Category Archives: Top 10 Celebs

Isabel Pantoja in Dinero Negro shocker!

PantojaCast your minds back a couple of months and you may remember that the "winner” of the tongue-in-cheek Notes from Spain Spanish celebrity top 10 was our old friend and favourite gypsy warbler, Isabel Pantoja.

Since then, she’s been bubbling around in the news on a regular basis, and still appearing in most magazines each week (usually followed around in airports it seems where she can’t escape the camera crews so easily), but today seems like an appropriate time to give an update on her turbulent life of late given that there has been some "breaking news” (as the BBC like to call even minor events these days).

You’ll remember that Isabel is in a spot of bother because her boyfriend, Julian Muñoz (the former mayor of Marbella), is in prison at the moment for dodgy-dealings whilst in office, and the extent of these deals are being investigated, reaching as far as Isabel herself. Meanwhile, the woman at the centre of the row refuses to cut her losses and publicly walk away from the relationship (although she’s said to have only visited him twice in the whole time he’s been behind bars) and she’s pegged her colours to the line, and is definitely "standing by her man” it would seem (in fact, if Dolly Parton hadn’t beat her to it, Isabel could well have had a chartbuster on her hands with that song!).

The big news this week is that Isabel has been called in for questioning as part of the ongoing Operation Malaya, as the investigation is known.

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Top 10 Spanish Celebrities: No. 1 – Isabel Pantoja

PantojaTorch-song icon, role-model for many a drag queen, and already a huge celeb, but the mother of all controversies recently has helped propel La Pantoja onto the front pages everywhere in the Prensa Rosa, and there was never any doubt that she’d be occupying the top spot in our chart as there is literally no escape from the wall-to-wall coverage. To summarise, she’s another Andalucí­an singer with a big voice and is in a relationship with the disgraced Marbella politician Julián Muñoz, who is currently languishing at His Majesty’s pleasure over a number of dodgy deals. Isabel has now been dragged into the whole sorry affair, and people are interested to know how much she knew about what was going on. She’s had her house raided by the police and had to account for wads of cash that they found stuffed in drawers (apparently, she had €9000 in cash at home that she claims was to cover "daily bills”), and the talk recently was whether she would get to take her new year grapes together with Julián behind bars. Her celeb status is increased yet more by the fact that, she too was once married to our old friend Paquirri (remember him from earlier?) so she receives bonus points for being implicated in the Ordoñez family dynasty. Despite her troubles, the magazines are not being too hard on her, and most of them this week were sympathizing about her needing to wear a bandage after a minor foot operation. Good old Isabel isn’t letting her troubles get in her way though, and she’s currently on stage in Madrid dressed, as usual, like a ship in full sail and belting out her tunes at top note. Here she is practicing pronouncing her "errays” (just like me!) singing Arrepentimiento:

Dave Hall lives and works in Barcelona. Click here for the entire celeb top 10!

Top 10 Spanish Celebrities: 2 – Rocí­o Jurado

Big-haired Andalucí­an Uber-Diva whose career started in the 60’s and never went away, and easily hits our Number 2 spot without breaking a sweat, despite the fact that she sadly died of cancer in June 2006. Universally loved by everyone (passports can be officially revoked just for saying a bad word about her), and known as La Más Grande (that’s "The Greatest”, and not "The Biggest” as I originally thought they were rudely calling her!), this woman’s voice has been known to shift small planets from their orbit. Despite her death, her celebrity lives on and she’s as famous as ever, still getting constant mentions on all the gossip shows. If I had a Euro for the number of people I’ve seen hooked-up to a lie-detector, claiming to be in touch with her from beyond the grave, I’d be a very rich man! In fact, I guess she’s the Spanish equivalent of Elvis! Anyway, sit back, turn the volume to a safe level, and check her out:

Dave Hall lives and works in Barcelona. Click here for the entire celeb top 10!

