Marian Rivera, whose real name is Marian Rivera Gracia was born on Aug. 12, 1984 in Madrid, Spain to Amalia Rivera, a Filipina and Javier Gracia Alonso, a Spanish.
Although she was born in Spain, Rivera was raised in the Philippines. Two years after she was born, Rivera’s parents got separated and she was brought by her mother to Bacoor, Cavite, Philippines. Her mother had to work abroad so she grew up under the care of her maternal grandmother, Francisca Rivera.
Rivera completed her elementary and secondary education at Saint Francis of Assisi College System and earned her degree in Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at De La Salle University Dasmariñas.
Her mother, Amalia a Filipina, worked as an airport attendant in London, UK; Her father, Fransisco a Spaniard, is a restaurateur. Her parents separated while Marian was at the age of two, so with her mother in London, and her father in Spain, she lived with Grandmother, Lola Fransisca Rivera, in Bayanan, Bacoor, Cavite, who became Marian’s designated guardian and the one who helped Marian grow up to be the respected woman she is today. Marian’s parents have already found different life partners, but she still remains an only child. Marian made it an annual trip to visit her father’s side of the family in Spain, but stopped once she entered college.
In college Marian took up B.S. Psychology at La Salle University in Dasmarinas, Cavite. Her Favorite subjects were logic and Filipino Psychology. Not only was Marian brilliant in school, nature also blessed her with flawless beauty which she used this to her advantage and began small-time ramp modeling to earn some money of her own. Even if she stood at Five Feet and Four Inches tall, Marian did not let that stop her and she continued Ramp Modeling. Marian’s flawless beauty began to attract talent scouts, who offered for her to appear in ads and commercials, which she gladly accepted. Her First two commercials were for Skin White and Skyflakes.
Soon after her commercials came out, many managers began to contact her, offering to help her create an acting career for herself and audition for shows. Nevertheless, because Marian was focused on her Education and made it her number one priority at the time, she pushed the offers aside. After she graduated in the year 2005, Marian found a job as a Special Education Teacher. A special education teacher was one who worked with and taught children who had any type of mental disability. Problems began to arise such as having to commute to Cavite using public transportation and the complexity of the job, and because of that Marian could not handle the pressure anymore. Finally Marian began to take acting into consideration. Coincidently, it turns out that Mr. Tuviera, the producer of Eat Bulaga, was looking for her and had an offer she could not refuse, a role in an afternoon drama show on television. Before accepting the role she sought the opinion of her family, who was not happy with the idea and didn’t want her to venture into the world of showbiz. Despite the fact that her family did not support her decision, Marian accepted the offer given to her, and hired “Momsy” [Popoy Caritativo] to represent her as her manager.
Marian’s first job ever as an actress was a noontime soap called, “Kung Mamahalin Mo Lang Ako” where she met costars Ehra Madrigal and Camille Prats. The soap was produced by GMA7, where she has signed a contract with. She played, Clarisse, a woman who was in search of her father, and was subconsciously hurting her half-sister. In this soap, Marian found her very first love team, with Oyo Boy Sotto [the son of famous actor Vic Sotto] who played Sig. After the soap ended in 2006, she continued to play roles in other soaps. Having finally found a job that she loved passionately, Marian was finally able to start a life on her own, where she could support herself financially; so she took on the ultimate challenge in life, to live alone without any kind of help from her family. Even though it hurt to let go of their little girl, Marian’s family let her venture off into the real world.
Marian rented a very small condo unit in Manila, where she struggled to live. Unlike her home in Cavite, she did not possess any of the luxuries she was so use to. The inside of the starlets condo only consisted of an electric fan, an airbed, and a small TV. She lived like this for several months, crying her eyes out because of how hard it was for her to live on her own. But Marian gathered all her courage together and told herself that she could do it! She began to learn to love her life and make the best of what she’s got, she learned to be responsible and to budget her money wisely. With a lot of patience, eventually, Marian was able to save up enough money to buy herself a brand new pink Honda Jazz, then later on sold and bought a white Toyota Super Grandia Van.
