He’s one of the most lusted-after pop stars on the planet, but when Michael Bublé wooed Luisana Lopilato with the words: ‘You’re my wife, you just don’t know it yet’, the actress and model wasn’t impressed. In her first ever UK interview, she tells Jane Gordon what he had to do to win her round.
Luisana Lopilato, 25, possesses the kind of ravishing, wholesome looks that could win her the Miss Universe competition or the cover of the famous Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. They have already helped her win the heart of Canadian singing idol Michael Bublé.
Famous in her native Argentina and throughout Latin America as an actress, model and singer, she is in Watford today in her role as the face (and body) of Ultimo bras.
Later, she will be posing by a lavish indoor swimming pool in the latest range of the company’s lingerie. Luisana is signed to Storm models, and since she started modelling for Ultimo late last year, there has been a 37 per cent rise in sales. For now, she is sitting sipping coffee and relating in enchanting and practically perfect English the Mills and Boon-esque story of how she met and married ‘Mike’.
Funny and endearingly open, Mrs Bublé met Mr Bublé, 36, in 2009 when he appeared in concert in Buenos Aires. ‘I wanted to go to his show because I liked his songs, but I didn’t know what he looked like. He saw me in the car park but I didn’t see him. Later, his people asked me – remember I am a famous actress in my country – if I would like to have my picture taken with him and I said, “No thank you.” I was there with my sister and a really handsome male actor friend I worked with, and Michael came up and asked us to come to the after-show party. I didn’t speak English, but my male friend did and Michael was talking to him and saying things to him like, “Oh my God, look at your muscles.” I just thought he was gay; I rang my mum and said, “I am at a party with Michael Bublé, and he’s gay!”
In fact, Michael thought that the actor was Luisana’s boyfriend. When he discovered he wasn’t, he found someone bilingual at the party to translate what he wanted to say to her. ‘As I left the party, he said to me, “You are my wife, you just don’t know it yet.” And I said, “Of course you want me to be your wife, every man wants to marry me, so we will have to see!”’ she recalls with a peal of laughter.In many ways, it was an old-fashioned courtship. Three months after they met, Michael emailed Luisana telling her that he wanted to come to Argentina for three days, so that he could get to know her properly and be introduced to her family.
Luisana says she couldn’t imagine ever being with someone who didn’t understand the importance of family for her, someone who might question the fact that she may call her mum and sister up to ten times a day. Luisana is the youngest of three children (she has a brother Dario, 31, and a sister Danielle, 33) born and brought up in Buenos Aires by their parents, Eduardo and Beatriz. Michael and Luisana spent the first evening of his three-day stay, and their first official date, having dinner at her home with the whole family.
‘My parents, my brother, my sister, none of us spoke English, but from the first moment, we all liked him. He was really humble. He wasn’t like a big star showing off, he was like one of the family and when we finished dinner, he started to clear the plates,’ she recalls.
Aware of the language problem, Michael had brought a male assistant who spoke fluent Spanish and over the next three days, he acted as interpreter and chaperone as Luisana and Michael fell in love. A month later, Michael invited Luisana and her siblings to his house in Los Angeles to meet his family. By then, she could speak a little English – she denies that she is now fluent, claiming that it still needs ‘a little fixing’. Michael’s family took to her as readily as hers had to him.
Michael, meanwhile, still only speaks a little bit of Spanish (‘He tries – he is a bit lazy but in the future he will speak Spanish’). On her finger, Luisana wears a sparkling diamond engagement ring that matches her wedding band. How did he propose?
‘One night, we were having dinner in my house with all my family – my father, mother, brother, sister, brother-in-law and a few cousins too – and suddenly Michael turns to me and says, in Spanish, “I want to marry you.” We thought he was joking and he said, still in Spanish, “No, really. I really want to marry you”, and then he took out the ring and gave it to me. I still thought he was joking. Then I noticed that my mother was crying, my sister was crying, even my father was crying, and I thought, “This is real because my father never cries.” So I started to cry too. I loved that he proposed that way – I am a family girl and it was perfect that he said it in front of them.’
Michael and Luisana married a little over a year ago in Buenos Aires and six weeks after that, they had a second wedding in Vancouver, near Michael’s family. Their marriage, rather like their courtship, involves regular separations due to their work schedules – although they try never to be apart for more than two weeks. ‘I like to work. I am independent and I need to do something for myself, so I can’t be with him all the time. He says to me, “Don’t work – take time out and come with me more.” But I think a little separation is good – every time you get back together it’s like a honeymoon.’
Every night, the couple use iChat so they can see each other and talk. ‘We might even watch a movie together – me at home in Argentina and Mike on tour somewhere. We leave iChat on all night and if there is a time difference, Mike might wake up and go to the bathroom and say, “Hi Lu”, and we’ll have a little talk. Then, if it’s still night for me, I go back to sleep. So we are never apart,’ she says.
Michael and Luisana are so confident in their relationship that neither of them suffers from jealousy – apparently he has no worries about her growing status as a pin-up for Ultimo’s new ‘curve creating’ range of swimsuits and lingerie. Likewise, Luisana has no fear of her husband’s endless, slavering female fans. ‘I always say it’s OK for him to be this romantic idol on stage – that’s his job – but not off stage,’ she says.They have, she insists, a fantastic relationship with each other and their respective families. They only have minor issues: one is that Luisana is very tidy and Michael isn’t: ‘I got so fed up with Michael leaving all his clothes lying on the floor that I threw them all in the swimming pool. I did it several times.
I can’t say that I have trained him, but he tries very hard when he is with me now,’ she says.The couple’s other issue is their competitiveness: Michael is very good at sport – even soccer, a game he had never played before meeting her. Luisana is pretty fit too. She runs four days a week, works out in the gym, plays tennis and is in a women’s soccer team – but Michael beats her, her brother and his friends at pretty much every sport.
‘I only beat him in a game we have in Argentina called Metegol – table football – and he didn’t like it when I won and said to him, “Today, I am your teacher,”’ she laughs.
Within the constraints of their careers, they try to lead a ‘normal life’. Luisana has embraced Michael’s love of art (he is a formidable collector) and he accepts her love of dogs (in Argentina she rescues street dogs and finds homes for them) despite being allergic to animal hair.
‘Mike loves children. He wants lots of them and I have always wanted to be a mum. I am 25 and I want to have babies first and maybe after that, I will think again about my career.’
IPOD PLAYLIST Michael, of course!
TOP APPS GAMES I have too many. I love Angry Birds and I have this game where I have a horse that I feed and look after.
MAKE-UP MUSTS Mac and Dior, though I keep it simple with base and mascara. I don’t use much make-up.
GO-TO DESIGNERS Prada and Jimmy Choo.
MOST PRECIOUS JEWELLERY My wedding ring.
SAVING UP FOR I would like to have a big ranch full of animals. Of course Michael, with his allergy, would get sick…
FAVOURITE TV SHOW Married with Children. I took the Christina Applegate role in the Argentinian version of the show with my brother Dario playing my on-screen brother.
BEST BOOK I’ve just read A Stolen Life by Jaycee Lee Dugard, who was abducted aged 11 on her way to school. It’s a really moving memoir.
BEAUTY REGIME I clean and moisturise my face every night. I like to sun my body, but not my face.