Twenty-three years after her untimely death, Selena Quintanilla's husband paid tribute to the late singer with a touching post on Instagram. On March 31, Chris Perez — who was married to Quintanilla from 1992 until she her death in 1995 — shared a personal Instagram photo of himself and his wife with fans, showing him and the singer in a happy embrace.
"Although we all have our trials and tribulations that we have to go through in this life," Perez captioned the picture, "we MUST be thankful for the ones that we meet along the way...that made us realize...love is REAL...love is UNCONDITIONAL...love NEVER DIES. #MyCoco."
While the origin of "Coco" — Perez's nickname for Quintanilla in his Instagram post — isn't completely clear, it may be a nod to the 2017 Pixar movie of the same name. In the film, which Perez emotionally live-tweeted while watching in December 2017, a young Latino boy encounters several of his late idols in his quest to become a musician.
While Quintanilla wasn't included as one of the characters in the film — much to fans' disappointment, according to VivaLA — Coco did pay tribute to influential Latin artists, all of which ultimately inspired the young boy to pursue his dreams. It wouldn't be too far-fetched, then, to assume that Quintanilla, as Perez's "Coco," has inspired him to pursue his dreams as well.
Perez first met Texas-born Tejano singer Quintanilla when he joined her backing band, Los Dinos, as a guitarist in 1990, according to CNN. Despite her father initially opposing their relationship, the two began dating and later eloped in 1992.
Perez has long-held the memory of his late-wife alive, and published a book about their life together called, To Selena, With Love in 2012. "For years, Selena's fans have been wondering if I was ever going to write about her," Perez told The Hollywood Reporter of his decision to write and publish the book. "[The fans'] voices had an impact on me but, more than anything else, I wanted to show a different side of her."
"Because I've been quiet for so long, the book shines a different light on Selena and the fans have been very grateful for that," he told CNN. "She was everywhere after she passed away, she was all over the TV and then there was the trial but the memories I had were my own. I was very protective of those. With this book I was able to show her in a different light, the woman off the stage."
Perez has continued to share his memories of Quintanilla "off the stage" with fans over the years, and even shared a photo of the pair's original marriage license with fans on Facebook in April 2017 — as a tribute to what would have been their 25th wedding anniversary.
"[It's] hard to believe that today marks 25 years since Selena and I decided that the only way to be together...was to run away and get married (at 20 and 22 years old) in secret," Perez wrote in a caption translated from Spanish. "What a rollercoaster ride THAT day was."
In the years since Quintanilla's passing, she's become a musical and cultural icon, has inspired many contemporary artists, and was honored with her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2017.
But it's clear that Quintanilla was always a star in the eyes of Perez, and thanks to his touching tributes — alongside those of her family, friends, and the many fans that loved her — she'll continue to be a star in the eyes of generations to come.