For someone to be successful in life, it requires not just the hard work or the wealth, but also the wisdom to make the right decisions. Just like the infamous Pablo Escobar, a drug cartel owner and one of the richest men in the world. He devoted his life to creating huge wealth through the most scandalous means, but little did he know that life isn’t always a bed of roses. With a net worth of $30 billion, Pablo Escobar was considered the richest man in the world, but the story took a twist when he was murdered in 1993. Following his numerous crimes, he endangered the lives of his wife Maria Victoria Henao and two children, who were faced with the repercussion of his deeds. Read on, as we take you through all you need to know about the wife of the drug kingpin.
A Tale of Young Love…
The lesser-known Maria Victoria Henao who is a Colombian businesswoman and fashion designer is most notable for being the widow of the infamous Colombian narcoterrorist and drug baron Pablo Escobar also known as The King of Cocaine. She was born in Colombia in 1961 and was raised along with her two brothers Mario Henao and Pastora Henao.
When she was thirteen, Maria fell in love with Pablo Escobar the Colombian drug lord. At the time, Pablo was still organizing his cartel and Maria’s older brother was one of his associates. Although her family was against her relationship with the drug baron, Maria went on to marry Pablo after two years of a romantic relationship. The duo first eloped and later got hitched in March 1976. At the time of their wedding, Pablo was 26 while Maria was 15 years old.
After their marriage, Maria Victoria Henao and Pablo welcomed their first child Juan P Escobar in 1977 and later in 1984, they welcomed another child, a daughter- Manuela Escobar.
The love between them continued to blossom for seventeen years before it abruptly came to an end in 1993. Although they were as rich as they could be, life wasn’t all rosy for Maria and her family as they were always hiding from Pablo’s rivals and government officials. This made it impossible for her children to receive formal education and were homeschooled instead.
The Unwavering Love of a Wife
Pablo Escobar was one of the most dangerous drug lords to have lived, but was he the same man with his wife and kids? On the contrary, the brutal drug lord was described by his wife as an affectionate husband and loving father to their kids.
Even though he was in the same business as her brother, Marie claimed that she never knew her husband was into the drug business. She stated that at first, she believed he was into real estate. Even after he got busted for the first time when he was trying to smuggle drugs into Ecuador, he claimed he was framed and like any loyal wife, she believed him.
Things changed, however, when she realized he had a hand in the assassination of Rodrigo Lara Bonilla, Colombia’s minister of Justice. It was at that time that she started doubting him. But then, she still loved him and according to her, he did not change towards her.
That said, Pablo Escober had many extra-marital affairs with many women. His most popular relationship was with journalist Virginia Vallejo whom he continued to see for a period of more than five years. Marie knew about his ways but she still stood with him probably because she felt there was nothing she could do about it or because she was used to the way of life with him and could not provide for her kids away from him as suggested in Vallejo’s book Loving Pablo, Hating Escobar. It might also be because she loved him too much to go or she believed despite cheating on her, he still loved her more than anyone else.
The Fugitive Life That Would Become of Maria
Despite the moving around in hiding, Pablo Escobar was killed on December 2, 1993, at the rooftop of one of his hideouts in Medellin, Colombia. Shortly afterward, Maria became a fugitive going into hiding from Pablo’s rivals as well as the Colombian police. Since she had ended her relationship with her family after her marriage to Pablo, she had no one to run to for help. While the tension was so high, Maria fled the country with her two children to seek asylum in several countries including Mozambique and Brazil. Later on, they settled in Argentina.
Before the death of Pablo Escobar, he had made many enemies for himself, putting his entire family in danger. Because of this, Maria Victoria Henao and his kids maintained a very low profile in Argentina where they lived under different names. She changed her name to Maria Isabel Santos Caballero.
Their whereabouts were revealed in 1999 by a TV show, leading to the arrest of Maria and her son for alleged theft and money laundering. They were finally released after 15 months and she continued leaving her life away from the spotlight.
Her son now works as an architect who has a book (Pablo Escobar: My Father) under his name, while her daughter has kept her distance from the family after cutting all ties.
Living Under The Radar
At the time of Pablo Escobar’s death in one of his hideouts in Medellin, many people thought that Henao was also killed in the process. However, the speculations continued and the news was all over the media. After a while, it was discovered that Henao had survived and had fled from Colombia with her two children. As earlier mentioned, she changed their names; the name of her daughter to Juana Manuela Marroquin Santos and her son became Sebastian Marroquin.
With all the travails of the past behind them, Marie continues to reside in Bueno Aires. Since the death of her husband when she was just 32, Marie has refused to get married again. She has written a book My Life and Prison With Pablo Escobar detailing her life with the dreaded drug lord.
Additionally, the Netflix series titled Narcos was inspired by the drug lord’s story. The series follows the rise of the cocaine trade in Colombia; as well as the stories of drug lords such as Pablo Escobar and has been airing since 2015.