THE DEATH OF THE ‘DIVO DE JUÁREZ’

The secret daughter of Juan Gabriel

Since the Mexican showman’s death last year, a number of unrecognized children have emerged

Juan Gabriel during a concert in Mexico City.
Juan Gabriel during a concert in Mexico City.Cordon Press

Whenever he was asked about his private life, Juan Gabriel’s sharp cheekbones would rise up, his thick lips spreading into a wide smile that revealed his gleaming teeth. He would laugh, because he was convinced that his secrets would go with him to the grave. He was not counting on the precision of DNA testing, which would, after his death, bring to light part of the mystery that made him unique.

For a long time, he held half the world captivated with the game of ambiguity related to his double personality, which saw one of these two men dress in exuberant, sequined shirts, moving his hips like few others could on the stage. The other man, meanwhile, to the surprise of many, hid a half-dozen children.

Claudia Gabriela Aguilera is, as far as anyone knows, his only female descendant

And a new daughter has just been “born.” Claudia Gabriela Aguilera is 42 years old, and, as far as anyone knows, is the only female descendant of the so-called “Divo de Juárez.” This week the US TV channel Telemundo revealed the document that definitively confirmed that she is the offspring of the singer, despite the fact that she had no invitation to his funeral nor was mentioned in his will.

“I never doubted it, I always knew what I was,” Aguilera explained, pointing at the 99.99% genetic link with Alberto Aguilera Valadez, the real name of the singing star. “I am doing this for all of those people who judged me and who continue to judge me. I always knew the truth. I never lied.”

Since Juan Gabriel died of a heart attack at the age of 66 last August, a number of children have come out of the woodwork. And all of them, what’s more, bear his name or some kind of derivation of it. Luis Alberto Aguilera and Joao Gabriel Alberto Aguilera, aged 26 and 23, respectively, took a step into the spotlight when they found out that they had been left out of any kind of will. They underwent DNA tests via the brother of the artist, Pablo Aguilera, and have since taken the place of the new heirs to the crown of the Divo de Juárez. “And more kids are still to come,” blurted out Pablo in the midst of the controversy.

“He always wanted a daughter, and as I couldn’t give him one, I wouldn’t rule out that he gave it to someone else,” explained the mother of Joao Aguilera before the identity of the new member of the family was revealed. “He always managed to get want he wanted.”

Claudia Gabriela will, however, not be getting involved in one of the family feuds that has been most closely covered by the Latin American gossip press: who should get the fortune Gabriel left behind. “I respect the decision my father took to leave the money to certain people,” she said. “For me, the most important thing is to get closer to my brothers – money isn’t everything.”

Joao and Luis Alberto, on the other hand, are prepared to fight for a share of their father’s inheritance, which recognized as the only heirs the children the singer had with Laura Salas: Iván (28), Joan (27), Hans (26) and Jean Gabriel (25). The fortune is valued at around at least $30 million, not counting the royalties from 60 records and the dozens of mansions he had scattered around Mexico and the United States.

Joao, for example, has filed around a dozen lawsuits against Iván Alguilera in a Florida court. One of the motions, to which EL PAÍS has had access, even questions whether Iván is genuinely one of Juan Gabriel’s children, and calls for a DNA test to be carried out to prove it. In this ongoing soap opera, it seems that no one is a child or a beneficiary until they’ve been to the lab to prove it.

English version by Simon Hunter.

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