THE LAST PHOTO
Moments before her fatal flight, Mexican American superstar Jenni Rivera shared a smile from inside the Leer jet that crashed Dec. 9, outside Monterrey. The shot was taken by her makeup artist, Jacob Llenares, who also perished, and shared on Instagram.
A VOICE GONE QUIET
Rivera, a judge on the new season of singing competition La voz… México, alongside Miguel Bosé, Paulina Rubio and Beto Cuevas, was on her way to a taping for the show in Mexico City when her jet crashed.
A DEAR FRIEND
“We continue crying[.] It’s too soon … The are no words, there is no consolation,” Tweeted Mexican pop star Paulina Rubio, who was one of the judges on La voz… México and a friend of the singer. She was joined in sending condolences on Twitter by Jennifer Lopez, , William Levy, Eva Longoria and several other stars.
A tough-talking family woman who had her firstborn at 16, Rivera was mom to Janney, Jacqueline and Michael Marín (with first husband José Trinidad Marín), and Jenicka and Johnny López (with second husband Juan Manuel López, who died in July 2009). Their dynamics often played out in her reality show on Mun2, I Love Jenni, where she was described as the “mama with lots of drama.”
HUSBAND AND WIFE
Talent runs in the family. Rivera also was the sister of regional Mexican singer Lupillo Rivera, from whom she had been estranged for about seven years. Though they never spoke about their differences publicly, the siblings seemed to have made peace: They performed together on Dec. 1, when Jenni surprised him during a concert in Texcoco, Mexico.
REALITY TV STAR
Life on camera was just as dramatic: Rivera’s reality TV show, I Love Jenni, premiered on Mun2 in March 2011, and she was recently filming a third season. The show documented the singer’s jet-set life as an entertainer and mother of five children, and made daughter Janney “Chiquis” Marín a celebrity.
After filing for divorce from Loaiza in October 2012, Jenni Rivera faced more drama. Her son Johnny López Tweeted a photo showing a destroyed toy figurine of the ball player. Soon after, López apologized and Jenni publicly admitted that her son was suffering from depression.
In November 2012, amid rumors of a shocking family affair, Rivera had a public social media battle with her oldest daughter, Janney “Chiquis” Marín, resulting in Chiquis stating that she had nothing to do with her mom’s divorce and asked her mother to speak to her. By then, they had not spoken for a month, according to Chiquis.
PROBLEMS WITH THE LAW
Drama often followed Rivera, even outside family bounds: In May 2009, she was arrested in Mexico City International Airport for trying to bring $52,000 cash into the United States. She later was freed after posting $8,000 bail.
In 2008, Rivera again had faced unwanted scrutiny after a sex tape leaked online. The “embarrassed” singer said the video recording had been stolen from her and that she had had a relationship for more than a year with the unidentified man. Although police investigated, they were unable to determine who had released the video.
JENNI, THE ACTRESS
The singer also tried her luck at acting, appearing in Edward James Olmos’s 2012 film, Filly Brown, about a young Latina with big hip-hop aspirations. Rivera plays the main character’s mother, who is serving hard time in jail. The film is set to premiere in the US in the Spring of 2013.
Still Rivera, who spoke out about domestic violence and whose first husband had been convicted of abuse, made a point to take time for victims. Earlier this year, she tweeted this photo of her visit with Carla Adorno, who was born with a fractured skull after her father kicked her mom during pregnancy. The girl has since lived her life in bed, but her family says she responds to Rivera’s music.
VOICE FOR MANY
In August 2010, Rivera became the spokesperson in the U.S. for the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. It wasn’t the first time she had related her own experience: In 2007, on El show de Cristina, she talked openly, and shed tears, about being a victim of violence while in a relationship with José Trinidad Marín.
Despite her personal troubles, Rivera reveled in her family life. She was the proud grandmother of Jaylah Hope (right), the daughter of Jacqueline, and Luna Amira, daughter of her son Michael.
Just days before her death, ABC announced a new series in the works, starring Rivera as a single mom struggling to raise her kids.
In 2010, Rivera performed during the broadcast of Mexico’s annual Telethon, which aims to help people with disabilities. After her performance, she made a personal donation of $300,000 pesos (approximately US$23,500).
ONE OF OUR MOST BEAUTIFUL
Named one of People en Español’s 50 Most Beautiful in 2009, Rivera shared the spotlight with her brother Lupillo — posing together as Bonnie and Clyde.