With the spotlight focused on Selena Quintanilla as the result of a tribute Google Doodle video, many people are wondering what happened to her husband, Chris Perez.
Selena, the Tejano music superstar who was poised for major crossover success, was murdered in a Corpus Christi motel by her former fan club president, Yolanda Saldivar.
Perez, who has spoken lovingly and longingly about Selena over the years – and who recently watched the Jennifer Lopez biopic on her with a bottle of wine – has continued to have a career in music since her death 22 years ago.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Chris Perez Was a Guitarist in Selena’s Band
Selena was “born in Lake Jackson, Texas on April 16, 1971,” and her “talent shone from an early age. Strumming Nat King Cole’s ‘I’m in the Mood for Love’ on guitar, Selena’s Father listened to his daughter sing along, and immediately knew the bright future before her,” Google reported. Perez wouldn’t meet her until 1988.
“With encouragement from their father, nine year old Selena and her older siblings A.B. (guitar) and Suzette (drums) formed the beginnings of the Tejano sensation Selena y Los Dinos. Born in Texas, Tejano music (or “Tex-Mex”) blends Mexican and American sub-genres like pop, polka, ranchera, and cumbia. Widely popular across the TX/Mexico border since the 1800s, Selena y Los Dinos’ infectious brand of Tejano music popularized the genre to audiences globally,” according to Google.
“First playing at the family restaurant, quiceañeras, and fairs, the band’s humble beginnings – including sitting on equipment due to the lack of formal seating in their inaugural tour bus “Big Bertha – eventually led to high profile touring. But they also fought through hard times and adversity. In fact, Selena was frequently discriminated against in the male-dominated music genre, and some venues even refused to book the band for shows,” Google noted.
Perez’ biography on Facebook reports, “Chris Pérez (born August 14, 1969) is a Mexican American guitarist. Pérez was the lead guitarist for his wife Selena’s band Selena y Los Dinos. Pérez met Selena in 1988. Two years later, the Quintanilla family hired him to play in Selena’s band and the pair fell in love. He and Selena were married on April 2, 1992 in Nueces County, Texas, when she was 20 and he was 22.”
He won a Grammy award.
“At the 1999 Grammy Awards his eponymously titled group, Chris Pérez Band, won a Grammy Award for Best Latin Rock/Alternative Album for their album Resurrection. In this album Pérez dedicated the song, “Best I Can”, to his wife, Selena. In 2002, Chris Pérez Band made their final album called Una Noche Más,” the bio says.
2. Perez Wrote a Book About Selena Called, ‘To Selena, With Love’
Perez is the author of a book called To Selena, With Love, and over the years, he has spoken out many times about his love for Selena.
“That was the first time I came out of my shell. Selena was the one who got me to do that. She was the first person who I could stare into her eyes all day, that I could say ‘I love you’ to and not feel like a fool. It used to be, if I’d phone my parents when I was on the road, they’d say, ‘I love you,’ and I would say, ‘Okay, I’ll talk to you later.’ But with Selena, it got to where I would say ‘I love you’ even before they would. Selena taught me to do that,” he said.
He wrote in the book: “With the journalists, Selena was as personable as ever, giving each media personality a warm hug and a big smile, winning them over before she ever had to say a word. As a third- generation Texan who had to learn Spanish phonetically, with her father coaching her on her accent, she knew that there was a chance that the Mexican fans might dismiss her.”
He added, “Instead, they adored everything about her, from her dark hair and brown eyes to her curvy figure. The fans saw Selena’s sincerity and generosity, and felt her love for them. Selena appealed to everyone from excitable preteen girls who wanted to dress and dance like her, to abuelas who loved those heart- wrenching ballads like ‘Como La Flor.’”
There has been some friction with her family, though.
Chris Perez and Selena’s father have been at odds over the rights to her likeness and story. Reported ENews, in 2016, “the late singer’s father, Abraham Quintanilla Jr., filed a lawsuit in a Texas court against Perez and Endemol to stop the production of the TV series based on their relationship, which they announced just two weeks ago.”
