Angelica Rivera is a Mexican model, singer, and actress, who gained global prominence for being the now former First Lady of Mexico, and the ex-wife of former President Enrique Pena Nieto.
Early Life and Family
Angelica Rivera Hurtado was born on 2 August 1969, in Azcapotzalco, Mexico City, Mexico, to parents Maria Eugenia Hurtado and Manuel Rivera. She has a brother named Manuel and four sisters, namely Carolina, Adriana, Elisa Rivera, and Maritza.
There is no information about her educational background.
Angelica was heralded into the spotlight at age 17, when she joined the modeling contest “The Face of the Herald,” in 1987. A popular veteran actress, who would later become her sister-in-law, Veronica Castro, was filming a movie when she spotted the young Angelica and urged her to join the contest. She won the title that year, which her to the world of music and television entertainment.
After the contest, she was invited to be in the “Ahora Te Puedes Marchar” (Now You Can Go) music video of Puerto Rican and Latin America superstar, Luis Miguel. That video exposure led her to do two international TV advertising campaigns – one filmed in the United States and the other in Japan. She also co-hosted a TNT TV show with Martha Aguayo.
In 1989, Angelica was given the recurring role of María Inés, credited as her telenovela debut in the Mexican series, “Dulce Desafío,” or in English, “Sweet Challenge.”
A string of minor roles in popular telenovelas followed, including Isabella de Peñalvert de López in “Simplemente Maria” (Simply Maria); as Marisa Villaseñor in “Mi Pequeña Soledad” (My Little Soledad), in which she worked with Veronica Castro, her discoverer-mentor; and as Giovanna Carini in “La Picara Soñadora” (The Mischievous Dreamer).
After gaining acting experience from doing minor roles, she was cast in one of the lead roles in “Alcanzar Una Estrella II” (To Reach a Star) in 1991.
She played an ambitious young woman of a musical group, “Muñecos De Papel” (Paper Dolls), with co-members a young Ricky Martin, Sasha Sokol and Erik Rubin. They subsequently pursued a musical career in real life as a group, releasing an album and performing in several cities in Mexico.
Then a couple of lead roles were offered to her – she was part of the main cast of “La Duena” (Lady Owner) with Francisco Gattorno and Cynthia Klitbo, which had 95 episodes aired in 1995; and in “Sin Pecado Concebido” with the English title of “Blameless Love” with 90 episodes, which ran from May to September of 2001
Her 2003 role as a scheming and manipulative bitch, Marcia Montenegro de Lugo-Navarro in “Mariana de la Noche” (Mariana of the Night/Dark Fate) won her the Best Antagonist Actress Award in the 22nd TVyNovelas Awards.
Created by award-winning producer-director Salvador Mejia Alejandre for Televisa, it didn’t win the award for the Best Telenovela that year, but the drama became popular, and was aired in 17 countries in Europe, and 16 countries in South America, Asia and the US.
The year 2007 proved to be one of the highlights of Angelica’s career. She won Best Actress awards in the 26th TVyNovelas and Premios Bravos along with an award for Popular Revelation of the Year in Premios Furia Musical and Premios Oyel, for playing the dual roles of Teresa Hernández García “Gaviota”/Mariana Franco Villareal de Montalvo in “Destilando Amor” (Distilling Love).
The drama series won the Best Telenovela of the Year from Premios Bravo, TVyNovelas Awards, and Premios ACE in Argentina.
It aired for about eight months on Canal de las Estrellas network in Mexico, with 171 episodes, and was also shown globally even in non-Spanish speaking countries including in Asia and North America.
Mexico’s First Lady
Angelica became the First Lady of Mexico when her second husband, then Governor Enrique Peña Nieto, won the Presidential election in December of 2012, through until 30 November 2018 when her husband finished his term.
She announced in February of 2019 that she was divorcing her husband of nine years, just shy of two months after he ended his six-year term – the announcement was released via the former First Lady’s Instagram account with the caption, ‘Today all my energy, strength and love are focused on continuing to be a good mother, on recovering my life and my professional career.’
She said that she had given her all and deeply regretted this unfortunate and painful outcome.
The divorce was granted and Enrique posted about it via his Instagram account on 3 May 2019, thanking Angelica for being his wife, friend and companion, and for her dedication to their family.
