“If my mom was still alive, there’s no way we would be going to this show. I can tell you that right now,” pop star Gloria Estefan told Refinery29 during a recent R29 Somos Instagram Live interview. Estefan was talking about Red Table Talk: The Estefans, the spin-off of Jada Pinkett Smith’s honesty-obsessed Facebook Watch talk show, which aired its season 1 finale last week with guest Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Estefan’s mother, Gloria Fajardo, died in June 2017.
“I wouldn’t put her through the kind of pain that she would go through learning about some of these things [we talk about],” Estefan continued.
Like the OG Red Table Talk — which is currently making waves over Pinkett-Smith’s new interview with USC admissions scandal subject Olivia Jade — The Estefans doesn’t hold back when it comes to delicate topics like divorce, sexuality, and mental health crises. The series approaches all of those subjects, and more, from the perspective of its famous hosts. Estefan, a multi-Grammy winner and Kennedy Center honoree, leads the series with her 26-year-old musician daughter Emily Estefan and her adult niece, 53-year-old celebrity Univision host Lili Estefan.
The effect is a series that allows family members to learn each other’s deepest secrets live on camera. Estefan revealed to R29 the Estefans kept the gossip coming with the help of a secret code word.
“We purposefully don’t talk about the subject matter beforehand … But we had a special word, ‘Pineapple,’ that was spewed whenever anybody was oversharing with each other,” Estefan said in the video interview, seen below. “We wanted [the show] to be raw, natural, and new. That was important to us. So, we ‘Pineapple’-ed a lot in the weeks leading up to the episodes.”
The Estefans is so dedicated to this “raw” outlook, Lili shares the details of her divorce — which involved an infidelity scandal and a paparazzi blackmail attempt — on air. In the following episode, Gloria and Emily hash out the greatest pains of the latter’s coming out process, which involved suicidal thoughts.
“We wanted to share that because we’re sure there are a lot of families out there having these difficulties communicating to each other — especially Latinos [who sometimes] have a certain way that things ‘have’ to be,” Estefan explained. “We’re public figures, so anything that happens with us, we’ll end up being talked about … We live in a new world. It’s a different world. And everything is on the table right now with social media.”
Watch the video below to find out how the Estefans prepared to bring their totally unvarnished selves to the screen — along with the previously untold reason Vicks VapoRub (“Vivaporu, you know, for Cubans,” as Estefan says) is the key to the Gloria’s 42-year marriage with husband Emilio Estefan.
If you are thinking about suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or the Suicide Crisis Line at 1-800-784-2433.