A heated debate in Spain sparked by a 68-year-old celebrity who was reported to have used a surrogate mother in Miami to have a baby took a twist on Wednesday.
Actress and presenter Ana Obregón told glossy Spanish magazine ¡Hola! that the baby is actually the daughter of her son who died of cancer in 2020.
She revealed that she had encouraged her son, Aless Lequio García, to preserve samples of sperm before he began treatment and that he expressed a desire just before dying to have a child and noted that the samples were stored in New York.
‘This girl is not my daughter, but rather my granddaughter,’ Obregón told the magazine.
‘It was Aless’ last wish to bring a child into the world.’
Ana Obregón confirmed that she has become a mother again at the age of 68. Sharing a photo of the ¡Hola! front page with her 1m Instagram followers, she wrote: ‘They caught us! A light full of love came to my darkness. I will never be alone again. I HAVE LIVED AGAIN’
Actress and presenter Ana Obregón (left) has told glossy Spanish magazine ¡Hola! that the baby is actually the daughter of her son Aless Lequio García (right) who died of cancer in 2020
Pictured: Actress and presenter Ana Obregón is seen with her late son Aless Lequio. Obregón has revealed that she had encouraged her son to preserve samples of sperm before he began treatment for caner, and that he expressed a desire just before dying to have a child
Surrogate pregnancies are banned in Spain, although children from such pregnancies in other countries can be registered.
Initially, the fact that the matter concerned 68-year-old Obregón seemed to generate as much controversy as that of surrogacy itself.
¡Hola! said the baby was born on March 20 and was conceived in June.
Obregón was pictured coming out of a US hospital with the newborn baby girl in her arms.
She posted the paparazzi photograph, published on the front page of ¡Hola!, and wrote: ‘They caught us. A light full of love came to my darkness. I will never be alone again. I’m alive again.’
The socialite’s words were a clear reference to her son’s battle against cancer, which ended in his death in May 2020 aged just 27.
Initial reports about the baby grabbed the attention of the Spanish media and the country’s political parties, sparking criticism from the leftist coalition government.
Many leading politicians and outlets of Spanish media refer to surrogacy as ‘womb renting’.
Equality Minister Irene Montero of the leftist United We Can coalition partner said surrogate pregnancies were ‘a form of violence against women’.
Her comments were echoed by Presidency Minister Felix Bolaños and Budget Minister Maria Jesus Montero.
‘Women’s bodies should neither be bought nor rented to satisfy anyone’s desires,’ Bolaños said.
The coalition’s Socialist party said legislation should be tweaked to prevent Spaniards using surrogates in other countries.
Ana Obregón attends the ‘Cancer Ball’ Charity Dinner presented by Elle Magazine at the Royal Theatre on October 20, 2022 in Madrid
Obregón pictured in Monaco in 1988. Four years before, she starred in the romantic drama Bolero opposite Bo Derek
Pictured: Actress and presenter Ana Obregón is seen with her late son Aless Lequio
Pictured: Actress and presenter Ana Obregón is seen with her late son Aless Lequio
Obregón’s son Aless Lequio García was last pictured attending the Petite Charhadas Fashion Week in Madrid in April 2019. He passed away at the age of 27 in May 2020
However, Defense Minister Margarita Robles on Wednesday said that while the law was clear in Spain, personal decisions should be respected.
The main opposition conservative Popular Party has said it is open to debate legalising such pregnancies if there is no payment involved.
Commercial surrogacy is a contract whereby a woman agrees to become pregnant and deliver a child on behalf of people in exchange for financial compensation.
Critics equate it to human trafficking and the United Nations describes it as the ‘sale of children under human rights law’. It is illegal in the European Union.
Defenders of surrogacy say it is a way for LGBT and infertile couples, as well as single parents, to form families, allowing for more involvement throughout the pregnancy than traditional adoption.
Due to restrictions in their home countries, people seeking to have a surrogate child often travel to other nations with laxer laws.
Italy’s conservative majority said last week it would seek to prosecute people who go abroad to have a baby via surrogacy.
