Salma Hayek was born in Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz, Mexico. Her father, Sami Hayek Domínguez, is of Lebanese descent. His ancestors hail from the city of Baabdat, Lebanon, a city Salma and her father visited in 2015 to promote her movie Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet. He owns an industrial-equipment firm and is an oil company executive in Mexico; he once ran for mayor of Coatzacoalcos. Her mother, Diana Jiménez Medina, is an opera singer and talent scout; she is of Spanish descent. While visiting Madrid in an interview in 2015 with Un Nuevo Día, Hayek described herself as fifty-percent Lebanese and fifty-percent Spanish saying that her grandmother/maternal great-grandparents were from Spain. Her younger brother, Sami, is a furniture designer.
Hayek was raised in a wealthy, devout Catholic family, and at age 12 opted to study at the Academy of the Sacred Heart in Grand Coteau, Louisiana. In school, she was diagnosed with dyslexia. She attended university at the Universidad Iberoamericana studying international relations. In a 2011 interview with V magazine, Hayek mentioned that she was once an illegal immigrant in the United States, although it was not for a long period of time.