Celebrity relationships so often seem doomed before they even start. They're frequently short-lived, or seem to exist merely to stir up tabloid interest. There are some celeb entanglements that seem to be fated to last, though, such as the decades-long romance between Anna Kournikova and Enrique Iglesias.
On paper, they might not seem like an immediate match. The celebs are from completely different worlds; Kournikova is a Russian-born tennis star, while Iglesias was born in Spain to a Spanish pop idol father and a Filipino socialite. Still, they have a lot in common. They both rose to the top in their own fields at young ages, and there's a lot to be said for having a partner who understands the pressures of fame when you're living life in the spotlight.
How have Kournikova and Iglesias managed to stay together for decades when celeb relationships so often combust in a matter of months? That's a secret many people — celebrity or not — would like to know.
While Anna Kournikova and Enrique Iglesias come from very different backgrounds, their childhoods still have a lot of similarities.
As noted by Hello! magazine, Kournikova was born in Moscow on June 7, 1981. Her father, Sergei, was an athlete, and he and her mother, Alla, supported her tennis talent. Sergei, a pro wrestler, gave Kournikova her first tennis racket when she was 5. While the family was not wealthy, they nurtured her skill; by 1991; Kournikova was living in Florida, where she honed her athletic prowess at the Bollettieri Tennis Academy.
Iglesias, in contrast, had a privileged upbringing. Per Biography, his father, Julio Iglesias, was a professional soccer player who later turned to music, quickly rising to the top of the Spanish charts and then achieving international fame as a singer. His mother, Isabel Preysler, was born to a wealthy family in the Philippines, notes Tatler Asia, and worked as a model and later as a journalist. Iglesias was born on May 8, 1975 in Madrid. Like Kournikova, he discovered his talent at a young age, and had a "secret diary" in which he wrote songs, per Hello! magazine. He, too, moved to Florida at a young age, which means Kournikova and Iglesias both understand the immigrant experience.
It was truly a different time when Enrique Iglesias and Anna Kournikova first met. While 2001 wasn't that long ago, it was a simpler era before smartphones and social media had a grip on our lives. Kournikova was already a world-renowned tennis player when she was tapped to star in the music video for "Escape."
"I've never met her before, but I'm a big fan," Iglesias told MTV's "Making the Video" before shooting the music video (via Us Weekly). "I'm sure a lot of guys want to meet her. I'm one of them. She's beautiful, talented, great tennis player, you know, and I'm sure she's going to be great in the video."
The singer's prediction turned out to be correct. In the music video, the two can be seen locking lips, and it seems the on-screen makeout session quickly turned into an off-screen romance.
While we know that Anna Kournikova and Enrique Iglesias met in December 2001 on the set of the music video for Iglesias' "Escape," the details of their relationship after that are a bit uncertain. It's likely that they started dating around the time that they shot the music video, but they didn't immediately go public with their relationship — although that didn't stop the press from writing about them.
In March 2002, the Mirror wrote that Iglesias had broken up with Kournikova after dating for two months (via The Free Library). That June, however, the Evening Standard interviewed Kournikova and wrote, "She travels the globe, exercising along the way, her every whim pandered to, in between dates with Latin love god Enrique Iglesias."
Per the New York Post, their first public appearance is reported as taking place that August, when they attended the 2002 MTV Video Music Awards together. Kournikova and Iglesias have been together ever since.
After Anna Kournikova and Enrique Iglesias were confirmed as a bona fide couple, the public's fascination with them continued to grow. One rumor that surfaced about the couple in 2002 was that hotel management once asked them to quiet down after a round of particularly exuberant lovemaking.
Iglesias commented on the rumor in a hilarious interview with Jane magazine (via Salon). "I wish I was that kind of lover ... that's good publicity," he said. "It makes me look like a stud."
Iglesias' self-deprecating humor was on full display in the interview as he continued to joke, "When I wake up in the morning and I'm naked in front of the mirror, I go, 'I can't believe people think that I can actually make somebody moan and scream loud.'"
We suspect he was just being modest, though. After all, People en Español had dubbed him "the sexiest man in the world" just four years earlier. Then again, he played off his good looks that time, too, joking that his label had paid for the honor. "It was completely stupid," he admitted to The Washington Post after the tongue-in-cheek comment sparked controversy. "What am I supposed to say when they ask how I feel about being the sexiest man alive? That it's a great accomplishment?"
