know how we survived as a couple," Elsa confesses. "We were married and then a year after we had kids. It puts a lot of pressure on a marriage, but we came out good because there's a lot of love between us."
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