She was born in Cuba. Her family moved to the US when she was 2 years old.
She has a degree in psychology from the University of Miami with a minor in French. While in school, she worked as a Spanish/French translator at Miami International Airport.
In March 1990, she fractured her spine when her tour bus crashed near Scranton, Pennsylvania. She had two metal rods inserted in her back during a 4-hour surgery.
Her birth name is Gloria Fajardo. She married producer and keyboard player Emilio Estefan in 1978 - he was her first boyfriend.
She appeared in the 1999 movie Music Of The Heart and the 2000 TV film For Love Of Country: The Arturo Sandoval Story.
Gloria Estefan is a keen sailor and has captained her own vessel. She's taken three courses in seamanship, piloting, and navigation.
Gloria's father, Jose Manuel Fajardo, was a bodyguard to Cuban President Fulgencio Batista until Fidel Castro's takeover forced him to flee with his family to Miami in 1959. He spent 18 months in a Cuban prison after being captured during the C.I.A.-sponsored Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961 until President John F. Kennedy negotiated his release.
Gloria, a staunch anti-drug campaigner, refused an offer to appear on the popular crime drama Miami Vice, because she and her band were expected to portray themselves performing at a party thrown by drug dealers.
As a child, she learned to speak English by listening to American songs on the radio.
As a teenager, she helped care for her ailing father, who was exposed to Agent Orange while serving in Vietnam and suffered from multiple sclerosis. He died in 1980 at 47 years old.
Her first child, son Nayib, was born on her second wedding anniversary (September 2, 1980). Daughter Emily was born on December 5, 1994.
Her bulldog Noelle inspired her to write the children's books The Magically Mysterious Adventures of Noelle the Bulldog (2005) and Noelle's Treasure Tale (2006), which she wrote in both English and Spanish.
When Gloria Estefan is writing a song, the music comes first and the words, later. "I listen to the track to see what it makes me feel and then write the lyrics," she said at a Billboard Latin Conference.