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Gloria Estefan Recalls Fleeing Cuba and Dad's Arrest in 'The Thread': 'Toughest Moments of My Life' (Exclusive)

Gloria Estefan is opening up about how music “allowed [her] to survive.”

In Life Stories’ first episode of their new YouTube documentary interview series The Thread — which will feature interviews with the likes of Martin Sheen, Tony Hawk, Katie Couric and others — the three-time Grammy-winning singer discusses the impact music has had on her life and the purpose it gave her. 

“Music has never brought me anything but joy,” Estefan, 66, says in the interview preview for her episode “Gloria Estefan: Singing Through Struggles.”

In the preview, the “Conga” singer credits music for helping her through hard times. “It allowed me to survive some of the toughest moments in my life,” she says, adding, “When the Castro forces came in, my father told my mother that he needed to get us out of Cuba. My mother told him, ‘They’re gonna arrest you’ and that’s exactly what happened.”

During the hard times that she faced, Estefan says “Music moved me. It was my escape.” While she never anticipated the fame she has acquired, she “gives purpose to [her] fame” by inspiring others in difficult situations.

“I never would’ve imagined being an artist,” the singer says. “But I can inspire people that are going through their own hardships and that gave so much purpose to my fame.”

In 2023, the singer and her husband, musician and producer Emilio Estefan, celebrated 45 years of marriage. When asked what their hopes are for the future, Emilio, 70, said he hopes to inspire the next generation of singers.

"I hope the door is open now [for artists to] believe in where they come from,” he told PEOPLE. “You have a sound for Colombia, Spain, Merengue, or the Cuban music, Puerto Rican music. Don't forget your country. Make it your own… In the long run, people respect that."

The “Here We Are” singer says that she and her husband “make a great team.” “We love and support each other. He's been incredibly motivational for me from day one,” Estefan tells PEOPLE. “He saw I didn't like being the center of attention and he saw something in me early. He has always been there loving and supporting and making things as easy as possible for me.”

"The Thread" will premiere weekly from March 4 - June 17 on YouTube.

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