(Photo: Reuters/Andrew Innerarity)
The late superstar singer-songwriter Jenni Rivera revealed in her new autobiography, released Tuesday, which would have been her 44th birthday, about her dark past, including being raped and being physically abused by her first husband, with her only option being to turn to God.
Her autobiography, Unbreakable: My Story, My Way, is a book the late Mexican-American singer was working on for many years before her tragic death in 2012 in a plane crash. According to People Español, her last entry was written on Dec. 3, 2012, six days before her death.
In her book, she shared personal revelations about a tumultuous life full of career highs and personal life lows, from her excitement of becoming a cross-over artist to her suicide attempt at 19 and issues of domestic abuse with her first husband. The story begins with Rivera recounting an incident in 1997 in which she was raped in the backseat of a car right after she filmed her first music video.
"I silently thanked God as I was slammed onto the sidewalk, realizing that it was finally over," wrote Rivera, as reported by NBC Latino. "But the damage was done. I sat on the curb, numb. I couldn't cry. I was just relieved to be alive. I vowed that I would never tell anyone of my shame."
Rivera launched her career by selling cassette tapes at flea markets and by the late 1990s, she built a loyal following through songs with themes of dignity and hardship. She sold over 20 million album copies, earned several Latin Grammy nominations and posthumously won six awards at the 2013 Billboard Latin Music Awards.
Despite her deep struggle, Rivera managed to pull herself together on the outside. "My soul had been shattered but to the outside world I did just as I had been taught since I was a little girl," wrote Rivera. "I kept my head up and continued forward."
Known among her fans to face life's challenges head-on, Rivera was an open book whose life remained in the spotlight as a music artist, rising actress and reality TV star. Yet, she wrote a surprising confession about an ex-partner she considered her "one true love," whom she hid from family and friends. After their relationship ended, Rivera wrote that when she cried during her performances, it "was almost always for Fernando." Rivera was married and divorced three times, and had a total of five children.
But even amid her roller-coaster life, Rivera sought peace in God when she attended her brother Pastor Pedro Rivera's church, Iglesia Primer Amor Church in Whittier, Calif. In her mun2 network reality show, "I Love Jenni," Rivera is shown at Sunday services with her five children and when she died, her funeral service was dubbed a "celestial graduation."
On Dec. 9, 2012, Rivera died along with six others including her publicist, make-up artist and lawyer in a northern Mexico plane crash at the age of 43.