With a sultry and iconic voice, stunning good looks and a mesmerizing stage presence, Julio Iglesias has become one of Latin music’s most popular and beloved singers of all time. Having sold over 300 million albums in his six decade career, the sexy Latin superstar maintains his global draw by packing concert halls with adoring fans.
From Professional Soccer to Law to Music Stardom
Born on September 23, 1943 in Madrid, Spain, Julio José Iglesias de la Cueva dreamt of becoming an attorney and diplomat. The young Iglesias was also a talented soccer player, and reached one of his biggest dreams when he became a goaltender with the professional team, Real Madrid. Julio’s soccer/football career unfortunately ended in 1962 when he was involved in a automobile accident which damaged his spine and left him bed-ridden for two excruciating years. During his recovery, Julio learned to play the guitar and began songwriting, and ultimately uncovered a deep passion for music. Realizing another of his dreams, he also studied law in Great Britain and earned his law degree from Complutense University of Madrid, yet his interest in music deepened.
The Making of a Latin Music Star
In 1968, the young musician entered “La Vida Sigue Igual” (Life Goes On), a song he had written, in Germany’s Benidorm International Song Festival. The entry won first prize, and Iglesias was offered a recording contract with Columbia Records’ Spanish Division. “La Vida Sigue Igual” became a #1 hit in Spain, and in short order, a star was born! Julio Iglesias released his debut album, Yo Canto, the following year, and by 1971 had officially sold over a million records.
The World Falls in Love with Julio Iglesias
By the mid 1970s Julio, a multi-linguist, had written and recorded songs in German, French, Italian and Portuguese in addition to his native language of Spanish. The success of the sexy and talented star skyrocketed in Europe as he continually filled large arenas, and became recognized as one of the continent’s most talented performers. In 1976, the Latin sensation crossed the Atlantic to play a sold-out concert at New York City’s Madison Square Garden. His 1981 cover of Cole Porter’s “Begin the Beguine” was a U.K. hit, and drove the artist to pursue English-speaking fans. His album Julio purposefully included the English song, “Hey,” and was released to introduce the Latin superstar to mainstream America.
Julio Iglesias continued to enjoy enormous success with his 1984 album release of 1100 Bel Air Place on the Columbia Records label. The album featured love songs including the hit “To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before”, a duet with country music’s Willie Nelson. Album sales catapulted to over three million copies, and solidly secured Julio as an international music icon. His album Un Hombre Solo (A Man Alone) captured the 1988 Grammy Award for Best Latin Pop Album.
Six Decades and Still Going Strong
Julio’s popularity in the United States soared throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Collaborations with Diana Ross on the song “All of You,” and Stevie Wonder with “My Love” resulted in chart topping hits. However, the singer eventually chose to revisit his Spanish roots, and in 1996 he released the album Tango to the utter delight of his Latin music fans. The album received a Grammy nomination again in 1998 for Best Latin Pop Album, and won the 1996 World Music Award.
The international popularity of Julio Iglesias continued right into the new millenium when he achieved immense success in his native country for his 2003 album Divorcio. His star power amongst French music fans also surged with his 2004 release of En Français and L’Homme Que Je Suis the following year.
Julio Iglesias has released over two dozen albums in his six-decade career, and shows no signs of slowing down. He recorded Love Songs in 2004 and Romantic Classics in 2006, both compilations of enduring love ballads. In 2011, Julio Iglesias released 1 Vol. 1, a critially acclaimed two-disc set featuring 34 of his most cherished melodies. And in 2015, the multi platinum recording artist released México, a studio album of Mexican ballads. In true Iglesias fashion, the album reached #1 on official Mexican album charts.
The Life and Loves of Latin Music’s Biggest Star
Julio Iglesias married Madrid socialite Isabel Preyster in 1971. The union produced three children, Julio Jr., Isabel (Chabelli), and Enrique. Their son Enrique is also a multi-platinum recording artist, and has sold over 137 million records to date. Widely known as The King of Latin Pop, Enrique has dated ex-tennis player Anna Kournikova since 2001. Julio and Isabel divorced in 1979.
In 2010, Julio married Dutch model Miranda Rijnsburger, his partner of 20 years. The two have five children together; Miguel, Rodrigo, twins Cristina and Victoria, and Guillermo. They divide their time between three homes; near Miami, FL., in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, and Marbella, Spain.