All About Bruno Mars' Parents, Bernadette and Peter Hernandez

Long before he was winning Grammy awards and selling out stadium tours, Bruno Mars (né Peter Gene Hernandez) was delighting Hawaiian audiences, and his parents Bernadette and Peter Hernandez, with his perfect, pint-sized impression of Elvis Presley

Published Time: 12.05.2024 - 21:31:13 Modified Time: 12.05.2024 - 21:31:13

Long before he was winning Grammy awards and selling out stadium tours, Bruno Mars (né Peter Gene Hernandez) was delighting Hawaiian audiences, and his parents Bernadette and Peter Hernandez, with his perfect, pint-sized impression of Elvis Presley.

From the age of 2 and a half, the future star began joining his father's band on stage as a mini Elvis, and his adorable impression of the King quickly became a crowd favorite.

“He was a ham,” Bruno’s dad Peter Hernandez told Hawaiian magazine Midweek in 2014. “As soon as he could walk and express himself, he had to be in the middle of everything and wanted to be a part of whoever he’d seen on TV.”

That talent and drive, which first landed 6-year-old Bruno a cameo in 1992’s Honeymoon in Vegas as “Little Elvis,” has since helped line the singer’s shelves with Grammys and bring him center stage at the Super Bowl halftime show — achievements which have made his parents Peter and Bernadette Hernandez, both musicians themselves, “so proud,” as his late mom told Filipino news station ABS-CBN News in 2019. Bernadette sadly died of a brain aneurysm in June 2023.

From their respective musical careers to the ways they’ve supported their son, here’s everything to know about Bruno Mars’ parents Bernadette and Peter Hernandez.

Bruno was born in Honolulu on Oct. 8, 1985, to mom Bernadette and dad Peter. He’s one of six children: he grew up alongside brother Eric and sisters Tiara, Tahiti, Presley and Jaime, all of whom also share their parents’ musical inclinations.

Peter, who is Jewish and of Puerto Rican descent, grew up in Brooklyn, New York. “I lived West Side Story,” he told Midweek in 2014, “without the dancing.” Much like his son, he grew up accompanying his own father to gigs, where his first musical influences began to take root while listening to the Latin orchestra his father played in.

He explained to the outlet that he grew up fascinated by doo-wop, rebranding himself as “Dr. Doo-Wop” at 13-years-old, and later forming a band that numbered up to 18 people in Hawaii, called Peter Hernandez and the Love Notes. The band was inducted into the Doo-Wop Hall of Fame in 2014, according to the Boston Globe.

Bruno’s late mom was born Bernadette San Pedro Bayot in Manila and moved with her family to Hawaii in 1968, according to her obituary in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. There, she became the lead Hula dancer in Al Harrington’s show.

Bruno and his entire family traveled together to the Philippines for the first time in 2011, where he was playing a concert in Cebu. The emotional experience was captured in a short film directed by Mike Talampas & Nick Santiago.

“Seeing my son play a concert in the Philippines — I would never dream of that happening. And being sold out — it’s unbelievable,” Bernadette told the cameras. “Oh my god, it’s gonna be a great, big party,” she said of returning to her homeland. “I’m afraid I might like it too much, I might live there!”

After performing for a sold-out crowd, Bruno told the audience, “I’m so proud and so happy to be Filipino.”

The “Talking to the Moon” singer is one of six children, all of whom inherited their parents’ mutual passion for music.

Bernadette grew up singing and hula dancing in Hawaii, while Peter’s love of doo-wop led him to start his own band, the Love Notes. In the ‘90s, Peter helmed a show at the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel, where he performed with his band and brought all his kids on board.

“He was the executive producer and he also performed,” Eric said in an interview with Mike Dolbear, who runs an online forum for drummers, in 2014. “It was a family operation and me and my sister would run the ticket desk or I’d help with the spotlight.”

Their early time in the spotlight launched each of the Hernandez siblings into musical careers of their own: Eric currently plays the drums for his younger brother and for his band Silk Sonic, while their four sisters previously formed a pop band together called The Lylas, which briefly landed them a WE tv reality show in 2013, according to MTV.

Bernadette and Peter went their separate ways by the time Bruno was 12 years old. Afterward, their sisters lived with their mom while Bruno and his brother moved around with their dad, living in unusual and at times, inhospitable places, including on rooftops and in their car.

“My dad was just the king of finding these little spots for us to stay that we should never have been staying at,” the “Locked Out of Heaven” singer recalled during a 2016 episode of 60 Minutes, in which he brought the cameras into one such place: a building on the grounds of an abandoned bird zoo, where his father once worked. Now in ruins, the structure lacked a roof and was overgrown with tropical plants.

