Mika – pop sensation, fashion icon and now Eurovision Song Contest host.
With the release of his career-making single Grace Kelly back in 2007, Mika launched himself into the musical stratosphere, going on to release tracks like Lollipop, Happy Ending and Big Girl.
He’s since collaborated with pop icons such as Ariana Grande.
As he prepares to make his Eurovision presenting debut, Daily Star takes a look into his life away from the spotlight – from the horror accident which saw his sister impaled on a fence after falling from a window to his real name.
And it’s certainly been a wild ride so far.
Of course, Mika is merely a moniker – the falsetto-voiced star actually has a rather more conventional birth name.
Mika was originally born in Beirut, Lebanon, in 1983 and has four siblings, with his mum being originally born in the USA and his father originally hailing from Israel.
And his legal name is Michael Holbrook Penniman Jr – a name he took in part for his fifth studio album, My Name is Michael Holbrook.
The nickname "Mica" was originally given to him by his mum, though he later replaced the C with a K.
Speaking to HuffPost about his fifth album, the artist revealed: “It was written as medicine.
“I needed to re-find that young guy who was writing songs in his apartment at 17 or 18. I felt this urgent sense, this need to reconnect with the elation and joy of making music after a good three years of having lost that sensation.
“At a certain point, you’re like, ‘Well, who am I, really?’ So I kind of used my legal name in order to write about myself with more freedom.”
Mika’s sexuality was the talk of the media when he became famous, and he originally admitted he considers himself “label-less” in a 2010 interview.
He explained at the time: “I consider myself label-less because I could fall in love with anybody – literally – any type, any body. I'm not picky.”
Two years later, however, he came out as gay, telling Instinct Magazine: “If you ask me am I gay, I say yeah. Are these songs about my relationship with a man? I say yeah.
“And it's only through my music that I've found the strength to come to terms with my sexuality beyond the context of just my lyrics. This is my real life.”
Mika isn’t the only famous one in his immediate family, as his boyfriend also shares a big part of the spotlight.
Mika has been in a relationship with filmmaker Andreas Dermanis for more than a decade.
Andreas is known for directing documentaries including Lost Youth and Andi – and even worked as the director on one of Mika’s music videos in 2015, Staring at the Sun.
The director has also worked with the likes of The Kooks and Salma Hayek on various projects.
Back in 2019, the loved up pair were snapped together enjoying a holiday in Italy, both appearing shirtless as they enjoyed a boat trip, before jumping off for a quick dip in the sea.
Father held hostage
Mika has also had his fair share of trauma, as his father was once taken hostage in Kuwait in connection with the Gulf War.
He was held for eight months, and Mika was just 17 at the time.
The pop star admitted in 2010 that he found it difficult to reconnect with his dad after the traumatic ordeal, explaining to the Scotsman paper: “He had a big beard and was very skinny and gaunt and none of us wanted to hang out with him because he looked too different.
"He was almost a stranger. And we had resolved ourselves to the idea that he was in danger and might not come back so his homecoming was actually a very disturbing thing.
"It rocked everything. Shortly after, we lost everything, our apartment, our furniture, so that concept of complacency was never in my childhood whereas most kids don't understand that."
Mika explained that he used fairytales and fiction to cope, as they “are there to instruct you about death”.
Sister’s ‘miraculous’ recovery
Mika’s world was rocked again in late 2010, when his sister Paloma fell 50ft from the window of her fourth-floor Kensington flat.
The star explained that she has been weak on her left side since she was born, which gives her a “tendency to lose her balance”.
The horror fall saw Paloma impaled on the railings below her flat, and later fought for her life in hospital.
Mika told Daily Mail of the horrific incident: “A neighbour heard the crash and held her for an hour. He saved her life by slapping her face to keep her conscious.
“They operated on her for 17 hours, starting while she was still in the helicopter, and the medics prepared us for the worst. She should be dead but she was saved by the NHS. She’s since had tendon transplants and is learning to walk again.”
Doctors said her recovery “defied medical science” – but Mika admitted he was so scarred from the trauma that he couldn’t work until he knew she would be okay.
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