It takes courage to open up like this. In Growing Stronger, Thalía isn’t afraid to talk about everything, from her days as a child star back in Mexico, to her Lyme disease, to her first love who passed away at a young age. And even though this year has been incredibly difficult with the loss of her mother, Yolanda, whom she considered her best friend, she got a gift that’s brightened her days, Matthew Alejandro, her second child with husband Tommy Mottola.
We caught up with the beloved actress-singer-author, and asked some deeply personal questions. It’s good to know Thalía will always emerge stronger from any situation. Her goal, she says, is to inspire her fans to do the same.
You’ve written other books in the past, but never your life story. Why now?
I think you have to be ready to share your own life openly. I’ve gotten to a point where I feel very strong, very happy with the human being I’ve become, and I’ve accepted my limitations and my highs and my lows as a lesson, as well as embraced my virtues, so the fact that I have so much clarity about my life these days gave me the chance to share my story.
Did you have any reservations about being so open?
I think what started all of this was my last album, Primera Fila, where I decided to present myself to my audience without the masks, without a mega-production. I simply went onstage and sang from the heart, and it opened this new horizon for me. It helped me reach way down for things that I hadn’t really faced, about my life and my childhood.
I think there are two types of people in this world, those who keep their stories to themselves and those who share them, and I think it’s important to share them, because someone can always learn something from them. I kind of feel that I owe it to my fans, because they’ve been with me, not years, but decades at this point, so this book will make them laugh, cry – it has many spaces where people can relate, whether it’s when I fell ill with Lyme disease or I met Tommy, there’s something for everyone. The ultimate message is that, no matter what circumstances you’re going through, you can make the best out of it because the strength is in you.
Was it therapeutic to write this book, especially during this year?
Definitely, it’s been a great form of therapy. Even when I first started writing down things from my past, there were a lot of tears, but it gave me a chance to let go of certain things and to heal from certain experiences.
Do you think your father [who passed away when Thalía was a child] would be happy with the chapters you dedicated to him?
I think he would be very proud. I talk about the influence he had on me. From him I inherited that sense of curiosity, and I became someone who doesn’t just conform. One of the most important things he taught me was to always question, “Why?” and “How?”
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You talk openly about the kidnapping of your sisters in Mexico and the guilt you carried during those 34 terrifying days. How is your relationship with them these days?
I couldn’t leave out such an important moment, as difficult as it was to go through it. There have been moments when perhaps, because of the circumstances, we’ve drifted apart, but they have dissipated, and our relationship nowadays is stronger than ever.
In another chapter, you open up about your very first love. What did that relationship teach you?
The thing about first loves is that they’re always so passionate, almost irrational, so the lesson is to not lose control of your mind and let that passion take over. Adult love is much more evolved, it’s all about clarity and compromise, being there for another person: if I fall, you catch me, and if you fall, I’ll be there to catch you. If I’m up, rise up with me, if I’m sick, take care of me. It’s a commitment that goes beyond the physical.
What was the fist thing that captivated you about Tommy upon meeting him?
That for the first time, I came across a Man, with a capital “M”. He’s someone who really listens and looks you in the eye. He’s sure of himself and he’s not threatened by your success. I think with women who are successful, we find ourselves with that “curse”, where no man will come near us because they’re uncomfortable with that competition. It was important for me to find what I call, not my pareja, but my parejo, my equal, in every sense.
Tell us about Sabrina and Matthew.
Sabrina [who just turned 4] is a gem. I never try to drag her into my world, I venture into hers, but she has this innate love for music and dancing and singing, so we’ll see what comes of it. I have so much fun with her, it’s almost like I’m reliving my childhood. I watch old cartoons that I loved when I was little, like this Japanese cartoon Candy or we sing along to The Lion King, and it’s like we’re both little girls having fun. And baby Matthew is beautiful, healthy. He’s huge at four months, he’s wearing clothes for a one-year-old and weighs 18 pounds!
We miss you in telenovelas. Will you ever go back?
I love the melodrama! But ask any telenovela actor and they’ll tell you the same thing: it’s really grueling, the schedule. It’s a lot of work and you have to be ready for it. I would never say never, but if I go back, it would be to a series that’s a lot more compact, something that allows me to do everything, my radio shows, my next album and my tour, my books, and do it well.
But I love that there are new generations discovering and falling in love with my novelas. In Brazil, Marimar just had super high ratings, in Colombia they’re replaying Rosalinda, here in the U.S. they’re re-running Maria la del Barrio. I’m forever grateful for the love.
Losing your mother earlier this year must’ve been of the hardest things you’ve ever been through. Does it get any easier?
It was so painful, so difficult, and it’s something I have to work on every day. The relationship between my mother and I was so full of love, so profound, so magical, so it’s something I still have to try and understand why it happened. But on the other hand, I see her in the eyes of my son, so that helps me. I’ve come to understand that maybe it was for me to become a better person, a warrior of some sort. While we’re talking, I want to thank my fans, especially on Twitter, they’ve given me strength with each one of their messages. They helped me and still help me, day after day.