Singer-songwriter Gloria Estefan didn’t want her daughter Emily to come out to her ailing grandmother, telling Chris Wallace, “In the Latin community, a lot of these subjects aren’t touched, they’re taboo…I told her, ‘just do it slowly.’”
The latest episode of “Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace” on CNN+ featured the veteran journalist asking Estefan about the past family drama that she believed needed to be approached carefully with the eldest matriarch.
Showing a clip from the Facebook Watch series “Red Table Talk: The Estefans,” which featured the Estefan women emotionally discussing Emily’s coming out and Gloria’s reluctance for her daughter to come out to her grandmother before she passed away, Wallace said, “That’s pretty raw.” Estefan replied, “It was completely raw.”
Estefan said she had received countless letters from people who used that show to come out to their parents that watched with them.
“In the Latin community, a lot of these subjects aren’t touched, they’re taboo,” she said. “The people see, but they don’t want to talk about it, they don’t want to see it. And the whole point of us doing those 20 episodes was, I have all these people that have loved me through the years and supported me. And I want them to realize that we’re all just families trying to get through the difficult moments in life.”
While she believed Emily would be comfortable coming out to her due to their open support for the LGBT community, she felt differently about how her own mother — Emily’s grandmother — might take the news.
“I had a mother with ulcerative colitis that even if I brought up a bill or something that was not even important, [she] would get very upset and would get sick,” Estefan said. “So I told (Emily), just do it slowly. Do it. Don’t just sit her down and say, boom, give her a minute to process. And I just kept thinking to myself while all this was happening in the show, I kept thinking, ‘Had you sat your grandma down and told her this…What would you be thinking now, after she passed away, that had nothing to do with your message to her or the delivery of that?‘”
“So yeah,” she continued, “and life is complicated. Life is tough. And we wanted to share those things with people. So they would realize these are conversations we need to have. And it really was wonderful. The response.”
But the clip Wallace played cuts off Emily’s version of what her mom told her. In that episode, Emily recalls Gloria telling her, “If you tell your grandma and she dies, her blood is on your hands.”
Emily remarked, “Well, I can tell you why I didn’t feel that.” She continued, “I was like, ‘Hey, I’m in love with this girl. The first thing you said was, ‘if you tell your grandma and she dies, her blood is on your hands.’ I just wasn’t ready for that because I understand my grandma was old, but I [was] made to feel like, OK, whatever it is, like hide it. It’s not okay. So that’s where my hurt started. I’m never going to forget that.”
“Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace” drops new episodes Fridays on HBO Max, with a highlights show on CNN Sunday night. Watch the full exchange above via HBO Max and CNN.