It is often said that marriage is not a bed of roses, but in the case of Maria Victoria Henao this took on an additional meaning. Married to one of the most notorious criminals in the world, Henao’s life was a bag of mixed fates. On the one hand, she lived a life of luxury, financed by her husband’s wealth, and on the other hand, she never had peace because they had numerous run-ins with the law. This pattern continued until her husband was shot by the authorities and she had to cope with the consequences of his actions.
Maria Victoria Henao’s Fact Sheet
How Maria Victoria Henao Met Pablo Escobar
Maria Victoria Henao was born in Colombia in 1961. She comes from a distinguished, conservative family and has at least two brothers: Carlos (now deceased) and Pastora. Henao grew up in the Envigado district of Medellin and met Escobar, also from Medellin, at the age of 12.
The two got to know each other through Henao’s brother Carlos. Some sources believe that he was part of Escobar’s drug gang, while others insist that he was an upright guy who had nothing to do with drugs. Whatever it was, Hero met Escobar through her brother. He was immediately in love with her and treated her like a princess.
Maria Victoria Henao for her part was impressed by his compassionate nature and fell in love with him. Her parents disapproved of this relationship, but the young girl held on to her weapons. She and Escobar finally eloped in 1976 and tied the knot; she was 15 then, he 27.
The Grim Realities of Henao’s Marital Life
Henao’s husband founded his infamous Medellin cartel the same year they were married. He set up lucrative smuggling routes to America and was responsible for about 80% of the cocaine entering this country. Between the 1980s and 1990s, Escobar was the ruler and amassed up to $30 billion. He also dealt ruthlessly with anyone who dared to stand in his way, including judges, police officers, and prominent politicians. During this reign of terror, Henao, who had born two children, repeatedly urged her husband to turn away from his ways, but he refused.
He further hurt her by having affairs with several women, including a radio journalist named Virginia Vallejo. Faced with this grim reality, Henao resigned himself to fate and concentrated on giving her and her children the appearance of normal family life. She also had to make do with short, regular visits to her husband, as he often hid in his numerous safe houses.
This is what the marriage with Escobar looked like. Some people have since wondered why Henao did not leave the marriage. She claims that she stayed out of love, but some believe that it was her love of material things that influenced her.
Moving on after Her Husband’s Demise
Maria Victoria Henao and her children endured life with cloak and dagger for several years until her benefactor was shot dead by the Colombian army in December 1993. They then packed their bags and sought refuge in several countries, but were rejected. Finally, the family was granted asylum in Argentina and has since lived in the country’s capital (Buenos Aires).
Maria Victoria Henao has now changed her name to Maria Isabel Santos Caballero and is working to correct some of the mistakes made by her husband. It is possible, however, that Henao did not really repent when she was confronted in June 2018 with accusations of money laundering for a Colombian drug lord.
Atoning for Her Husband’s Sins
Since her flight from Colombia, Maria Victoria Henao has been committed to making amends for her husband’s sins. She has turned to war cartels to make peace with them. She has also publicly apologized to the Colombian people for the terror that her husband brought upon the country in the 1980s and 1990s.
In an exclusive interview with a Colombian radio station (W Radio) in November 2018, Henao asked for forgiveness for the mistakes of her youth but claimed that she had not played an active role in her husband’s cartel. According to the lady, she was as much a victim as anyone else and she repeated that this was her book My Life and Prison with Pablo Escobar.
In the memoirs, Henao revealed that she met Escobar as a naive girl and that he forced her to have an abortion at the age of 14. He continued this manipulative and controlling pattern throughout her marriage and she had no choice but to accept the role of housewife.
What Have Her Children Been Up To?
Henao’s marriage to Pablo Escobar produced two children: a son named Juan Pablo (born February 1977) and his sister Manuela (born 1984). Both also live in Buenos Aires, just like their mother. Juan Pablo is now called Sebastian Marroquin and is a trained architect. He is also a writer and has worked to make amends for his father’s sins.
In 2009 Sebastian took part in the documentary Sins of My Father, in which he apologized to the children of some personalities whom his father had murdered. He has also written books about his father’s life and created a clothing brand Escobar.
His sister (now Juana Manuela Marroquin Santos) flew largely under the radar. Some sources indicate that she works as an engineer in America. However, the likely reality is that she still lives with her brother and his wife in Buenos Aires and has some mental health problems. This is said to be due to the paranoia that one day she would be discovered and hunted for the sins of her father.
Is Maria Victoria Henao Wealthy?
It is known that at the time of his death, Maria Victoria Henao’s husband had a net worth of $30 billion. This amount came from his vast drug empire and enabled him to build several generous properties at home and abroad. After his death, several of his possessions and accounts were confiscated by the Colombian government, which means that Henao and her children could never inherit his fortune.
Therefore, Maria Victoria Henao had to work in the real estate sector for a living. She has undoubtedly accumulated a decent income, but it will not be in the 7-digit range. We can also suspect that Henao and her family had money worries that forced them to engage in illegal activities.
In June 2018, she and her son were accused of using their businesses as a cover for money laundering for a Colombian drug dealer. They denied the accusations and claimed that they were innocent of any wrongdoing.