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On Tuesday, May 4, Selena: The Series part two premiered on Netflix. The second season of the hit show will focus on the height of Selena Quintanilla’s fame in the 1990s, culminating in her tragic murder (though it won’t be the focus of the series). Season one of the limited series was an instant hit on the streaming service, with thousands upon thousands of people watching the television show right after its release.
The second part covers Selena as she becomes the Grammy Award-winning "Queen of Tejano Music" who was about to have crossover success on mainstream pop charts. It also chronicles Selena's secret relationship and marriage to her guitarist, Chris Perez.
Because her father disapproved of their relationship, the couple eloped at ages 20 and 22 in 1992, and were together until her death. Chris' relationship with Selena's family isn’t the best right now, however, it seems like he may be trying to change that with some recent Instagram posts.
Some of that family tension was documented in the 1997 movie Selena (with Jennifer Lopez as Selena, TYVM), but Selena, her music, and her relationship with her husband, are once again the focus in the new, two-part series.
But, what happened to Chris Perez, and how did he and Selena get together in the first place? Here’s what you need to know.
What is Chris Perez doing now?
Chris is still working as a guitarist, but he’s not just any artist: He won a freaking Grammy in 1999 for Best Latin Rock/Alternative Performance for the song, "Resurrection."
He also has his own hot pepper sauce company, called Perez Pepper Sauce. “It's always been a life-long dream of mine to launch my own hot sauce brand and enter into the Fiery Foods Industry, and now we get to offer my signature hot sauce to the masses,” Chris says on his website.
Chris also published a memoir in 2012 called To Selena, With Love, that documents his relationship with Selena.
Was Chris involved in creating Selena: The Series?
Nope, and he's made that very clear on Instagram. "Here is a pic I just saw of the actor playing me in the Netflix series," he wrote next to a photo of actor Jesse Posey from Selena: The Series. "For the record, never met him, haven't seen the script, and I have NO idea what is going on.....But, I'd love to find out."
Chris later did an interview with The Austin American-Statesman and said he wasn’t consulted during production of the show. He also said he wasn’t sure if he would actually watch it. "I’m not trying to not be a part of anything," he told the publication. "At the end of the day, we all have our perspective on certain things and how things happened. I’ve put out everything I wanted to put out already. There’s not much more I want to say, and that’s the God-honest truth."
Chris also made it clear during that interview that he doesn’t feel comfortable seeing his late wife’s life portrayed on screen. In fact, he said, during the 1997 movie Selena (aka J.Lo’s breakout role) he had trouble watching and kept his head down the whole time. It wasn’t until the movie aired on Lifetime 20 years later that he was actually able to sit down and watch it.
As for actually watching the series, Chris was hesitant. "It's a touchy thing for me, and I'm sure her family feels the same way," he said. "There's going to be some difficult moments, and not having seen the script, I don't want to be caught off guard. I know for a fact that the story I know is inspiring, having been told by Selena herself."
What does Chris think of the series now?
Well, it looks like Chris actually watched it—and he seems pretty happy with the first part of Selena: The Series. Recently, he shared his reaction in an Instagram post:
"Alright so, here is my take on this. I loved her music even before I joined the band. I was intrigued by the fact that her brother had his name on everything as producer. Keyboard player Ricky Vela was my hero as far as musicianship goes. Her dad ran some amazing sound when I went to see them at an event in San Antonio. I learned so much by taking on their guitar player Roger Garcia’s parts and doing my best to stretch it even further," Chris wrote. "They had a girl drummer that laid it DOWN (Suzette really is a badass). Joe and Pete brought the “extra” and added a whole other dimension PLUS Pete wrote amazing lyrics…and they sounded HEAVY. I will forever respect the band and the people involved in it. I hope you guys enjoy this series."
Chris later referenced the series again by posting a screenshot and link to a Today story on his comments.
Like the rest of Selena's fans, he doesn’t know what’s in store for the second part of the Netflix series, but he plans to watch. It's likely that Chris will share his reaction to the new episodes after he finishes streaming, as he did with the first part.
"Let's see what this Tuesday, May 4th brings...I'm just as curious as the rest of you," he wrote on Instagram, with a winking face emoji.
Okay, so... what is Chris' relationship with Selena's family like now?
Despite Chris' recent Instagram post, it’s been a little rocky over the years. In 2016, Selena’s father sued Chris and the production company Endemol Shine Latino over the development of a TV show based on Chris' memoir, To Selena, With Love.
