(Warning: This post contains spoilers about Part 1 of Netflix’s “Selena: The Series.”)
Netflix’s “Selena: The Series” portrays the beautiful — and nerve-wracking — forbidden love story between Tejano music star Selena Quintanilla and her bandmate and future husband, Chris Perez. In the show, the pair chose to hide their budding romance from Selena’s father and band manager for fear that he would kick Perez out of the band. But did it happen like that in real life?
Let’s break it down. It’s true that the pair met in 1989 when Perez, a talented guitarist, joined Selena y Los Dinos. It’s also true that they were immediately drawn to each other — although the meet-cute scene in the Netflix series where the two come face to face in the doorway of Selena’s Corpus Christi home is likely a bit of artistic license on the part of the show’s writers.
However, Perez did tell Entertainment Tonight that his first thoughts upon meeting Selena were that she was “beautiful and talented.”
“I’m a shy person by nature, and there was just something about her that she was able to pull me out,” he said.
But it’s also true that Selena’s father, Abraham, tried to split up the couple.
After confessing their feelings for each other, Selena and Chris initially tried to keep their relationship a secret. But unlike in the show, according to Biography.com, it was actually Selena’s sister, Suzette, that broke the news to their father.
What the show did get right is the severity of Abraham’s reaction, which did lead to him kicking Perez out of the band.
“It kind of hurt his pride and his ego to find out that he was the last to know,” Pérez told CNN. “When things got tense and things were said by him, it hurt me that he was saying it, but I didn’t let it get to me because I knew deep down, he knew the kind of person I was.”
He added: “The worst thing he said to me was that I was like a cancer to his family. His family knew about us being together and was supportive; when he said that it was like, ‘C’mon!’”
Despite Abraham’s disapproval, the couple eloped on April 2, 1992.
Perez recalled the day on what would have been their 25th anniversary in 2017.
“It’s hard to believe that today marks 25 years since Selena and I decided that the only way to be together… was to run away and get married (at 20 and 22 years old) in secret,” he wrote in a Facebook post, alongside a picture of their marriage certificate. “What a rollercoaster ride THAT day was.”
Though Part 1 of “Selena: The Series” leaves off just as Abraham kicks Perez out of the band, in real life, he eventually softened and welcomed his new son-in-law into the family.
However, their life together would be cut short just three days shy of their third wedding anniversary on March 31, 1995 when Selena was murdered by her fan club president and former manager of her Selena, Etc. boutiques, Yolanda Saldivar.
Perez speaks more at length about their relationship in his book, “To Selena, With Love.”
Part 1 of “Selena: The Series” is now streaming on Netflix.