For People en Español's new digital cover, the journalist breaks her silence about her exit from Al Rojo Vivo.

Por Lena Hansen
Agosto 07, 2020
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For People en Español's new digital cover story, María Celeste Arrarás talked about her surprise exit from Al Rojo Vivo and Telemundo earlier this week. "I felt a tightness in my chest," says the Emmy winner, 59, recalling what it felt like to realize on August 5 that she didn't have to host Al Rojo Vivo that day — or ever again. After two decades of waking up at 6 a.m. every Monday through Friday to catch up on the world's latest news to be ready to report on it, she is enjoying her free time with her kids Julian, Lara, and Adrian at her home in Miami.

Her family has showered her in love and support, as have her colleagues, friends, and fans since her former boss called her on Wednesday morning and informed her she was being laid off from Telemundo and Al Rojo Vivo con María Celeste, the show that had her name since its creation in April 2002. She made headlines then when she left Univision and Primer Impacto to join Telemundo as the network's biggest star. "It's never nice to be fired," admits the best-selling author of El Secreto de Selena and Vive Tu Vida Al Rojo Vivo. "I take a thousand smiles, achievements, and wonderful experiences with me."

María Celeste

The Puerto Rican journalist says she doesn't regret for a minute her decision to join Telemundo, and assures her fans that her career is far from over. "I have an open door and a brilliant sun in front of me," says the TV host, who has appeared on various People en Español covers and has been featured in the magazine's 50 Most Beautiful and 25 Most Powerful Women issues. "I am advancing toward that light, and what's coming next will be beautiful." She embraces all the personal and professional lessons life has taught her. "Primer Impacto was like high school, Al Rojo Vivo was college, and what's coming next will be my Master's and Ph.D.," she jokes.

La periodista puertorriqueña María Celes Arrarás engalana nuestra primera portada digital
Credit: Gio Alma @gioalmapics para People en Español

As she starts this new chapter in her life, Arrarás feels emotionally strong. "Personally, I feel great," she says. adding that she feels nothing but gratitude for Telemundo and understands the network has had to make "tough decisions" during the coronavirus pandemic. "You can't view things in life as a victim," she explains. "You have to view them objectively and not victimize yourself."

Maria Celeste
Credit: (Peter Kramer/ NBCUniversal/NBCU Photo Bank/ NBCUniversal via Getty Images)

The first person she called after getting the news was her agent, then her parents and her three children. "At times like this you can become your own best friend or your own worst enemy," she says. "It all depends on how you face this situation."

Maria Celeste arraras
Credit: (Noam Galai/Getty Images)

The TV host says she is adjusting well to her new reality. "I learned to keep my feet on the ground and never tie myself up to fame," she adds. "I've always been prepared for when I'm no longer on screen. What has worried me is the financial part. As a mom of three kids, I am the head of the household and I've always looked after our security and having an income to continue to provide for us." She was still under contract with the network, though she doesn't want to share details. "Luckily I still had quite some time left on my contract," she explains. "I feel fortunate because during these times that the pandemic has left so many people unemployed, knowing I still have my income even after losing my job gives me a peace of mind that I am infinitely grateful for."

Maria Celeste Arraras con hijos
Credit: Gio Alma/gioalma.com

Arrarás feels blessed with the love her coworkers have shown her, and says she wishes Al Rojo Vivo much success. "I am not focused on who will take my place or what happens after because these are the things that limit you and stagnate you." Her children continue to be her biggest supporters. Her daughter, Lara, brought her flavored teas and laid down quietly with her in bed, making her presence felt, while her son Julian cooked for her. Her son Adrian — who will soon make his debut as a singer — asked her, "Do you want me to sing you something?"

What's next on her list of professional goals? She says she has already received over 10 calls with job offers. "Next week I will call back and will explore possibilities," she says. "It's exciting at this time of my life to have so many options."

Exclusive interview by Carole Joseph