Gloria Estefan's fame and fortune was earned. She has worked hard to this day, and continues to do so. Not only is she a great singer, she is a great humanitarian, helping and donating her time and money to many good causes. Life was never easy for Gloria, and this is her story, in my words.
Gloria Estefan was born Gloria Maria Fajardo on September 1st, 1957 to Jose Manuel and Gloria in the town of Havana, Cuba. When she was only 17 months old, her family fled to Miami from the regime of Fidel Castro. They were very poor, and found a small apartment behind the Orange Bowl in a Cuban ghetto, in which they called 'Home'. Jose Fajardo, took part in the failed Bay of Pigs invasion and was captured and jailed. Gloria and her mom adapted slowly to their new homeland, they spoke no English and life day to day was very hard for them. A few years later Jose returned from Cuba, he joined the US Army and the family moved to Texas with him. Rebecca, Gloria's sister arrived in 1963, and Jose would soon volunteer to fight in Vietnam. Music played a key part in Gloria's life during this time, she would sing songs to other families that were missing their homeland, and she was soon discovered she was very talented in music, learning to play a guitar by herself. In Texas she was taught about popular music, and it soon became Gloria's #1 love. Two years after Jose left for Vietnam, he returned, but he was a changed man. The family moved back to Miami, and it was there they noticed the change. Jose was found to be diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, from being exposed to Agent Orange. Since Jose could no longer support his family, his wife, Gloria, went to work by day and college by night. She was learning the English language, and Gloria would often help. With her father ill, her mother working, Gloria was the head of the house, she took care of her younger sister, and also took care of her Dad. From when she was eleven until she was sixteen, she would come straight home from school to take care of her Dad. Music was her way out of the pain, she refused to cry from all the traumatic events in her life. When she had the time, she would lock herself in her room and play songs and sing, it was her escape, something that she looked forward to every day.
Gloria first met her future husband, Emilio Estefan Jr., in a music class she was taken. Emilio had just recently formed a Latin band- 'The Miami Latin Boys'. In 1975, Gloria graduated High School at the top of her class, she went to attend the University of Miami, and majored in psychology and a minor in communication. School was very important to Gloria, it was something she knew she must do. One day her mother literally dragged Gloria to a wedding in which the 'Miami Latin Boys' were playing. Emilio, recognizing Gloria from the music class asked her to sing a number with the band, and she reluctantly agreed, the crowd gave her a standing ovation. Emilio then invited Gloria to come to a 'Latin Boy' practice, just for fun. She agreed and brought her cousin Merci with her. Emilio was blown away from the 2 ladies and asked Gloria if he would like to join the band. Gloria, without a thought, said no. She had just started her freshmen year at UM, and she did not want to risk her grades. Emilio could not take no for an answer, and said that she would sing only on weekends and vacations, and would just be a hobby. Finally, Gloria joined the band, and it was renamed 'The Miami Sound Machine.' Gloria and Emilio always noticed something special about each other, but nothing happened until July 4, 1976. Emilio told Gloria during a band break that it was his birthday. He asked her for a birthday kiss on the cheek, and she agreed, but as she went to kiss him on the cheek, he moved his face and kissed her on the lips. On that day fireworks went off for