Saldana said she respects the 66-year-old action icon not only as an performer, but also for his devotion to parenting and his dedication to his family.
"I have a great deal of empathy, and love, and respect for a man that raises another man's children," Saldana marveled. "And this man has excelled at it for decades and his children praise him for it every single day."
While the pair welcomed their son, Wyatt, in 1986, Russell also helped raise Hawn's children, actress Kate Hudson and her brother, Oliver, from Hawn's previous marriage to Bill Hudson -- as well as his own son, Boston, from his prior marriage to actress Season Hubley.
In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Russell plays a cosmic entity named Ego the Living Planet, who is also the long-lost father of the film's hero, Peter Quill, aka Star-Lord, played by Chris Pratt -- another co-star Saldana had some super kinds words for.
"[He's] super likeable! He's a nice person. Genuinely, like, a nice person, and he's careful and considerate of others," Saldana shared. "And that's something that an artist can very easily lose. Because in order for you to be an artist, you have to have some kind of ego. And for some reason, Chris Pratt knows how to tame his ego and he allows his human side to just flourish."
"He's the nicest actor that I've ever worked with and I've worked with amazing actors," she added. "I never really have favorites, but he's my favorite and we won't tell him that."
In the upcoming Guardians sequel, Saldana reprises her role as the green-skinned assassin-turned-hero Gamora, and she says the role has convinced her 2-year-old twin sons, Cy and Bowie, that she knows The Hulk.
"They think I'm cousins with the Hulk because Gamora is green," she said, laughing. "I'm going with it until it plays out… my twins are super sassy and savvy."
Saldana and her husband, Marco Perego, recently welcomed their third son, Zen, in February, which makes this coming Mother's Day even more special, although she pointedly admits that she doesn't know what her loving husband has planned.
"I don't know [what we're doing]," Saldana said, looking to the ET camera and less-than-subtly directing her words toward her beau. "You would need to ask my husband if he has anything in the works."