Chris Pérez: Where is Selena’s Husband Now?

If there’s one thing absolutely nobody can deny, it’s that although March 31, 1995, was one of the worst days for those passionate about music, it was a hundred times worse for Chris Pérez. After all, as explored in Oxygen’s ‘Selena and Yolanda: The Secrets Between Them,’ that’s the day arguably the greatest Latino artist ever and his wife Selena Quintanilla-Pérez was shot to death.

Who is Chris Pérez?

It was on August 14, 1969, when Christopher (or Chris) was born in San Antonio, Texas, to Carmen Medina and Gilbert Pérez, only to sadly grow up without much support as they divorced in 1974. He thus reportedly turned to music for solace, going as far as to start playing the French horn in middle school and joining its concert band before ultimately teaching himself to play electric guitar. Little did he know that despite his mother’s disapproval of the latter in particular due to the negative stereotypes surrounding rock & roll, it’s what would bring him most joy in more ways than one.

It hence comes as no surprise Chris was living with his father and working at a library with bright plans of running away to Los Angeles, California, at 17, just to suddenly find himself in a band in 1986. However, it was 1989 when his world truly turned upside down as his recent incredible experiences in Tejano music as a member of Shelly Lares’ crew made him catch the eye of Selena’s bassist. This just happened to be creative genius, music lover, as well as Selena’s elder brother Abraham “AB” Quintanilla III, so his opinion obviously held sway, and the guitarist was welcomed into the band.

“I loved [Selena’s] music even before I joined the band,” Chris once expressed. “I was intrigued by the fact that her brother [AB] had his name on everything as producer… Her dad ran some amazing sound when I went to see them at an event in San Antonio. They had a girl drummer [Selena’s sister Suzette] that laid it DOWN… I will forever respect the band and the people involved in it.” Though once he actually joined Selena y Los Dinos and saw the lead singer for the first time, her songs or musical ranger was essentially the last thing on his mind — he saw pure beauty.

“I’m a shy person by nature, and there was something about [Selena] that was just able to pull me out,” Chris has since shared. Yet, it wasn’t until the band was on a sponsored trip to Acapulco, Mexico, that this duo really grew close. According to his narrative, this was one of the few times she was truly free to be herself, and she still chose to sit beside him at dinner every evening instead of roaming around, talking to locals, or partying. Moreover, she was by him on the flight back too, only to hold his hand throughout, partly because of turbulence — he explained, “[I thought], ‘maybe she was just being [nice], she knows I’m freaking out from the turbulence.’ At the same time, I knew there were sparks.”

Thus started Selena and Chris’ romance, but they kept it a secret since they knew her father/manager would disapprove, often driving them to sneak around before they finally confessed their real feelings to one another. “We were in Laredo when we had our conversation about how we both felt the same way about each other. Selena had the biggest smile on her face when we were walking back to the bus afterward,” he candidly told Texas Monthly back in 2010. “I’m smiling right now just thinking about it. I wanted to tell her, ‘Hey, quit smiling! You’re going to give it away.'”

The truth is Selena’s father did find out about their relationship and ended up kicking Chris off the band, only for it to not make much difference as the couple soon eloped to a Texas courthouse. It was April 2, 1992, when they tied the knot at 20-22 years old, shortly following which the former realized he had no choice but to accept their bond and allow the guitarist back into the band. He did this almost willingly though, as indicated by the fact he even had these newly marrieds move into an apartment right next to his, unaware their bliss would be relatively shortlived as his young daughter would be heinously slain on March 31, 1995.

Chris Pérez Hasn’t Left Music or Selena Behind

Chris admittedly could not eat for two days following his wife’s homicide, partly in guilt over the fact he could not protect her from the woman they considered a friend, Yolanda Saldívar. He then alienated himself too, going as far as to move back in with his father plus begin abusing substances, that is, until Selena’s memories, teachings, and values helped him bounce back. It was in San Antonio itself that he was then introduced to Venessa Villanueva, whom he got to know for a while before making things official in 1998 — they tied the knot in 2001 prior to welcoming two kids into their lives,  yet they unfortunately couldn’t make things last.

[Selena’s] way of being made me realize the power in being vulnerable,” Chris told The New York Post in 2020, crediting the late singer for opening his eyes, mind, and heart to love. “Like no matter what, you’re going to take your heart out, figuratively, and get on one knee and hand it to that other person. And I’d never done that.” He also told E! Entertainment in 2021, “She taught me a lot. I used to never tell people I love them… or I miss them, or just give them gifts just because. I learned those things and many, many other things from her.”

It’s imperative to note that despite Selena’s 1995 passing, Chris’ remarriage that ended in divorce in 2008, plus lengthy legal battles with the Quintanillas, he remains close to the family to this day, as seen above. The pop legend’s father had actually sued him in the mid-2010s, alongside two companies that intended to turn his 2012 memoir ‘To Selena, With Love’ into a television miniseries. He claimed his former son-in-law had “signed a deal that gave all rights to Selena’s likeness and name to her estate,” which this project clearly overlapped, just for them to “amicably” solve the matter in 2021.

Coming to Chris’ professional standing, he has since been in many bands — he formed the Chris Pérez Band and won a Grammy for their debut album ‘Resurrection’ before disbanding following their second in 2002, just to then often play for AB’s groups, the Kumbia Kings as well as the Kumbia All Starz — only to now be behind the Chris Pérez Project. He actually established the latter back in 2010 with Angel Ferrer and now continues to be active in the music industry with both this plus his label, Blue Mariachi Productions. We should also mention that Selena admittedly remains a huge influence on Chris’ creative work, along with his son Noah and daughter Cassie.

Read More: Where Are Selena’s Parents Now?