Although she left NCIS in 2013, Cote de Pablo’s character Ziva David had been on the minds of many of the show’s fans throughout Season 16 as her name was mentioned several times. Then once viewers learned that Ziva was still alive, they became convinced that her return was imminent.

All the talk about her return to the hit show has really put the spotlight back on the actress and now fans want to learn more about her. Here are the answers to some common questions about de Pablo including what her ethnicity is and if she’s married, plus what she actually wanted to be before becoming an actress.




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Cote de Pablo on ‘NCIS | Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images

What’s her ethnicity?

De Pablo is Chilean and was born Maria José de Pablo Fernandez in the country’s capital city, Santiago, in 1979.

She moved to Miami when she was 10 years old after her mother got a job at a Spanish-language television station. According to Latinos Post, some of the other children at her new school had trouble pronouncing her name so she had them call her “Cote,” which is a popular Chilean nickname for María José.

De Pablo adjusted to her new country, learned English, attended a performing arts high school, and studied musical theater at Carnegie Mellon University. She then pursued a career as an actress and told Front Row Features that she was set to make her Broadway debut when the opportunity to audition for NCIS came up.

“I was about to do Broadway (The Mambo Kings) right before I got NCIS…so I went from my chance of doing a Broadway show into doing the series.”

Is de Pablo married?

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Cote de Pablo and Diego Serrano | Marc Piasecki/FilmMagic

De Pablo is not currently married.

She was in a longterm relationship with Ecuadorian-born actor Diego Serrano who has appeared in a number of TV shows over the years including The Young and the Restless, Another World, and Time of Your Life.

The two began dating in 2000 but broke up in 2015. Neither one of them have spoken about why they ended their relationship.

What she wanted to do before becoming an actress

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Cote de Pablo | Frank Trapper/Corbis via Getty Images

De Pablo’s first experience in front of the camera came when she was 15 as she co-hosted the Latin-themed talk show Control with Carlos Ponce but she didn’t always have dreams of being an actress. In fact, she revealed that she actually wanted to be a secretary.

“I, believe it or not, wanted to be a secretary, much like Maggie Gyllenhaal in The Secretary,” she told TV Guide.

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“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.”

Acting though has paid off for de Pablo as she earned as much as $120,000 an episode before she left NCIS and these days still gets a share of syndication money. Today, de Pablo has an estimated net worth of $6 million.

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