The very same Julio Iglesias who made thousands swoon to his singing voice also set records that he still holds today, holds a law degree, runs businesses, and wrote a song dedicated to all the girls he loved before. And if we are going off his own claims, there were many. But it’s not all professional and romantic success—there’s plenty of drama, questionable fashion, and a paternity suit for good measure. Let’s begin.
1. He Was Born Into Good Fortune
On September 24, 1943, Julio José Iglesias de la Cueva was born in Madrid, Spain to María del Rosario de la Cueva y Perignat and Julio Iglesias Sr, a gynecologist. Julio was raised with his brother Carlos in a comfortable home. And while he was going to become a legend, he had surprising beginnings.
2. He Was Your Average Kid
Julio attended Catholic school where his grades were described as mediocre at best. There was an ironic twist to his time there. Despite the notorious crooning legend he later became, he ironically did not meet the standards of his school’s choir. However, his lack of singing skills was not his main concern. Tension was brewing at home.
3. His Parent Were Questionable Relationship Goals
His parents had a turbulent marriage with Julio’s father being repeatedly unfaithful. Julio’s parents determined that it would be in the best interest of their sons to remain married and raise the boys together. The situation divided the sons, with Julio siding with his father, and Carlos supporting their mother. This was not the only difficulty they would face as a family.
4. He First Talent Is Unexpected
When dreams of singing in the Christmas pageant or making his parents proud by getting on the honor roll slipped through his fingers, Julio chose to focus on fútbol. Not only did he enjoy playing, but he excelled at it. Julio’s skills on the pitch were enough to earn him a fútbol scholarship. And not just with any club, but one of the most prestigious fútbol clubs in the world.
5. He Was Torn Between Love and Duty
By the age of 16, Julio had made major changes. Deciding to follow in his father’s footsteps and pursue higher education, Julio became more focused on school eventually earning a place at the University of Madrid where he studied law. But his first love, fútbol, kept pulling him back, and he eventually caved. He decided to take a huge risk. Only time would tell if it would pay off.
6. Fútbol Was In His Blood
Despite his pursuit of higher education, he could not stay away from fútbol, eventually earning a spot with Real Madrid Club de Fútbol’s second team, Real Madrid Castellana in the Segunda Division. Julio, like every player on his team, hoped to be called up to play goalie for La Liga, placing him one step closer to his dream. However, these dreams quickly shattered. Quite literally.
7. He Had A Devastating Accident
Just four years into his fútbol career with Real Madrid, Julio was in a terrifying near-fatal accident. A runaway truck forced his car off the road. The accident smashed his lower spine leaving him paralyzed from the chest down. He may not have known it at the time, but the accident changed the course of his life in more ways than one.
8. Therapy Helped Him Find A New Passion
Determined to walk again, Julio worked incessantly at physical therapy during his extended stay at the hospital. During this time one of his nurses, Eladio Magdaleno, gave him a guitar to keep him occupied and to help increase the dexterity of his hands. Neither one of them had any clue the gift Eladio placed into his hands would set him on the path of becoming a legend.
9. He Was An Apt Student Of The Arts
It wasn’t long before Julio was playing songs that he learned from listening to the radio. Soon after he mastered playing the guitar, Julio began composing his own songs. Music slowly filled the void that was left from losing fútbol. And it was while he and his mother watched a music festival competition that he made her a promise which seemed almost impossible to fulfill.
10. Inspiration And Determination Drove Him
Inspired by the musicians who were part of his recovery through music, Julio promised his mother he would one day win a music festival just like the ones they loved to watch together. And finally, after years of convalescing, he packed up his life in Madrid and made his way to England with the goal of making good on his promise. The results were surprising.
11. England Was Good To Him
Between the fish, chips, and pints, Julio focused on learning English and composing his first song. Just like your average, law-student-semi-pro-fútbol-self-taught-guitarist does. The result was “La Vida sigue igual,” which translates to “Life Goes on as Usual” for those of us uneducated in Spanish. But was it going to get the attention of the masses?
12. His First Taste of Success
If the young Mr. Iglesias has proven anything so far, is that the goddess Fortuna is firmly #TeamJulio. Sure enough, he not only entered the 1968 Benidorm Song Festival, which took place on the Spanish Mediterranean coast, but he also won. Of course, he did. This is Julio Iglesias, and it is only the beginning of his musical reign.
