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Exclusive: Carlos Vives and his wife, Claudia Elena Vásquez, celebrate 20 years of love

From Los Angeles, California, the admired couple chatted with HOLA! USA, sharing their twentieth-anniversary plans.

Carlos Vives and his wife Claudia Elena Vásquez are celebrating two decades of love this summer. The couple is visiting the city of Los Angeles, California, since Carlos will be performing at the legendary Hollywood Bowl this weekend. Accompanied by none other than the city’s famous Philharmonic under the direction of world renowned Latin American artist, living legend Gustavo Dudamel.

While the couple was visiting Hollywood, we had the opportunity to talk to them about their plans for this important anniversary. While they posed for the cameras in the most candid and romantic way, they revealed their unedited feelings for each other… not only what they most love about one another, but also what annoys them the most, and how they’re able to cope with unpleasant gossip that sometimes circulates in the media. This will be an open-hearted interview!

Carlos Vives and Claudia Vasquez HOLA! USA Digital Cover©Hola
Photo: Nunu | Hair and Makeup: Paul Anthony | Stylist: Poshenko

Carlos, let’s start from the beginning… What did you think of Claudia the first time you laid eyes on her?

That she loved me… says it straightforwardly and without thinking twice.

What about you Claudia? What did you feel when you saw Carlos for the first time?

An incredible sense of admiration and respect. I remember when the album “Clásicos de La Provincia” came out, I was beginning my first semester of Chemical Engineering and a schoolmate played it for me, I thought it was amazing. I’d always liked Vallenato, but to hear Carlos’ interpretation in this album, was absolutely revolutionary. To listen to our music in such a different way, with these Rock and Roll overtones, attracted young people of my generation immediately. Carlos became a musical reference and an idol for everyone. A few years later, I’d been Miss Colombia for about a month and we were on the same flight to Miami. I’m incredibly shy but my “chaperone” at the time asked him if we could take a picture together. I saw him again about 5 years later at RCN TV station where I was working. I never imagined we would have a relationship after that meeting. A few days later he asked for my phone number and called me. We would talk every night, about his life, my life, Santa Marta, Medellín… I felt he was quite lonely and sad. I would listen to him, and that’s how the friendship evolved. Eventually we fell in love.

Photo: Nunu | Hair and Makeup: Paul Anthony | Stylist: Poshenko

Carlos, do you remember a time in the beginning of your relationship when you would see Claudia arrive and you’d feel butterflies in your stomach?

That same day at the RCN TV station. -answers directly.

And you Claudia?

Yes! Of course I remember! He called me 6 months after we’d met asking if I would be in the video for his song “Déjame Entrar”. It was the album’s first single. When we met to go to the shooting location, I definitely felt butterflies.

Carlos… Was there an AHA MOMENT when you just knew you could go to the end of the world with this woman?

It didn’t happen right away because I was going through such a difficult moment in my life, and I was certain I didn’t want to complicate such a special person’s life.

Claudia, when did you feel Carlos could be the love of your life?

We continued to talk quite often after we filmed the video. I worked for a multinational company as manager for the perfume application laboratory, this company was located next to the Bogota airport. Carlos would land and stop by my office to see me. He would spend a lot of time there, obviously the personnel would go crazy! Every day my feelings for him kept growing and eventually I just knew it would be forever.

Photo: Nunu | Hair and Makeup: Paul Anthony | Stylist: Poshenko

It’s been 20 years since then… Carlos, did you ever imagine you would come this far?

I knew Claudia was someone who wanted what was best for me, and in those early years of our relationship I would deny myself many things. It’s obvious that thanks to who she is as a person and her love for me, I was able to achieve improbable things, one can say almost impossible.

Claudia, here you are, 20 years later with two children and a beautiful family together.

Yes, our relationship is incredibly special. We complement each other well, we are partners in love, life and professionally. Carlos is a marvelous human being, astonishingly creative which can make life challenging from time to time but also a lot fun. I want all of his dreams to come true, I understand his objectives 100% and want his ideas to be known and multiplied because I’m certain they can help create a better world.

