Maria Victoria Henao is the widow of the once notorious drug lord, Pablo Escobar. She was married to him for seventeen years until the narco-terrorist was shot dead by police in 1993. Maria led the life of a refugee, along with her children, after the death of her husband. The police had charged her for being involved in the drug cartel which was later proved to be false. Though she had a troubled life because of her husband’s bad reputation, she never left him nor did she work against her husband, upholding the morals of an ideal wife till the very end. After having fought against all odds, Maria now resides in an apartment in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Maria & Pablo
Maria was born in 1961 in Colombia. Maria’s older brother worked with Pablo while he was still in his initial days of drug crime. It is said that Maria’s brother had introduced her to Pablo. Since her brother became an important member of Pablo’s small-scale illegal enterprise, Maria had the opportunity to meet him on various occasions. Soon, they fell in love and subsequently decided to tie the knot.
Maria’s family opposed the alliance, citing Pablo’s lower social status. The opposition forced them to elope in 1976. While Pablo was 27 years old at the time of their wedding, Maria was just 15 years old. She gave birth to their first child, Juan Pablo Escobar, on 24 February, 1977. Their daughter, Manuela Escobar, was born in 1984.
Though Maria and Pablo were happily married, the then budding criminal was involved in numerous affairs and had many mistresses. His affair with a journalist named Virginia Vallejo is well-known and is also well-documented. Maria knew everything about this affair and also about Pablo’s other mistresses, but she never abandoned him.
While many suggest that it was her unconditional love towards Pablo which made her to tolerate all his debaucheries, Virginia, in her book ‘Loving Pablo, Hating Escobar’, has suggested that Maria was addicted to the lavish lifestyle that she had with Pablo. Perhaps, Maria also knew that it would be almost impossible for her to take care of herself and her children without the support of her husband. Also, since she had severed all ties with her family in order to marry Pablo, she couldn’t even seek the help of her family.
Maria was married to Pablo for 17 long years before he was shot dead by police in 1993. As an aftermath, a team of cops traced Pablo’s house and seized all his assets which left the family broke. Maria had to flee to Columbia as the local police were after her. She led the life of a refugee in Columbia and in many other countries within a short period of time before fleeing to Argentina.
Though she wanted to settle down permanently in a safer place, Pablo’s reputation forced her to lead the life of a fugitive as she had to constantly change her name and her identity. She changed her name to Maria Isabel Santos Caballero in order to find a shelter in Argentina. Her children too, had their names changed. While Juan became Sebastian Marroquin, Manuela changed her name to Juana Manuela Marroquin Santos.
In the year 2000, Maria was arrested after her whereabouts were disclosed by a television show. She was arrested, along with her son, under many charges including money laundering. The investigation suggested that Maria was involved in drug trafficking and that she had the details of Pablo’s business. Maria denied all the allegations and stated that she was just Pablo’s wife and that she had nothing to do with his illegal businesses. She was later released as none of the charges against her could be proved.
In 2015, Netflix released a series, based on the life of the cocaine king, Pablo Escobar. Titled as ‘Narcos’, Maria’s character in the series was played by Mexican actress, Paulina Gaitan. In the show, the character of Maria was portrayed as a strong-willed woman. In some of the episodes, she was shown advising Pablo in his business deals.
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Maria currently lives in an apartment in Bueno Aires, along with her son and Pablo’s mother. Maintaining a low profile is one of her top priorities at the moment as she doesn’t want to attract unnecessary attention. Her children have made a name for themselves in their respective field. Her daughter, Manuela, makes sure her family stays out of the tabloids. She has never spoken about her father in public and has severed all ties with her family. Sebastian, on the other hand, has authored a book titled ‘Pablo Escobar: My Father’. He is working as an architect and lecturer.