13. He Is The Cool Guy, Jock, And Scholar All Rolled Into One
As a reminder of how much better he is than the rest of us, Julio not only continued to enter music competitions, but simultaneously worked towards finishing his law degree. But that still wasn’t enough. Julio set his sights on the one competition that would make all of Europe notice him.
14. He Had A Dream
That’s right, Eurovision. The very same singing contest that introduced ABBA, baking on stage, and a singer inhaling helium to help hit a high note. Julio penned and performed “Guendoline” in the 1970 Eurovision Festival. Sadly, he was in for a major disappointment. Any high hopes he had for wearing the figurative winner’s crown were dashed when he placed fourth. Luckily, any feelings of sorrow likely didn’t last for long, as his big break was just around the corner.
15. Success Was Close
His Galician single “Un Canto A Galicia”, soon became a hit, selling 1 million copies in Germany. It wasn’t long before Julio started making waves singing in Italian and French, quickly gaining popularity and new fans. But there was a specific fanbase that just couldn’t seem to get enough of the handsome Spaniard.
16. A Legendary Lover Was Born
Nicknamed the Spanish Sinatra, Julio’s elegant, sophisticated, and well-dressed appearance caused people to notice him. Especially women. And he was just as much of a fan of theirs, stating “I was a flirting man. You know what I mean? I was in that time a rock’n’roll guy”. It wasn’t long before his reputation as a ladies’ man became just as popular as his music.
17. His First True Love
In 1970, shortly after signing to his first record label, Julio was interviewed by María Isabel Preysler Arrastía, a young Spanish-Filipina socialite, model, and journalist on her very first assignment for ¡Hola! magazine. Not one to waste time the up-and-coming singer invited her to a Juan Pardo concert. It appears the concert had quite the impact on the two if what happened next is any indication.
18. Even Legends Believe in Shotgun Weddings
Seven months later, Julio had a surprise. He and a pregnant Isabel got married in January 1971. In addition to adding the title husband to his ever-growing list, he also added father with the arrival of their first child, María “Chábeli” Isabel. María was destined to follow in her mother’s journalistic footsteps. But Julio need not worry—as his own mini-me was not far behind.
19. He Sired A New Legend
Their family grew with the arrival of Julio José in 1973, and Enrique Miguel in 1975. That’s right, Enrique Miguel Iglesias. The very same. And while Enrique was able to make a name for himself, it was not without difficulty and at the expense of his relationship with his father. Difficult times were ahead for the young family.
20. He Became Difficult to Pin Down
While the young couple enjoyed traveling together for Julio’s career, it became increasingly difficult with the arrival of their three young children. As Julio took to stages around the world, making women swoon, Isabel found herself growing more resentful of the increasing length of his absences. Then, the rumors started.
21. His World Was Falling Apart
Their young family was splashed across newspapers and magazines across the world. But behind the glamor, Julio and Isabel were hiding the bitter reality of their marriage. It was falling apart. When unknown women began picking up the phone when Isabel called Julio’s hotel room, she could not stay silent any longer.
22. Their Life Began To Turn Upside Down
The couple announced the divorce in 1979 and were granted an annulment the following year. Isabel remained in Spain with their children, and Julio returned to his residence in Miami. However, just two years later, his family faced yet another crisis. This time it was something they never could have predicted.
23. He Family Was Targeted
In 1981, Julio’s family received devastating news. Early in the morning of December 29, two men had grabbed his father outside of a travel agency in Madrid and abducted him. At first, the suspects were only identified as “Latin”, but when they made their ransom demand, the dark truth came out.
24. They Wanted His Money
Basque separatist organization ETA had been behind the kidnapping—and even worse, they were demanding a massive ransom of $2 million from Julio. They threatened to kill him if they didn’t get what they wanted. Julio never hesitated when it came to the ransom. After all, it was his father. But the authorities were also involved, and they were slow to act. Would their hesitation wind up costing Iglesias Sr his life?
25. They Waited
Over the course of the next 19 days, everyone involved seemed to be at a standstill as they planned for the release of Iglesias Sr. However, behind the scenes, the authorities were coming up with a daring plan. They found the location of the kidnappers—but then, instead of rescuing Iglesias Sr, they hesitated. One day turned into two, and before long, nine more days had passed.
Were they ever going to rescue him?
26. They Got Him
In early January 1982, a full 19 days after Iglesias Sr’s kidnapping, nearly 150 agents descended on the kidnapper’s hideout in Trasmoz, Spain in a surprise raid. Not only did they rescue Iglesias Sr, but they also arrested four of his assailants without any bloodshed on either side. Their hesitation had been part of the plan all along, in order to ensure the safety of everyone involved.
