USA TODAY spoke to star Christian Serratos about the new Netflix series “Selena: The Series” about the late Tejano singer Selena Quintanilla-Perez.
In Monday’s installment of the E! Entertainment docuseries “True Hollywood Story,” Perez, 51, opened up about the death of his wife at the hands of her former fan club president Yolanda Saldivar.
Saldivar shot and killed Quintanilla-Perez, widely known around the world as Selena, on March 31, 1995.
“It was traumatic,” said Perez, who was 25 at the time of Selena’s murder. “It was the hardest thing up until that point that I had ever had to go through. I miss her face, her laughter. She was just an amazing soul, an amazing spirit.”
Perez also gave a message to fans who consider Selena’s loved ones partly responsible for her death.
“I heard fans that are like, ‘How could we let that happen?’ ” he said. “Come on now. You think that I would let anything happen to her? Seriously? None of us thought that that was even a possibility.”
He continued: “On the road, we had security so I never really feared for her safety, especially the way it happened to her. The fact that one of her friends did that, it’s just unbelievable.”
Selena has had six albums of posthumously released material reach No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Latin Albums chart. Her album “Dreaming of You,” which came out less than four months after her death, was the first album by a Latin artist to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200.
Perez also opened up about finishing “Dreaming of You” in the wake of Selena’s death.
“Them pushing play for me to record the guitar tracks and to hear her voice coming out of the speakers in the studio, it was just painful to go in and have to create parts and make them sound a certain way, when really inside you’re just dying,” he said.
Perez added that Selena “taught me a lot.”
“Just simple things,” he continued. “I used to never tell people I love them or I miss them or just give them gifts just because. I learned those things and many, many other things from her.”
Selena’s music career began around age 9, when she became the lead singer of her family’s band, Selena y los Dinos. She went on to become a Grammy winner, a top-selling artist, a fashion designer and even more: the Queen of Tejano music, one of the most beloved Mexican American singers.
A biographical film was released in 1997 (launching the career of another famous Latina, Jennifer Lopez). Forever 21 and M.A.C. Cosmetics have each released Selena-inspired collections and she was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2017.
Her siblings also shared tributes to her on Instagram Tuesday, with her brother A.B. Quintanilla writing “Miss you sister” and her sister Suzette Quintanilla writing “Te amo y Te extrano,” which means “I love you and I miss you.”
Contributing: Vicky Camarillo, Corpus Christi Caller Times; Cydney Henderson, USA TODAY