Curled up in the loft of their Miami Beach home, Gloria and Emilio Estefan are posing for pictures and cuddling like besotted teens. “Watch it, mister,” she says, laughing, as his hand moves up her leg. “I’m not that type of girl.” Emilio’s eyes twinkle. “Yes, you are,” he responds playfully, giving her a squeeze. “It’s why I married you.”
Thirty-four years after saying “I do,” the spark is still alive for the Latin-music royals. It’s an impressive feat for any couple, but even more so for two stars whose relationship is both personal and professional. How have they done it? “I’ve always been an upbeat person no matter what was going on. I’ve been very, very blessed,” says Gloria, 54, who survived a tour bus accident in 1990 that nearly left her paralyzed. “You go up and down, but the one constant is the love you have for each other,” she says. Adds music producer Emilio, 59: “The bad times help you appreciate the good times.”
And there have been plenty of those at the couple’s more than 15,000 -sq.-ft., six-bedroom home on Miami Beach’s Star Island, where they raised son Nayib, 31 (now a music producer), and daughter Emily, 17 (a high school junior). “This house has a lot of space for entertaining,” Gloria says of the waterfront estate, where they recently hosted Tom Cruise and Julianne Hough during a wrap party for Rock of Ages, which was shot in the area. “I love to be surrounded by people.”
At home she’s also surrounded by the 26 Grammys (kept in a den) that she and Emilio earned as they conga-ed their way to mainstream success with pop songs including “Rhythm Is Gonna Get You” and “Get on Your Feet.” (They’ve sold 100 million albums.) “Not every couple can work together,” says Emilio, “but it works for us.” So well, in fact, that Gloria’s latest album, Miss Little Havana, spawned two No. 1 singles on the dance charts earlier this year, making her a rival to Rihanna and Lady Gaga. “It was so much fun,” she says.
Confident as ever, Gloria admits she isn’t threatened when Emilio hits the studio with gorgeous stars such as Shakira and Jennifer Lopez. “Marriage is built on trust,” she says. “You can’t have a successful partnership without it.”
That teamwork extends beyond music: Their empire includes seven restaurants and two hotels. Meanwhile, Gloria is about to venture into TV. She guest stars on the May 22 episode of Glee, and in the fall she’ll be a mentor on the CW’s singing-competition show The Star Next Door. Explains the singer: “Working makes me happy.” Still, at the end of a long day, all she really needs is the comfort of home, reading with Emilio or a movie night with Emily. “Everything else goes away,” she says, “but not family.”