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Emma Coronel Aispuro, a teen beauty queen and the infamous kingpin's second wife, revealed in a new book that she is not legally married to the man.
"Emma and the Other Narco Women," which will be released on 25 January, reveals that El Chapo, real name Joaquín Archivaldo Guzmán Loera, is still legally wed to his first wife, a social worker he married in 1977.
Ms Aispuro claims in the book that she and Guzmán were married "under the law of the divine" when they wed in July 2007.
The incarcerated cartel leader had five children with his first wife, Alejandrina Salazar, to whom he is still legally wed. The book's author, Anabel Hernández verified the marriage as recently as last year, according to The New York Post.
Despite the legal issue, Guzmán reportedly bribed a priest in Sinaloa, Mexico, to conduct a wedding for him and Ms Aispuro.
According to reports in the book, the wedding was "enormous”, though Ms Aispuro maintains that the celebration was a small affair with their families.
Ms Aispuro, who mothered a pair of twins with Guzmán, said she did not know what her husband – 30 years her senior – did at the time of her wedding. At the time the drug lord was a wanted criminal and fugitive, with his face plastering wanted posters across the country.
“It’s only after it came out in the news that we had gotten married that I started to figure out what was going on with him, although I didn’t really give it that much importance,” Ms Aispuro said, recalling when she learned of her husband's activities. “I was all of 18 years old after all.”
She was not the man's only romantic interest; he has fathered nine children with different mothers, all who were older than Ms Aispuro and reportedly did not associate with her.
Ultimately the teen beauty queen was sentenced to three years in prison for helping her husband with his cartel business. Even still, she claims she is devoted to her husband.
Ms Hernández noted that Ms Aispuro attended all of Guzmán's court hearings, but suggested that her appearances were a tactic to give the appearance that the drug lord was really a dedicated family man.
In 2019, Ms Aispuro launched a clothing line and began appearing on US reality TV show "Cartel Crew" that aired on VH1.
Guzmán is currently serving a life sentence at a maximum-security prison in Colorado.