The wife of Mexico’s president is a former soap opera star who has been criticized for her designer clothing, mansion, and lack of social cause.
Angelica Rivera is the First Lady of Mexico, and the wife of Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto. She’s also an entrepreneur who’s worth millions and who sells everything from her own vodka to perfume. She also owns a football team.
Pena Nieto met with Donald Trump on Wednesday, August 31 at the presidential palace in Mexico City, a meeting which has provoked criticism in Mexico and came amidst falling poll numbers for the Mexican president.
Rivera and her husband have both been married before and have had eight children between them, although none together.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Rivera Has Been Criticized for Wearing Designer Clothes & for Lacking a Social Cause
Rivera has been under fire for spending more time accompanying her husband to events than adopting a political cause, says The Latin Times.
The Latin Times said Rivera has been criticized for her expensive taste in clothing, saying, “Rivera allegedly spends thousands of dollars on her deluxe outfits, and still, while this information should be open to the public, it is unknown where the money comes from. It wasn’t until recently that Rivera started wearing Mexican designers’ clothes; before that she only wore international luxury brands from Gucci to Dior.”
NPR says Rivera is “known for her fondness of designer clothes and European vacations.”
Added NPR: “Her spending habits, including trips to Beverly Hills, Calif., and Europe, her purchase of a luxury condo in Miami and rumored marital problems dominate social media in Mexico.”
Forbes Magazine noted that Mexico is “a country where 50 percent of the population is either poor or extremely poor.”
2. Rivera Is a Former Soap Opera Star Who Is Also a Model & Singer
According to Biography.com, Rivera was a soap opera star on Televisa, Mexico’s largest television network.
The Huffington Post says Rivera was “praised for her sun-kissed skin, long brown locks and sexy, voluptuous style in roles on shows like ‘Alcanzar una Estrella Il’ and ‘Mariana de la Noche.’”
She is called “La Gaviota” or the “Sea Gull” and started acting in a telenovela with singer Ricky Martin, then an unknown, in 1991, says The Huffington Post.
She was born on August 2, 1969, making her 47-years-old. Her wedding to Pena Nieto was a big deal in Mexico, where it was dubbed the “wedding of the century,” says The Los Angeles Times.
3. Rivera Purchased a $7 Million Mansion Called the White House but Gave it Back
The purchase of the $7 million mansion dubbed the White House provoked a scandal in Mexico because Rivera bought the mansion “from a firm that won lucrative contracts with the administration of President Enrique Pena Nieto,” said UK Daily Mail.
Officials believed “there was no evidence that Pena Nieto intervened to steer contracts to the company” and said Rivera purchased the mansion before he became president, but the couple decided to return the mansion nonetheless, said UK Daily Mail.
“I don’t want this to continue to be a pretext to offend or defame my family,” Rivera said, according to NPR.
4. Rivera Has Three Children With a Former Husband & the Church Was Accused of Fast Tracking an Annulment
According to Celebrity Net Worth, Rivera was married before to Jose Alberto Castro, with whom she has three children.
The Guardian says the Catholic Church was accused of fast-tracking Rivera’s annulment before she married Pena Nieto 19 months before he became president.
Pena Nieto was also married before; his first wife, Mónica Pretelini, died in 2007 of an epileptic seizure, and he met Rivera when she was “hired as the public face of Mexico state” of which he was governor, says The Guardian. Born in 1966, he was elected Mexican president in 2012. Pena Nieto and his first wife were married in 1994 and had three children. There have been questions about how she died.
Some have “never abandoned suspicions that Pretelini killed herself, after initial media reports said she had suffered a drug overdose,” says The Los Angeles Times.
In 2012, it was revealed he had fathered two children out of wedlock during his marriage to his first wife, says Biography.com. One of those children died at age one of a tumor, and the mother of one of the children criticized Pena Nieto, says The Latin Times.
Rivera’s first husband was a television producer.
5. Rivera’s Net Worth Is in the Many Millions
According to Celebrity Net Worth, Rivera’s net worth is $20 million.
She retired from acting when she married the Mexican president, says Celebrity Net Worth. However, MediaMass says that Rivera’s worth was pegged much higher by People With Money magazine, which reported she was worth $145 million.
The site says she’s earned income from much more than entertainment. “She owes her fortune to smart stock investments, substantial property holdings, lucrative endorsement deals with CoverGirl cosmetics,” says MediaMass, adding that Rivera owns restaurants, the football team the “Mexico City Angels,” and has her own brand of Vodka, perfume, and fashion line.
Forbes magazine said she “owns an ocean-front luxury condominium in Key Biscayne with an estimated value of $3.3 million.”