JULIO Iglesias was recorded celebrating his 80th birthday at his jaw-dropping mansion near Marbella late last month.
The video was a rare insight into the life of the iconic singer, who has endeavoured to live out his golden years away from public view.
After all, after selling more than 150 million records worldwide – and in 14 different languages – the ‘King of Latin’ arguably deserves a break.
The ‘Begin The Beguine’ singer was gifted a video which featured personal messages of congratulations from some of the world’s biggest stars – including King Felipe of Spain.
Tennis ace Rafael Nadal and former PM Jose Aznar were among the other 450 celebrities to wish Julio a happy birthday – in a clip that took his team six months to create.
They branded him ‘the greatest Latin star in history’, and they weren’t wrong. Here the Olive Press unpacks everything you need to know about the legend.
Before reaching international fame as a sensual singer, Julio had hopes of being a football player and even a diplomat.
At just 19 years old, he made his debut as a goalkeeper with the Real Madrid first team in 1962, sharing the locker room with icons such as Velázquez, Ramón Moreno Grosso, De Felipe, Luís Costa, Espejo and Hernández.
He was also very close to finishing his law degree when he and his friends were involved in a car crash on the eve of his 20th birthday – leaving him almost paralysed for a year and a half.
However while recovering, his nurse Eladio Madaleno gifted him a guitar as a therapy exercise and to ‘kill the time’, and well, the rest is history.
Julio has long been dubbed the ‘Latin lover’ for his well-documented affairs with beautiful women, with one myth claiming he has bedded more than 3,000 in his lifetime.
His first real love was said to be Gwendolyne Bollore, a woman of French origin whom he met during his stint in England in 1970.
Gwendolyne was born into a rich family and it was, by all accounts, love at first sight, with the young woman even inspiring one of his biggest hits – Nathalie.
However their love affair ended after a few months when Julio met Isabel Preysler, a stunning and distinguished young Filipina woman who he met by chance at a party.
They would have three children together before separating in 1976 (one of them being future sex symbol and pop star Enrique Iglesias).
He was also tied to Venezuelan model Virginia Sipl, aka Miss Amazonas 1975, who came fourth in that same year’s Miss Venezuela pageant.
Their tryst lasted for five years, and she was holed up in his mansion on Indian Creek island in the States – where multiple women spent time.
A string of other lovers, including Yolanda Hadid, ensued until he met his current wife Miranda Rijnsburger in 1990.
Julio had five children with the now 57-year-old Dutch model: Michael, Rodrigo, Guillermo and twins Victoria and Cristina. They finally married in 2010.
The ‘illegitimate’ son
Maria Edite Santos, a former ballerina from Portugal, hit the headlines when it was claimed she had given birth to Julio’s son, Javier Sanchez Santos.
For decades, Javier has sought to have the singer recognise him as his child, in a claim that reached the courts of Spain, where a DNA test established a genetic link with 99.9% accuracy.
Despite this, the music legend refuses to confirm his paternity – despite their remarkable likeness.
In March this year, Javier said he will renounce any inheritance just for his father to acknowledge his lineage.
In a heartfelt open letter, he said: “I don’t want any money… I would be very happy if a meeting occurred, because we both have the same DNA. There have been many years of suffering and sadness and it is time for this face-to-face dialogue to take place.”
Julio has never responded.
The estranged son
When soon-to-be pop icon Enrique Iglesias needed 500 dollars to create his first album in 1995, he asked his nanny to borrow the cash, instead of his father Julio.
Julio took it personally and the pair have had a tense relationship ever since.
Enrique’s nanny, Elvira Olivares, had been his faithful companion, taking care of him and his brother Julio José and his older sister Chábeli from a very early age.
Enrique once told El Pais: “At the age of 18 I separated from my family completely. And it was difficult. I left and for 10 years I had absolutely no contact with my father.”
The two resumed slight contact when Enrique’s grandfather died. He added: “Many years. I suffered a lot. But what I felt about my music gave me strength. And, above all, I pursued the goal of doing it my way.” There are no signs the two have reconnected, with Enrique renouncing his inheritance of Julio’s €700m-plus fortune.
The influencer twins
Julio’s twin daughters are thought to have given up their dreams of becoming influencers following a stern telling off from their father.
Victoria and Cristina launched their careers in 2019, keeping their hundreds of thousands of fans updated on their every move via Instagram and other social media channels.
They posed for the cover of magazines – including Hola – and hoped to make a business out of their family name.
However, according to reports, Julio did not approve, and have the pair a strict telling off.
Rumours in the US claimed he even threatened to remove them from his will.
Safe to say, the pair quickly took note and have not posted on social media for over a year, and are very rarely pictured in the press.
When Julio recovered from his near fatal car accident, and after perfecting the guitar, he travelled to England to study English.
To earn money, he would perform at pubs, singing the biggest hits of the day, including Tom Jones and The Beatles.
Julio has pushed out an incredible 80 albums over his career, which has seen him become a household name around the world and one of the richest artists ever, with a staggering net worth of more than €700million.
He owns bottles of wine worth €15,000 and a mind-bending 700 private islands and multiple farms.
His property portfolio includes a 450-hectare estate in Ojen, Marbella, which cost a whopping €18million. It features his famous ‘Cuatro Lunas’ mansion, complete with 12 bedrooms (five for staff), a recording studio, eight bathrooms, two helipads and three swimming pools.
He has also made his investments in the US, and owns, along with millionaire Jaime Gilinski, a large part of Indian Creek island off the coast of Florida, featuring 200m of private beaches. He has also invested in a five-star hotel and 262 luxury homes in Spain.