Fittingly, the lead-in to Telemundo’s La Reina de el Chapo – an hour-long interview with Joaquín Guzmán’s third wife, Emma Coronel – was the 2011 super hit, La Reina del Sur. The network has capitalized on Kate del Castillo’s working relationship with El Chapo (she plans to produce a movie on his life) by re-airing the novela where she portrays Teresa Mendoza, the 23-year-old girlfriend of a rising member of the Sinaloa cartel.
On Sunday, the network and journalist Anabel Hernandez were able to score one of the first interviews with Coronel, who was joined by her lawyer and El Chapo’s sister. She talked about everything from her marriage to the drug lord to his perceived net worth.
Here are eight things we learned from Emma’s interview:
She couldn't say if he's a drug trafficker.
Emma met El Chapo when she was 17 years old. She was at a party with her boyfriend, and El Chapo was accompanied by another woman. He eventually asked her to dance, but they wouldn’t see each other for another year.
Even though El Chapo was a fugitive on the run (and one of the most wanted criminals in the world), Emma claims she did not know that he was a drug trafficker. And she still doesn’t know whether he is or isn’t.
“I wouldn’t know if he’s trafficking drugs,” she said.
Their wedding was not elaborate.
Emma said El Chapo won her over with his conversation and the way he treated her. Though people around him treated him with the utmost respect, she said, he didn’t act like he was better than others.
They married when she turned 18, and the only people who attended were her family and the people who worked on the ranch. There were no politicians or military personnel present.
His life on the run made their relationship difficult.
Though they had gotten married, they weren’t living together because he had to constantly move. They only saw each other on weekends, but sometimes months went by before they were able to see each other again.
I wish El Chapo wasn't _______.
When Hernandez asked Emma what she would change about El Chapo, she said that she wished he wasn’t always in the eye of the hurricane.
Though their first years of marriage were difficult because he was on the lam, it wasn’t until her twin daughters were born in 2011 that she realized the realities of her life.
“My daughters can’t grow up freely,” she said. “They can’t see their dad… Or, if someone speaks ill of their father, they may feel bad.”
On his 2014 recapture
One day, the two were home, and it sounded as though someone was going to knock their door down. She could hear people identifying themselves. El Chapo got up and got dressed, and Emma didn’t initially feel frightened.
Other than Emma and El Chapo, there was also a cook, a woman who helped her with her daughters, and another woman. She said they were all handcuffed; El Chapo tried to get the agents to remove the handcuffs off of their daughters’ caretaker, but he was ignored.
Emma couldn’t say how many U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents there were, and the DEA wouldn’t return Telemundo’s calls for answers.
There were reports that weapons were found, but Emma said that she has never seen El Chapo with any firearms.
She doesn't understand why El Chapo's text messages were released.
With the video he shot for Kate and Sean, El Chapo wanted to tell his side of the story, but he didn’t know that the video would be transmitted publicly. She also admits that she doesn’t know if he feels betrayed about the video. “We haven’t talked about that,” she said.
Emma was not in the loop about El Chapo’s meetup with Kate and Sean. It wasn’t until after it happened that he informed her.
After El Chapo’s and Kate’s flirty text messages were released, Emma was not bothered. “I didn’t think anything of them,” she said. “I just said, ‘Why would people care about this?’ I didn’t understand why the (Procuraduría General de la República) would release that kind of information. They should have continued to investigate and see if she was at fault. Then, if she was guilty, they should have released that information.”
Emma doesn’t know Kate del Castillo. “I admire her very much,” she said. When asked if she was jealous about the perceived relationship between Kate and El Chapo, she said, “Not at all. Of course not. At no moment was I jealous of Kate.
Her brother didn't coordinate El Chapo's tunnel escape.
Emma’s brother has been tied to El Chapo’s tunnel escape from a maximum-security prison in Altiplano. Emma denies this is true and says that there’s records of him being at school in Culiacan.
She also denied that the late Ignacio Coronel – who was one of the Sinaloa Cartel’s leaders – was related to her. “There are a lot of people with that last name,” she said. “I don’t know him.” Reports have called him her dad or her uncle.
"Where is the money?"
Forbes has previously included El Chapo in his billionaires list, but Emma is adamant that this is a lie. “Where is the money?” she said. “Maybe [Forbes] knows, because I don’t know where it is.”
But it’s not exactly as though she is roughing it. Emma showed up to an interview with the Los Angeles Times with her Prada bag by her side.