Johnny Hallyday (born Jean-Philippe Smet on June 15, 1943 in Paris) is a French singer and actor. An icon in the French-speaking world since the beginning of his career, he is considered by some to be the French superior of Elvis Presley. He has had a 48-year career in music and is one of France's biggest stars. He has completed 400 tours, had 18 platinum albums, performed in front of 15 million people, and sold 100 million records. Today Hallyday is still seen as a top stage performer, giving first class shows in crowded stadiums. Hallyday announced his retirement from performing on 3 December 2007 at the age of 64, after his last tour, scheduled in 2009-2010. Johnny Hallyday was born as Jean-Philippe Smet in CitÃ© Malesherbes, Paris, France, to a French mother, Huguette (1919-2007), and a Belgian father, Leon Smet, a well known vagabond who ended his life penniless. His parents separated not long after his birth, and he was raised by his paternal aunt, HÃ©lÃ¨ne Mar, and by his cousin Desta and her dance partner/husband Lemoine (Lee) Ketcham, a native Oklahoman. Lee and Desta performed under the stage name "Les Halliday" at the Cafe de Paris in Pigalle, where Lee was also the show's MC. He was Johnny's manager when Jean-Philippe Smet began performing as Johnny Halliday. The name turned into Hallyday when it was misprinted on a record label.) He was married on April 12, 1965 to Sylvie Vartan (French singer) in Loconville. They have a son, David Hallyday (born David Michael Benjamin Smet) who is also a singer. Although Johnny Hallyday and Sylvie Vartan were France's "Golden Couple" of their generation, they divorced on November 4, 1980. A year later, he married a model named Babeth Etienne on December 1, 1981 in Los Angeles; the marriage lasted two months and two days. Hallyday's love affair with the French actress Nathalie Baye began in 1982, after they met on a television programme. Nathalie gave birth to their daughter, Laura, in late 1983. The couple separated in 1986. Hallyday married Adeline Blondiau in 1990. They divorced in 1992. In 1996, he married Laetitia Boudou. In 2004, the couple adopted a Vietnamese baby girl named Jade. Influenced by Elvis Presley and the 1950s rock revolution, Johnny, as he is popularly known, became famous in the 1960s for singing rock and roll in French. His first album, Hello Johnny, was released in 1960. He appeared on the American Ed Sullivan Show on July 1, 1962 with American singing star Connie Francis in a show that was taped at the Moulin Rouge nightclub in Paris. Many consider Hallyday to have developed well and become a greater performer in his later years, one of his best loved concerts being 100% Johnny: Live Ã La Tour Eiffel in 2000, which attracted an audience of 500,000 and 9.5 million television viewers (the show was broadcast live on French TV). In December 2005, Hallyday had his third number-one single in France, "Mon Plus Beau NoÃ«l" (after "Tous ensemble" and "Marie"), dedicated to his adopted girl Jade. Hallyday's last album was released on 12 November 2007. Le CÅ“ur d'un homme is a blues album and contains a song written for Hallyday by Bono from the band U2, and a duo with bluesman Taj Mahal. "Always" is the first track to be released from the new album. He remains quite unknown outside of France, thus earning the nickname "the biggest rock star you've never heard of" in English-speaking countries. Hallyday hired Peter Frampton and the Small Faces to record on his 1969 album RiviÃ¨re... Ouvre ton Lit. Amongst their contributions are the songs "Amen (Bang Bang)," "Reclamation (News Report)," and "Regarde Pour Moi (What You Will)," which are variations of Small Faces and Humble Pie tracks, and they can be heard playing on the album. Often forgotten is Hallyday's non-LP single and EP track "Que Je T'aime" from the same sessions. For their first concert, the Jimi Hendrix Experience opened for Johnny Hallyday in Evreux on October 13, 1966. B/W footage also from October, 1966 exists of Hallyday partying w/Jimi, and his manager Chas Chandler, and others, and is easily found on YouTube. In November 2005, he started a procedure to obtain Belgian citizenship, but his request was turned down in 2006 because he failed to fulfill the residency requirements. In late 2006, Hallyday announced that he would move his permanent residency to Gstaad, Switzerland, to escape the high tax rate imposed by the French government. Swiss law allows wealthy individuals to claim residency if they live six months and one day in the country and then pay a fixed tax based on expenses, such as rent or assets in Switzerland, rather than a percentage of their income. Hallyday has said that he would move his residency back to France if it changes its tax laws. Hallyday supported Nicolas Sarkozy in the 2007 French presidential election. In an ironic twist, when the Canadian comedy duo the Masked Avengers prank called American vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin by pretending to be Sarkozy, they named Hallyday as Sarkozy's "Special American Advisor."