Angelica and Enrique were married in a lavish ceremony, dubbed in Mexico as the “wedding of the century” on 27 November 2010. She announced her retirement from the entertainment industry, to focus on supporting her husband, who was then still the Governor of the State of Mexico. They were both previously married and had children with other partners.
Who is Enrique Peña Nieto?
Enrique Peña Nieto, who is mostly referred to through his initials as EPN, was born on 20 July 1966, in Atlacomulco, State of Mexico, Mexico.
His mother, María del Perpetuo Socorro Ofelia Nieto Sánchez, was a schoolteacher and his father, Gilberto Enrique Peña del Mazo, was an electrical engineer. His deep interest in politics and governance came from being part of a political dynasty, as he has a couple of uncles and cousin from both sides of his family who were former governors. His father would bring him to political rallies even as a kid, and at the age of 15, he distributed campaign material, and that was when he began to dream of a political career. Growing up, he was sent to a school in the US in 1978, to become proficient in the English language.
Enrique graduated in 1989 with a Bachelor’s degree in Legal Studies from Universidad Panamericana, and gained his Master’s degree in Business Administration at the Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey in 1991.
In 1984, EPN became a member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), and in 1999 started working for his cousin and mentor, Arturo Montiel Rojas, who was then Governor of the State of Mexico. Later on, he was appointed Administration Secretary of the State of Mexico for three years. He won a seat as Representative of the 13th District, and in 2005 ran for governorship and won; his tenure lasted until 2011.
In 2012, Enrique ran for president and it was then exposed that he had children with other women aside from his first wife, Monica Pretelini, whom he married in 1993. She died in 2007 from an epileptic attack and left him with three children, namely Paulina, Nicole, and Alejandrino.
Las responsabilidades son pasajeras, el amor por nuestro país es permanente. ¡Gracias, México! pic.twitter.com/MUxSFjxwZE
— Enrique Peña Nieto (@EPN) November 29, 2018
Apparently, he had two other children with different women, a son with a certain Maritza Diaz Hernandez, and another who died as a baby with an unknown woman.
EPN became the 57th President of Mexico with 38% of the vote, marking the comeback of the PRI in the national scene after being booted out in the 2000 election. After his term ended, he withdrew from public life. He is currently dating a model-socialite, Tania Ruiz, and were seen in a restaurant in New York.
Angelica previously married Veronica Castro’s brother, Jose Alberto Castro, a TV producer, in December of 1994. They had three children, Sofia, Fernanda, and Regina, but after 14 years of marriage, the couple divorced. Sofia followed her mother’s footsteps and became a Mexican telenovela actress at age 11.
Interesting Facts, Scandals, and Controversies
- When she was still a First Lady, she was accused of having benefited from a contractor favored and won government projects during her husband’s term as governor. She bought a $7million house through a financing company owned by the said contractor in 2008. She explained that it was bought from her earnings as an actress, and it was a loan that she needed to pay. When she ended her contract with Televisa, it was part of her settlement and she received ownership in 2010. To defend herself, she made a video documenting how she was able to acquire the house along with her financial capabilities. She later decided to sell it to stop the controversy, which was dubbed by the Mexican media as “White House Scandal.” However, memes spread about it in social media as netizens do not believe her explanation.
- She released documentary videos about the experiences that she had during the presidential campaign of her husband. entitled “What my eyes see, what my heart feels.”
- The media often pointed out her lack of interest in advocacy for the less fortunate or social issues. She was supposed to head the Sistema Nacional para el Desarrollo Integral de la Familia (National System for Integral Family Development), but since she became the First Lady, she was not seen at any event of the agency. Angelica chose to focus on caring for her children and husband, which stance did not go well with other people.
- Allegedly, she spent too much money on her wardrobe as First Lady. However, fans would defend her by pointing out that she was a popular and successful actress so she can afford a luxurious life. Critics would also point out that she only used luxury brands such as Gucci, Chanel and Dior, but never Mexican brands and that it was only recently that she appreciated local brands.
- She was given a nickname by the media, “La Gaviota,” – the seagull – from her popular telenovela series, “Destilando Amor.”
Angelica is 5ft 6ins (1.71m) tall and weighs around 127lbs (58kgs). She is of Mexican descent with light brown hair and dark brown eyes.
Sources estimate that the former First Lady’s net worth at around $20 million as of May 2020. Most of her wealth has come from her work as a Telenovela actress.