While Anna Kournikova and Enrique Iglesias seemed smitten with each other from the moment they hit that first red carpet together, it may not exactly have been love at first sight. In 2003, Iglesias told the Daily Mail, "I hate saying this, but I haven't found a girlfriend I want to be with for more than a week at a time." The two were reportedly living together at the time.
It's possible that Iglesias may have been deflecting in an attempt to keep their blossoming relationship more private, but tabloids frequently claimed the two had broken up. In December 2003, Women's Wear Daily reported that Kournikova and Iglesias had split. The next month, however, the outlet wrote that their romance was back on and that Iglesias had shown his commitment to their relationship with a "friendship ring" that set him back $75,000. In February, tabloids reported that Anna Kournikova had been spotted with actor Mark Wahlberg and that Enrique Iglesias allegedly broke up with her. As a source told SFGATE, "Enrique was so upset and he says it's definitely over this time. He couldn't stand the thought of her with someone else."
Clearly, if there were problems between the two, they ended up working them out, because they still appear to be happily in love.
Rumors about Enrique Iglesias and Anna Kournikova have circulated for years. There was speculation that they had eloped in 2003, although they both shot down the rumors. "I don't believe in marriage as much as I believe in commitment," Iglesias told the Daily Mail at the time. "I know more people who are deeply in love and not married than people who are married."
Elopement rumors spread again the following year, and in 2007 Iglesias told Swedish paper Aftonbladet (via People), "We're divorced. I am single now, but that's okay. I don't mind being alone." The comments turned out to be a joke, and came just weeks after Kournikova told People (via Cosmopolitan), "I'm never getting married."
To this day, the couple has not married. "[Marriage] isn't important to me. I'm in a happy relationship — that's all that matters," Kournikova once told Women's Health (via People). "I believe in commitment. I believe in being open and trusting each other and respecting each other completely."
As far as Iglesias is concerned, he and Kournikova are as good as hitched, though, and he's even referred to her as his wife. "There comes a point when you've been with someone for a certain amount of time that I believe that you are like, married," he once told The Sun (via the Associated Press). "I guess the only difference is that we haven't walked down the aisle."
Anna Kournikova and Enrique Iglesias clearly love each other and are in it for the long haul, whether they are married or not. The fact that they haven't tied the knot, though, might have something to do with Iglesias' parents. "I've never really thought marriage would make a difference. Maybe it's because I come from divorced parents, but I don't think you love someone more because of a piece of paper," he told Parade in 2012 (via Us Weekly).
As noted by UPI, Iglesias' parents, Julio Iglesias and Isabel Preysler, split after seven years of marriage. Julio later married Dutch model Miranda Rijnsburger, per Hola!. Coconuts Manila reports that Preysler went on to marry Carlos Falco, Marques of Griñon. After the marriage ended, she wed Spain's former finance minister, Miguel Boyer. That marriage also ended in divorce. With so many breakups in his family, it's understandable that Iglesias is nervous about tying the knot himself.
Anna Kournikova and Enrique Iglesias may not be married, but she might have been married before embarking on a relationship with her longtime love. In 2001, tabloids claimed that Kournikova had married hockey player Sergei Fedorov.
Representatives for the tennis player denied the claim, though, with her father, Sergei Kournikov, telling Reuters (via ESPN), "To be honest with you, I am sick and tired with the calls about her marriage. ... Only yesterday I spoke with her on the phone and I think she would be very surprised to hear about this latest rumor."
While Kournikova herself publicly ignored the rumors, in 2003, Fedorov said that he had, in fact, been married to Kournikova. "We were married, albeit brief, and we are now divorced," he told The Hockey News (via The Globe and Mail). His agent also confirmed the marriage to the outlet, although Kournikova's agent denied any knowledge of the nuptials.
Anna Kournikova and Enrique Iglesias may be public figures, but they don't crave the spotlight. In fact, they seem to avoid it as much as possible. The couple is notorious for keeping their private lives under wraps. In a Spanish-language interview with Hola!, translated to English by Elle, Iglesias' mother, Isabel Preysler, described Kournikova as someone who "leads a very simple life and is a homebody."
