Thirteen years after divorcing singer Marc Anthony and staying out of the spotlight to devote her time to raising the couple’s two sons, Cristian and Ryan, former Miss Universe Dayanara Torres is reclaiming her throne.
Last January, the Puerto Rican actress and singer flew to the Philippines to join a panel of judges in the beauty competition that launched her to international fame in 1993. Now the former Miss Universe is orchestrating her return to work, going as far as the Philippines to land job offers to take part in campaigns and film projects from the Orient to the U.S. “[In the Philippines]… they love me as if I’m one of them,” says a grateful Torres. “Being a mother is my main role, and I pushed my career off to the side,” admits Torres in an exclusive interview for People en Español, now on stands. “Now that they are older, Cristian is already  years old, Ryan is 13, I feel like I can let go a little. Work is already starting and I feel happy. The kids also want me to do what I’m doing.”
In the interview, the former beauty queen spoke publicly for the first time about her recent legal win against Anthony for child support. The case, settled in 2014 in a Los Angeles court, was tedious—but resulted in a win that increased monthly payments from $6,500 a month to $14,340 and vacation expenses increased from $ 6,000 to $ 12,000 a year. The Latino mega-star also agreed to continue paying for the kids’ educational and medical costs as well as their extracurricular activities. “It’s not a process where you just go to court and the judge says’ Here you go! It’s yours,” says Torres, who had moved into a small apartment, where the boys shared a room after the divorce. “There were days when I had to face my children; When I would [return home from court], they would ask me every time, ‘Did we win mom? Please tell us we won.’ And finally we were given what we wanted, more than double of what we originally asked. I am happy because my children do not deserve any less than that.”
Torres faced backlash for taking her ex to court for more money, but she says it’s all about stability for the children. She told People En Español that the disparity between the homes was confusing for the kids. “If they are going to have a Disneyland there,” she explained about their father’s home, “then this [living situation] has to be at least be normal.”
Cristian and Ryan play a major role in Torres’ day-to-day, assures her mother Lucy Delgado. “She is a spectacular mother,” she says. “It’s tiring to see her do nothing more than get up in the morning, make breakfast, wake up [the kids] to come and eat, then get dressed, the fight of ‘Lets go, I’m already in the car’ and then [in school] take one of them to one place and the other elsewhere, come [home] to prepare food, to eat and deal with the homework.”
Torres also shared her feelings about what happened during last November’s Latin Grammy Awards, where the “Vivir Mi Vida” singer received recognition for his career and sang with his ex Jennifer Lopez. The duet ended with a kiss while the boys watched in the front row. “Such a shame that a moment of so much stature lost quality with everything that came after,” says Torres, who had taken her kids out of school for three days to surprise and support their father. “My children are older now, and I cannot cover the sky with my hands.”
And it’s not only her career that’s ready for a comeback. When it comes to her love life, the former beauty queen remains hopeful. “I have my children that are my life and I want to find a person who understands that they come first for me,” she says. Torres also shared the qualities she wants in her next partner: “A person who lets me make my dreams into a reality, who doesn’t cut my wings, who doesn’t want to control me. A person who is happy with what I do, admires what I do. And that he respects me, that he respects the kids and understands that he’s in second place [to the boys]. I am open to that possibility.”