After A Dancer Claimed She’d Had Julio Iglesias’ Lovechild, The Court Finally Decided On Its Ruling

Image: A. Schorr/ullstein bild via Getty Images / JOSE JORDAN/AFP/Getty Images

It was a decision that had been 43 years in the making. In 2019 the Spanish courts officially ruled whether or not Latin pop veteran Julio Iglesias really did father a love child back in the 1970s. And it’s fair to say that not everyone was entirely happy with the long-awaited verdict.

Image: JOSE JORDAN/AFP/Getty Images

One-time ballerina Maria Edite Santos had fought for several decades to determine the truth about her first-born son. In fact, in 1992 Julio Iglesias was legally declared the father of Javier Sanchez-Santos by a judge in Spain. But following an appeal, this decision was overturned just two years later.

Image: JOSE JORDAN/AFP/Getty Images

Undeterred, however, Santos and Sanchez-Santos continued to fight for what they believed to be the truth. And a quarter of a century later, they once again got their day in court. Here’s a look at the astonishing case and whether Julio Iglesias should expect one more Father’s Day card from now on.

ADVERTISEMENT
Image: Gianni Ferrari/Cover/Getty Images

Born in Madrid in 1943, Julio Iglesias initially pursued a career as a soccer player. In fact, he even played in goal for reserve team Real Madrid Castilla as a young adult. But his sporting ambitions were dealt a cruel blow when his lower spine was smashed in a car accident. This meant that he couldn’t even walk – much less run – for a couple of years.

Image: Eric Koch

However, the accident proved to be a sort of blessing in disguise. Indeed, it was while recovering from his injuries that Iglesias picked up the guitar and discovered his previously untapped musicianship. He got his big break when he emerged victorious at the 1968 Benidorm International Song Festival. He then landed a deal with an offshoot of Columbia Records.

ADVERTISEMENT
Image: A. Schorr/ullstein bild via Getty Images

After peaking at number 3 in his homeland with his debut album Yo Canto, Iglesias caught attention across Europe with a fourth-placed finish at 1970’s Eurovision Song Contest. After that, he topped the charts in several countries with a tribute to his father called “Un Canto A Galicia.” Iglesias’ impressive ability to sing in many languages brought him success in places like Italy, France and Germany.

ADVERTISEMENT
Image: Peter L Gould/Images/Getty Images

By the early ’80s Iglesias had also ventured into the English-speaking market, scoring a U.K. chart-topper with “Begin the Beguine.” His album 1100 Bel Air Place then shifted more than three million copies in the United States. And duets with Diana Ross and Willie Nelson only further helped to raise his international profile.

ADVERTISEMENT
Image: LEE CELANO/AFP/Getty Images

In 1988 Iglesias picked up his first Grammy Award when Un hombre solo was crowned Best Latin Pop Album. He later added to his trophy cabinet with gongs from the Lo Nuestro Awards and the Latin Recording Academy. And in 2002 he received the honor of being placed in the International Latin Music Hall of Fame.

ADVERTISEMENT
Image: PIERRE PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP/Getty Images

Iglesias soon proved that his hit-making days weren’t behind him, scoring a record-breaking Spanish number one album with 2003’s Divorcio. He continued to enjoy success over the next decade thanks to the likes of covers collection Romantic Classics and an album of new interpretations of his classic hits called Numero 1. And of course, Iglesias’ private life has often been just as eventful as his professional.

ADVERTISEMENT
Image: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Iglesias decided to settle down in 1971, marrying a Filipina TV presenter by the name of Isabel Preysler. The pair went on to have three kids together, daughter Chabeli and sons Julio Jr. and Enrique. The latter two would go on to follow in their father’s footsteps by launching music careers of their own.

ADVERTISEMENT
Image: SUZANNE CORDEIRO/AFP/Getty Images

In fact, Enrique Iglesias ended up surpassing his father’s achievements in several areas. As well as scoring a pair of number one hits on the Billboard 200, he’s also reached the top of the Hot Latin Tracks chart a staggering 27 times. However, his career sales of 100 million are still way behind his father’s own tally of 300 million.

ADVERTISEMENT
Image: CRISTINA QUICLER/AFP/Getty Images

Sadly, Julio Iglesias’ marriage to Preysler only lasted eight years. He later began dating Miranda Rijnsburger, a model from the Netherlands who is no less than 22 years younger than the singer himself. The pair had five kids together: Miguel, Rodrigo, Guillermo and twins Victoria and Cristina. His second family all lived together in Iglesias’ adopted homeland of the Dominican Republic.

ADVERTISEMENT
Image: PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP/Getty Images

However, Iglesias and Rijnsburger didn’t become husband and wife until an intimate ceremony was held in 2010. This was three years after they had welcomed their fifth child, Guillermo, into the world. Young Guillermo was believed to be Iglesias’ eighth kid in total – until the singer once again became the subject of a decades-old paternity case.

