His sex appeal is electrifying but Enrique Iglesias says he doesn't want to sleep with 3,000 women - or still be singing when he's 60. Surely he isn't thinking of his 63-year-old lothario father
When Enrique Iglesias walks in, the air in a demure little room in the Grand Hotel, Amsterdam, seems to crackle with his sheer presence. Enrique, all voluptuous lips and brown velvet eyes, greets me with a hug and kiss.
He asks if I've seen the women sitting in the shop windows of Amsterdam, and do I think that such a liberal attitude to sex is cool. He certainly seems quite taken with it.
Enrique is about to release his album Insomniac, his first for four years since Seven, which failed to match the staggering sales of 2001's Escape. (He has sold 40 million albums worldwide.)
He took his time because, he admits: "I'm an anxious kid."
Heart-throb Enrique Iglesias is about to release his album 'Insomniac'
Insomniac runs the gamut of emotional anxiety, moody pining, enduring love and a constant sexual pulse. He is thoughtful and extrovert, sizzling and shy.
He says he wrote hundreds of songs for the album.
"The more songs I wrote, the best chance that I could pick 12, 15 great ones. It's not that I wanted to make a musical change, I just wanted to write good songs."
Though I suspect what he really wanted was to write songs that could equal the sales figures of Escape.
"And I wanted to write about love because it is the one thing that we all identify with. Everyone knows what it feels like to be with someone you love, and to fall out of love. You suffer because of love and then love makes you happy."
There also seems to be an awful lot of sexuality in his lyrics. And the glamorous photos we've seen are nothing compared to how sultry he is in the flesh.
He is 32 and you wonder about his relationship with tennis babe Anna Kournikova. They met on the set of a video for his single Escape five years ago.
I've read various reports - they've broken up, they've got married, she's pregnant. Is that because he has been purposely vague or is it one of those hotandcold relationships?
"Yes, I know, one day we're married, the next not together. It's none of that. I would say it's as normal as a relationship can be."
I'm beginning to realise that Enrique takes emotions very seriously. He has said that his father Julio's boast of sleeping with more than 3,000 women was "not the way I want to live my life".
He wants to set the record straight.
"Anna is the coolest girl I've ever known, because she's the kind of girl you can take to McDonald's. You can be in the mountains camping and she won't complain.
"She's not a five-star hotel girl. I don't like snobby women. I like girls who are normal, girls who are fun."
If the album reflects his life over the past three years, though, it seems that sometimes he's been madly in love and sometimes extremely anxious.
"The album did give me a lot of anxiety."
At the same time as brooding comes sexual passion. Is that his cure for anxiety? Does he think about sex more than other people?
"No. I read that males think about sex every two minutes. That sounds about right.
"Obviously for women, sex is a much more sentimental thing."
And then he laughs, so I've no idea whether he's being serious.
"I think that sex and love are two very different things. If you are in a relationship you have to have both, or it becomes boring."
It doesn't seem to bother him that while he's promoting his album in Europe, his girlfriend is in Miami. But such separation is not what scares him.
"What scares me is not being inspired. I've been doing this since I was 18 and it's not easy. I have the best job in the world and I am very fortunate.
"But there's one thing you can't control - your mind. Like I said, I've always been a nervous kid."
I wonder if this nervousness is born from growing up in his father's shadow.
Enrique lived first in Spain, the youngest child of Julio and Isabel Preysler, a Philippines-born model turned writer. His parents divorced in 1979 when he was just two.
At first, the three children stayed with their mother, but after Enrique's grandfather Julio Iglesias Sr, a famous gynaecologist, was kidnapped by Basque terrorists, the children were sent to live in Miami with their father.
There, they were brought up mostly by the nanny, Elvira Olivares, the woman to whom he dedicated his first album.
You imagine that this would have been a difficult, emotionally deprived childhood.
But Enrique says: "No, I was very happy. I understand what most people would think, but it wasn't stressful having a famous father."
Yet when he started out, he put out an album under an assumed name.
"Yes, but that was an experiment. If I had told my parents that I wanted to be a singer, they would have said: 'Don't do it!'"
Much has been made of the relationship between father and son being strained, and Julio has never seen his son perform.
"I know people find that weird and it's true, he's never been to one of my concerts. It's difficult to judge us as an outsider, because we don't see each other a lot, barely ever, but I love and respect him more than anything."
Maybe as a child he saw his father as an absent hero, or maybe he just enjoyed being on his own.
Enrique seems in many ways older than his 32 years.
"Yes, I was a loner. But I always knew that if we needed him, he would be there.
"I thank my parents for my childhood, even to the point that they chose this wonderful lady, Elvira, to look after us. She's been with us for 30 years - she gave her whole life to us."
He has gone to passionate lengths to describe this rather strange idyllic bliss.
"When I was 18, I had the typical fight you get into with your parents, when they found out I'd signed a record contract without telling them. I packed my bags and left for Canada. I was going to do something that I loved."
Was his father upset because he wanted to be in charge?
"I think my dad was used to controlling everything in his life and suddenly he got something he couldn't control. Maybe that was good for me. If he was negative, it made me want to prove him wrong."
Enrique is attentive and sweet, yet there is an underlying sense that his father has helped him be so driven, maybe through criticism more than praise. He doesn't look like his father. He is taller, with slender rock-star hips and a wider chest.
Julio enjoyed a career built on cheesiness, while Enrique is cool. Julio sang about love and boasted about sex, while Enrique seems to constantly analyse the difference between the two.
"Turning 30 made me think I needed to enjoy my career more. I don't want to get to 60 and still be singing on stage. I think I would feel stupid." It is unclear whether this is a dig at his father.
"I guess it's difficult knowing when to stop. Ah, showbusiness is difficult," he shrugs, his eyes seemingly pleading for a respite from all this craziness.
He called his album Insomniac "because I live on sleeping pills. Every day I say I am not going to take one, but I do, and the doses end up getting bigger and bigger.
"I think it's adrenaline. I go to the studio at 6pm and come out at 6am with a million thoughts in my head.
"I went to this guy who gave me breathing techniques, which helped a bit, and then I went to another who gave me very big sleeping pills."
He laughs, stretching back on the sofa. I suggest Paul McKenna - maybe he could hypnotise him to sleep. When I tell him McKenna helped my cat, who has a fear of any form of transport, he says: "Can we ring him now?"
We call the hypnotist, who is bemused, but promises to help. Enrique seems visibly more relaxed.
"You know, doctors told me this built up from when I was a child. That I was used to being on my own too much, thinking too much. But I think I had a normal childhood."
What about being displaced from Spain and moving to Miami?
"I've been told that before, too. But I wasn't alone. I had a big family."
Does he plan on having a family of his own soon?
"No. It's a big responsibility and I'm not ready for that."
He won't even say whether he's ready to settle down with Anna.
In the past few years, one woman has done a kiss-and-tell, though she didn't really tell anything except how lovely he was.
I wonder if he likes to be in control of a relationship?
"I really don't care. I don't think it's about control. It's about love."
Does he like to be the one that's loved more, or does he like to do the loving?
"It depends. It's funny how when you feel someone loves you less, you love them more. That's what my next single is about.
"You know, I never knew relationships were that hard. I never talked to anybody about this."
I imagine there are lots of things he doesn't talk about that whirr around in his head.
And he says enthusiastically: "I know love can pay off, though, and then it's the most amazing thing in the world." He gives me a firm hug goodbye, and I really want it to pay off for him.