When Marc and J.Lo split up, we were left with this huge void. Gone was our version of the royal couple. Just like that. The good news? We will always have Gloria and Emilio Estefan—our very own First Family!
While promoting her new album Miss Little Havana, (out Tuesday, September 27!), we caught up with Gloria to chat about not just music, but also about family. Because if there’s one thing that means the world to Gloria, it’s the love of her life (and business partner), Emilio, and her two kids, Nayib, 31, and Emily, 16.
Since Gloria and Emilio celebrated their 33rd wedding anniversary recently, we figured it was the perfect time to get up close and personal.
What’s the most recent romantic thing Emilio has done for you?
Well, other than leaving me notes all over the place, like, ‘I love you, baby,’—he always does that. Whenever he leaves on a trip, he'll leave a note on the pillow, on Em's pillow and on mine. Little details like that. He takes care of me on every level possible—from the smallest detail to making sure that everything is the way it should be.
All these years later, what is it that you most admire about him as a person?
Emilio is the most motivational human being I know. If you're around him, he's total energy, he gets up every day in a good mood. He's always a can-do guy and he hasn't lost the boy in him. He hasn't lost that spark, that innocence. He genuinely gets excited about doing things, about creating, about doing something new. And he's still that little kid that makes me laugh. And I think we love our men to not lose the boy in them.
Neither of you has ever—as far as I have seen—snubbed a fan. You’ll take pictures with every last one of ‘em. But all of that has to get old sometimes, so how is it possible to be so gracious all of the time?
Well, on those days [that I’m not feeling up to it] I stay home. [Laughs] I'm a homebody and my kids are too. We're like hermits sometimes. But it's not beyond me— I really do love people. I care about people; I care that if I have two seconds with someone, I want them to leave happy. When someone comes up to you, they're nervous. Sometimes I feel them shaking. And it takes a lot longer to be mean, which I could never be, 'cause it's just not me.
Why do you think some artists can’t be as gracious?
I think a lot of times when artists are not accessible, it's because sometimes there's insecurities and they just think, ‘Okay, I'm a star now, I have to act a certain way in order to be respected’— and that's not the case at all. You're missing out! Fame in itself is a weird beast. I don't focus on that part of it because to me it's hard. I don't read my press, I don't watch myself on TV, I don't look at myself in the third person.
That's Emilio's job!
Yeah, that's everybody else's job. They all do that and that's fine. I don't often like to be the center of attention.
Which is interesting because Emily takes after you in so many ways, especially in that she's very shy.
Yes, she is.
Emily plays the guitar on "On," our current favorite song off the new album. Do you see her coming to terms with her shyness like you did in order to pursue a career in music? Or is it more of a hobby for her?
I think music is at her core. It makes her happy. This little girl is the best musician of all of us in the family. She has an amazing voice but she refuses to sing. I think she thinks that's my bag. The other day, I played her this little tape that I had of her at four years old singing “Calendar Girl” in my car. I played it for her and I go, “Don't tell me you can't sing.” I'm not gonna push her into that. But she's venturing out little by little.
The last time we talked, you said that the one thing you and Emilio hadn't done—because you’ve done it all, at this point— was perform in a free Cuba. Is that still the case or have you added some new things to that bucket list?
No. Really, that's the one thing that I would love to be able to be alive for and still be in the shape where I can go up there and do a concert. I've sung for every kind of audience except a Cuban one. And there's Cubans everywhere, mind you. I even rented a camel from a Cuban in Morocco! But everywhere I go, I'm not from there. I grew up here in Miami; I was here at two years old. You'd think that I could just be a Miamian. But no, I'm a Cuban exile.
*Keep coming back to Latina.com for exclusive posts during Gloria Estefan Week. More to come tomorrow!