Estefan’s niece opens up about her ex-husband’s alleged indiscretions — which Gloria and Emilio knew about before her.
Gloria Estefan, daughter Emily and niece Lili proved their version of the “Red Table Talk” will be just as candid as its predecessor.
“Red Table Talk: The Estefans” launched Wednesday on Facebook Watch, with the women not only promising to be “as honest, as real” as Jada Pinkett Smith’s family — but proving it by opening up about “something extremely personal” in their lives: a scandal that ended Lili’s marriage.
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“We have never spoken about it publicly,” said Gloria at the top of the premiere. “She couldn’t have emotionally talked about this before, she was raw.”
Lili Estefan, a TV personality for Univision, and husband Lorenzo Luaces split in 2017, shortly after their 25th wedding anniversary. “My life stopped in ’17,” the mother-of-two recalled. “I really thought I had a perfect life. I was so wrong and I didn’t see it until that moment.”
As she explained it, two weeks after celebrating their anniversary, she and the rest of the Estefan family hunkered down together for shelter during Hurricane Irma. When the hurricane had passed and they stepped outside again, Luaces pulled his wife aside and revealed a paparazzo caught him with another woman and was asking $200,000 for the photos.
He said the woman was “no one important” and told his wife they would not be paying any money. “You want to kill him … I’ve always contained myself knowing I’m a public figure,” she recalled thinking at the time. “Everyone around me, I can’t even scream at him … it’s one of those moments that you’re like, stay quiet.”
While it was a shock to Lili, both her employer Univision and several members of her family knew about the photos before she did.
As the paparazzo was shopping the photos around to find the highest bidder, Univision was among the first to see them — 10 days before Lili found out about the images from Lorenzo. Emilio Estefan, Gloria’s husband and Lili’s uncle, then heard about the pictures from Univision and called Lorenzo himself.
“‘They got you, they got many pictures and I don’t know how you’re gonna handle that,'” Emilio, who joined the women at the table, recalled telling Lili’s then-husband. He said he also advised Lorenzo to think about their children and told him talk to Gloria for further guidance before speaking with Lili.
So he did, asking Gloria to join him on a walk the evening before he finally told his wife. “He tells me the situation. He started going off on he felt like he wasn’t the center of your life, that the kids came first and the dogs came first,” she recalled, “and I said to him, ‘Lorenzo, you do realize once you have kids, the kids have to come first.’ He says, ‘Yeah, but men, we need to feel like we’re being taken care of.'”
“I asked him if he was in love with the woman and he said, ‘No,'” Gloria added. “I said, ‘You need to tell Lili before she goes to work tomorrow.'”
Once she finally learned about the photos and the fact her employer already knew about them, Lili said she “felt so humiliated.” She said he then tried to convince her to get ahead of the photos and come out publicly saying they were being blackmailed, to which she initially agreed.
Once she learned the paparazzo had left his phone number with Univision and said he had “a lot of information” to share about Lorenzo, however, she started to realize there was probably more to the story. The photos — which Lili never looked at — never saw the light of day, because Lorenzo eventually agreed to buy them.
“I saw the pictures. I think he decided for the kids,” said Gloria. “I think he did not want his kids to see the pictures. I think it was the right choice.”
Lili also remembered what it was like telling the couple’s two children about the scandal before it hit. “I sit with them and I tell them, this happens a lot in marriages that have been together for a long time and I think the only thing that happened to your father is he’s married to a public figure,” she said, excusing his alleged behavior, “that’s why a paparazzi has done this to him, has done this to us.”
“I finished the conversation and I look at him like, ‘You broke my heart,’ and I storm out of the room,” she said, claiming that he then left the house and never returned.
“After I defended him for hours in front of my boss and lawyers, I can say that I got divorced and never had a conversation with him, which I think is the hardest thing,” she said, looking back. “My mind was going crazy, the worst moment of my life and I didn’t even get a call from him. This is not the guy I know, who is this?”
Lili said that she no longer has any direct communication with her ex, who she stays in contact with through their kids. Gloria added she still has love for Lorenzo, but added, “I don’t like him so much right now.”
Lili and Lorenzo’s daughter Lina also joined the show, where she revealed she had an inkling something was going on a year and a half before her parents split. After being left home alone while her dad went out to a mystery dinner, she said he snapped at her, leading her to believe he had been “seeing someone else.”
“I felt like it wasn’t new news to me,” she said when asked how she felt when she learned about the photos.
“There’s one thing that I do every night before I go to sleep, I pray for my kids to meet the guy that I married,” Lili said at the end of the episode. “Because the guy that I married is not the guy that I divorced. They deserve to meet that incredible guy that I married. I can’t say any more than that.”
Luaces hasn’t commented publicly on the couple’s split.