Actress Kate Del Castillo reflects on her meeting with Mexican drug lord El Chapo years ago and how that almost ended her career.

By Lena Hansen
March 20, 2019 05:10 PM

It’s been almost four years since Kate Del Castillo’s infamous meeting with El Chapo. The Mexican telenovela star, accompanied by actor Sean Penn, secretly met with international drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán at his lair in Mexico to discuss possibly producing a movie about his life. In Netflix’s docuseries, When I Met El Chapo, the actress told her side of the story, revealing to People En Español about the show: “For me, it’s very important, because I need to tell my truth. I need to clean my name. It has been bashed.”

The protagonist of the hit narco-novela La Reina del Sur, which returns to Telemundo in April, admitted that her secret meeting with Guzmán — who in February, after a three-month trial in New York City and media frenzy, was sentenced to life in prison in the United States — unleashed “my personal hell.” Besides being investigated by the Mexican government, the actress wasn’t allowed to return to her country, where her parents lived, for three years. She also admits she feared the controversy would end her career since she wasn’t allowed to work. “All these years without being able to go back to my country or be close to my family, that time when I couldn’t work, was very difficult,” she told People en Español. “So last year I worked literally all year, and I got filled up with energy. It also recharged me to visit my country again,” she says of her trip to Mexico in December of 2018, when she enjoyed being pampered by her parents at home.

Chris Haston/NBCUniversal/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Although the storm seems to have passed, Del Castillo, who is one of Español’s 25 Most Powerful Women of 2019, recently reflected about this tumultuous time in her life and the lessons she learned from it. “Life’s punches make you mature whether you want to be or not,” the actress, 46, says. “Without a doubt, you have to face problems and take them by the horns. The past three or four years of my life haven’t been easy, but they’ve also made me learn, made me stronger, because I had no other choice. That strength comes because it was a very vulnerable time for me, and you can’t have one without the other,” she admits. “Now I know what is good for me and what is bad for me. I don’t give it half a second of my thoughts. Bye! That makes you mature. I don‘t want to lose my time with things that I know won’t benefit me.”

After nine years off the air, La Reina Del Sur makes a triumphant return with a new season on Telemundo. “I’m so excited, so nervous to return because it’s a phenomenon,” Del Castillo says of this project and her legendary role of narco queen Teresa Mendoza. “La Reina del Sur is not like other series. It’s remained a favorite during all these years because they have aired reruns, because people have kept talking about the series. Teresa Mendoza became an icon, symbolizing a strong woman, a fighter, who went through so many tragedies in her life and got up after every fall even stronger. It’s a very important character in my life.”



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