In her new memoir, Forgiveness, out April 7 via Atria Books, budding banda singer Chiquis Rivera is telling all, including the reasons she and her mother, regional Mexican superstar Jenni Rivera, stopped speaking in October 2012 — two months before Jenni died in a plane crash in Monterrey, Mexico.
Mother and daughter never got a chance to reconcile. In fact, Jenni reportedly kicked her eldest daughter out of the house and left her entirely out of her will. Up until then, Chiquis had served as La Diva de la Banda’s right-hand woman in the multi-million dollar empire known as Jenni Rivera Enterprises.
Further complicating matters was the fact that Jenni made Rosie the guardian of her estate, as well as the guardian of her five children. Chiquis eventually fought back by requesting custody of her two youngest siblings, Jenicka, 17, and Johnny, 13, which a judge recently granted.
Beyond revealing what led to the now-famous rift between her and Jenni, the “La Malquerida” singer also discusses details of the sexual abuse she suffered as a child at the hands of her father, Jose Trinidad Marin, who is serving a life sentence in prison.
And that’s not all.
Here are some other things you’ll be shocked to read about in Forgiveness.
1. Chiquis doesn’t hate her father.
Chiquis shares details about the abuse she suffered at the hands of her father that until now have never been made public, like the fact that it started in a bathroom when she was eight — after her parents separated in 1994 and were splitting custody of her — and ended when she was 12, after she ingeniously told her father’s live-in girlfriend that she had begun menstruating. “Of course, Dora went and told my father and, just as I expected, the midnight episodes stopped once and for all,” she writes.
Chiquis says she is sharing these details now “not to be morbid, but rather for the purposes of cleansing my soul and being transparent.”
Chiquis recalls in the book: “My father would take advantage of those weekends, exploiting my silence more and more while simultaneously becoming ever more aggressive. His growing boldness translated into longer, more fearsome and more painful sessions for me. All I remember is closing my eyes, tensing up my arms and thinking: ‘If I don’t put up too much of a fight, then he’ll be done with me sooner.'”
Despite the abuse, Chiquis, now 29, says that she doesn’t feel hatred toward her father.
“For what he did to me as a little girl, I forgave him a thousand times. But it would be a betrayal of my mother if I sought out the friendship of a man who never even sent me a message of condolence [after Jenni died],” writes Chiquis, who spoke out about the abuse in 1997. After a prolonged investigation and a subsequent trial in which Chiquis testified against her father, he was sentenced to life in prison.
Nowadays, Chiquis says has no contact with him whatsoever.
2. The abuse didn’t end with her father.
In what she considers to be her most closely guarded secret, Chiquis reveals that she was also molested by a woman. “This is something I haven’t confessed to any of the seemingly thousands of psychologists whom I saw during my teenage years, nor the doctors who treated me after the scandal with my father, nor the pastor of any church during my deepest spiritual crisis,” she writes.
Chiquis goes on to say that her own mother died without knowing this secret. Although she doesn’t reveal the woman’s name, Chiquis explains that it happened around the same time that she was being abused by her father.
“This woman would come up to me and say, ‘Let’s play house.’ I was nine, and just getting used to the games my father forced upon me. It was just so confusing to be doubly victimized,” reveals Chiquis. “She would touch me, and she asked me to touch and stimulate her…Until one day she didn’t ask me to play anymore and the afternoons spent in the corners disappeared, along with that abusive woman.”
Chiquis states that she is sharing this painful truth so “other victims of abuse can read about my mistakes and fears and see that it’s possible to overcome them, as hollow as that phrase might sound. You can regain trust, if you put your trust in God. And you can learn to love again if you can learn to forgive.”
3. At one point, Chiquis thought she was gay.
Another revelation that may shock readers is that there was a time when Chiquis thought she liked women. “I would question myself as to whether I was gay or straight,” she writes in the book, attributing that period of confusion during her adolescence to the abuse she suffered. “Would I become so promiscuous that I wouldn’t be able to maintain an exclusive relationship, or would I instead become completely celibate and alone? That’s how terrified I was by even the thought of being touched, regardless of whether it was by a man or a woman.”
In an interview with Maria Celeste Arraras of Al Rojo Vivo, Chiquis expanded on this stage of her life, saying that at one point she thought she had romantic feelings for her female best friend — apparently Jenni knew and strongly disapproved. “Because I never told her my secret [about being abused by a woman] she couldn’t understand it,” said Chiquis in the interview. “It was very innocent, but I really did think I was in love at the time.”
“Obviously I like men and I know that now,” added Chiquis, who has been in an on-again, off-again relationship with a Latin music executive whom she chooses not to name in her book.
4. Jenni and Chiquis had more than one major fallout.
Though Chiquis describes her mother as loving and sweet, she says there was also a side to her that was severe, especially when it came to disciplining her children.
When she was 14, Chiquis says she cut school early one day, and when she got home, Jenni asked her, “You want me to whoop your ass, or do you want a different punishment?” after which she proceeded to cut off all her hair. “The longest strand I had left among the patchy and raggedy hatchet job was two inches!” Chiquis recalls.
