Fight for Mexican crooner Juan Gabriel’s fortune reveals his many secrets

Since the death of the musical idol, the existence of children born out of wedlock claiming their share of the pie has come to light

Elena Reina

Behind the diaphanous shirts, the sharp cheekbones and the enigmatic smile that served as his only answer to uncomfortable questions, there was Alberto Aguilera Valadez. And when the larger-than-life Juan Gabriel died, Alberto Aguilera returned to the forefront – and with him, so did details about the most intimate and well-hidden parts of his private life.

Juan Gabriel at a concert in L.A. in September 2014.
Juan Gabriel at a concert in L.A. in September 2014.JC Olivera (Getty Images)
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Juan Gabriel, padre de todos

The family war over the multimillion inheritance left behind by the Mexican music idol has shed light on parts of the mystery that made Juan Gabriel so unique.

Alberto Aguilera had at least two children that nobody knew of with two of his employees. These children have now stepped into the limelight to demand their share of the pie, showing the world a side to their father that people were unfamiliar with.

Ever since his death at age 66 on August 28, previously unheard-of offspring keep emerging. Luis Alberto Aguilera, 26, and Joao Gabriel Alberto Aguilera, 23, came out in public when they realized that they had been left out of their father’s will. After DNA tests using a sample from the artist’s brother, Pablo Aguilera, came out positive, they joined the line of heirs to the Divo from Ciudad Juárez.

Juan Gabriel was one person, and Alberto Aguilera was another. They were two characters whom he juggled very artfully

Gilberto Barrera, Televisa

“And more children will come out of the woodwork,” said Pablo Aguilera, adding fuel to the fire.

The latest official members of the singer’s complex family tree are ready to fight for a share from a will that only recognizes the children that Aguilera had with Laura Salas: Iván, 28, Joan, 27, Hans, 26 and Jean Gabriel, 25.

The artist’s fortune is estimated to be at least $30 million, not counting the royalties from his 60 albums and his mansions in Mexico and the United States. The eldest child, Iván, is written in as the biggest beneficiary of these assets.

The family that Juan Gabriel formed with Laura Salas always occupied pride of place, at least with a view to public opinion. The only member who had been left outside the family photograph until now was Alberto Aguilera Jr., the singer’s first adopted child.

Ciudad Juárez, his home town, was always very proud of Juan Gabriel and his achievements.
Ciudad Juárez, his home town, was always very proud of Juan Gabriel and his achievements.JOSE LUIS GONZALEZ (REUTERS)

That is why, when Joao and Luis Alberto made their own claim, everyone suspected a scam. That is, until the genetic tests proved otherwise.

Juan Gabriel once wrote the following lines to Luis Alberto’s mother, Guadalupe González: “You can see me even after I’m gone from this planet; just look at the mirror.” Guadalupe González was very young when she showed up at his mansion to work in the kitchen. In a television interview, she said that it was Juan Gabriel who proposed having a child together.

“One day he told me: Guadalupe, did you never think of having a child? When we came together, it was a very beautiful thing. He told me: ‘Look, Guadalupe, I didn’t just give you a child, I gave you my essence. I have prepared physically, mentally, spiritually to give you this child, because through him, I gave you my essence. You have to take very good care of it.’ And I feel his essence in my son.”

As for Joao’s mother, Consuelo Rosales – or Chelo, as he used to call her – the singer allegedly told her that to him, making a child was another aspect of creation, like creating music.

And so, with this idea in mind, he went around “gifting” children to his female friends, who were all in the same line of work as his own mother, who abandoned him at the doorstep of an orphanage when he was very little.

None of these women has accused the singer of being a bad father, or of refusing to pay to help raise the children. In fact, they admit that he lived up to his promises, and that they knew he was “not one to be tied down,” as Rosales told Univisión.

Rosales added that for a while, they both tried to have a daughter: “He wanted one, and since I couldn’t give it to him, I don’t rule out that he may have given it to another woman. He always got what he wanted.”

Soon after his death, a woman from Texas named Gabriela Aguilera Gil did in fact state that she was the singer’s only daughter. This claim has not yet been backed with genetic testing, however.

“Juan Gabriel was one person, and Alberto Aguilera was another. They were two characters whom he juggled very artfully. The ambiguity regarding Juan Gabriel’s sexual preferences does not match the testimony now being provided by the mothers of his secret children, or at the very least it is surprising,” notes Gilberto Barrera, head of entertainment news for Televisa. “With Juan Gabriel’s death, we are beginning to know Alberto’s side, which had always been concealed.”

Juan Gabriel, who always used to smile in lieu of a verbal response to probing questions about his possible homosexuality or his relationship with his children, is gone forever. But from the grave, Alberto is now being more sincere than ever.

English version by Susana Urra.

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