Last year’s Spanish abortion law reform also banned advertising any form of surrogacy. Parentage after surrogacy is only recognised through legal adoption.
Ana Obregón (pictured in February in Madrid, Spain) is at the centre of a national controversy in her homeland where surrogacy is illegal after she was pictured coming out of a US hospital with her newborn baby girl in her arms
Obregon attends the ‘El contador de amor’ photocall at Hospes hotel on September 6, 2017 in Madrid, Spain
Obregón, a biologist, is one of Spain’s biggest celebrities and has appeared on many TV shows, including an episode of The A-Team.
She was once best known for her yearly start-of-summer magazine bikini photo shoot.
During her 40 years in the spotlight, Obregón has been no stranger to controversy.
In the early 1990s, she set Spanish media alight when news of her affair with King Juan Carlos’ nephew Alessandro Lequio broke.
When she became pregnant with their son Aless, the Italian aristocrat was still technically married to model Antonia Dell’Atte, with whom he shares a son called Clemente.
Obregón was a favourite star of Spain’s trashy magazines and TV shows before making a name for herself internationally with her claims to have spent a night with David Beckham when he played for Real Madrid.
She claimed they stripped to their underwear before sleeping in the same bed despite their 21-year age difference after bumping into each other at a five-star hotel they were both staying at.
Obregón told two million viewers on a Spanish TV programme during an interview: ‘There were no sexual relations but we did sleep together. I’m telling you the truth.
‘Why didn’t I sleep with him? I know I’m stupid and any woman would have done it, but I swear on my son’s life we did not have sexual relations, because he was married.
‘I swear on my son’s life that I slept with him in my underwear, but there was no sex. I don’t know how I managed to hold out, but I held out.’
In 2017, Obregón claimed that Victoria Beckham ‘almost pulled her hair out’.
The Spanish celebrity claimed: ‘She approached me and said a lot of things, none of which were nice.
‘She was angry because her husband wouldn’t stop sending me messages, and I was replying to them.’
Obregón (pictured left in 2005) claims she spent the night with David Beckham (pictured right in 2005) when he played for Real Madrid
In another Spanish TV interview in 2019 looking back on her life, Obregón described Beckham as a ‘fantastic kisser’.
She also claimed in the same interview that Ms Beckham had confronted her at her gym with two bodyguards over her relationship with her husband, appearing to confirm reports at the time the ex-Spice Girl had called her a ‘piece of s**t’ in front of stunned onlookers.
In 2018, Obregón’s world was turned upside down when her son Aless was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, which is a rare type of cancer affecting the bones or the tissue around the bones.
By the time he was 23, Aless had already founded two companies – an agency called Polar Marketing as well as Celebrize.
But in the three months leading up to his diagnosis, Obregón told My House that her son has been experiencing stomach pain – which doctors originally assumed was gastroenteritis.
After he went into hospital for tests, doctors found a tumour during emergency surgery and they allowed her and Alessandro to break the news to their son.
Although the medical team were originally hopeful that the tumour was benign, a biopsy revealed that it was in fact cancerous.
She explained: ‘They called me and told me that [the tumour was] bad and very aggressive.
‘That’s when I told myself not to cry and be strong. Let’s fight now. I was strong there when my son needed me, not now.’
Obregón (pictured in 2019) claimed that Victoria Beckham ‘almost pulled her hair out’ during a TV interview
Obregón is pictured arriving at Mallorca airport with son Aless Lequio in August 1999. He died of cancer in 2020
Posting on her Instagram account earlier this year, Obregón explained how she and her ex-partner came together to support Aless throughout his life.
She said: ‘My son adored his parents as much as we loved him.
‘And if there’s one thing I don’t regret in my life is not to put my separation from Alessandro first so that he would always be in my son’s life.
‘I have been extremely lucky to collect millions of wonderful moments with my son and my son with his father.’
According to ¡Hola!, Aless spent seven months receiving experimental treatment at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. He died in May 2020.
Announcing the news on Instagram at the time, Obregón wrote: ‘My life died out.’
In honour of her son, the actress has gone on to found the Aless Lequio Foundation to raise money for cancer research in Spain.