This Mexican Telenovela is the Early 2000s ‘Bridgerton’

Lead Photo: Televisa
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Bridgerton season 3 is the biggest hit in the world right now, with Netflix breaking records with the first part of season 3 and preparing to release the second part of the season on June 13th. But before there was Bridgerton, there was Amor Real, a Mexican telenovela that was pretty much the early 2000s version of Bridgerton, set in 19th-century Mexico.

Don’t believe us? Consider this. The telenovela basically follows the love triangle between Matilde Peñalver Beristáin, played by Adela Noriega, Manuel Fuentes-Guerra Aranda, played by Fernando Colunga, and Adolfo Solís (who will later pretend to be Felipe Santamaría), played by Mauricio Islas. Matilde falls in love with Adolfo, but of course, her mother Augusta doesn’t approve of the match because Adolfo is poor and Augusta wants her to marry Manuel, the son of a powerful landlord. 

Since this is a telenovela and not real life, Augusta and her son scheme to send Adolfo to prison and convince Matilde that he never loved her. She, of course, ends up marrying Manuel. That is when Adolfo escapes from jail and looks to reunite with his long-lost love. But Manuel won’t let her go. So, Adolfo must pretend to be Manuel’s new administrator.

The two then become friends, and Adolfo accepts that Manuel is actually a good man, just as Matilde realizes she has grown to love him and urges Adolfo to go. But of course, that is when Manuel discovers the truth about Adolfo and decides he wants nothing to do with Matilde. Can Manuel forgive Matilde or will Matilde and Adolfo find love together after all? Now doesn’t that sound like Bridgerton-worthy drama?

Amor Real was so successful that it aired in the United States, Russia, and Spain, among others. It was subsequently released on DVD in 2005 and became the first telenovela to be released with English subtitles. Televisa later went on to also release an abridged DVD version of the telenovela in several countries.