Chris Pérez and Selena Quintanilla's love story: A secret affair, undisclosed marriage and a bloody murder

On March 31, 1995, 23-year-old Selena was shot dead by her friend and fan club manager, Yolanda Saldivar, when she was at the peak of her career


                            Chris Pérez and Selena Quintanilla's love story: A secret affair, undisclosed marriage and a bloody murder
Selena Quintanilla-Pérez and Chris Pérez (Getty Images)

'Queen of Tejano music' Selena Quintanilla was a famous Mexican-American singer, songwriter and fashion designer and was among the top-selling Latin artists of the 1990s. And her romance with guitarist husband Chris Perez is no secret for the 90s music lovers.

In 1989, after lead guitarist Roger Garcia left the band, Selena asked Chris Perez to join the band. 'Selena y Los Dinos' was one of the top bands at that time and was famous for its fresh take on the Tejano music. In the same year, the band went on a vacation to Mexico where the duo realized that they have feelings for each other. At that time, Chris had a girlfriend and they didn't take it forward. However, later, the two confessed their love at Pizza Hut and eventually started dating, 'secretly'. The couple knew that their relationship will be disapproved by Selena's father, Abraham Quintanilla. However, Selena was resistant and he told her family about Chris. When Selena’s sister Suzette told Abraham about their relationship, Abraham kicked Chris off the tour bus. Despite the drama, Selena and Chris stayed together in secret.

Soon, Abraham pushed Selena to break up with Chris, he threatened to disband the group but just fired Chris instead. Later, on April 2, 1992, Selena and Chris eloped to Nueces County in Texas and got married. When Abraham came to know about the marriage, he got furious but later he accepted them. He apologized and asked Chris to rejoin 'Selena y Los Dinos'.

On March 31, 1995, Selena was shot by her friend and fan club manager, Yolanda Saldívar, that was the time when Selena was at the peak of her career and was only 23-years-old. The incident happened after, it was found out that Saldívar embezzled $60,000 via the fan club and Selena Etc. Saldívar's handwriting on forged checks revealed her culpability. Saldívar set up a meeting with Selena at the Days Inn in Corpus Christi in Texas. She told Selena to come by herself and agreed to hand over the necessary business documents. Some hotel witnesses claimed at that time, that Selena told Saldívar she was no longer trustworthy, after which Saldívar shot Selena. 

Injured Selena ran from the room for help. The blood trail from the scene of the shooting to where Selena collapsed was 392 feet long. Witnesses told police that the singer was screaming as she ran from her killer. "Help me! Help me! I've been shot!" A later medical examination revealed that the bullet tore down an artery in Selena's lower right shoulder, leading her to bleed and going into cardiac arrest later. Richard Fredrickson, a paramedic, rushed to Selena's aid and testified, "The girl was covered with blood. Blood was thick from her neck to her knees, all the way around both sides." 

Selena was a famous name among the Latino and Mexican-American communities. Her untimely death came as a shock to her huge and devoted following. More than 60,000 fans went to Corpus Christi, Texas, to mourn her death. A fence around the home was quickly turned into a shrine with many messages from her fans.

In 2017, Chris shared a copy of his marriage license with Selena to commemorate their 25 year anniversary. “Obviously, Selena’s impact on the world is still being felt today…as it deserves to be. Thanks for sharing your pictures of the event to my messages and on my timeline. On another note, it’s hard to believe that today marks 25 years since Selena and I decided that the only way to be together…was to run away and get married (at 20 and 22 years old) in secret,” he wrote. 

The story of legendary Tejano singer Selena Quintanilla is being adapted into a Netflix series 'Selena: The Series'. The cast is set and Christian Serratos of 'The Walking Dead' fame portrays Selena. Filming is presently underway and the late Spanish singer's family is associated with the development of the project, with her sister Suzette Quintanilla serving as executive producer.