Isabel Preysler Arrastia is a Filipina-Spanish former model, journalist, socialite and television host. Born in Manila, Philippines, in a rich family with many brothers and sisters, Isabel won several titles while modelling in her teenage and donated most of what she earned. After studying law in Spain, Isabel experienced freedom like never before. She started her journalism career in Spain, working for a Spanish magazine named ‘Hola’. Later, she became a TV host and started hosting a popular show called ‘Hoy En Casa’. She rose to fame through her strong journalistic ethics and her approach to the charitable deeds. British royal family invited her over in early 2000s and she went on to win the ‘Women Together’ Award and became the first woman from Philippines to win the honour, where she stood in the league of Shakira, Hillary Clinton and Yoko Ono. However popular she became, her love life received a lot of backlash in her home country. Isabel has dated and married several men throughout her life, and never quite settled down. She also happens to be the mother of the popular musician, Enrique Iglesias, from her first marriage.
Childhood & Early Life
Isabel Preysler was born in the national capital of Philippines, Manila on 18th February 1955 into a very rich family. She was third of the six siblings and her father Carlos Preysler worked as an executive director for Philippines Airlines, while her mother Maria owned a real estate company in Manila. Isabel’s childhood was quite comfortable and she was never devoid of any means of luxury.
From a very young age itself, Isabel started idolizing models, especially the western ones and starting working towards pursuing a career in modelling, and started with beauty pageants while she was a teenager. She is related to actress Neile Adams and that helped her in early stages of her career.
However, besides modelling, Isabel eyed either law or journalism as her main profession, which she was more interested in than modelling. To pursue her further studies in Law, she made a move to Spain, to live with her uncle and started her law studies there in the Mary Ward College.
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Isabel started her modelling career early, and participated in several beauty pageants in Manila. Most of the events would take place in the Sheraton Hotel and Resorts and she would end up winning most of them. Sometime later, she somehow lost her interest in walking the ramp and photo shoots and migrated to Madrid for further studies in law.
Spanish news Magazine ‘Hola’ was her first employer where she started her journalism career in 1970. It was a celebrity news magazine and was quite popular in Spain and it turned out to be a perfect kick-start for her career. Working there for several years, Isabel gathered enough experience to move on to the next step - the television journalism.
In 1984, she started appearing on the Spanish lifestyle TV show titled ‘Hoy En Casa’, which earned her a decent popularity among the television audiences. This stint got her numerous other offers and she kept appearing in different programs, exhibiting her gorgeous looks and witty charm.
Her charitable deeds made her a popular European socialite and at the turn of the century, she was invited by Prince Charles himself as a guest of honour in 2001. She was to attend the Chelsea Flower Show held during the opening ceremony of the Spanish Garden in England. In 2005, she was invited again as the guest of honour for a party organized by royal crown.
She became friends with Victoria and David Beckham when she invited them over to a house party, and they were later seen holidaying together in Spain. Getting in good books of these elites made her a popular socialite in England and she started appearing in many of the grand parties thrown by the film-stars, politicians, the royal family and other big-shots.
However, despite the media attention, she continued her work as a spokes-model for companies such as Ferrero Rocher, Chrysler Cars and Suarez Jewellery among others. In 2006, she appeared in an ad campaign with Hollywood actor George Clooney for Porcelanosa Tiles.
Several magazines photographed her, and in the years 1991, 2002, 2006 and 2007, she was named the best dressed and the most elegant Spanish woman by the Hola Magazine, her ex-employer. She shared the same stage with Hillary Clinton, Shakira and Yoko Ono at the Women Together Award in 2006, for her philanthropic contributions to the world. She became the very first person from Philippines to have received the honour.
She was invited as the guest of honour for the third time in 2007, by Prince Charles, along with her daughters at his London mansion. Presently, Isabel is working towards environment conservation and has been connected to several NGOs and charitable institutions.
Isabel’s personal life has always been quite a talk of the town. In 1970, during one of her very first interviews, she met Julio Iglesias, a retired footballer who was embarking on a career as a singer. They started dating, and got married in January 1971, and remained married for the next seven years and Isabel gave birth to three children - Chabeli Iglesias, Julio Iglesias and Enrique Iglesias.
The marriage didn’t last long and the couple divorced a few years later, the custody of the children went to Isabel. But in the early 1980s, she received constant threats of kidnappings so she sent her children to their father living in the United States.
Her second marriage took place in March 1980 and her husband was Carlos Falco. She gave birth to a daughter, Tamara Falco.
After her second marriage fell apart and ended in a divorce, Isabel started dating the then Spanish finance minister Miguel Boyer and got married to him in late 80s. The marriage ended with the death of Miguel.
Presently, Isabel is dating Mario Vargas Llosa, a writer, politician and social activist.