“It didn’t have plants growing inside at the time,” Bruno told the cameras. “I don’t know what happened to the roof. But the bed would be right there in the middle,” he explained, adding that the three of them shared a bed.

Despite their humble abode, Bruno said he only had positive memories from that period, sharing that his close bond with his family made all of their financial dif -

ficulties more manageable. “We had each other and it never felt like it was the end of the world,” he said.

Bruno’s mom died suddenly from a brain aneurysm on June 1, 2013, at Queens Medical Centre in Honolulu, according to the BBC. She was 55 years old.

In 2017, the “Just the Way You Are” singer opened up to Latina magazine about how her death broke his heart, and the ways he strives to keep her close to him.

"My life has changed," he told the outlet, adding that he would give up music if it meant he could see her again. "She's more than my music. If I could trade music to have her back, I would,” he said, explaining that her memory is a motivating force for him. “I always hear her say, 'Keep going and keep doing it.' ”

He went on to explain that Bernadette taught him what love was, saying, "When that goes away, a little more than half your heart goes away with it.”

The singer added, "It's something that you can't imagine – the pain and the things that you keep going back to: 'I wish I would've done this or said this.' You just have to see life differently. It shows you the real importance of life. Nothing else matters in this world but family and your loved ones."

When Bruno was announced as the winner of best pop vocal album for Unorthodox Jukebox at the 2014 Grammys, he took to the stage and thanked those closest to him — ending with a special heartfelt tribute to his late mother.

"I want to dedicate this award to my mother," he said. "Ma, I know you're watching,” he said. “I hope you're smiling. I love you.”

Bruno credits his dad with inspiring his particular brand of “Uptown Funk,” from wearing pinky rings to driving Cadillacs.

“My whole sense of rhythm is because my dad was teaching me bongos as a kid,” he told Latina magazine in 2017, in an interview where he opened up about being proud of his Puerto Rican heritage, according to Remezcla. “He’s an old-school working musician, so that’s where the pinky rings come from, the patent-leather shoes, the suits, and the pompadour. It all stems from watching my father.”

His dad was doing something different at the time, he explained, and Bruno’s proud to emulate him now. “No one had Cadillacs in Hawaii. But my dad would show up in some boat-looking Caddy wearing some silky s---, and we’d run out into the car as soon as possible. And here I am wearing the swap-meet gold, driving Cadillacs.”

A longtime fan and collector, Peter eventually amassed such a remarkable collection of Elvis records and movies that he ran a museum dedicated to the King in Waikiki, according to Midweek.

The job was rather fitting, seeing as his affinity for Elvis was what drew him to Hawaii in the first place — he’d become so enamored with the Islands of Blue Hawaii that he decided to pick up and move there at age 25.

His fascination with Elvis trickled down to Bruno, who would stay up late memorizing the dance moves he saw the “Jailhouse Rock” icon perform on TV.  “At barely 3 years old, Bruno knew how to rewind and cue up videotapes,” Peter told Midweek.

Peter has shared how much he admires his children’s accomplishments.

“I’m the proudest man in the world of Bruno Mars and his brother and sisters,” he told Midweek, adding that he’s grateful for all the people who have “helped Bruno get to where he is now.”

He attributes part of Bruno’s success to the loving and supportive environment the singer grew up in, telling Midweek, “Bruno is the product of a lot of love from all his family.” He went on, “No woman could ever love Bruno as much as his late mother did, and no man could ever love Bruno as much as I love him.”

Peter added, “I’m excited for him, for his sisters, for his brother. I’m so excited that I hope to be blessed with as much time as possible to see how far they go into the universe.”

Beyond his frequent praise for his son, Peter stood by Bruno’s side at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards in his hometown of Brooklyn, where the singer took home four awards.

Bernadette opened up about her close-knit bond with her son in a 2019 interview with the Filipino news station ABS-CBN News. “We’re very close, a Filipino family,” she told them, adding that she hoped her kids would “develop and carry on that closeness to the next generation.”

She gushed over her son, saying, “Every mother feels that their son is the best, and I always thought that. To hear it from other people who say that to me — I’m so proud.”

Bernadette added that she was incredibly proud Bruno had been able to see the Philippines, where she was born. “I wish I could go to every concert, because he’s been traveling the world. It’s amazing,” she said, adding, “He’s seen a lot of places that I’ve never seen before, but I’m glad he got to see where I came from.”

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