A Look Back at Xuxa and Pelé’s Controversial Relationship

Lead Photo: Alan Lopez
Alan Lopez
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It was the ‘80s. Xuxa was at beginning of her career as the queen of the bajitos, and Pelé had long made his name as maybe the greatest fútbolero of all time. For a long time, the only proof I had that the relationship, which lasted between 1981 and 1986, was real were all the decade-appropriate photos they took together. I decided to see what else I could find out about the couple that probably could have rivaled Kim K and Kanye if social media was a thing back then.

Here are five facts about their relationship, or really just another excuse to see pictures of the ex-couple:


People weren’t cool with their relationship.


Just like Kylie Jenner and Tyga, Xuxa and Pelé were criticized for their age difference. Xuxa told Cristina in the early ‘90s that people didn’t just have a problem with their race differences. Xu was 17 and Pelé was 40 when they started dating. “He already had a lot of fame and money, and people thought I was with him because of that,” she said. Xuxa thought the hate would die down with time, but it didn’t.


Xuxa said they ran out of love.

Jorge Araújlo/Folhapress

They dated for almost seven years, but Xuxa said the relationship ended because there was no more love. Though Pelé was reportedly upset that she worked a lot, Xuxa added that it didn’t have anything to do with their breakup. Since the end of their relationship, they have definitely thrown shade at each other, even as recently as when Xuxa insulted Pele’s feet.


They met at a photo shoot.


During a shoot for Manchete, the magazine they would pose for again and again, Xuxa and Pelé met. He was surrounded by women wearing gold lamé outfits, and Xuxa said that he approached her. (Although Luiza Brunet said that’s not quite how it worked out – according to Brunet, Pelé tried to get at her first, but after learning she was married wound up asking for Xuxa’s number).

This isn’t the only part of their relationship that seems to have more than one version to it.


Pelé did try to help her out with her image.

While Xuxa has been accused of using Pelé to become famous, there was at least one instance where the megastar helped her. According to Veja, in 1985, Pelé took time out off his busy schedule to get all the images from Xuxa’s Playboy cover shoot. Because she was working on a children’s TV show at the time, she was worried about her past. He ended up getting the images back in exchange for an exclusive interview with Playboy.

In his book, Pele: The Autobiography, he said he wasn’t cool with her nude images after she started her new job – thought he claimed that it was the pictures that gave her the opportunity to work on TV.


Their relationship wasn't that intense.

In his autobiography, he explains that living in different cities meant that their relationship wasn’t too serious. He would sometimes participate in her TV show by dressing up as Santa Claus or playing the guitar, but he claimed that what they had was more of a friendship.