Create a free profile to get unlimited access to exclusive videos, breaking news, sweepstakes, and more!
What Selena Quintanilla's Husband Chris Perez's Life Is Like After Her Death
The Tejano singer's death is revisited in the Oxygen limited series Selena & Yolanda: The Secrets Between Them.
Before her shocking murder nearly 30 years ago, the beloved Tejano superstar singer Selena Quintanilla was known to the world on a first-name basis.
A cruel and fatal betrayal tragically ended Selena’s life just before her 24th birthday — a betrayal that's explored further in the upcoming Oxygen series Selena & Yolanda: The Secrets Between Them — but her legacy and memory live on.
Selena’s devoted husband Chris Perez played a significant role in his wife’s life, performing in her band, Selena y Los Dinos, and supporting her as she started her own business. To this day, he continues to be remembered for their enduring love story, which started out as a forbidden romance.
Last October, Perez, a San Antonio native who returned to the city after Selena’s death, shared joy with his 1.3 million Instagram followers when a food delivery came with a memory of Selena.
Don’t miss the latest in true crime:
How Chris Perez and Selena Met
Music provided the key to unlocking the couple’s romance. Pérez met Selena in 1989 when her brother, Abraham “A.B.” Isaac Quintanilla III, invited him to join their band, Selena y Los Dinos.
Perez joined the group and played lead guitar. The professional arrangement evolved into a romantic relationship — much to the chagrin of Selena's father, Abraham Quintanilla, Jr.
"I saw him as a threat. What if they got married and he pulled her out of the band? All the work we did all those years would go down the tubes," Abraham explained to Texas Monthly in 2010.
Perez and Selena were momentarily kept apart when Abraham fired the guitarist, causing drama within the tight-knit Quintanilla family. Her sister Suzette Quintanilla Arriaga told Texas Monthly, "Chris was out of the band for a while, and Selena was miserable the entire time. The tension was hard on all of us."
Eventually, Chris and Selena eloped in 1992. "After that, I accepted him as part of the family. What else could I do?" Abraham said.
Perez and Selena moved into a house next door to the Quintanilla family home and enjoyed life as a married couple. In his memoir, To Selena, With Love, Perez recalled his famous Texas-born wife as being a “real woman who loved the ordinary everyday things, like walking barefoot in the evening to feel the warmth of the sidewalk on her skin.”
They had been married for three years when she was shot and killed by her fan club president Yolanda Saldívar on March 31, 1995.
It was a shattering loss for Perez, who struggled in the wake of her murder. Speaking about her murder with Texas Monthly, Perez remembered feeling like "everything ended, just like that."
"My marriage was over, my band was over. We had talked about having kids while we were still young, but that was over," he shared.
He eventually formed his own self-named band and won a Grammy for his 1999 album Resurrection.
Did Chris Perez remarry after Selena’s death?
Just as he has continued to make music with different bands, Perez has made room in his life for love and romance.
In 2001, he married Vanessa Villanueva after being introduced to her by a friend. They had two children before divorcing in 2008.
Since then, Perez has realized that he hadn't fully mourned the loss of his first wife, telling the New York Post in 2008 that it was "too painful" to process the emotions.
"Getting remarried and starting my new life was a way to get over losing her. I thought getting remarried would help, and it did. But the pain is still there. It’ll always be there," he reflected.
Who are Chris Perez’s children?
Now 54, Chris is the proud father of two kids — Cassie, 26, and Noah, 18, from his marriage to Villanueva.
Doting dad Perez posts the sweetest birthday shout-out. One to Noah on his birthday last April was accompanied by a father-son pic and captioned, “Livin’ and lovin’ life…happy birthday Noah!!!!! 18 going on 30! Wishing all of you a great evening!”
“Happy birthday to my one and only baby girl!” he wrote to Cassie on an Insta post. “On this day in 1998, you were born…and I realized that my life could have true joy and purpose once again. I love you with all that I am.”
Perez told the Houston Chronicle in a 2019 interview that his daughter would leave him notes. “They said, ‘Open when you miss me,’” Perez said. “I was constantly opening those things, like, five times a day, seven days a week.”
Missing loved ones — and moving ahead — is a part of life for Chris Perez.
To learn more about the days leading up to Selena's death from Yolanda's perspective, watch Selena & Yolanda: The Secrets Between Them, premiering with back-to-back episodes Feb. 17 at 8 p.m. ET/PT and concludes Feb. 18 at 7 p.m. Episodes will be available to stream on Peacock the day after they air.