Emily, 25, is the daughter of the former Miami Sound Machine singer and her husband, Cuban singer Emilio Estefan. This week, she joined her mom, as well as her cousin, Lili for a candid conversation about sexuality and Emily’s own coming out story, for the “Red Table Talk: The Estefans,” series.
In the video, which can be seen below, Emily said that her first-ever sexual experience was with a woman, followed by an intimate encounter with a man a short time later.
After she started dating Gemeny Hernandez at the age of 21, she realized that she is a lesbian. That was four years ago, and she and Hernandez are still an item.
However, coming out to her parents proved difficult for her. First, she tried “testing the waters,” as she described it, by asking her parents if they thought she might be gay. Unfortunately, the answer she got was a non-committal “only you can know that.”
After realizing that she was in love, Emily decided to remove all ambiguity and reveal who she really was.
“Hey, I’m in love with this girl,” she nervously told Gloria.
In response, Gloria spoke about her own mother, Emily’s grandmother.
“If you tell your grandma and she dies, her blood is on your hands.”
The younger Estefan said that, at the time, she believed her mom was trying to tell her to hide who she truly was.
“That’s where my hurt started. I’m never going to forget that.”
Gloria admitted that she could have handled things better, noting that she and her mother have had a “complicated relationship,” and were even estranged for a period of time. Further, the older woman was in ill health. Gloria thought she was simply trying to protect her parent and her child from pain.
“In my mind was, if Emily tells my mom and something happens to my mom, then she will forever be thinking guiltily that she might have caused that situation, and I didn’t want any kind of correlation between Em’s sexuality and my mom getting sick,” she said.
Gloria also tried to hide her daughter’s sexuality from the media, admitting that she feared that if the news got out it would overshadow her album release. All the while, Emily was suicidal.
Gloria’s mother passed away not knowing the truth about who her granddaughter is, something that bothers Emily to this day. Both women said that they’ve been going to family therapy and making progress in their strained relationship, but as the video showed, emotions are still raw.