Mikhail Baryshnikov—or Misha, as he's known—is arguably the most famous male dancer alive today, thanks to his exceptional talent, his TV and movie roles, and some very public affairs. Baryshnikov was born and raised in Riga. Enrolling at age 12 in ballet school, by his late teens, he had emerged as one of the Soviet Union's brightest dancers. In June of 1974, while on tour in Canada, he disappeared for several days before reappearing in New York, effectively defecting from the U.S.S.R. After being granted political asylum, he joined the American Ballet Theatre, where he stayed intermittently for over a decade, undertaking numerous side projects in the meantime. Although he rarely gets on stage these days, Baryshnikov continues his involvement with dance by overseeing the Baryshnikov Arts Center in New York. Baryshnikov has also displayed a keen fondness for the spotlight. He was a notable Studio 54 fixture in the 70s. He has appeared in three films, receiving an Oscar nomination for his first 1977's The Turning Point. More recently, he had a memorable role as Carrie Bradshaw's aloof Russian boyfriend Aleksandr Petrovsky on Sex and the City. A legendary ladies man, Baryshnikov reportedly bedded Liza Minnelli, Ursula Andress and Isabella Rossellini back in the day, and had a daughter with actress Jessica Lange in 1981. He's since settled down with former ballerina Lisa Rinehart, although they've never married. They have three kids (Sofia, Anna, and Peter).