The Untold Truth Of Julio Iglesias

Spanish singer Julio Iglesias is larger than life. The musician is known for delivering several hits throughout his career, such as "Starry Night," "Non Stop," "Calor," "Crazy," and "To All The Girls I've Loved Before." His legacy in the music industry is rock solid. As pointed out by Biography, the star achieved a significant amount of success back in the 1970s and 1980s, becoming well-known for his charming persona and melodious voice. Iglesias, as per his official website, has managed to achieve several milestones in his career. For example, in 1976, he set a record for the most amount of tickets sold at Madison Square Gardens in New York.

Iglesias has had an interesting life, to say the least. It's likely that many fans don't know that the singer's journey has been rather unusual. He was, for example, on his way to becoming a professional soccer player before his plans changed, and he ended up in the music industry, making his way to the top one day at a time, performing in bars and clubs in a bid to get noticed. He also faced several roadblocks along the way, including dealing with a painful brush with paralysis that required him to spend a significant amount of time in recovery.

Here's taking a look at the star's journey, including some of the lesser-known aspects of his colorful life like his complicated relationship with fame, his setbacks, the tragedies he lived through, his childhood, and more.

Julio Iglesias was born to wealthy parents

Julio Iglesias was born in September 1943 to privileged parents in Madrid, Spain. According to the book, In His Eyes: the Julio Iglesias Jr., Story, by Elina Furman and Leah Furman, Iglesias' father was a renowned gynecologist whose help was invaluable during his son's delivery by cesarean section. Plus, the family was rather well-off, and it has been noted that theirs was one of the most distinguished names in Spain.

They definitely had everything they needed in terms of wealth, privilege, talent, and good genes. Reflecting on the privilege his family enjoyed back then, Iglesias once said, "If you gathered together every baby that my father has delivered, it would fill Madrid's Plaza de Toros."  It would be fair to say that Iglesias and his folks were well-respected in their circle and seemed like an ideal family from a distance. Their family had a rich and powerful legacy, a definite advantage for Iglesias. Even while the rest of the country struggled in 1946 after a trade conflict emerged between the United States and Spain, Iglesias and his family didn't have anything to worry about. Their needs were taken care of.

Julio Iglesias' parents weren't on great terms

Julio Iglesias' parents weren't quite able to keep up a healthy relationship through the years. Tensions were rife between the couple on account of the fact that Iglesias' father was unfaithful on several occasions. According to In His Eyes: the Julio Iglesias Jr., Story, when it became obvious that the singer's father wasn't being loyal to his wife, Iglesias supported his dad while his brother, Carlos, stood by their mother.

The couple only put up with each other to ensure that they could raise their sons together, but the relationship was not healthy. Iglesias' father once candidly revealed that he knew his wife wasn't in love with him anymore. He said, "Slowly, slowly, the hurt was incubating inside her until, eventually, she reached a moment when she stopped loving me." Despite their differences, the couple refused to separate and put up with each other as they took care of their children. Of course, this was still not a great environment to grow up in and would undoubtedly affect the singer and his brother in more ways than one. For instance, the two brothers didn't really get along with each other and had a complicated relationship as kids.

Julio Iglesias had a gift for sports

Believe it or not, Julio Iglesias was a really talented soccer player. He wasn't the best in academics and found his strength in other fields, particularly sports, as per In His Eyes: the Julio Iglesias Jr., Story. In fact, he was easily one of the most liked guys in his class. For him, being an aspiring soccer player meant that he would have to prove his worth as he competed against many other talented players. One of his former teammates said, "He was agile and daring. He always went for the ball, even in the most impossible situations." He added that he felt that Iglesias was definitely talented enough to beat many others in the field and be a formidable soccer player. 

He was so good that, at 15, he even earned a spot as a goalkeeper in Real Madrid's line-up, where he managed to prove his mettle. His success as a soccer player added to his popularity among his peers. However, this would be short-lived. Unfortunately, Iglesias was forced to abandon his soccer dream when he met with a devastating car accident (via Associated Press). Admittedly, this was a huge blow for Iglesias, who had to spend a long time recovering and reconsider his future plans.

