In her new book, Growing Stronger, international singer and telenovela star Thalía writes movingly about her whirlwind life and career.
The Mexican-born superstar, who has sold more than 40 million albums worldwide, is happily married to Sony executive Tommy Mottola — Mariah Carey's ex-husband — and is the mother of two children. But getting to this happy point in her life didn't come without its terrifying moments.
She talked to The Huffington Post about some of her personal struggles, including having to deal with her sisters' kidnapping, her fight with Lyme disease and facing infertility.
You were a huge international star in the '90s and '00s. Which country's fans blew you away the most when you were touring?
I think it's between Brazil, the Philippines and Greece. People were very passionate and over the top about showing me their love and affection and they memorized my songs in Spanish. All of that was unbelievable to me.
Your mom was also your manager.
She was by my side since the beginning, taking care of everything for my career, but she also protected me like no one else — like a lioness protects its cubs. She was very powerful and very loving, but also a very smart businesswoman.
Two of your sisters, Laura and Ernestina, were kidnapped in Mexico City in 2002, and were released after over a month. How did you deal with such a scary situation?
I received a phone call saying, "We've got your sisters, they've been kidnapped." It was a shock, just going through the process. That experience was very tough for my family. Not just them being kidnapped, but all of us. It was kind of a feeling that all of us were in a bad position. We didn't know exactly how to overcome that. That's why I include this story [in Growing Stronger] because I want readers to be inspired. Everybody has their own story, everybody has their own journey. In this book, I'm portraying a journey of perseverance and empowerment and everybody can grow stronger from a bad moment in their life.
As a performer, you were on the top of the world, but you were single at the time.
There was a moment in my life where I was at the peak of everything and I was sitting at my window at the Plaza Hotel in New York. I was looking down — it was Christmas time — and the streets were packed with people. I was like, "My God, I can't believe that in all this crowd I cannot find the love of my life. He has to be somewhere."... And it was funny because my [now] husband's office is two blocks from there.
I love who set you and Tommy up.
[Gloria Estefan's husband] Emilio Estefan! He kept talking to me about a guy that he knew and I should meet him because we're like two drops of water and he kept saying the same thing to Tommy. I was like, "What am I going to do with a guy who just got divorced and has kids?" and he was like, "What am I going to do with a singer and an actress?" I was in New York for just one night, so we met for drinks and the rest is history.
He had a reputation for being controlling. Were you nervous at all?
No, I'm not this type of person who reads gossipy stories and I just kind of met the person. I met the guy and that spirit — not the concept, not the stereotype. These stories are not the guy I know.
It took seven years for the two of you have a child together.
Women right now kind of have this idea of success — putting your career first and then having kids. On one side it's perfect and it's a great plan, but on the other side they don't explain to you that after age 35, you start losing eggs. The probability of getting pregnant is going to be lower. It's going to be difficult or, sometimes, impossible.
In 2008, you contracted Lyme disease.
It was seriously one of the darkest moments of my life because I didn't see the end of it — the window, the door, the light at the end of the tunnel. Some people take it lightly, like a joke. "Ha ha, you have Lyme disease." I was really, really sick in bed for almost a whole year with no energy to move, to do anything. It was a very, very tough time. People don't know how devastating this illness is. Some people die, some people become crippled.
Are you more zen about stuff now?
Totally! For instance, my English in this interview. I just let it go. I thought "She's going to understand it and even if she doesn't, she has the book." I realized I'm going to be OK. Before, I was so tense. I was practicing what I should say. Someone once told me something that I love — "Let go and let God."