People - Francisco Rivera Ordoñez

Bullfighter

Legend has it that Francisco Rivera Ordoñez was born to fight bulls. His father was the famous bullfighter Paquirri who died bullfighting in Pozoblanco, Córdoba in 1984 when he was caught by the horns of a bull named “Avispado” (from the Spanish for wasp, “avispa”).

This tragedy was not enough to deter the young Francisco. His maternal grandfather, Antonio Ordóñez also a famous bullfighter, took him under his wing and groomed him to become yet one more legend in a long family tradition of both working with bulls and bullfighting.

Fran Rivera, as his many fans know him, was born on January 3, 1974. He lost his father at the age of just 10 and just 7 years later at the tender age of 17 he was out in the bullring for his inaugural fight at the Ronda Bullring, which his grandfather was running. That was the beginning of what has so far been a spectacular career.

The bullfighter’s mother Carmina Ordoñez, was known as the Queen of Exclusives by the press in Spain. As daughter of a bullfighter, she surely understood better than anyone else the risks her son was taking by embarking on this career. She was no longer married to Fran’s father, Paquirri, when he met his tragic death. By then, Paquirri was already remarried to the famous southern singer Isabel Pantoja. Carminal, for her part was remarried to Julian Contreras. She died on July 23, 2004.

Fran has a younger brother, Cayetano, and two stepbrothers. His father’s second marriage brought Francisco Jose and his mother had Julián with her second husband.

On another front Rivera is a prime target for paparazzi thanks to his marriage in 1998 to Eugenia Martínez de Irujo, daughter of the Duchess of Alba. Being the first bullfighter to ever marry royalty sent him skyrocketing to fame in what is known in Spain as the “pink press” (prensa rosa). The two had a seemingly idyllic first year or two of marriage, produced a lovely daughter, whom they named Cayetana, and then divorced in 2002 – when the bullfighter, incidentally took off with his wife’s cousin and close friend, Blanca Martínez de Irujo.

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