Top 10 Spanish Celebrities: 3 – Letizia Ortiz (La Princesa de Asturias)

A double winner in at number 3, Letizia Ortiz was once a successful TV newsreader and journalist, but oh no, that wasn’t good enough for our Leti, she had to go one better and bag herself her own country when she married the future King of Spain! Now with a daughter (Leonor) and another baby on the way, Princesa Letizia is in pretty much every magazine every week without fail. When she announced she was pregnant for the second time, there was a frantic hurry to do something about the laws surrounding the line of succession, in case the baby was a boy and leapfrogged Leonor, potentially creating a 21st Century controversy that wouldn’t have mattered a generation ago. All’s well that ends well though, and the baby will be another girl. No doubt, the next time she gets pregnant, the same panic will start again and people will wonder "didn’t we do something about this the last time?”. Finally, no mention of La Leti is complete without a comment on her weight (or lack of it). A potentially anorexic Princess?? Married to the heir to a throne??? ….Haven’t we all been here before? Ah well, a good couple of before and after clips here. The first shows her earning a living before her marriage…

…and the second highlighting the importance of personal grooming when you’re Royalty:

Latest news: Letizia has been much in the news again recently since the tragic death of her younger sister, Erika, last week. It is believed that she took her own life as a result of depression.

Dave Hall lives and works in Barcelona. Click here for the entire celeb top 10!

Top 10 Spanish Celebrities: 4 – Alejandro Sanz

Madrid-born bland pop/ballard singer, in the news constantly of late after the revelation that he has a secret 3 year old child with a woman who he said would remain private. Low and behold, last weeks Hola Magazine had the exclusive from the woman in question – Valeria Rivera – an unknown Puerto Rican who suddenly found herself Spain’s most wanted magazine fodder. The controversy was heightened by the fact that the child was born while Alejandro was still married to Jaydy Mitchell, the Mexican model, who’s now maintaining her silence in order to increase the "wronged woman effect” (copyright Liz Hurley 1995 ☺). When news of the secret child broke, the sweat was visible on poor Jaime Cantizano’s (presenter of ¿Dónde estás corazón?) normally perfect forehead, and the show has since devoted endless dull hours of random speculation on the subject. In Friday’s edition, they managed to get Valeria on the phone to grill her about her relationship. Poor old panel member Maria (see number 10 in our chart) could barely control herself as usual, and is probably seeking medical attention as we speak. One of Alejandro’s non-descript musical offerings can be viewed here for those still awake long enough to get through it:

Dave Hall lives and works in Barcelona. Click here for the entire celeb top 10!

Top 10 Spanish Celebrities: 5 – Carmen Martí­nez-Bordiú

Serial bride and Grandaughter of General Franco (you may have heard of him!), Carmen is rarely away from the glossies for long. The history is confusing, but the basics are that she was born into a life of privilege thanks to her family connections, and went on to marry Alfonso de Borbón (grandson of a previous King of Spain). She left him and set off for Paris (famously abandoning her children) and set up home with a French guy – Jean Marie Rosie. Tragedy follows her around, and her eldest son was killed in a car crash, while one of the daughters of Jean-Marie was killed in a water skiing accident. (Spookily similar to the death later of her first husband, Alfonso, although I believe that was a snow skiing accident). Next in her European husband-hunt, was the Italian Roberto Federicci with whom she was married a number of years. Of course, it didn’t last, and now recently married once more, this time to a Spaniard again (José Campos), Carmen has seen the public interest in her rise lately thanks to her recent appearance on the Pro-Celebrity ballroom dancing show "Mira Quien Baila” (She was crap of course, and didn’t win). Not everyone was happy to see her married again, most of all her brother-in-law, who had some pretty strong words to describe her including "over ambitious and unintelligent” along with the rather strange comment of "her head is too small for her body”. See for yourselves here. Maybe my Spanish is letting me down and I’ve misunderstood!

Dave Hall lives and works in Barcelona. Click here for the entire celeb top 10!

Top 10 Spanish Celebrities: 6 – Duquesa de Alba

This woman defies explanation at the best of times, but I’ll try based on what I know about her. Someone told me recently that she’s one of the most pure Royals in Spain (even giving old Juan Carlos a run for his money) and has a family tree going back countless centuries. She turns up (often in her surgical stockings) at pretty much every social event in Spain, and manages to look horrific at them all! There was some kind of major controversy early last year when protests were held against her being awarded an honorary title within Andalucí­a, but I haven’t been able to get a full grip on the details. Maybe one of you will know? Anyway, seeing is believing, so take a look (and a listen indeed, as the voice is real treat too!) – this video is the genuine article:

Dave Hall lives and works in Barcelona. Click here for the entire celeb top 10!