Julio Iglesias suffered from a terrible accident

What exactly happened when Julio Iglesias met with that tragic car accident? Well, as per In His Eyes: the Julio Iglesias Jr., Story., the young soccer player was away on a holiday at a resort with a group of friends after a particularly good soccer game. After a fun party, Iglesias and his friends found themselves heading back to Madrid. Things took a turn for the worse when they veered off the road after taking a tight turn at more than 100 mph. Luckily, they escaped with a few injuries.

However, the real impact of the accident would not be revealed until much later. While Iglesias assumed that he was fit enough to play professional soccer, he was proven wrong when he found himself struggling. He started experiencing muscular pain that became increasingly hard to ignore. He even had to go through a surgery to relieve recurring pain in his spine. He later remarked that it was a rather tough time for him. He said, "I think it was for me the greatest moment of anguish I have ever experienced." Iglesias added that he was scared of the future and of the possibility that he'd never achieve anything now that his soccer plans were in jeopardy.

Things got worse before they got better. Iglesias was temporarily paralyzed after the surgery and had to fight to recover. In fact, his doctors thought he would never walk again. To cope with the major setback, he started playing the guitar, distracting himself from his emotional trauma.

Julio Iglesias studied law

Julio Iglesias may not have been an extraordinary student, but he was smart enough to get into law school. He was simultaneously pursuing his soccer dreams and balancing his studies before the fateful accident, ultimately dropping out of school. Some 35 years later, according to The Guardian, Iglesias decided to appear, in 2001, for the one final exam that he'd missed in order to earn his law degree. Basically, this was done to make his dad happy. An understandable move considering the fact that his father was a high-profile doctor who expected his son to finish university.

The singer decided to give the exam a shot. He said, "I did it for my father...Four or five years ago he started asking me if I was not ashamed about never having finished." Despite making it through the exam and earning his degree, Iglesias assured everyone that he didn't intend to stop singing or change his career path. But still. He did manage to earn that coveted degree, after all, three decades after he started his stint at a university.

Music wasn't effortless for Julio Iglesias

While it's true that Julio Iglesias is talented and blessed in terms of his musical abilities, he had revealed in the past that this hasn't been an effortless journey for him. He told the Associated Press that he learned the importance of discipline and taking his music seriously if he wanted to truly make a mark on the industry. He said, "Everything was a bigger struggle for me, everything required a bigger effort, so I understood that the sole basis for my future was discipline, and I maintain that discipline today, at 75." 

His point was simple — it's not enough to be passionate about something, and pursuing his interests required him to be focused. After he realized soccer was not possible for him, he took a leap of faith and started getting into the music scene, playing in front of strangers and slowly gaining popularity for his charisma and incredible voice. That said, Iglesias didn't take his talent for granted, despite becoming very successful, making sure that he worked hard to stay relevant.

His turning point was a music festival

According to several testimonials, what really helped Julio Iglesias finally break into the music industry in a big way was winning the Benidorm International Song Festival in the 1960s. As per In His Eyes: the Julio Iglesias Jr., Story., Iglesias was already looking promising before he participated in the event. Consider this — he forwarded a song of his to record labels and heard back from staff members at Columbia Records, who were intrigued by his talent. 

They were impressed and signed him while simultaneously giving him a chance to shine at the Benidorm International Song Festival in 1968. Iglesias didn't let anyone down and emerged from the competition as its winner, making sure that he got noticed by many fans as he began his long and illustrious journey in the music industry. What helped Iglesias was the fact that he believed in his work and didn't leave any stone unturned to achieve his dream.

Julio Iglesias lived through tragedy

Even though Julio Iglesias and his family were privileged and enjoyed many luxuries, they weren't able to escape tragedy. For example, in the early 1980s, Iglesias had to live through one of the worst times in his life. According to People, his dad was kidnapped by terrorists, which was an incredibly traumatic experience for everyone in the family. Reflecting on the terrible incident, the singer later said, "He was kept for a month in a little room with no lights, and every day they told him they would kill him the next day."

