Kate del Castillo has been the other party in the Sean Penn/El Chapo saga, mostly speaking through her representatives while Sean Penn’s article and the capture of Guzman took headlines. She finally sat down for an interview with Diane Sawyer on Friday and gave her side of the now-infamous encounter with the drug lord.
del Castillo first talked a bit about the text messages she received that had many thinking there were romantic intentions behind their meeting. Instead, del Castillo credits her television role for the infatuation, not a personal connection:
“He probably had a crush on Teresa Mendoza,” she said, explaining that El Chapo was most likely an “admirer” of the fictional drug-trafficking character she plays on the telenovela La Reina del Sur…
“I didn’t know how to react. He kissed me on the cheek and embraced me,” del Castillo told Sawyer about the encounter. “His eyes penetrate you like a dagger. It’s scary, you know? Because it’s really strong.”
The details about the meeting itself showcase that type of fear you’d expect from someone who may still be in danger for her role in El Chapo’s capture, highlighted by her description of the moment she was alone with the captured drug lord:
“I was waiting for him to make a move. I had no idea what intentions [he had] … everything happened in my head. … Those seconds were crucial for me. I thought everything,” she said.
She then added, “My heart started pounding … I actually got the guts to tell him. I said, this is now or never, and if I don’t say it right now, I might not have another opportunity. And if I say it, these might be my last words.”
del Castillo said she still has anger towards Sean Penn, noting that she believed he was truly there about the film on El Chapo’s life and not an article on Rolling Stone. That didn’t turn out to be the case. Despite it all, she still keeps in contact with El Chapo and intends to work on the project if it comes about. She also refuted some of the claims made in Penn’s story about the meeting — including the controversial portion regarding a military checkpoint — while defending her character saying, “I am an honorable woman. … This does not define who I am.”
The actress is still under investigation by Mexican authorities for a possible role in money laundering for cartel operations. You can check out portions of the interview below and go in depth at ABC.