However, for the Iglesias family, the nightmare was far from over.
27. It Could’ve Been Fatal
Though the authorities successfully rescued Julio’s father, few realized just how close a call it was. The Basque group ETA had kidnapped some 40 people in the decade before, and they’d killed five and gravely injured eight others. When the authorities delivered the news that they’d rescued his father, Julio openly wept—but for Iglesias Sr, life would never be the same again.
28. His Father Was Never The Same
Traumatized by his experience, Julio’s father changed. For years after the kidnapping, he lived in fear of another abduction, continuously looking over his shoulder to ensure he was not being followed. Eventually, the fear dissipated, but he was not the only member of the Iglesias family afraid of what might happen next.
29. He Became A Full-Time Dad
The entire incident had left the Iglesias family shaken and afraid. To protect their children, Isabel agreed to have them move to Miami to live with Julio. But they took their paranoia to the next level. While there, they lived under protective custody. While it seems their time in Miami with their father was fine, Julio’s relationship with Enrique was also about to change forever. Julio would have never predicted the outcome of their conversation.
30. His Son’s Ambition Hurt Him
Although the pair had a good relationship, Enrique made a declaration that shocked his father. He announced he was pursuing music at the age of 18. Even more hurtful to him was that he was not even aware of Enrique’s own ambitions. The fallout resulted in Enrique leaving home and never looking back. Their relationship was never the same again.
31. He Wasn’t Winning Father Of The Year Anytime Soon
It appears Julio’s relationship with his son Julio Jr, a singer, and daughter Chábeli, a journalist and socialite, remained solid. However, not all was quiet on the offspring front. Enter Javier Sánchez, the son of Maria Edite Santos, a former ballerina from Portugal, who claims his mother had a one-week affair with Julio in 1975. The fallout would have made Jerry Springer’s ratings soar.
36. You Won’t See Him Walk Under A Ladder
It turns out Julio is aware of just how lucky his life has been. To avoid taking advantage of the luck that has been bestowed upon him, he engages in numerous bizarre superstitions and rituals. These include leaving a dining room if someone around him spills salt, not purchasing cologne, and not keeping cash on hand. His most unconventional ritual was shared with an unsuspecting audience.
37. He Has No Filter
Julio was not shy about sharing very personal information, especially about a pre-concert ritual that he claims he had to complete in order to perform. He told an audience in Uruguay he had a “superstition, a quirk or whatever, that I couldn’t go onstage to sing if I didn’t make love first”. Unsurprisingly his publicist was not impressed with this claim.
47. He Is A Legend Among Legends
If there was a big name in 80s and 90s music, Julio likely collaborated with them. Diana Ross, The Beach Boys, Stevie Wonder, Frank Sinatra, Dolly Parton, Sting, and Art Garfunkel—he worked with them all. Not all his musical partnerships were free of controversy. In 2008, Julio agreed to make a music video with Gulnara Karimova, the daughter of Uzbek dictator Islam Karimov.
48. His Bed Post Didn’t Have Enough Room For All The Notches
There have been many claims of Julio having slept with more than 3,000 women. His reaction was seriously scandalous. He responded, “That probably was until 1976, so they didn’t count the other women”. Classy. He admits his “lady lover” reputation helped his career, as opposed to hindering it. Among these women, are a few recognizable names.
49. The Self-Proclaimed Lady Lover
Ursula Andress, Giannina Facio, Priscilla Presley, Angie Dickinson, and Yolanda Hadid—yes, Gigi and Bella’s mom—have all been linked to Julio. Sure, the world would have loved to have witnessed Julio and Priscilla frolicking on a yacht off the coast of Italy, but destiny had other plans for Senor Iglesias.
But does 3,000 sound a little steep to you? Well…
50. He May Have Exaggerated
In 2019, a journalist who had interviewed Julio in the 1980s came forward with the truth about his romantic record and the famous “3,000 women” quote. She confessed that the original number he’d given was 300. When she’d instead suggested 3,000, he shrugged and went along with it. The language barrier between them may also have been responsible for the exaggeration.
38. Love At First Sight (Again)
In 1990, Julio met Dutch model Miranda Rijnsburger. With 22 years of difference in their ages, it was an unlikely match, but it was love at first sight. Since their first fateful encounter, they have gone on to have five children, Miguel Alejandro, Rodrigo Iglesias, twins Cristina and Victoria, and Guillermo Iglesias. Still, there was something missing from their relationship.
