It has been 26 years since Selena’s death yet the spotlights remains on the beloved Queen of Tejano music, whose story is part of E! True Hollywood Story’s “Death of Innocence” episode. The show explores the untimely deaths of celebrities at the hands of fanatics which in Selena’s case was Yolanda Saldivar, who is serving a life sentence in a Texas prison. Saldivar established Selena’s fan club and was the also the club’s president and later manager of Selena’s boutique and after Selena’s family confronted her about embezzling money she was fired. She shot and killed Selena on March 31, 1995 after asking her to meet at a motel to retrieve financial records. The episodes recounts how close Saldivar was to Selena, even having a key to her house and they describe her feelings about Selena as an “unhealthy infatuation.”
Chris Perez shared how no one thought her life was in danger despite Saldivar’s obsessive behavior which included having dozens of posters of Selena in her home.
“It was traumatic. It was the hardest thing up until that point that I had ever had to go through,” Perez said in the documentary. “I miss her face, her laughter. She was just an amazing soul, an amazing spirit. I heard fans that were like, ‘How could we let that happen?’ Come on now. You think that I would let anything happen to her? Like seriously? None of us thought that that was even a possibility… the fact that one of her friends did that, it’s just unbelievable.”
They also show a clip of her father, Abraham Quintanilla, saying that he never thought she would react in that way after they told her she could no longer contact Selena. The documentary shares audio footage and images from the shooting and the aftermath where Saldivar was in a standoff with police before surrendering. Following her death and the growing interest in her career, there was a greater push to release her first and only English album, Dreaming of You which she had been recording just before her death.
“Doing the English record, that was always like the next big goal for her,” Perez said. “It felt like we had to finish it.” The album went on to debut at No.1 on the Billboard 200 becoming the first predominately Spanish-language album to achieve that. It sold 175,000 copies on its first day of release in the U.S. which was a record for a female vocalist at that time. It remains one of the best-selling Latin albums of all time with 3 million copies sold.
Selena’s impact is evident with fans continuing to share their love and support for the singer and tributes from stars like Becky G and an all-star tribute concert last year for the 25th anniversary of her death. This year she was awarded a posthumous Lifetime Achievement Grammy award. The second season of Selena: The Series is set to be released in May 14 on Netflix, the series is the second time the Quintanilla family is involved in a project about the singer following the 1997 film, Selena starring Jennifer Lopez.
E! True Hollywood Story “Death of Innocence” is available to stream through cable providers.