Gloria Estefan and Clare Crawley Reveal Childhood Sexual Abuse on Heartbreaking Red Table Talk

Estefan said her music teacher “predator” threatened to kill her mom if she found out about the abuse.

Gloria Estefan and Clare Crawley opened up about surviving childhood sexual abuse on a heartbreaking “Red Table Talk: The Estefans.” 

During Thursday’s emotional edition, the international music icon opened the show by sharing the statistic that 93% of abused children “know and trust” their abusers. “And I know this — because I was one of them,” Gloria revealed for the first time.

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“I was 9 years old when this happened and it was someone that my mother trusted,” she explained. “He was family but not close family. He was in a position of power because my mother put me in his music school. He immediately started telling her how talented I was and how I needed special attention and she felt lucky that he was focusing this kind of attention on me.”

“I knew this was a very dangerous situation,” she continued. “And when I revolted and told him, ‘This cannot happen, you cannot do this,’ he goes, ‘Your father is in Vietnam and your mother is alone and I will kill her if you tell her.'”

“I knew it was crazy because at no point did I ever think that it was because of me that this was happening. I knew the man was insane and that’s why I thought he might actually hurt my mother.”

When her daughter, Emily, asked if her grandmother — Gloria’s mother — knew anything about the abuse, Gloria explained how that kind of topic wasn’t talked about back then “at all.”

A heart-wrenching family audio tape was then played on “Red Table Talk” where a 9-year-old Gloria can be heard telling her father she finds musical studies difficult and boring. Her father replies by saying the music teacher said he was “proud” of her and that she is a “born artist.”

After Gloria’s anxiety came to the point where her hair was falling out, she broke down and told her mother one night at 3AM. However, when the police finally arrived, they told Gloria’s mom not to press charges because an ensuing court testimony from young Gloria would cause her even more trauma.

“And that’s the one thing I feel bad about — knowing there must have been other victims,” Gloria added.

She also described how her abuser tried to control her years later when she was an adult. After the singer hit it big with “Conga” in 1985, she said her abuser wrote a letter to a newspaper criticizing her music. Although angry at the time, Gloria said she didn’t want to expose him because she thought her career would then be about the abuse — and she didn’t want him to have that power over her.

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The panel then welcomed Crowley to the table, where the former “Bachelorette” star revealed she was targeted by a “predator” Catholic priest in first grade.

“I grew up going to a Catholic school and I was the victim of a predator,” Clare said. “My parents looked at Catholic priests as — they held them on a pedestal.”

After Lili pointed out that Clare’s mother is of Mexican descent, Clare went on to say the Catholic religion is “very deep” in her family’s roots.”

“How could you not trust a priest,” Gloria said, as Emily chimed in, “[Priests] are supposed to be the purest, most trustworthy.”

“Yes,” Clare agreed. “And the Catholic school treated him as a counselor. My parents did the best they could and reached out for the resources they could at the time and sent me to this priest.”

“I don’t think there was any counseling that was done. It was a one-on-one time to be a predator.”

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Although she said she didn’t remember being threatened like Gloria, she knew she had to keep away from the priest, so she quickly excelled in school, allowing her to forgo counseling sessions.

And as with Gloria, Clare said no one talked about sexual abuse while she was growing up, so she didn’t tell anyone, including her family, for “years.” Eventually she confided in her sister, who informed their parents. They sued the church, but the church simply removed the priest and placed him in one parish over, where he continued to abuse children, according to Clare.

During the episode, Crawley also credited Dale Moss with helping her not only process what she went through, but also start sharing it publicly.

When asked about their intimacy together, Clare said she felt instantly safe with him, I felt instantly connected with him, and healing from childhood abuse, sexual abuse, it’s not linear. It goes up and down and affects different parts of our lives and so it affects not only our intimate relationship but when we get in disagreements I noticed myself, raising my voice a lot and he’s asked me before like, ‘Why do you yell sometimes?’ and I tell him I was silenced as a child for so long, I feel like I need to be heard now, I feel like I want to be heard now, and I feel like when I’m not being heard, you will hear me.”

Moss appeared on the episode as well and said he “always wanted her to feel safe and secure and protected, and we’ve talked about this a lot, I never wanted her to feel pressured.” She added that he encouraged her to reference her past abuse in an Instagram post back in July as well.

Now, after an incredible journey of healing, both Clare and Gloria considered themselves survivors, not victims.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual abuse, text “STRENGTH” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor.

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