Last year, Emily Estefan said that her mother – Latina pop diva Gloria Estefan – told her not to come out to her grandmother because it would kill her.
Now Gloria is telling her side of the story.
Last year, Emily told The Real that she had been dating a woman when she came out to her immediate family.
“By the time I was ready to say ‘Hey, I’m in love with this girl, this is what happened,’ they were like, ‘Oh, I already knew that,’” she recounted. “And it was painful because you need to get ready for that experience.”
She said that her grandmother died and she “never got to share it with her because people were afraid.” One of those people, she said, was her famous mother.
“My mom told me, ‘If you tell your grandma and she passes away, that’s going to be your fault,’” she said. “And I know that she was just trying to protect me and now we understand it’s just a fierce love and protection for the people that you love, but that in that moment was difficult for me to hear.”
“I never told her and she passed away, and that’s the one thing I regret,” she continued. “But I know she knew. I know she knew because we had a really incredible relationship. And that’s the one thing I say: you can’t let anybody take you from your path. You gotta be yourself.”
This past weekend, CNN’s Chris Wallace interviewed Gloria and asked her about what her daughter said. She explained that she has apologized to her daughter but denied telling her not to come out to her grandmother. She said that their Facebook show Red Table Talk: The Estefans brought them closer together.
“I told her just do it slowly,” she said. “Don’t just sit her down and say, boom. Give her a minute to process.”
“In the Latin community, a lot of these subjects aren’t touched, they’re taboo,” she said. “People see, but they don’t want to talk about it, they don’t want to see it. And the whole point of us doing those 20 episodes was, I have all these people that have loved me through the years and supported me. And I want them to realize that we’re all just families trying to get through the difficult moments in life.”
“Life is complicated. Life is tough,” she continued. “And we wanted to share those things with people, so they would realize these are conversations we need to have. And it really was wonderful. The response.”
She told the Sunday Times that she and her daughter have been in therapy together.
“Sometimes it’s just an objective ear that is not emotionally invested in your pain that is important. For Emily and me, it was incredibly useful to have someone there while we were discussing things and pointing things out. It was healing,” she said.
Gloria Estefan was born in Havana, Cuba in 1957 and her family immigrated to the U.S. in 1959 during the Cuban Revolution. Earlier this year, Cuba voted in favor of marriage equality.