Carlos Gonzalez of the Colorado Rockies is a bonafide star in Major League Baseball, an offensive juggernaut and the face of the Rockies. Tomorrow, he’ll be a starter in the All-Star Game, replacing an injured Dexter Fowler. Tonight, however, he gets a more individual chance to shine as one of the 8 baseball players participating in the Home Run Derby.
It’s a big moment for Gonzalez, who has established himself as a power hitter for several years now in his time with the Rockies. But in addition to being a star athlete, he’s also, at age 30, a family man. With a wife, an adopted son, and twins, Gonzalez has been open about how his family has helped him grow and mature as a person, which in turn has helped him become an even better baseball player.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. His Wife, Indonesia Riera, Was a Successful Model and Actress in Her and Gonzalez’s Home Country of Venezuela
Carlos Gonzalez is a native of Venezuela. His wife, Indonesia Riera, is also Venezuelan and cultivated a career for herself there. Riera has been described as a “model and TV personality” who has had photoshoots in Urbe Magazine, including a racy wedding photoshoot (warning: potentially NSFW).
In addition to modeling, Riera has also had television experience. A 2013 Denver Post article on Gonzalez refers to Riera as a “former soap opera actress.” She has also appeared on Venezuelan comedy program A Que Te Ries, which translates to To Make You Laugh.
2. She and Gonzalez Were Married in 2012
In 2012, Gonzalez and Riera were married in Venezuela. After his marriage, Gonzalez apparently came to Spring Training a changed man. A Denver Post piece on Gonzalez noted that after years of Gonzalez coming to Spring Training with gaudy jewelry and cars, in 2013, “This season, his first as a husband and father, his bling consists of a diamond necklace.”
Gonzalez has talked about how becoming a family man changed his outlook not just on life, but baseball. He told the post, “When you are single, you don’t worry about anything else. I have responsibilities. You concentrate more on what you do. I am trying to show all my family and my son how I play on the field to make them proud.”
3. Riera Has a Son, Santiago, Whom Gonzalez Adopted
Indonesia Riera actually had a son, Santiago, before she was with Gonzalez. According to an aforementioned Denver Post article above, Santiago’s father was killed.
Gonzalez and Santiago bonded quickly, and he told the Denver Post, “He loves me… It means a lot to be a dad and have them with me. We spent time with her family and mine. It’s been great. I love having them supporting me in the good and bad moments.” While marrying Riera, Gonzalez also set out to adopt Santiago to be his new father. According to the Post, in July of 2013 he was in the final stages of adopting Santiago.
4. She Gave Birth to Twins in 2014 That Were 10 Weeks Premature
Gonzalez and Riera also had children of their own. However, there were complications. In 2014, Riera gave birth to Carlota and Genova, twins. But according to ESPN, they were born at 30 weeks old, very premature. A worrisome time for Gonzalez’s family thankfully ended when the twins were able to come home safely.
Much like getting married, the dire circumstances Gonzalez’s twins were born in changed him and made him mature. Starting off as a great family man, he became more dedicated than ever, according to the Denver Post.
“My wife almost lost her life by giving birth, and the kids were in the hospital for nearly two months,” he said. “I don’t care how good you are, you are going to concentrate on that one thing when it comes to your family.”
5. Carlos Gonzalez is a 3-Time All-Star Participating in His First Home Run Derby
As mentioned earlier, Gonzalez has been a star for some time. This is his third appearance at the All-Star Game, and that doesn’t even include his 2010 season that saw him finish 3rd in NL MVP voting.
Gonzalez is on pace for one of the best years of his career – he’s already eclipsed his fWAR total from last year, despite hitting 40 home runs in 2015. With so many home runs last year – and 19 already this year – it’s not surprising he’s been picked for the Home Run Derby.