Born the youngest of three children on March 30, 1970 in Zaragoza, Spain to parents of Mexican and Italian heritage, Consuelos spent his early years in his mother's native Italy until the age of five, when both he and his older brother and sister were uprooted to the United States. As a young boy who spoke only Italian, his introduction to the English language was first initiated through American television programs, including, ironically, the …
|March 30, 1971|
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Born the youngest of three children on March 30, 1970 in Zaragoza, Spain to parents of Mexican and Italian heritage, Consuelos spent his early years in his mother's native Italy until the age of five, when both he and his older brother and sister were uprooted to the United States. As a young boy who spoke only Italian, his introduction to the English language was first initiated through American television programs, including, ironically, the popular daytime soap "All My Children." The family settled in Lebanon, IL, but, by the time Consuelos had turned 16, had decided to move once again and planted permanent roots in Tampa, FL. Consuelos finished high school at Bloomingdale High School in nearby Valrico. By the time he was college bound, the athletically-inclined Consuelos decided to attend Notre Dame University, but was not enamored of its bitter winters. Two years later, he returned to Tampa, earning a bachelor's degree in marketing from the University of South Florida in 1994, which he promptly eschewed in favor of his first love, acting.
Through subsequent acting classes, Consuelos had acquired an agent who, in a twist of fate, helped the eager young actor land a screen test for "All My Children" in New York. As Tampa had a limited acting circle, he decided to take a shot at a full-fledged career in New York and relocated with just over $1,000 to his name. Whereas Illinois' Looking Glass Playhouse had previously offered Consuelos one of his earliest stages roles in "Hello, Dolly," his early New York days provided him with much more time on the stage, as he would find work appearing in various off-Broadway plays such as Howard Korder's "Boy's Life," "Orphans" by Lyle Kessler and "One Shot, One Kill" by Richard Vetere. In February 1995, Consuelos prepared himself for inevitable rejection from ABC Daytime; instead, he landed the role of Mateo Santos, an earnest waiter who falls for the wild Hayley Vaughan. The role of Hayley was played by actress Kelly Ripa, and the actors' fictional romance yielded genuine sparks, which in turn led to a real-life love match. The couple secretly wed in Las Vegas in May 1996; their first child, Michael, was born in June of 1997. Despite such professional and personal highs, which certainly included the Mateo-Hayley coupling's soaring popularity with audiences, Consuelos later acknowledged the pressure of being asked to screen test twice more during the show's run, due to both his character's increasingly broadened arc and producers who were unconvinced of his range.
During his seven-year stint on "All My Children," Consuelos did little outside acting beyond the series. He did appear on the PBS educational series "Connect with English" (1997), on the NBC drama "Third Watch" (1999-2005) in 2001, and as a police officer in an episode of the popular sitcom "Friends" (NBC, 1994-2004). In June 2001, Ripa gave birth to the couple's second child, Lola Grace. The following year, Consuelos starred in two independent films, "The Last Place on Earth" and "Pride & Loyalty," as well as had a multi-episode part on the second season of PBS' "American Family." That December, Consuelos decided to leave "All My Children" in pursuit of fresher acting challenges, taking a cue from Ripa who, in February 2001, had permanently taken over for Kathie Lee Gifford as Regis Philbin's morning co-host on ABC's newly-minted "Live With Regis & Kelly" (ABC, 1989- ) - making her a bon afide A-lister seemingly overnight.
Consuelos dove headfirst into his post-soap world with new roles. In February 2003, he took on the domestic role of three-time father when son Joaquin was born. That year, he also put in another guest appearance on NBC's "Third Watch" and took on the lead role of Adam Lopez opposite Marissa Jaret Winokur in ABC Family's telefilm, "Beautiful Girl." In 2004, Consuelos appeared in NBC's telefilm "The Legend of Butch & Sundance" and, in his second major television role, originated the role of series regular FBI Agent Antonio Cortez on the second season of Lifetime's "1-800 Missing." In 2005, he played a recurring role on Ripa's ABC sitcom "Hope & Faith" (ABC, 2003-06), but his biggest career milestone would come in the form of his first theatrical film role, starring in John Dahl's 2005 World War II epic "The Great Raid." Starring as Corporal Guttierez, Consuelos acted alongside such prominent actors as Benjamin Bratt, James Franco and Connie Nielsen.
Consuelos picked up more film work with a supporting role in the Uma Thurman romantic comedy, "My Super Ex-Girlfriend" (2006) and writer-director Michael Ian Black's direct-to-DVD laugher "Wedding Daze" (2006). On the small screen he starred as a man enlisted to help a woman (Nadine Velasquez) meet the requirements of a large trust fund in "Husband for Hire" (Oxygen, 2008), then made back-to-back appearances in the fashion-themed crime-comedies, "Killer Hair" (Lifetime, 2009) and "Hostile Makeover" (Lifetime, 2009). Along with Ripa, he went behind the scenes to co-produce "Off the Rez" (TLC, 2011), a documentary following a Native American family who leave their reservation in order to pursue their daughter's dream of playing basketball. Similar ventures for Consuelos included executive-producer duties on "Dirty Soap" (E!, 2011- ), a reality show chronicling the behind-the-scenes drama of several daytime soap stars. That same year, the actor took on a recurring role as Alex Castillo on the family-sitcom, "I Hate My Teenage Daughter" (Fox, 2011- ).