“The documents state that in 1995, after Selena’s death, Perez and others entered a legal agreement about the late singer’s estate. According to the documents, Quintanilla Jr. is the only person with ownership and all proprietary rights in the name, voice, signature, photograph, and likeness of Selena,” ENews reported.
3. Perez Has Formed Several New Bands & Music Ventures Since Selena’s Death
Chris Perez still performs music, and he is based in San Antonio, Texas.
According to his Facebook page, “After the Chris Pérez Band disbanded, Pérez joined A.B. Quintanilla’s music group, Los Kumbia Kings, in 2003. Los Dinos performed together at the Selena ¡VIVE! tribute concert on April 7, 2005. In the summer of 2006, A.B. Quintanilla started a new band called Kumbia All Starz, with Pérez as their lead guitarist. In mid 2009, Chris Pérez announced he would be forming his own band. With the addition of band members Robin Lopez (drums) and Rudy Martinez (bass gtr) they assembled an electrifying live performance outfit.”
The page continues, “Deeply connected to their hispanic heritage but loving the vibe of American Rock the Chris Perez Project delivers a sound infused with swaggering guitar riffs, stadium size hooks and captivating lyrics. Pérez, on occasion, continues to perform with the Kumbia King/ All Starz as well as different musical groups out of the Texas area.”
4. In March 2017, Perez Stumbled on the Selena Biopic & Watched It for the First Time
It took Selena’s husband two decades to watch the biopic starring Jennifer Lopez as his wife. He admitted that he thought Lopez did a good job.
“Guess what just started on the Lifetime tv channel…yup. Gonna grab a bottle of wine from the kitchen and sit through the movie in it’s entirety for the first time (besides the premier…where my eyes were closed half of the time). Wish me luck. This is gonna be surreal,” he wrote on his Facebook page.
He wrote several other messages about the movie, saying it didn’t always align with real life. “She always made me nervous….who ‘dances’ next to Selena? LOLO!!!! :) Then, it got real. CHHTT!!!!!! And it was Ricky (not Joe) that busted us. (Sorry Rick…my bad),” he wrote.
And: “Yup. She LOOOOOOOOVED pizza….this scene coulda been a lil more heavy. Here’s where we first said ‘I love you’ to each other. My head was spinning.”
He refused to watch the ending, though. “I’ll tell you what… Jen did a great f!@#king job. Super proud. Will not watch the ending of the movie. G’night everyone….one last time, LOL!” Perez wrote. He concluded, “And here’s where I think I have to leave the party….It was good hanging with you guys tonight and being able to ‘talk’ with you all. Until next time….ENJOY THE REST OF THE MOVIE!”
5. The Google Doodle Uses Selena’s Maiden Name & Her Sister Helped With It
It was Selena’s sister, Suzette, in particular, who helped develop the Selena Google Doodle, according to Google.
“Special thanks to the Quintanilla family who played an integral role in making every part of this project possible. Below, Suzette shares some thoughts about Selena and the Doodle,” wrote Google.
Suzette’s statement, provided on the Google website, said:
My family and I are honored and extremely excited to have worked with Google on this Doodle and exhibit launch, not only as a way to celebrate Selena’s life and the dreams she achieved, but as a tribute to Selena’s fans around the globe. This project is just yet another testament to the power of Selena’s legacy, which is still going strong 22 years later. Selena has always transcended cultural boundaries and having this Doodle featuring a strong, Latina woman on the homepage of Google around the world is a perfect example that. We hope that everyone – both fans and people learning about Selena for the first time – enjoys this celebration and feels the positivity and hope Selena embodied and still continues to represent today.
In the Google Doodle – which uses the name Selena Quintanilla with no mention of Perez – Google calls Selena a “Mexican-American music and entertainment icon, fashion trendsetter, passionate entrepreneur” and community philanthropist.