Carlos, being the poet that you are… Would you be able to define what love is in a few words?

As Borges would say: “We all know what it is, but somehow it’s incredibly difficult to describe.”

And Claudia, how would you define love?

It’s a beautiful feeling of affection and attraction for a specific person, you want everything to turn out well for this person, wishing them the best always.

Photo: Nunu | Hair and Makeup: Paul Anthony | Stylist: Poshenko

Carlos, looking back at these 20 years in your relationship, if you could change anything, would you?

No! Nothing. I’d gladly relive it all again.

Claudia, would you do anything different?

No, you know what? I wouldn’t. We’ve lived the happiest moments together, and incredibly difficult ones as well. It’s all been a part of our growth as a couple and it’s helped us become stronger as individuals.

Carlos, What did you learn about Claudia that you didn’t already know when she became a mother?

She always managed to make me feel what you mentioned earlier, “butterflies in my stomach” and it was always clear to me this was the reason we were together. But when I witnessed her becoming a mother, I understood it was more than that. Claudia is the essence of life, a teacher who has shown me the true meaning of a family and being a parent.

Claudia, what did you learn about Carlos when he became the father of your children?

When I met him I got to see him interact with his older children, Carlos Enrique and Lucía. He was always so loving and committed to them. It’s been a wonderful process with our children Pedro and Elen. I always say that the fun starts when Carlos comes home. Those incomparable moments when we cook something delicious together, watch a movie, read something, tell each other stories… Everyday life with them is wonderful and Carlos is a devoted father to every single one of his children.

Carlos Vives and his wife, Claudia Elena Vásquez©Hola
Photo: Nunu | Hair and Makeup: Paul Anthony | Stylist: Poshenko

Carlos, it is said that in order to love someone, you have to admire the person as well. What is it you admire most about Claudia?

I admire many things about Claudia… her beauty of course, we are beings that materialize the spirit after all. But what I love most about her is her capacity to love our children, her work ethics and her commitment to life, to our country and the people around us.

Claudia, what do you most admire about your husband when it comes to his career?

I admire all of Carlos’ sides: he’s a romantic and caring husband, a feminist, and I love that about him. A loving father, fun, with an ample knowledge of history, he always has something to teach us. He connects us to the world and teaches us to value each place we visit as a family. Everything is history and adventure with him. He’s overwhelming as an artist, there are no limits to his creativity. My best ally is our intellectual property lawyer, I keep wanting to register every brand that he comes up with, every song, every idea. Carlos is brilliant.

Carlos, now that your wife isn’t listening, hahahahaha… Does Claudia have any flaws that can annoy you now and then?

Claudia is a woman of many virtues and little flaws. Not everyone has come to our lives with good intentions, and this affects Claudia. Now with everything that’s going on in social media… it’s hard for her to separate herself from the gossip. To this I say: “Guess why I don’t own a bird, because I don’t want to hear it sing.” -he says this while laughing loudly- I always say to her, “We have the right to not find out what other people think.”

Nobody’s perfect, not even CARLOS VIVES, hahahaha! Claudia, what do you find most challenging about living with him?

We debate often. There are so many work fronts and each one poses huge challenges that we never stop brainstorming, talking and debating to find solutions for so many situations. Of course we often have different points of view and it can be difficult to come to an agreement, in those instances I prefer to stop and leave for a while. We try to address the issues later but sometimes it’s impossible to reach an agreement and one of us has to give in. Usually it’s me! -she cries out while laughing again.

Photo: Nunu | Hair and Makeup: Paul Anthony | Stylist: Poshenko

I’m sure that in the course of 20 years you must’ve experienced all sorts of things… Carlos, what is your secret for overcoming obstacles that one encounters in such a long relationship?

Love. True love can conquer anything.

And Claudia, what is your secret for falling in love every single day after dealing with obstacle that can get in the way of a relationship?