ADVERTISEMENT
Image: El Español

The story begins way back in 1975, when Iglesias is alleged to have embarked on an affair with Maria Edite Santos in the Catalonia region of Spain. Nine months on, the one-time ballet dancer gave birth to a boy named Javier. And she’s since spent several decades trying to prove that Iglesias is the father.

ADVERTISEMENT
Image: Semana

Iglesias and Santos reportedly first met when they shared the bill at a show in the Spanish city of Girona. The latter told the Daily Mail that she was fully aware at the time that the former had a wife. But despite this, the pair enjoyed “going to the beach together in the afternoons, dining together after the show and spending nights in his rented chalet.”

ADVERTISEMENT
Image: HienaLouca

Santos revealed to the British newspaper that Iglesias had actually been the first man that she had ever slept with. She also claimed that the Latin pop star left her with a parting gift – something to help keep him in her memory. This bizarre token was a pair of the singer’s jeans.

ADVERTISEMENT
Image: El Español

Shortly after, Santos discovered she was with child. But sadly, her attempts to get back in touch with Iglesias were met with a resounding silence. And even when her son was born, the singer refused to acknowledge the pair. Santos later took her son to an Iglesias gig when he was 13 – but she failed to attract the musician’s attention.

ADVERTISEMENT
Image: YouTube/Ventaneando

To make matters worse, Santos had been forced to abandon her career as a professional ballerina after falling pregnant. And as a single mother, she never got the opportunity to resume it. Instead, she had to make ends meet by working in a rundown Valencia eatery which dished out paella.

ADVERTISEMENT
Image: YouTube/Ventaneando

Santos claims that she and Iglesias were of equal stature in terms of their careers when they shared the stage in 1975. And she holds the singer entirely responsible for the fact that this is no longer the case. She told the Daily Mail, “Julio destroyed my dreams. It’s always the woman who has to pick up the pieces.”

ADVERTISEMENT
Image: JOSE JORDAN/AFP/Getty Images

Sanchez-Santos himself has also gone to great lengths to reach out to his father. Under the guise of Javier Iglesias, he even released an album titled Soy Como Tu, which translates as “I am like you.” But with the record failing to achieve any success, his message didn’t produce the desired effect.

ADVERTISEMENT
Image: YouTube/Este Canal Te Interesa!

When the singing career didn’t pan out, Sanchez-Santos turned to DJing in places such as Ibiza. However, he now largely earns his living as an employee of a sports nutrition store. And while Iglesias has numerous homes across the world, Sanchez has a humble residence in the city of Valencia.

ADVERTISEMENT
Image: Jazz Archiv Hamburg/ullstein bild via Getty Images

The whole paternity dispute appeared to have been resolved in 1992, when Iglesias was officially declared Sanchez-Santos’ padre by a judge in Spain. But the Grammy winner – who has always denied that he’s the father – didn’t take the decision lying down. Two years later, in fact, his appeal successfully quashed the initial ruling.

ADVERTISEMENT
Image: YouTube/Despierta América

But Sanchez-Santos – seemingly as stubborn as Iglesias himself – ultimately refused to accept this decision. In fact, in 2007 he and his mother hired a lawyer named Fernando Osuna to plug away with the case. And Osuna certainly had a pretty impressive track record when it came to paternity tests.

ADVERTISEMENT
Image: Gianni Ferrari/Cover/Getty Images

Osuna had previously worked on a paternity case which involved a matador that was hugely well-known throughout Spain. With the use of a simple napkin, he helped to prove that El Cordobes had fathered another prominent bullfighter. These DNA-based tactics that Osuna had employed came in handy several years later.

ADVERTISEMENT
Image: JOSE JORDAN/AFP/Getty Images

Indeed, Osuna hired a detective to help add further weight to the theory that Iglesias was the father of Sanchez-Santos. And this particular detective soon proved to be worth his weight in gold. For shortly after, he got his hands on a piece of vital evidence that blew the case wide open.

ADVERTISEMENT
Image: ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images

This evidence just happened to be a bottle of water that had touched the lips of Julio Iglesias Jr. while he was enjoying the waves at a beach in Miami. The detective then sent the bottle off to a lab for DNA testing. And the results appeared to reveal that Julio Jr. and Sanchez-Santos were indeed siblings.

ADVERTISEMENT
Image: mediaphotos/Getty Images

Osuna believed that this was enough evidence to prove that Julio Iglesias was Sanchez-Santos’ father. Indeed, the result even came back as a 99 percent match. And although the judge ruled the DNA test as inadmissible, the question over Sanchez-Santos’ paternity did become a court matter once more.

