Gloria Estefan has said that she was sexually abused by a family member when she was nine years old.
The Cuban-American musician said she was molested at music school by a relative whom her mother trusted.
“He was family, but not close family,” she said in an episode of the Facebook Watch show Red Table Talk: The Estefans.
“He was in a position of power because my mother had put me in his music school and he immediately started telling her how talented I was and how I needed special attention, and she felt lucky that he was focusing this kind of attention on me.”
Estefan, 64, said the abuse started “little by little and then it goes fast”. She said she had been unable to escape a “dangerous” situation.
“I told him, ‘This cannot happen, you cannot do this.’ He goes: ‘Your father’s in Vietnam, your mother’s alone and I will kill her if you tell her.’ I knew the man was insane and that’s why I thought he might actually hurt my mother.”
Estefan said she ultimately did tell her mother after her anxiety over the experience made her lose chunks of hair. Her mother told the police, who advised her not to press charges because she would “go through worse trauma having to get on a stand and testify”, said Estefan.
Estefan was born in Cuba and moved to Miami as a toddler when her family fled the Castro regime. She first found success as a member of Miami Sound Machine, and went solo in the late 1980s. Known as the queen of Latin pop, Estefan has won three Grammy awards and released 14 studio albums, the latest, Brazil305, released in 2020.
Information and support for anyone affected by rape or sexual abuse issues is available from the following organisations. In the UK, Rape Crisis offers support on 0808 802 9999 in England and Wales, 0808 801 0302 in Scotland, or 0800 0246 991 in Northern Ireland. In the US, Rainn offers support on 800-656-4673. In Australia, support is available at 1800Respect (1800 737 732). Other international helplines can be found at ibiblio.org/rcip/internl.html