What did the kidnappers want? Money, of course. Iglesias decided to comply with the kidnappers' demands in order to save his dad. However, cops were able to save his father before Iglesias came through with the ransom. The singer once mentioned that the incident really scarred his dad. He said that his father had become extra cautious and struggled with crippling fear for two long years after he was kidnapped. This also had an impact on the rest of the family. According to Biography, one of Iglesias' sons, Enrique, was taken to Miami after the kidnapping to ensure that he was safe and away from anything that could potentially harm him.

Julio Iglesias was notorious

As per CBS News, Julio Iglesias once lived a rather wild life, and it's something that he chose to speak about publicly. Basically, in his 20s, he had his share of weird habits that he had to stick to before performing in front of his fans. He said, "[I had a] superstition, a quirk or whatever, that I couldn't go onstage to sing if I didn't make love first." Well, the singer did eventually grow out of it and gave up his habit. 

The singer also had other superstitions. According to People, he would observe little rituals, such as exiting a dining room if someone spilled salt around him, not buying cologne, or not even keeping cash on him. He had a lucky life and he knew it — right down to the foot massages he received while unwinding before a big gig. He acknowledged his privilege and said, "It's a nice way to live, no? How can I not love what's happened to me, how lucky I am?"

Julio Iglesias was addicted to work

Julio Iglesias is human and hasn't shied away from expressing his vulnerabilities. According to a piece by SFGate, one of the things that the singer has often been afraid of is not working or having something to do. He was pretty clear about it when he said, "If you stop work, you start to die. It's important for me never to stop. I am so grateful for the things life gives me."

In another piece by People that was written in 1988, it was apparent that Iglesias was scared that he'd stop being famous someday. It was a possibility that he simply wasn't comfortable with. He did his best to avoid that from happening and toured as much as he could, using a jet to be many places in a short period. He said, "The biggest problem in my job is that you get afraid to lose it. One day you are a winner, but the next, no matter how big of a star you are, you can be a loser."

Julio Iglesias was involved in an ugly controversy

Julio Iglesias found himself in hot water when he was involved in a controversy back in 2019. According to a report by People, despite Iglesias denying it, he was found to be the father of a 43-year-old named Javier Sánchez-Santos. The latter looked quite like his father, and a judge ruled in the son's favor, saying that "there existed contacts and a relationship between the mother of [Sánchez-Santos and Iglesias] near the date of conception." To be clear, Iglesias didn't agree to a paternity test.

Sánchez-Santos was born after his mother, María Edite Santos, met Iglesias at a party. As per Santos, she briefly dated Iglesias for a short period in 1975. While her testimony was ignored in 1992, the case resurfaced many years later. It remained unclear whether Iglesias would have to pay compensation for lying about the affair. Additionally, as reported by CNN, what really worked for Santos was the fact that she didn't leave any stone unturned in her testimony. The ex-dancer could provide specific details to the court, including details of where Iglesias stayed when she met him.

Julio Iglesias is grateful

For Julio Iglesias, it has always been crucial to acknowledge that he is grateful for everything he's received in life. According to the Associated Press, whenever he looked back on his life and everything he learned, he couldn't help but feel humbled. He said, "In fact, my life has been a miracle." 

He has also been a bit of a perfectionist. When he was asked about his regrets, he said that he wished he'd made better use of his time and focused even more on perfecting his skills as a musician. He said, "Had I known when I was 20 that I was going to be a musician, I would have taken to the piano, I would have taken the guitar more seriously, I would have perfected my knowledge of music."

Everything said and done, Iglesias didn't hold back while reflecting on his life. He said that his life was like a novel, considering everything that he'd gone though — from his brush with professional soccer to paralysis, music, and superstardom. He also said something rather powerful when he spoke the importance of loved ones in his life. "I was nobody. And I'm still nobody because deep down we are all nobodies. Deep down it's the people that make us somebody."