Benzema was born in Lyon to French nationals of Algerian descent. His grandfather, Da Lakehal Benzema, lived in the village of Tigzirt, located in the northern town of Aït Djellil in Algeria before migrating to Lyon, where he eventually settled in the 1950s. Benzema’s father, Hafid, was born in Tigzirt, while his mother, Wahida Djebbara, was born and raised in Lyon; her family originated from Oran. Benzema is the third youngest in the family and grew up with eight other siblings in Bron, an eastern suburb of Lyon. His younger brothers Gressy and Sabri are also footballers. The former plays at the amateur level with Vaulx-le-Velin in the Division d’Honneur, the sixth division of French football, while the latter plays in the youth academy of a club in the family’s hometown of Bron. On 3 February 2014, his then-girlfriend Chloé de Launay gave birth to their daughter Mélia in Madrid. On 5 May 2017, his girlfriend Cora Gauthier gave birth to their son Ibrahim. A practicing Muslim, Benzema observes fasting during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. He has spoken about his faith saying: “My faith helps me to be focused every day. It brings me benefits and it’s my strength for me, my family, as well as for my work – for literally everything.” Since evolving internationally, Benzema has participated in numerous advertising campaigns. He was chosen as an ambassador of the American video game publisher Electronic Arts for the FIFA series. He has signed several sponsorship contracts, notably with the Korean automobile manufacturer Hyundai, the French telephone operator SFR and its subsidiary BuzzMobile, the French bank LCL and the sports betting company bwin. Benzema is sponsored by Adidas. In 2017, his documentary film Le K Benzema was released. In 2020, Benzema started his own YouTube channel, uploading videos of his everyday life, as well as interviews and fan Q&As. On 6 December 2006, he told RMC about his possible selection for the Algerian team: “It’s my parents’ country, it’s in my heart. But good after sporting, it’s true that I will play in French team. I will be always present for the French team. Then it’s more for the sporting side, because Algeria is my country, here, my parents come from there. After, France … It’s more sporty, that’s it.” Benzema drew some criticism for these comments, as well as for his reluctance to sing the French national anthem, “La Marseillaise”, before each match with the national team. On 18 April 2010, French television channel M6 reported that four members of the French national team were being investigated for their roles as clients in a prostitute ring operated inside of a Paris nightclub, with some of the women possibly being underage. The players were eventually revealed to be Franck Ribéry, Sidney Govou, Hatem Ben Arfa and Benzema. Benzema was alleged to have had a sexual rendezvous with a prostitute when she was 16 years of age, an act Benzema denied through his lawyer. On 20 July, Benzema was questioned by Paris police and indicted on the charge of “solicitation of a minor prostitute”. In November 2011, prosecutors asked for the cases against Ribéry and Benzema to be dropped, saying that the players were not aware that the escort, identified as Zahia Dehar, was 16 years old. However, the case did go on to trial. In January 2014, the judge in the case dropped the charges against both Ribery and Benzema saying there was lack of sufficient evidence that the pair knew the prostitutes were underaged. On 4 November 2015, Benzema was arrested by French police for his alleged part in blackmailing fellow France international player Mathieu Valbuena over the alleged recording of a sex-tape on a mobile phone. During the investigation over the blackmail plot, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls stated, “A great athlete should be exemplary. If he is not, he has no place in the France team. There are so many kids, so many youngsters in our suburbs that relate to great athletes. They wear the blue jersey, the colours of France, which are so important in these moments.” On 10 December 2015, the president of the FFF Noël Le Graët announced the provisional suspension of the striker from the French team until a new development in the affair. On 17 February 2016, the judicial review was lifted by the investigating judge who allowed Benzema to get in touch again with Valbuena. On 11 July 2017, the Court of Cassation issued a judgment in which it invalidated a decision of the Court of Appeal of Versailles, which had validated the procedure by which Benzema had been indicted for complicity of attempted blackmail. This decision was made on the basis of contesting the legality of the phone calls recording by the police, and the judgement did not disprove the veracity of the blackmail attempt on Valbuena by Benzema. On 7 January 2021, the public prosecutor’s office in Versailles announced that Benzema would face trial for his alleged involvement in the blackmail attempt. On 24 November 2021, Benzema was found guilty of conspiring to blackmail Valbuena with a sex tape. The judge gave him a one-year suspended sentence and fined him €75,000. His lawyers said they will appeal his conviction. He will be definitively sentenced in this case in June 2022, after having abandoned the appeal procedure. In March 2020, during an Instagram livestream with YouTuber Mohamed Henni, Benzema made controversial remarks about French player Olivier Giroud, who replaced Benzema in the France national team. He called Giroud “karting” while he referred to himself as “Formula 1”.