Then she says Jenni yelled, “Now put on some shoes and get out of my house, bitch.”
Chiquis recounts that she spent two months at her grandmother’s house, where she felt depressed and “gained a ton of weight.” Jenni didn’t speak to her during that time, not even on her fifteenth birthday. Then, one day, her mother came to pick her up. “She walked up to me, grabbed me by my muffin top bulging out over the top of my jeans and said, ‘Grab your things. It’s time to come home.’”
When she got home, Chiquis says her mother put her on a strict diet. “Jenni the Personal Trainer would even regulate the amount of water I could drink,” Chiquis writes, “and would make me dance in the garage for thirty minutes every day wrapped up in a trash bag. Wow. Happy Fifteenth, Chiquis!”
5. There is video of Chiquis and Esteban Loaiza.
To be clear, it’s not that kind of video.
In Forgiveness, Chiquis confirms that the reason for her and her mother’s separation stemmed from the rumor that she had an affair with Esteban Loaiza, Jenni’s ex-husband.
Chiquis vehemently denies the rumor and attributes it to “toxic voices” that surrounded Jenni at a time when she was deeply lonely and confused, leading her to doubt her then-husband’s fidelity and her own daughter’s loyalty. The fact that Jenni’s first husband was a sex offender and her second husband, Juan Lopez, cheated on her, didn’t help matters, according to Chiquis — she had reason to believe she would be burned yet again by a man.
In her book, Chiquis shares that, in an attempt to find evidence of incriminating behavior, Jenni looked at video footage from her home’s security system, and found an instance in which Chiquis is seen leaving the master bedroom which Jenni shared with Esteban while they were married (the two divorced in October 2012).
Chiquis says Jenni became fixated with the video, and watched it so many times that she had made herself believe her daughter actually “came back to the house and snuck back into the bedroom” to have a sexual encounter with Esteban.
Upon reviewing the footage herself, Chiquis contends that it in no way supports that claim. “It took me four hours to review each and every second of footage taken by three separate cameras on that fateful night: one from my mother’s closet, one from the hallway that leads to my mother’s bedroom, and one from the main entrance to the house…I saw myself going in her room to say goodnight to Esteban and I saw myself leaving, completely normally, just five minutes later. I saw myself walking out through the front door, and two minutes later, Esteban came down to turn out the lights before returning to his bedroom. Half an hour after I left — on the camera my mother installed in her closet to keep watch over her safe — you can just barely make out Esteban heading in the direction of the bathroom. A little while later, he walks back, this time wrapped up in towels. For obvious reasons, there were no cameras in the actual bedroom itself. And the view inside the closet was cloaked in darkness. The light from the nearby bathroom was all that illuminated it. After Esteban got out of the shower, there were hours and hours of absolutely nothing.”
Chiquis goes on to explain that she has cell phone records that show her talking to her uncle and boyfriend during the exact time codes in which the alleged incident occurred, supporting her claim that such an encounter never happened. She never got the chance to show her mother such proof, as Jenni was adamant about shutting her out — even going so far as changing the access codes to her home’s security system — but she did get the chance to set the record straight with the rest of her family.
After her mother’s death, Chiquis says she called a meeting with the Riveras, during which they reviewed the footage and looked at her cell phone statements and came to the same conclusion: nothing happened that day.
Even so, Chiquis reveals that she felt betrayed by her aunt when she didn’t publicly defend her in the midst of the Esteban Loaiza scandal. She recalls a conversation in which Rosie said to her, “I’m sorry, Chiquis, for not standing up and defending you. My love for my sister stopped me. Defending you would be to publicly admit that my sister was wrong, and I didn’t feel like I had the strength to tarnish her memory. I just couldn’t do it, after losing her in such a tragic way. But now it’s time.”
The apology, Chiquis says, came after Rosie herself had become the target of accusations such as “she’s skimming money off the top, she’s a selfish old witch, she charges interview fees, she lives for free in her dead sister’s house but charges Chiquis rent.” In February 2014, Rosie went on national television and, backed by her brother Juan, told Myrka Dellanos of Estrella TV that Chiquis was “innocent.”
Would there eventually have been a reconciliation between mother and daughter? Chiquis believes so. According to Rosie, Jenni had plans to invite Chiquis home for Christmas that year.
Sadly, that day would never come.
Still, in her book Chiquis says she has come to terms with everything. “I forgive you for doubting me,” she writes, in a moment of reflection directed at her mother. “Now I want to be happy, and carry you with me in my heart. I want you to guide me with the kids and with my career. You knew how to fall, how to get back up and how to get better each and every day…Only your love will carry me forward. I love you, Momma, and I miss you.”
As for being left out of her mother’s will, Chiquis writes that she is at peace with that, too. “Not having life all planned out left me with no other choice but to go out and earn my bread,” she writes. “I make every dollar I have. I’m a hardworking woman, just like my mother was her entire life. And thanks to that, I can honestly say that I wake up every morning feeling proud of exactly who I am.”