ADVERTISEMENT
Image: Luis Ortiz/Clasos.com/LatinContent via Getty Images

Inevitably, Julio Iglesias wasn’t particularly happy about having his private life raked over in public for a second time. His legal representatives put forth the point that a new trial should not have been called, given that one had been thrown out in the past. And the star himself – just as he’d done previously – refused to take a DNA test.

ADVERTISEMENT
Image: YouTube/EFE in English

Iglesias’ refusal didn’t go down too well with the Spanish judge who presided over this second case. In fact, the Latin lothario’s point-blank avoidance of any DNA collection proved to be a major factor in Jose Miguel Bort Ruiz’s decision. The judge also noted the “very obvious physical resemblance” between Sanchez-Santos and Iglesias.

ADVERTISEMENT
Image: JAVIER SORIANO/AFP/Getty Images

And Iglesias’ reputation as a ladies’ man didn’t particularly help him in this matter, either. He once told The Daily Express, “I came to London and my manager told me, ‘The papers are all saying Julio has been with 3,000 women.’ I said, ‘Don’t tell anybody it’s not true.’ Ha ha! Now we are in 2014 the number must be up to 20,000!”

ADVERTISEMENT
Image: Gianni Ferrari/Cover/Getty Images

Judge Ruiz was also satisfied that Maria Edite Santos and Iglesias had enjoyed some kind of relationship around the period in question. He stated that there was “evidence in the proceedings that, at the approximate time of the applicant’s conception, there were certain contacts and dealings between the mother of the latter and that defendant.” Ruiz also added that the possibility of sexual relations was not “unlikely or unreasonable.”

ADVERTISEMENT
Image: Alejandro Vilar

Santos’ personal testimony during the trial certainly appeared to convince Ruiz, too. The judge noted that she offered “very specific date on the property, location and interior layout of the villa.” The villa in question was, of course, the place owned by Iglesias where Sanchez-Santos is believed to have been conceived.

ADVERTISEMENT
Image: Stephane Cardinale/Corbis via Getty Images

Ultimately, despite the lack of admissible DNA testing, Ruiz believed that there was still enough evidence to determine that Iglesias was indeed Sanchez-Santos’ father. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the legendary Latin pop star didn’t agree. In fact, Iglesias – who wasn’t present in court when Ruiz delivered his verdict – immediately announced plans to appeal.

ADVERTISEMENT
Image: Gianni Ferrari/Cover/Getty Images

This slightly contradicts the viewpoint of Iglesias’ ex-wife Isabel Preysler, who he was married to at the time of the alleged conception. Before the court’s verdict was announced, she told reporters that her former husband would do the right thing if it ruled in Sanchez-Santos’ favor. She said Iglesias would “do his duty as a father because Julio has always been a very responsible person.”

ADVERTISEMENT
Image: JOSE JORDAN/AFP/Getty Images

As you would expect, Sanchez-Santos and his mother were delighted by the outcome. And they also announced plans to make Iglesias pay for his continued lack of acceptance and responsibility. Indeed, Osuna revealed that the family are in the process of filing a lawsuit against Iglesias for the cool sum of $314 million.

ADVERTISEMENT
Image: JOSE JORDAN/AFP/Getty Images

According to Fox News, Osuna said, “We will claim for moral, psychological and spiritual damages from Julio Iglesias. We will also ask for compensation, because Javier has suffered so much. Can you imagine how he has suffered without the support of a father? Can you imagine the children asking him in the playground, ‘Where’s your dad? Why’s he never around?’”

ADVERTISEMENT
Image: JOSE JORDAN/AFP/Getty Images

“The judge’s sentence has now entered Julio Iglesias into the Spanish registry as Javier’s biological father,” Osuna reportedly went on to add. “This means that Julio must take responsibility if Javier suffers an illness or is in poverty. It also means that Javier will have a claim to inheritance.”

ADVERTISEMENT
Image: JOSE JORDAN/AFP/Getty Images

Interestingly, Osuna almost seemed as ecstatic about the judge’s decision as the family he represented. The lawyer told the Daily Mail, “Javier is extremely happy, tranquil and finally at peace. I have worked on over 500 paternity cases. But when the father is as famous as Julio Iglesias, the satisfaction reaches inexplicable heights.”

ADVERTISEMENT
Image: YouTube/Primer Impacto

Also speaking to the Daily Mail, Sanchez-Santos’ mother discussed how hard it had been to deal with Iglesias’ constant denials. She said, “Julio has not once met his son. What kind of a man does that? We have suffered so much and faced so many problems. We went through terrible times.”

ADVERTISEMENT
Image: JOSE JORDAN/AFP/Getty Images

But thankfully for Santos and her son, they appear to have been given a happy ending. She said, “I cannot describe the happiness we feel after fighting for so many years. For Javier, his whole world has changed. I always knew Julio was his father. My justice is that I have always been telling the truth.”

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT