Married to a Criminal: The Life of Mrs. El Chapo

When you have committed an insane number of crimes and killed more people than you can count, charm and charisma don’t exactly matter. There are some things that you cannot justify. So, what was it about the infamous “El Chapo” that got this stunning pageant winner to love him unconditionally and stay undeniably loyal to him?

Emma Coronel / Emma Coronel / Emma Coronel / El Chapo.
Source: Getty Images

Since she was 18 years old, Emma Coronel Aspiro has been completely dedicated to El Chapo through thick and thin. From cheating allegations to his very public trial, Emma has stood by her man. But does she have alternative motives? Or is she truly 100% faithful to a criminal?

Emma Coronel Aspiro

Perhaps it’s because they have two daughters together, or maybe she doesn’t want to put herself in harm’s way. But it is possible that there’s just something about this Mexican criminal that she can’t resist. Some girls simply have a thing for bod boys.

Paparazzi are following Emma Coronel Aispuro as she exits the U.S District Court.
Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Either way, Emma is way more than just a pretty face. There’s a lot more to this mysterious woman with surgically enhanced lips and nothing to lose. She is just going through life as the wife of a criminal, and it looks like she wouldn’t have it any other way.

They Didn’t Exactly “Match” on Tinder

Back in the dinosaur age of 2006, Tinder didn’t exist, so this love story didn’t start with a swipe. It also wasn’t one of those classic moments when the boy accidentally bumps into the girl’s cart in the supermarket, and they fall helplessly in love.

El Chapo / Emma Coronel.
El Chapo, Emma Coronel. Photo by STR, AFP, Getty Images / Todd Heisler

El Chapo and Emma both attended a local dance in the village of Caneles. Emma’s father, Ines Coronel Barreras, introduced the pair. Emma was just 17 when they met, so you can call them high school sweethearts. Emma described the first time they met a modern-day Cinderella story – you know, other than the fact that Prince Charming was a criminal.

Almost Like a Fairytale

Emma said: “He was dancing with another girl. I was dancing with my boyfriend – at that time, I had a boyfriend – and we crossed paths right in the center of the dance floor. He flirtatiously smiled at me. After a while, someone told me, ‘The man asks if you want to dance with him.’ And I said, ‘OK.'”

El Chapo and Emma Coronel are celebrating at their wedding.
Source: Tumblr

“Because in the ranchos, even though you have a boyfriend, you can dance with every person who asks you to dance. So, I said, ‘Of Course!’” Yeah, it makes total sense. But the important part is, did the boyfriend survive that local dance?

She’s Not a Gold Digger

We have seen plenty of cases when the young, beautiful woman uses the rich older man for his money and status, but Emma’s motives are much more powerful than a monthly paycheck. During El Chapo’s very public trial, she could have easily taken his money and run away and start a whole new life for herself.

Portrait of Emma Coronel wearing a golden crown standing on a black background.
Source: Instagram /@therealemmacoronel

But she stayed true to the vows she made at the altar. They are united forever, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, and apparently, as an upstanding citizen or as a murderer.

Staying With a Cheater

The trial was anything but easy for Emma. If hearing about the gruesome crimes that El Chapo committed wasn’t enough, imagine being married to him. The entire courtroom got a first-hand look at all his extramarital affairs, with Emma sitting in the second row.

Emma Coronel exits the Courthouse in Brooklyn surrounded by security and paparazzi.

For many women, this would be a heartbreaking deal breaker, but not for Emma. In fact, one of El Chapo’s mistresses was brought to the stand for an emotional testimony, but Emma kept a strong poker face and even giggled a little when she thought the act was too dramatic for the courtroom.

He Has a Way With Women…

Oftentimes, men go for dates or flowers to try and win a girl over, but El Chapo’s approach is a little more aggressive, especially when the girl is a young beauty queen. When Emma publicly announced her candidacy for beauty pageant queen in the middle of their town, Chapo proved his love and support for her when he arrived with an entourage of 400 men.

Emma Coronel is being crowned.
Source: Pinterest

Even though the win was a long shot, Emma ended up winning the entire competition and being crowned queen. For that reason, many people think that her future husband rigged the contest. Apparently, El Chapo pressured the judges. Emma denied having any involvement.

The Mexican Version of Bonnie and Clyde

There were rumors circulating about how Emma helped El Chapo escape the police after years in hiding, but once again, she denied every accusation. I mean, I respect her loyalty and perspective on marriage, but I would be more a little more understanding if he wasn’t a dangerous drug lord.

Bonnie Parker is sitting in her car in a still from the movie Bonnie & Clyde.
Faye Dunaway. Source: Copyright: Warner Bros

She even brought transcripts to court of the text between the two of them, showing that El Chapo asked his wife to hide weapons in his home. Her face turned white, and she had no response and didn’t confirm or deny these allegations. “I will follow to wherever he is,” she told The Los Angeles Times in 2017. “I am in love with him. He is the father of my children.”

Narco Marriages Are “Ride or Die”

Narcos and drug lords aren’t exactly polite when it comes to business, especially when they don’t get what they want. One of El Chapo’s ex-lovers experienced this first-hand when she found herself on the other side of the perks of being a narcos mistress.

A convoy of vehicles passing through while a car sits abandoned in the front.
Photo by HERIKA MARTINEZ/AFP/Getty Images

Before Emma, El Chapo was stabbed in the back by another mistress, and let’s just say she didn’t have a happy ending. She wound up in the trunk of a car with the initials of a rival drug gang engraved into and behind her breasts. Clearly, the cartel was trying to send a message… but they didn’t have to be so violent!

See No Evil, Hear No Evil…

Many people believe in the popular phrase “out of sight, out of mind,” but Emma twisted the sentiment of it and might have taken it a bit too far. Any lawyer would probably advise her to stick with the classic statement of “no comment,” but that’s not exactly the path she chose when dealing with her husband’s legal issues.

View of the covers of Mexican newspapers after El Chapo's arrest.
Photo credit should read ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP/Getty Images

Emma totally denies any involvement in criminal activity and has zero knowledge of any of El Chapo’s criminal hobbies. As much as I’d like to believe her, it’s hard to think that she hasn’t heard or seen anything.

Emma Sees the Good Side of Her Murderer Husband

Like come one, she’s married to the guy. It really takes someone totally naïve and oblivious not to hear or see anything. Unless she has horrible eyesight and hearing, I don’t buy it – and neither does anyone else. There is no way she honestly thinks people believe her.

Mexican security forces escort El Chapo.
El Chapo. Photo by Susana Gonzalez/Bloomberg/Getty Images

“I don’t know my husband as the person they are trying to show him as,” Emma told The New York Times right before the trial ended. “But rather, I admire him as the human being that I met and the one that I married.” I can understand that… to an extent…

A Possible Publicity Stunt

As most of us know, first impressions are very important, but what comes after is always much more intriguing. Many folks were actually shocked about how public she was about supporting her darling El Chapo. But there might have been a strategic plan behind her undying public love.

Emma Coronel speaks outside the court accompanied by two lawyers.
Eduardo Balarezo, William Purpura.Photo by HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP/Getty Images

One of the first journalists to ever interview Emma believes that her participation in his trial was all part of El Chapo’s defense team strategy. She said her looks and class might have been used to try and get El Chapo less jail time. “She’s young, she’s more educated than other members of his family, she’s pretty,” the journalist explained. “This is my theory: There’s thought maybe if she talks, this could help his public image.”

The Godfather of the Drug World

Joaquin Guzman got his fair share of nicknames from the DEA agents that tried to put him behind bars for a long time; one of them, of course, is the infamous El Chapo. Another nickname was “godfather of the drug world,” which is pretty self-explanatory. So, where in the world did the name El Chapo come from?

Guatemala migration director shows a picture of El Chapo during a press conference.
Carlos Pac. Photo by JOHAN ORDONEZ/AFP/Getty Images

El Chapo may not look like the stereotypical evil criminal. His first impression seems innocent enough, especially since he is only 168 cm tall. That’s right, folks; one of the most dangerous men in the drug world is just a little bit taller than an Oompa Loompa. “El Chapo” is Mexican slang for “shorty.”

Every Drug Lord Needs a Throne

Throughout his multiple stays in jail, El Chapo had no problem bribing the guard to make his prison conditions more pleasant. Money was not an issue, but even a billion dollars couldn’t make him any taller so that he could speak with his lawyers properly.

Al Pacino sits on his throne in a still from The Godfather.
Source: Copyright: Paramount Pictures

El Chapo could barely see or hear what his attorneys were advising him. He explained that since he is so small, he couldn’t consult his team of lawyers properly. It comes as no surprise that El Chapo demanded that the court would supply him with an “elevated chair.”

El Chapo Started Young

El Chapo didn’t just stumble upon a senior drug lord who taught him everything he knows. He was pretty much born into this world. Ever since he was 11, El Chapo would help his father’s drug business by harvesting marijuana in the fields of Sinaloa, their hometown. Saying he started young is an understatement.

Hemp plants dry following a harvest.
Photo by Michael Ciaglo/Bloomberg/Getty Images

By the late 1970s, El Chapo had already taken over half the Mexican drug world after working with Hector Luis Palma Salazar, one of the escalating drug lords in the nation. He helped create map routes to transfer drugs through Sinaloa and into the United States. After learning to smuggle drugs into the country, El Chapo also left his mark on history.

He Had Wonderful Role Models

Forbes ranked El Chapo as one of the most powerful people on the planet between 2009 and 2013. The DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) estimated that his influence and wealth matched that of the notorious Pablo Escobar. I mean, if you’re going to be a drug lord, you might as well be compared to the best.

Portrait of Pablo Escobar / Inside view to the residence of Pablo Escobar.
Pablo Escobar. Photo by Eric VANDEVILLE/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images

Ordinary people like you and me may look at these men as evil criminals, but for El Chapo, being compared to Pablo Escobar is quite the compliment. No better role model than the narcissistic founder and leader of the Medellin Cartel.

But I Don’t Wanna Go to Jail…

Children are taught from a very young age that they need to take responsibility for their actions. If we do something wrong, we get punished and deal with the consequences. Well, it looks like El Chapo’s mom forgot to teach her son this important little life lesson.

Headshot of El Chapo after being arrested.
Photo by YURI CORTEZ/AFP/Getty Images

After reaching an almost deadly status and becoming one of the most powerful drug lords of all time with numerous murders under his belt, it was time for El Chapo to pay for his crimes. But as you can imagine, he wasn’t thrilled about being locked up, so what did he do? Simply left…?!

Peace Out, Prison!

Needless to say, escaping prison isn’t something law enforcement takes lightly. But little El Chapo managed to do it not once, but two times! In 1993, he was first captured in Guatemala and sentenced to two decades behind bars for murder and drug trafficking.

A view of the cell from which El Chapo escaped.
Photo by Manuel Velasquez/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Twenty years is nothing compared to the horrible things he did. In 2001, he bribed prison guards and somehow managed to escape from a federal maximum-security prison. While he was on the run, the United States and Mexico spent years trying to find him. He finally got caught in Mexico in 2014.

On the Run

Anyone with information that would lead to El Chapo’s whereabouts would receive an immense cash price of $8.8 million, provided by Mexico and the United States combined. Strange how a terrible criminal can bring two countries together.

An investigator goes down the tunnel El Chapo used to escape.
Photo by Manuel Velasquez/LatinContent/Getty Images

Somehow, El Chapo managed to escape prison once again through a 1.5.-kilometer tunnel under his prison cell bathroom right before his 2015 sentencing – which honestly shouldn’t surprise anyone given the fact that his master plan was to smuggle drugs into the United States. Still, they should have kept an eye on him after the first time.

Break Out, Take 2

Come on, police, think! If he managed to escape once, what’s stopping him from doing it again? He is obviously not a law-abiding citizen who listens to authority. He was finally recaptured in 2016 by Mexican authorities before being transferred to the big boy jail in America. He was charged with crimes connected to his leadership of the Sinaloa Cartel.

Members of the press take photographs as El Chapo is flown by a Federal Police helicopter.
Photo by Susana Gonzalez/Bloomberg/Getty Images

On July 17, 2019, El Chapo Guzman was sentenced to a life term plus thirty years by Judge Cogan. He also demanded that he forfeit property that is worth more than $12.6 billion. On July 19, 2019, he was taken by helicopter to ADX Florence, a supermax Colorado, in prison. He is expected to complete his sentence there.

A Gorgeous Mastermind

El Chapo is no magician; he’s just a guy with really good connections. Let’s be real, he didn’t escape prison TWICE without any help; he still had loyal allies in the outside world. But as it turns out, the mastermind behind “operation: escape jail” might have been his pageant queen wife.

Detail inside the house where El Chapo escapes.
Photo by Manuel Velasquez/LatinContent/Getty Images

Apparently, Emma went to meet with El Chapo’s business partners to conjure up a breakout plan. Damaso Lopez Nunez (a former cartel lieutenant) said in his testimony that Emma instructed El Chapo’s kids and staff to buy land near the prison where he was kept and an armored truck. She also told them to use GPS to pinpoint the coordinates of his cell.

Raising the Twins in America

Emma and El Chapo welcomed two little girls into the world: Emali and Maria Joaquina. They look just their stunning mother and grew up barely knowing who their dad is. El Chapo urged her to have the twins in the United States so that they would have citizenship. Emma didn’t see anything wrong with his plan.

Emali and Maria Joaquina are walking with their mother and a friend in a city park.
Emali Joaquina, Maria Joaquina, Emma Coronel. Photo by Brendan McDermid

But she went along with it for other reasons: Emma always had big dreams of giving birth to her children in the United States. She wanted to give them a better future in the “organized” and “calm” America. But if her husband tries to escape for the third time, I doubt the country will be as “calm.”

Her Daughters Are Her Life

Believe it or not, despite everything, Emma based most of the decisions she made throughout the years with the best interest of her daughters at heart. Any good mom wants to see their children happy, thriving and confident, especially in their early years.

Emma Coronel exits with her twin daughters the Federal Courthouse.
Photo by KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images

Emma is no different and hopes to give her children a beautiful childhood, even though their father is out of the picture. They have to live with the fact that their dad is a criminal and is sitting in prison for the rest of his life. All Emma wanted was to bring a smile to her confused daughters’ faces.

His Crimes Against Women Hurt Emma the Most

Sources have said that Emma truly loves those girls with her whole heart and is constantly worried about them. Especially their thoughts on their father. Throughout the entire trial, Emma’s face was stone cold, even when El Chapo was being accused of brutal murders. But she lost it in the courtroom when they brought up his alleged raping of a young woman.

El Chapo, Alex Cifuentes-Villa and an underage unidentified woman.
El Chapo, Alex Cifuentes-Villa. Source: Tumblr

She was extremely worried about how their daughters would feel. Seeing their own father treating young women that way is heartbreaking, and it goes without saying that he’s not the best role model. Emma worried that the girls might grow up and want a relationship with their father.

Poster Child for Drug Lord Wives

Even though she did a wonderful job supporting her husband in the press and in the media, she wasn’t an open book the whole time. In fact, during those many years that El Chapo was in hiding, he barely spent any time with Emma because he was on the run.

View of a tunnel through which El Chapo tried to escape before his recapture.
Photo by HECTOR GUERRERO/AFP/Getty Images

Emma focused on raising her girls and stayed out of the spotlight for a while. In fact, it looked like she was avoiding any media attention at all. She stayed in a relatively good routine for a few years and tried to build a journalism career in Culiacan. But then, 2016 came around…

Back in the Spotlight

Following El Chapo’s final arrest in 2016, Emma began giving interviews and talking to the press openly – it looked like she was concerned about how the Mexican authorities were mistreating her husband. But questions about her intentions immediately came to light.

Emma Coronel sits behind champagne glasses by the swimming pool during a televised interview.
Source: Los Angeles Times

People were wondering the real reason Emma randomly started talking to the press. Was it really her undying love and loyalty to El Chapo Or was she trying to push herself back into the spotlight through the fame and attention she already had because of her criminal husband? One reporter stated: “The message was that his life was in danger – if she was being sincere or not, I don’t know… I can just tell you, for me as a journalist, that was the message she wanted to send.”

The Father of the Bride Is Not So Innocent

Emma has stated on multiple occasions that she was not involved in any of her husband’s criminal activity; she also denies knowing anything about it. Whether or not you believe her, the story of Emma’s father might not be as squeaky clean.

Emma's father following his arrest.
Ines Coronel Barreras. Photo by ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP/Getty Images

Emma’s father, Ines Coronel Barreras, is a medium ranking El Chapo lieutenant, also known as “the One” or “the Father in Law.” Not much to clarify here since, once again, the nicknames are self-explanatory. But one of the many speculations involving El Chapo and Emma’s marriage was that their union was orchestrated so that her dad could climb up the Sinaloa Cartel ladder.

They Are All Behind Bars

It’s hard to believe that someone would do that to their own child. Just to prove this man is not as innocent as he seems, he was arrested on the border with his eldest son in 2013. And what were they charged with? Drug trafficking and smuggling firearms. Surprise, surprise…

Outside view to the U.S. Penitentiary Maximum Facility.
Photo by Jason Connolly/AFP/Getty Images

He got a 10-year sentence, meaning Emma has another loved one locked in the slammer. You could think events like this would seriously affect a person, but I guess you eventually get used to it. For Emma’s family and others in similar environments, jail time is just another day at the office. That’s just how it is when you surround yourself with dangerous people.

Keeping Things Spicy

Making a marriage work is no easy feat. It can be incredibly frustrating for people to make relationships work as it is, but even more difficult if the person you’re married to is locked up. It makes couple’s therapy just a tad bizarre.

Portrait of Emma Coronel.
Photo by KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images

Of course, sending flirty text messages throughout the day might help spice things up… but I guess that depends on what you consider flirty. For parents of the year, Mr. and Mrs. El Chapo, flirting means texting back and forth about giving your young children firearms to play with.

Maybe Don’t Give 7-Year-Olds Guns, Thanks

I guess talking about your children with guns works for some people; who am I to judge? While that is their way of keeping their relationship exciting, it’s not all sweet texts. Their weird foreplay is none of my business, but when they discuss their children in a disturbing manner, it scares me.

Portrait of El Chapo.
Photo by ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP/Getty Images

The couple joked about hiding firearms and giving their daughters weapons – the girls were seven years old at the time. In one text, El Chapo wrote: “I’m going to give her an AK-47, so she can hang with me.” Sorry, but I don’t think she wants to hang with you in the slammer, Chapo!

Might as Well Enjoy the Perks

Emma is likely going to be dealing with El Chapo’s drama for the rest of her life, so she might as well enjoy it, right? She should take advantage of it while she still can. As it turns out, most narco-wives stick around until they die or get killed. They have to be devoted and 100% faithful if they don’t want to suffer the consequences.

Emma takes a photo of herself during valentine's day.
Source: Instagram /@therealemmacoronel

We know how it works with dangerous gangs; it’s extremely difficult to get out once you’re in. Whether or not you agree with her actions, you can’t say she wasn’t loyal. That girl stood by El Chapo even after he cheated on her, so she might as well enjoy the perks.

A Pink Birthday Celebration

When her twins turned seven, Emma wanted to do something special for them to celebrate. She threw the Barbie-loving queens a Barbie-themed fiesta, and it definitely didn’t come cheap. The party was in a mansion in Culiacan and featured a full-size dollhouse and Barbie boutique.

Emma Coronel poses in the Barbie-themed fiesta.
Source: Tumblr

There was an arch created by pink balloons that led guests into the mansion, where pink candy, desserts, and gifts awaited them. They had a carnival outside and a pink-colored throne just waiting to be Instagrammed with. Emma shared every moment on social media.

Haters Gonna’ Hate

It’s not uncommon for the general population to document their life events on Instagram. Everyone loves showing off happy moments. However, when you are a celebrity or in the public eye, there will always be some cruel backlash. Emma is no exception. She has experienced the wrath of internet users.

View of Emma Coronel's breakfast by the sea in Mykonos.
Source: Instagram /@emmacoronella

Emma uploaded pictures of the glamorous over the top party on Instagram. Outraged followers criticized Emma for throwing an unnecessarily lavish party for seven year olds. She was actually really hurt by all the hate her pink party got, but she was shocked by the verbal abuse she got in the comments.

She Does It All

El Chapo has always been a serious businessman, even after he got locked up in a maximum-security prison cell. Sure, he had several business partners out in the real world, but he only trusts one person to get the job done. You guessed it: his wife, Emma.

Emma Coronel is followed by a journalist holding a microphone.
Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Emma has taken on a lot. After marrying a criminal and thrown into this drug world, Emma is always on high alert. She just wants to keep her kids safe and keep her husband happy – for whatever reason. That means that in addition to raising the twins; she was responsible for his business endeavors.

A Boss Lady

El Chapo had signed a contract before his conviction, which permitted a high-end fashion line to use his name, clothes, and accessories. He gave the franchise to his darling wife to take care of, and she is more than thrilled to take on the role of businesswoman.

A model displays clothing by the
Photo by ULISES RUIZ/AFP/Getty Images

Items are on sale now, and Emma had a lot of creative control. She was directly involved in every design. “I’m very excited to start this project, which was based on ideas and concepts that my husband and I had years ago,” Emma revealed to CNN. “It’s a project dedicated to our daughters.” Associating their children with fashion instead of weapons is comforting.

His Sons Are in the Family Business

Emma can deny El Chapo’s cheating rumors all she wants, but the proof is in the pudding… well, in this case, the children. El Chapo has two older sons from a different relationship: Jesus Alfredo Guzman-Salazar and Ivan Archivaldo Guzman. It’s safe to say the boys are living the good life.

Jesus Alfredo Guzman is presented to the press following his arrest.
Photo by Miguel Tovar/LatinContent/Getty Images

El Chapo’s twin girls are still too young to fully grasp the extent of their family’s wealth, but the older boys are fully aware of their fortunate situation and are definitely not shy about taking advantage of it.

Making Daddy Proud

If you check out their social media, they love to show off their wealth and flaunt their super-exclusive Audi Spyders – which by the way, cost 220 thousand dollars a pop. That’s right; I said thousand. Let that sink in for a second. I had no idea shoes could be that expensive.

Studio portrait of Emma Coronel dressed in a shiny purple gown.
Source: Instagram /@emma.coronelfans

However, life isn’t all lavish for El Chapo’s sons. Sure, money is something they never have to worry about, but is it really worth it? Both boys are wanted on drug trafficking charges. Jesus even made it to DEA’s Most Wanted List. Papa must be so proud. When it comes to these two, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Age Is but a Number

She may be young, but that doesn’t mean Emma can’t handle herself. It’s not easy trying to maneuver your way in a narco-marriage. Most women break their wedding vows and dip out when their husband is charged with vicious crimes, but not Emma. She remains dedicated to her man.

Portrait of Emma Coronel.
Photo by JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images

Even though she is 32 years younger than her 61-year-old husband (yeah, you do the math), she has represented her family with grace and respect. Unfortunately, she might have to forget about her luxurious life since federal prosecutors are trying to seize the $14 billion assets and estates that are currently operated by the head of the Sinaloa Cartel.

Pleading Guilty

Emma has been accused of assisting her husband in his 2015 escape from a Mexican prison. She is also accused of helping plan his other jailbreak in 2016 when he was recaptured. The 31-year-old pleaded to three counts: conspiracy to distribute cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, and marijuana for importation into the United States.

emma Coronel Aispuro is surrounded by security as she arrives at federal court.
Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Helping him commit such a severe crime, like escaping prison, truly shows you how devoted Emma is. Unfortunately, he didn’t have her best interest in mine when El Chapo did all these terrible things. Her sentencing hearing is scheduled for September 15, 2021.