Kournikova expressed her frustration with the paparazzi in a 2008 interview with The Guardian, saying, "Girls look at him. Guys look at me. It goes with the job, but it gets annoying when you feel violated. Just take the picture and be done."
In an interview with E! News, Iglesias said he understands why the public is fascinated with celebrities. "I think it comes with the territory," he said. "I understand why people ask, 'Are you married? Do you have a girlfriend? Do you wanna have kids? Do you have kids that we don't know about?'"
That being said, he's careful about what he allows his fans to know about him — and about his relationship with Kournikova. "For me, my personal life, I do try to keep it as private as possible because I need that balance," he explained. "When I go home, back home, I want to make sure that whatever goes on in my house, it's just for me and my loved ones with me that are right there and I need that."
Thankfully for fans, Anna Kournikova and Enrique Iglesias' dedication to privacy doesn't extend to eschewing social media, as is the case with some ultra-private celebrities. They both have verified Instagram profiles; Iglesias has a jaw-dropping 17.5 million followers on the social media platform, while Kournikova has 1.8 million, as of this writing.
Iglesias' posts are mostly related to his career, with a lot of concert photos on display. He does, however, post occasional photos of his family. Iglesias also has a verified Twitter account. Although he doesn't post many private details there, he still boasts 13.7 million followers on the platform. Kournikova posts on social media more frequently than her partner, and has shared several snaps of the kids on her Instagram page.
The famous couple may not grant very many interviews, but at least their many fans can catch a glimpse of their personal lives online.
Anna Kournikova and Enrique Iglesias became parents in 2017 when they welcomed twins Nicholas and Lucy, per TMZ. The twins were followed by another daughter, Mary (nicknamed Masha), in 2020. "They actually love it," Iglesias told People of how the twins felt about having a little sister. "There's a two-year difference, so I was a little scared. I was like, 'How are they going to react?' And I have two dogs, so my house is chaotic. When we first came home with Masha, I was like, 'Oh, how is everybody going to react?'"
Even before the couple had children, Iglesias said that he knew Kournikova would be a great parent. "Anna, whether we are together or not, would be an ideal mother," he told People en Español (via People). Iglesias has since praised Kournikova's parenting skills, telling The Sun, "It's incredible to watch her be such a great mother. It's incredible to watch a mum do what she does, when a mother's instinct kicks in."
The couple is focused on raising their kids, and Iglesias told Parade he doesn't think he and Kournikova need to be married to have a loving family. "Nowadays, it's not taboo to have kids and not be married," he said (via Us Weekly). "What makes a difference is that you're a good parent, period."
Enrique Iglesias and Anna Kournikova may just be one of the sweetest celebrity couples out there. A large part of their strong bond no doubt comes down to the respect the two have for each other. When speaking about Kournikova in the rare times that he opens up about his personal life, Iglesias is filled with admiration for his partner and the mother of his children.
"I respect athletes 1,000 times more now," he once told Sports Illustrated (via the Women's Tennis Blog) of what it was like to date a tennis star. "In music, you can start whenever, 18 or 19 years old. If you want to be an athlete, you have to start when you are 4 or 5. There is so much dedication, so many hours, mentally and physically."
He added that he is especially impressed by how Kournikova overcame the odds. "Anna took me to the place where she was brought up in Russia and if you see the house she lived in, you can open up your arms and touch it wall to wall," he said. "Out of there, she played every single day for eight hours since she was 5 years old." Iglesias concluded, "To me, she is the most amazing person I have ever met."
Decades after they first got together, Anna Kournikova's relationship with Enrique Iglesias seems like it was written in the stars. The story of how they met on the set of the music video for Iglesias' song "Escape" is a classic celebrity meet cute, and the tale keeps on giving.
Now that their kids are old enough to appreciate music, Iglesias said on "The Jess Cagle Show" that they are not too impressed by the video, which features a steamy kiss between their mom and dad. He revealed that his kids do listen to his music, but that particular video might be a little too much for them. "When they watch that video, I think it does throw them off a little bit," Iglesias said. "'What is Mom doing there, you know, with Dad, you know? When was this?' It's actually, it's incredible to watch the expression on their faces. It's pretty cool."