I admire Carlos enormously, and in those moments when we are going through something difficult and argue, I take a deep breath and often talk to my sister Isa and my friends. I always come back to what keeps us together, our love for Colombia, our projects: Tras La Perla, Rio Grande, our brands Gaira Música Local, Cumbia House and his whole philosophy as an artist. And to be honest, there is no other place that makes me happier than the Vives Universe. So this is what helps me deal with those obstacles we often encounter in our relationship.

Carlos, as you were saying earlier, even if you don’t want to, you must hear entertainment gossip from time to time. How does it feel when you read comments from people that without knowing you have an opinion about your family, your wife and talk freely about your personal life?

I understand it’s a flaw some people have, not ours, gossip is an industry and those people have to make a living - he says this in an understanding manner and without giving it much importance-. It’s obviously not something I value.

Lately you’ve been the target of criticism regarding family disagreements. Is it difficult for you to hear the things they say about you in the media? Do they hurt or do they have no effect on you? How do you handle such things in order to emerge victorious and not let it affect your self-esteem?

I feel like those comments are so removed from reality… -she pauses for a second- It’s hard for me to believe there are people that validate them. I’ve been in this family for 20 years and all I’ve done is offer love, take care of everyone, look out for everyone’s best interest and try to have everyone be in good terms with each other. This is the truth and they know this. When it comes to a certain type of press, I try not to pay attention, but sometimes the wave gets so incredibly big that one has to take a deep breath and be strong in order to continue forward. Facts always manage to reveal the truth and what is really behind everything that happens to us. When facing complex situations -pauses again-, there are those who always look for someone to blame in order to avoid the consequences for their actions. This is a perverse way to play the victim and it doesn’t allow healing to occur. I always find refuge from the storm in Carlos, my children, my friends and family.

Photo: Nunu | Hair and Makeup: Paul Anthony | Stylist: Poshenko

Carlos, when it comes to love, and using your relationship with Claudia as an example, what would you like your children to learn?

That in order to create a better word, love is about commitment and compromise… and in order to give love, it’s important to feel loved right down to your bones.

Claudia, what would you like your children to learn about love with both of you as an example?

Certainly our children are forming their own idea of what a couple’s relationship should be just by seeing our daily interaction. I want to teach them to treat others with kindness and how to communicate in a healthy manner. I want them to witness manifestations of affection, learn the power of words, the power of nonverbal communication as well body language. They absorb everything. I want them to know that a healthy relationship is possible. I want them to learn to identify what comes from the ego and surpass it. To look for that partner in life who will compliment and help them become better every day.

In our last conversation you mentioned that Claudia had come to your life to teach you the value of things… can you tell us what that is?

Everything I loved to do in life, sometimes we forget.

What helped you support Carlos’ career at moments when he might have lacked inspiration? Were there moments when you were afraid that working together might damage the relationship, that going into business together would affect your love for each other, like we’ve seen so many times before with other couples?

Since the very beginning I connected with Carlos’ values and principles. His love for Colombia, the way he connects us with its identity, the way he shows us what unites us as a society and and teaches to understand the differences. We vibrate with the same purpose and that makes our work a common cause for which we get up happily every morning. More than a job, it is the passion for what we do that unites us and that is indestructible.

Portada Digital Carlos y Claudia HOLA! USA©Hola
Photo: Nunu | Hair and Makeup: Paul Anthony | Stylist: Poshenko

We wish this amazing couple many more years of love and happiness together. Thank you for your valuable time! May you shine bright at the Hollywood Bowl!


Photo: Nunu
Hair and Makeup: Paul Anthony
Stylist: Poshenko
Video: Nunu
Video Edition: Daniel Niera

Looks Wardrobe:

Look (blue) Claudia: Vestido @glaudibyjohanahernandez / Jewelry @androhmedaLook
Look (sparkly) Claudia: Vestido @glaudibyjohanahernandez / Jewelry @androhmeda
Suit (black) Carlos: Suit @regardstylehouse / Jewelry @androhmeda
Look (pink) Claudia: Vestido @glaudibyjohanahernandez / Jewelry @regardstylehouse / Carlos: Jacket @ysl / Shirt @ysl / Boots @maisonpriveepr_la

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