My dinner With Gloria Estefan

I had dinner with Gloria Estefan last week. Ok, I was interviewing her. But it was still dinner with Gloria. And, I have to confess, even a decade after first meeting her, I'm still in awe of the woman.

Not because she's a superstar who's sold 70 million albums worldwide, or because she was in Glee or because she still churns out No. 1 hits. It's because, despite all that, Estefan remains happily married--a wife, a mom who is so grounded and so solidly down to earth.

That is a major part of her stardom that others would do well to emulate. 

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Dinner was my idea. I needed quality time to do the best interview I could after a long photo shoot. Estefan could have insisted on her office or studio.  But I was dying for a glass of wine, and she gamely said she was too.

We went to a quiet, neighborhood restaurant, sans entourage, where Estefan walked up to the hostess and asked for a nice, quiet table. Eyes wide, the hostess obliged, and for the next two hours we chatted uninterrupted and drank a bottle of sauvignon blanc. I felt like I was having dinner with the girls.

Estefan managed to sit through the surreptitious looks of those around us, and was happy to pose for pictures with the people at the table next to us.

"It was great to see you," she said warmly, as we said goodbye.

In all the years I've known Estefan, she's never changed her demeanor. She is a star, no doubt, but she's unfailingly sincere and unaffected. She's real.

Sometime during the evening, she spoke about her approach to life. Fame and applause and fans, she said, are not things you can take home with you; they're but a fraction of your life and who you are.

There are many celebrities who think they're stars first and people second. Some of them may even be great artists. Others, like Estefan, understand the difference between the artist and the person, and they excel in both.

They're the biggest stars of all.

Topics: celebrity mothers