Top 10 Spanish Celebrities: 7 – Francisco and Cayetano Rivera Ordoñez

Already touched on at number 8, the two eldest sons of Carmen Ordoñez never stray far from the pages of the Prensa Rosa and take joint position at Number 7. Fran is currently working hard in the family business (that’s right – bullfighting!) and Cayetano just stands around looking menacingly gorgeous (he also has been known to dress up in his traje de luces but not with the success of Fran). Just this week though, every mag has pics of Cayetano looking, it has to be said, a little awkward on the catwalks in Milan, trying his hand at modeling for Giorgio Armani. Fran was briefly married (for about 3 years) to the compactly-named Marí­a Eugenia Brianda Timotea Cecilia Martí­nez de Irujo y Fitz-James Stuart XI Duchess of Montoro, who is the daughter of the Duquesa de Alba (more on her later), and they have a young daughter who will no doubt be gracing the front pages in years to come. To confuse matters more, Fran is now dating Blanca Martí­nez de Irujo, a cousin of his ex-wife. You just couldn’t make it up! And to give you an idea of the immense gravity of many of the stories, in one magazine this week there was an in-depth exposé report about Fran receiving a parking ticket. No, seriously.

Dave Hall lives and works in Barcelona. Click here for the entire celeb top 10!

Top 10 Spanish Celebrities: 8 – Carmen Ordoñez

The first of two dead entries in our top ten, Carmen (or Carmina as her faithful followers like to call her) clearly was never going to make it as guest speaker at the PETA Christmas party, given that she was the daughter, wife, and mother of bullfighters. Married for a time to the legendary Paquirri (famous bullfighter who was gored to death in 1984) she had 2 sons in the 70’s – Francisco and Cayetano – followed by their not-quite-so-good-looking half brother, Julián (who was the result of a later marriage once the last of poor old Paquirri had been jet-washed away). Always a bit unpredictable, she never really had her mental affairs in order, and her general health was forever on the edge. Her final home visit from the doctor came in July 2004, when she died of a drugs overdose (often reported as a heart attack). As always in Spain though, death does nothing to erode popularity, and given that her sons Fran and Cayetano are not exactly the ugliest men in the world, along with the fact that she was a fully paid-up member of the Ordoñez clan (in itself, a passport to immortality), her appearance in the glossy mags looks set to continue for some time yet.

Dave Hall lives and works in Barcelona. Click here for the entire celeb top 10!

Top 10 Spanish Celebrities: 9 – Ana Obregón

Ana ObregonIt’s been a bit of a rollercoaster ride for 45 year old Ana lately. She was of course the woman at the centre of another alleged Beckham affair (news of which fizzled out almost as quickly as it started, so it could’ve all been dreamt up by her own self-publicising imagination). This "hit and run” trend continued last year when she tried her hand at creating a Madrid-based version of Sex and the City called "Ellas y el sexo débil” which arrived in a blaze of publicity, only to sink faster than the Titanic (on account of the fact that it was crap!). Even the politest gossip mags had to stick the boot in a little bit on that one! Being branded a failure hasn’t stopped Ana though, and she’s now back with a vengeance with a new boyfriend 18 years younger than her – a Polish guy called Darek who was working as a stripper when she snapped him up. One thing you can’t accuse her of is shyness, and tales of her bedroom antics with her new man are now propping up news-kiosks all over Spain. Whoever first said "any publicity is good publicity” probably had Ana Obregón in mind! A short clip of the demise of her series can be seen here (Videos of Darek doing his day-job are also on the net, but I’ll let you find them yourselves! ☺):

Finally, a quick bonus clip of Ana speaking English to a certain ‘Victoria’:

Dave Hall lives and works in Barcelona. Click here for the entire celeb top 10!