Panelist, "The Marriage Ref"
Gloria Estefan is a prolific singer, songwriter, and performer. She is a five-time GRAMMY award winner who has recorded 24 albums and sold 70 million records, achieving superstar success with both Spanish and English-speaking fans.
Born in Havana in 1957, Gloria and her family escaped Castro's Cuba shortly after her second birthday, settling in Miami. Though her musical talents were evident at an early age, Gloria's first break came at age 18 when she was invited to sing at a wedding with a local band called Miami Latin Boys. The performance marked the modest start of an incredible rise to the top for Gloria, the group, and their young leader, Emilio Estefan, whom she would later marry. Miami Sound Machine's 1984 English-language album "Eyes of Innocence" featured the single "Dr. Beat," which became a hit in Europe and put them into the United Kingdom's Top 10.
Less than a year later, their album "Primitive Love" sold more than 3 million units in the United States on the strength of the singles "Bad Boy," "Words Get In The Way," and "Conga," the song which would become the band's trademark. "Conga" also has the distinction of being the only track in the history of music to appear simultaneously in Billboard's Pop, Latin, Soul and Dance charts. Subsequent albums soared on the charts.
On March 20, 1990, Gloria was severely hurt in a tour bus accident. She spent the next year rehabilitating a fractured spine. Gloria returned to the spotlight with a stunning performance at the 1991 American Music Awards, followed by a world tour, where she wowed fans and cemented her reputation as one of the world's great performers. She has also proven herself as a composer, penning hits for Jennifer Lopez ("Let's Get Loud"), and co-writing Shakira's "Whenever, Wherever."
In 1993, Estefan was awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, the highest honor that can be bestowed on a naturalized U.S. citizen. She is a recipient of the American Music Award for Lifetime Achievement, and the National Music Foundation's Humanitarian of the Year award. Gloria has also been recognized with MTV, VMA and Cable ACE awards, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She received an Oscar nomination for the theme of the film "Music Of The Heart," which she recorded with *NSYNC. Recently, Gloria wrote two best-selling children's books. She is currently working on a script based on the life and career of a 60s pop music icon.