Mexican actress, Kate del Castillo has given her first interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer since her, and Hollywood actor Sean Penn had their infamous Oct.2nd meeting with Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman while he was on the run last year.
Authorities in Mexico seek to question her in a money laundering investigation over allegations she may have taken money from the drug lord for her tequila company, Honor del Castillo, and for her planned biopic film portraying the Guzman’s life according to the newspaper El Universal.
Private text messages between the actress and El Chapo had many speculating the two were romantically involved had been leaked to the media.
However, during the interview with Sawyer, Del Catillo vehemently denies rumors of a romantic between her and the most powerful drug trafficker in the world, whom she met in person last October.
“Oh, my God, no, not at all,” said Del Castillo, telling Sawyer, “It’s just so not like that, that’s one of the frustrations I have. I wish I could have every single text sent, you know, to tell everybody how out of context they are. There was no reason we wouldn’t be friendly.”
Del Castillo said the leaked messages were taken out of context, and the content of the texts had been selectively chosen.
“They have put them out of context. So it looks like I’m having an affair, almost, with a guy, And that’s what makes me so angry,” Del Castillo said.
The 43-year-old actress became famous for playing the lead character, Teresa Mendoza, the fearless drug lord in the telenovela “La Reina del Sur” or “The Queen of the South.”
The actress explained how Guzman first reached out to her in summer 2014 through his lawyer, who told her that El Chapo sought to give her the rights to make a movie about his life. The drug lord had been re-arrested in February 2014.
Del Castillo claims she jumped at the chance and told almost no one about the project, except for two movie producers she brought on as she began to assemble her team.
After the drug lord escaped from prison in July 2015, disappearing through a hole in the floor of the shower in his prison cell and into a well-lit, ventilated tunnel nearly a mile long, del Castillo claims she was “stunned” and “devastated” because she thought her exclusive story was gone.
But on Sept. 25, 2015, del Castillo flew to Mexico to meet with El Chapo’s lawyers in person, where she said they handed her a Blackberry that the drug kingpin wanted her to use to communicate with him directly.
After she had received the cell phone, initial texts show that she thanked Guzman for the device and commented on how “modern” it was.
But again, she argues that the texts were leaked out of context.
“We don’t know the text before, but I was like, it’s very scary to go down there,” del Castillo told Sawyer.
“I don’t want to risk you or my life.’ It’s like, you know, ‘So are you sure that we’re going to be OK?’ and by being OK means ‘I’m going to be alive,’ so I was scared to go down there.”
“It’s just like, ‘Thank you,’ and like, reassuring that I am going to be taken care of in this particular meeting,” she added.
The actress says Guzman is more an admirer of her telenovela character Teresa Mendoza, and not necessarily infatuated with her in real life.
“It’s not even romantic. I just think he likes me,” she told Sawyer.
“I don’t believe it was necessarily me,” said del Castillo. She then admitted, ” maybe a little bit of both, as I said. I think he probably had a crush on Teresa Mendoza in a way because he loved that series. But I believe it was a bit of both too because he said some beautiful things about my family.”
Some of the leaked texts included messages between Guzman and his lawyers. ABC News counted 37 texts between them just about what kind of phone they should buy for del Castillo so she can talk to him.
Del Castillo insists that in no time ever was she was not flirting with the drug lord, nor did she wanted anything romantic with him.
“I was nice because I wanted to get the story — you know, access to the story,” she told Sawyer. “I was not flirting. I don’t think I was flirting. I mean, I was not flirting with the guy. I was amicable.”
“I wanted his trust also,” del Castillo continued. “And he was nice to me. Why wouldn’t I be nice back? But I never said anything romantic to the guy. Nothing ever. I will go back all the time to the project because my relationship with him always remained professional.”