Court documents say that Chris "expressly agreed that he would not exploit any of the Entertainment Properties in any manner or medium, including, without limitation, by way of a book, television series, movie, or any other motion picture medium." By producing the series, Chris violated an estate agreement he signed after Selena’s death, the lawsuit says. That agreement states that her father owns "all proprietary rights in the name, voice, signature, photograph, and likeness of Selena."
Worth noting, per Billboard: Chris signed the estate agreement, which entitled him to 25 percent of the profits made from Selena’s work soon after his wife’s death. He did not have an attorney. Chris is now challenging the validity of that agreement and, per Billboard, a trial is scheduled for February 2021.
In early 2020, Chris accused Selena’s family of attempting to erase him from the Selena Museum in Corpus Christi, Texas. Selena’s sister Suzette disagreed, and Chris ended up issuing a public quasi-apology on Facebook.
"I will be taking a few things down because I don't want them living on my sites anymore...whether I'm right or wrong, I'd much rather be a uniting force as opposed to a dividing one," he wrote. "There are SO many things I have happening that I am grateful for and that make me happy...my music, the hot sauce, other business ventures, and of course, my family and friends. I would rather focus on those things and try to bring more positivity to my social media platforms while staying as connected as possible with you guys."
Back to the Netflix series: How did Selena and Chris meet IRL?
The future couple met when Chris joined Selena’s band, Selena y Los Dinos, as a guitarist. Chris was a hard rock guitarist, which didn’t exactly fit in with the band’s image, but he managed to become an important part of the group.
Chris said in an interview with Entertainment Tonight that his initial impression of his future wife was that she was "beautiful and talented." He added, "I’m a shy person by nature, and there was just something about her that she was able to pull me out."
The couple started secretly dating in 1990—Selena was worried her father Abraham wouldn’t approve—but the singer’s sister Suzette told Abraham about their relationship and he kicked Chris off the tour bus, per Mitu. Abraham also fired Chris from the band.
When did Selena and Chris get married?
Selena and Chris eloped in April 1992 after that whole firing incident. Chris wrote a nostalgic post on Facebook in 2017 about the day.
"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. "What a rollercoaster ride THAT day was."
Did Chris Perez ever remarry after Selena's death?
Yes. Chris got remarried in 2001 to actress Venessa Villanueva, Newsweek reported. The couple had two children together, Noah and Cassie, before their divorce in 2008.
But he’s still celebrating Selena’s life and music today.
Chris recently shared a throwback photo of himself and Selena on Instagram, saying that he was sharing it "in honor" of his late wife. "1991...what a year...back when we all acted like 🙈🙉🙊 (except for these 'stolen' moments)," he wrote in the caption. "But, the truth eventually comes out. Thanks to all of you for continuing to support all things Selena. I'm right here with ya!"
Chris also posted about Selena in mid-March after she was posthumously given a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2021 Grammys. "Lifetime Achievement Award! To say that I'm proud of all that Selena represents and so proud of her accomplishments would be a HUGE understatement 💜," he wrote alongside a photo of Selena with the Grammy she won in 1994. "Special thanks to the Grammy organization and especially all of you (her fans) that continue to listen, watch, and support all the amazing things she left behind for us to treasure. I'll be watching the awards tonight with the biggest smile on my face...just knowing that she'd be so honored... AND HAPPY! 😊"
To celebrate what would've been Selena's 50th birthday, Chris shared a vintage photo of the couple and announced that he appeared on the podcast "Anything for Selena: A Podcast About Belonging" to share memories of his late wife. "In celebration of Selena's birthday, @selena_podcast has just released my conversation/hang out with @nopalita_mami Check it out now! It was so much fun talking and hanging out with her, her crew, and (of course) my brother @curlytoes Enjoy!" he wrote.
During the conversation, he and host Maria Garcia discussed how the couple started dating. They developed a close bond in the band, and were sitting next to each other on a plane ride home from a show. The plane hit turbulence, and they started holding hands. That marked the beginning of their love story.
"The me back then was being kind of like, maybe she’s just being friends. She’s just keeping it cool, and she knows I’m freaking out. Turbulence, whatever. And she’s holding my hand. But then I’m like, but if it’s not that…but no, it is that, it is that," he said on the podcast. (Awwww.)
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