MADRID—His relationship with Isabel Preysler “is going very well,” Peruvian novelist Mario Vargas Llosa said in comments to the weekly magazine “Hola,” confirming rumors of romance with the former wife of singer Julio Iglesias and mother of Enrique Iglesias.
READ: Nobel Prize winning author to leave wife of 50 years for PH socialite
But the 79-year-old Nobel Prize-winning author declined to give more details about his private life, although recent photos of the couple have appeared in several publications.
“Hola” published photos of Vargas Llosa and Preysler walking hand-in-hand and dancing together during a recent trip to Lisbon, Portugal. The writer also recently announced he was separating from his wife Patricia Llosa after 50 years of marriage.
Preysler, 64, a former model born in the Philippines, has been described as one who “exudes such low-key elegance and innocent charm that even the most jaded writer could not help but be enchanted.”
A story was told of how Preysler caught the attention of photographers during the unveiling of national Filipino hero Jose Rizal’s monument in Madrid.
In December 1996, photographers were milling around Madrid’s Plaza de Santander waiting for the unveiling of the monument and the arrival of Madrid Mayor Josemaria Alvarez del Manzano. When Preysler arrived with then husband, Miguel Boyer, the photographers made a 180-degree turn from the statue and scrambled toward La Preysler.
“The statue is over here, not there,” a Filipino organizer called back, but the photographers had started snapping pictures of La China, a moniker for the almond-eyed Preysler.
The third in a family of six children, Preysler was born in Manila in 1951 to Betty Arrastia and Carlos Preysler, and comes from the prominent Arrastia clan of Lubao, Pampanga.
Preysler was already a popular beauty in high school at Assumption Convent in San Lorenzo, Makati. At 16, she started modeling for couturier Pitoy Moreno, a close friend of her aunts, at a time when professional models were nonexistent. Moreno requested relatives of his well-heeled clients to present his collections. The fact that the models were from de buena familias lent prestige to his shows.
Like many well-to-do women, Preysler was sent to a finishing school in Madrid, and dreamt of taking up philosophy and letters until she met singer Julio Iglesias at a dinner hosted by a common friend. The couple married in the early 1970s and have three children—Chabeli, Enrique and Julio Jr.
After seven years of marriage, Preysler divorced Iglesias in the United States since divorce had yet to be legalized in Spain.
She started modeling again and took on odd jobs until she married Carlos Falco, the Marques de Griñon, who was also a Grande de España, one of the titles given to a select few in the country. They have a daughter, Tamara, who was born in 1981.
A few years after Preysler divorced Falco, she married Boyer, an economist and former finance minister of Spain, who died in September last year. They have a daughter, Ana.
Vargas Llosa, whose popular novels include “The Time of the Hero,” “The Greenhouse,” and “Conversation in the Cathedral” has three grown children with Patricia, his second wife. Reports from AP and Inquirer Research
Nobel winner Vargas Llosa confirms romance with Isabel Preysler