In the year 2006, Marian was identified as the Best New Femal TV Personality at the PMPC Star Awards. That she owed to her role as a maid who falls in love with the son of her master in the noontime soap, Agawin Mo man Ang Lahat sa Akin. Marian then later accepted two more roles in which she played a mother. The first role in another noontime show called, Muli and the other in her first prime time soap role as Esther in Super Twins. The public began to criticize and question her for taking on the role of a Mother at the young age of twenty-two. Although everybody thought she was making bad decisions in the roles she portrayed, Marian didn’t let that get to her and she continued her climb to the top. After her role in Super Twins, GMA7 announced that they would be holding auditions for the lead role of a Philippine Remake of a famous Mexican telenovela, Marimar, originally played by Thalia, who became an international star because of it. Upon hearing about the auditions, Marian began to train herself for the audition, hoping to bag the role. She told herself that she would give her all in the audition whether or not she was given the role. Marian began her training, she practiced the original dance moves of Thalia for Marimar, slimmed her already sexy body down a bit more, and made the decision that she would [for the first time] where a bikini for the audition.
All of Marian’s hard work and patience was not for nothing, for not too long after the audition the young actress was sent a letter from GMA7’s senior vice-president for entertainment, Wilma Galvante, in congratulations for winning over the role of the Philippines’ Marimar! In June 2007 it was officially announced to the public that Marian Rivera was GMA7’s choice to play Marimar. Once word spread about the new Marimar, Marian was automatically titled as, “TV’s New Darling” and “The Next Big Thing.” Admitting that she was being pressured with all these titles being given to her, Marian new she had to do her best to not disappoint not only the staff of GMA7 but new found fans as well. When the much anticipated soap finally aired on August, 13, 2007 [the day after Marian’s birthday] it rated 36.6 in Mega Manila, crowning Marian Rivera as “The New Telenovel Princess” and “The Princess of Primetime TV.” Being given these titles, Marian lived up to them, giving an outstanding performance in the hit soap., along with her co-star and leading man, Mr. Dingdong Dantes. Near the end of 2007, Marian had to do a juggling act, she was shooting three different films, two Regal films – Deperadas and Bahay Kubo – and GMA Films Valentine offering – My Best Friend’s Girlfriend – in which she was paired up with matinee idol Richard Gutierrez, while shooting Marimar and different advertising shoots.
Marian’s luck did not stop there. It seems like she was on fire, in 2008 because of her dancing skills, she made her own dance album and was named “The Hottest Dance Senorita.” Because of her beauty and her charming personality Marian Rivera easily found her way into the spot light not only on prime time TV, but also on the covers of magazines and in commercials. She is now known to be the highest paid endorser in the Philippines; from Sunsilk, to Bench, Karimadon and even Louis Vuitton. Her movie with Richard Gutierrez, BFGF, became a certified Box Office Hit, and Marimar held the #1 spot in the Mega Manila ratings from beginning until the end; it even was able to nab the #1 spot in the NUTAM ratings in February 2008, with 36.9%. The last day of Marimar was on March 14, 2008 with a record breaking 52.6% beating the 52.1% of the legendary Darna fantaserye, played by Angel Locsin, which use to hold the record for the highest rated show on prime time TV.
As of today Marian Rivera is still working hard and is yet to reach more success in her life, because even if Marimar is nothing but a memory to us now, she has a new fantaserye coming out this April 2008, where she will be partnered again with Mr. Dingdong Dantes, because their love team is such a hit. Her new fantaserye is Dyesebel, the legendary mermaid character originally created by Mars Ravelos. She is currently in training for her new role and I’m sure that it will be a hit, just like Marimar. Not only does she have a new fantaserye coming but she has another movie in the making, which is titled Amnesia, where she will be in a love trianle with her current leading man Mr. Dingdong Dantes, and Dong’s former love team partner, Ms. Iza Calcado.
With everything that Marian has been through, the ups and the downs, she has proven to all that she is truly deserving of all the blessings god has given her, and even if she is the biggest star of GMA7 right now, she has not let the lime light go to her head and is very humble, down to earth, and is still the same Marian Rivera that her family loves and cares for.