Gloria Trevi: ‘I was unfairly punished, but that has made me stronger’

The Mexican singer, who is preparing a series about her life, talks about the new lawsuit against her for the same child abuse accusations that landed her in jail 23 years ago

Gloria Trevi
Mexican singer Gloria Trevi, in a central hotel in Madrid last Wednesday.Samuel Sánchez
Javier A. Fernández

If the life of Mexican singer Gloria Trevi were a television series, the most important and cathartic scene would be the moment in which she felt completely free. The moment in which she left not only prison — where she spent more than four years before being released without charges —, but also escaped from the man who had “oppressed her for 17 years,” she tells EL PAÍS in Madrid, where she will take part in the Universal Music Festival.

There’s a reason why Trevi has been thinking about this. She has been reflecting on the most important scenes of her life, precisely because it is going to be a TV series. For the past two years, she has been working on a fictional show based on her life. Few artists have had so many ups and downs in their lifeline. Trevi rose to fame thanks to her singing talent and a cheeky attitude that earned her the nickname of the Mexican Madonna. But her successful music career came to a halt when she was accused of grooming young girls to have sex with Mexican producer Sergio Andrade, her former partner, the father of her eldest child and the man who “oppressed her for 17 years.” According to the accusations, she and Andrade lured underage girls to an alleged music training program, which was a front for a sex cult.

After a judge ruled that there was insufficient evidence to support the charges, and she was released from prison, Trevi made a titanic effort to get away from Andrade and rebuild her life, both personally — she married and had more children — and professionally — she is once again one of the most popular music stars in Latin America. It’s a story with plenty of material, and one that covers all genres: “action, romance, horror and even science fiction,” she jokes. But as if the show didn’t have enough twists, life has thrown up another one.

In December last year, a court in Los Angeles accepted a civil lawsuit from two women who claim that the singer approached them when they were 13 and 15 years old and recruited them in the alleged music training program. They say Andrade abused them and that Trevi acted as his accomplice and groomer, according to the lawsuit to which EL PAÍS has had access, which alleges that most of the alleged crimes took place in Los Angeles. Although it does not specifically refer to Trevi or Andrade by name, it mentions details such as the albums they recorded and the concerts they gave, which identifies them. The complaint was filed right before the December 31, 2022 deadline for a “lookback” window that suspended the statute of limitations on childhood sex assault claims in the state of California.

Mexican singer Gloria Trevi, in a central hotel in Madrid, on June 14, 2023.
Mexican singer Gloria Trevi, in a central hotel in Madrid, on June 14, 2023.Samuel Sánchez

Trevi was in Spain preparing to record new songs when she found out about the lawsuit. “I was here because the next day I had a recording session,” she recounts. And she decided to explain how she felt about the situation in the new song, Medusa. “That’s when I started writing it because I can’t talk about legal situations in the media, I prefer for this to be trialed in court,” she explains. Medusa is now her latest single, it was released on Friday, June 16.

In the song, Trevi uses the Greek mythological character of Medusa as a metaphor for her current moment. In a late version of the myth, Medusa was a priestess who was raped by Poseidon in Athena’s temple. Athena then punished her by transforming her into a monster with a head full of snakes. In other words, Medusa is the victim who unfairly becomes the villain of the story. “We have all experienced having your story told the wrong way, being made to look like the bad guy. I am Medusa, I think my story has been mistold. I was unfairly punished, but that has made me more powerful, stronger,” says Trevi, who describes the song as empowering. “It’s to dance after the tragedy.”

The Mexican singer says it’s best not to talk about the latest lawsuit, which will be handled by her attorney Camille Vásquez — the lawyer who represented Johnny Depp in the media defamation trial against Amber Heard. “I sent her my case and when she replied that she would take it, she touched my heart, telling me: ‘I’m going to fight for you,’” recalls the singer.

In a filing seeking to dismiss the case, Vásquez — who was named the top lawyer under 40 by the Hispanic Lawyers Association — claimed that Trevi was also a victim and that the producer was “the true monster” of the story. “This case represents an unjustified attack on a victim of sustained sexual, mental, and physical abuse,” read the document.

Mexican singer Gloria Trevi in a downtown hotel in Madrid.
Mexican singer Gloria Trevi in a downtown hotel in Madrid.Samuel Sánchez

Trevi wants to stay away from the court case and focus on her career. She ended 2022 with three tours in different formats in Mexico. “There are many cities that are impossible to reach by road with trailers, so I adapt my show.” This summer, she begins her first tour of Spain, after more than 30 years in the business. “Isn’t it amazing? I had only sung three single songs,” she says.

For now, the singer is downplaying the new lawsuit. “I am focusing on what I do, making music, and the lawyer is focusing on her job.” But she criticizes the use of the justice system “for this purpose.”

“The laws should be there to help people who need it, not for those who want to use it to make a profit, because they diminish the credibility of the victims,” she says, without specifying who she is referring to. “It is very unfortunate, that is why it will have to be heard in court.”

“I think it’s my chance to clear everything up once and for all. So that the story of this Medusa is told properly,” she adds.

This dramatic new scene in her real life as the fictional series about her life is filmed. Of the show, she says; “There will be male villains and female villains, but I think the main one will be life itself, which is sometimes full of sunshine, but other times, is the most villainous.”

Sign up for our weekly newsletter to get more English-language news coverage from EL PAÍS USA Edition

More information

Archived In

Recomendaciones EL PAÍS
Recomendaciones EL PAÍS