39. He Became A One-Woman Man (Or So We Hope)
Eventually, 20 years of relationship bliss and five children pushed them to make an official commitment to each other. On August 26, 2010, in Marbella, Spain, Julio and Miranda married in a small church in front of their children and two witnesses. The marriage signaled a new beginning for the couple. So, they decided to make another big change for their family.
40. His New Family And His Old Love, Music
Julio and Miranda chose to record “Silent Night” as a duet, and included a voice note from them along with four of their young children. The song was released online as a gift to his fans around the world. Four years later, another gift from this family, this time a recording of “The Little Drummer Boy” was released. Despite his continuous release of new songs, another career shift was about to take place.
41. He Discovered A New Career
Julio and Miranda moved their young family to the Dominican Republic and took up residency, eventually becoming a citizen in 2005. It is here where Julio added business mogul to his resume. Since his arrival, Julio has acquired several hotel complexes, become part owner of a Punta Cana resort, the Punta Cana International Airport, golf courses, and hotels, along with other investors. But not everything is as perfect as it seems.
42. He Lost His Biggest Supporter
In 2005, Julio’s beloved father Julio Iglesias Puga passed away at the age of 90—and there was a strange twist. Just a week before his passing, Julio Sr announced the pregnancy of his 42-year-old wife, Ronna Keitt. Julio, already in his 60s, had a one-year-old brother, Jaime; his sister Ruth arrived in 2006. The family loss brought everyone together—but was unable to heal old wounds.
43. The Iglesias Reconnection
After years of estrangement, Julio reconnected with Enrique at his father’s funeral. The two men embraced each other and spent the day together, however, it was not enough to keep the reconciliation ongoing. Once again, the two parted ways with Enrique keeping his distance from his family. Only he knew the real reason.
44. Enrique Revealed His Truth
After years of silence, Enrique finally revealed the reasons behind his choice to distance himself from his family. It stemmed from a massive fight between the pair when Enrique was 18. Julio didn’t support his son’s desire to enter the music industry—and whatever was said between them, Enrique didn’t speak to his father for 10 years.
It took decades before Enrique let his father into his life again, but he’s still cautious. Perhaps the growth of his own family, including the arrival of twins, was a catalyst for healing the relationship. Whatever the reason, Julio was once again in touch with this beloved son—well, at least with one of them.
32. His Past Came Back To Haunt Him
In 1992, Javier brought a paternity suit in court against Julio. His reaction was brutal. Julio strongly denied these claims and refused to submit to a DNA sample. The court dismissed the case and Julio was in the clear. Or so he thought. Never underestimate the power of your rivals, who, in this case, appeared in the form of a very determined detective.
33. He Was Outwitted
Ironically it was Julio’s own son, Julio Jr, and a hot summer day that was his undoing. Julio Jr discarded a bottle of water he was drinking from, which was then promptly picked up by the detective and used to obtain DNA. Was it enough to clear Julio’s name?
34. The Trial Was Questionable
Lawyers claimed the DNA proved Julio Jr and Javier were brothers. However, the judge would not allow the DNA evidence to be submitted. Instead, he used his powerful eyesight, and not his law degree or scientific evidence to rule, “there is a clear physical resemblance between father and son”, therefore Julio was Javier’s father. Judge Judy, who?
35. His Luck Struck Again
Fortunately for Julio, and unfortunately for Javier, the Provincial court overturned the verdict. Javier filed another appeal. The court then rejected it, without going into the DNA evidence being presented, stating the Provincial court’s ruling was final. Case closed—or so Julio thought. As we’ll see, it wasn’t so simple.
45. An Old Scandal Came Back
If Julio Iglesias thought he was in the clear, he was very wrong. Javier Sánchez continued to pursue his case in the courts, and in 2019, a judge in Valencia ruled that Iglesias was his father. Considering Julio has some eight children with two women, what’s another?
Well, time hadn’t mellowed Julio on this subject. Not at all.
46. Denial Is His Middle Name
The more the merrier? Nope. Despite the court’s ruling about Javier Sánchez, Julio kept fighting back. He took his battle all the way to the Supreme Court in Spain—which finally, after decades on the case, dismissed Sánchez’s claim in April of 2021. To add insult to injury, they stuck him with the court fees for it all. Ouch.