Gloria Estefan Talks Glee Finale Visit, Supporting 'Brittana' and Having It Out With [Spoiler]

On the Season 3 finale of Fox’s Glee (airing Tuesday at 8/7c), the graduating seniors may be saying goodbye, but they’ll also be saying “hello” to Gloria Estefan — playing Santana’s mom, Maribel Lopez.

While she won’t be singing during this TV appearance, the three-time Grammy winner will be delivering “zingers” at Breadstix. In the following Q&A, the self-proclaimed “Gleek” previews a “monkey wrench” for Brittana, talks about her in-depth preparation for the role and even gives her suggestions for Season 4. (And Ryan Murphy is listening!)

TVLINE | You’ve always been a fan of Glee. How did this role come about?
Funny story: I was visiting my son in L.A. about a year and a half ago and we all went to the set, just as fans — as Gleeks. I met Naya [Rivera], and she was super sweet and said she was a big fan of mine. [Later on] I got a call that they wanted me to play her mom, and I was beyond thrilled! I spoke to Ryan [Murphy] and we were on the same page about who Santana’s mom was, and it was a lot of fun to create that character. Plus, I was upset with that grandma! Santana needed a supportive mom.

TVLINE | What is Maribel and Santana’s relationship like? We haven’t met her before — has she been away?
The tradition with Glee is almost Snoopy-like with no parents around, but they’ve been sneaking them in little by little. The way Ryan and I imagine Maribel is that she had the musical talent, but she put her life on hold because she got pregnant and probably helped put her husband through med school. Since Santana’s tough-cookie grandma was probably rough on Maribel — maybe even instrumental in making her decide against going after her music career — it makes Maribel want to see Santana to really fly and be successful. Plus, since she couldn’t go to college, it makes her want to see her daughter go to school even more.

TVLINE | Is it “like mother, like daughter” when it comes to Santana’s snark and sass?
Yes! They are very close, and Maribel is very sweet and supportive of Santana, but they are alike in their sarcastic sense of humor and attitude. In the scene when she is with Santana and Brittany in Breadstix, there are a lot of reactions to things the girls are saying back and forth — and Maribel has got a couple of zingers there, too! I’m actually very thankful to Naya’s fans because when I went online to do my research, they had edited together clips with every scene that she has been in! I was thinking that there was going to be some shared physical reaction that I could add; she’s got a little thing that she does with her head a lot that she might have gotten from her mom! [Laughs]

PHOTOS | First Look: Glee‘s Finale Cry Fest! Plus, Meet Santana’s Mom!

TVLINE | Is the dinner at Breadstix just a graduation celebration, or is Santana coming out?
No, no. This [relationship] has been going on for a while, and there’s no way that Santana’s mom wouldn’t know what’s going on with Brittany. She’s involved in her child’s life, she wants Santana to be happy and she’s going to support whatever and who Santana is — there’s no issue there.

TVLINE | I heard this episode has ‘Brittana’ facing an obstacle regarding their future. Is the dinner a part of that?
It’s definitely a part of the scene; it all comes to light there. It’s a dilemma, you know? It’s a fun scene, but there is information that changes, kind of like, ‘What?!’ It it is something that throws a monkey wrench into things and leaves more questions than answers.

TVLINE | You were supposed to appear earlier in the season and sing. Were you disappointed?
No. [At the time] I had this idea that a song I wrote called “Along Came You” for my daughter would have been perfect for them. But honestly, I really loved this role because it was acting, something I don’t normally do, and I would rather use the time establishing the character than singing a song. I can also, hopefully, always come back and do something else, which was the original plan — an arc. So, we’ll see!

RELATED | Fox Fall Schedule Revealed: Glee Shifts to Thursday, Touch Moves to Friday and More!

TVLINE | Hypothetically, what would you like to do next season?
I already put the bug in [producer] Brad Falchuk’s ear about having a scene and having it out with the grandma, because if this all continues, you can’t just leave that relationship out. And how funny would it be if we could do do it in Spanish with subtitles? [Laughs]

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  1. Camila says:

    OMG she’s a sweetheart! I love this already!

  2. iya says:

    Alright, now I’m excited about the episode.

  3. Carrie says:

    They should totally do a confrontation in Spanish! That would be hilarious, watching them yelling incomprehensibly while we, the audience, frantically read to figure out what’s going on!

  4. s2w says:

    Gloria Estefan has always been a hero of mine. Her determined rejuvination from her devastating back injury and her support of her community have inspired me throughout my adolescence, and now as an out adult, I continue to be inspired by her loving attitude towards the “brittana” situation. Thank you for your music and your support!

  5. Breyt says:

    Aaaah finally Mama Lopez is on the show.

  6. bales says:

    “I went online to do my research, they had edited together clips with every scene that she has been in! I was thinking that there was going to be some shared physical reaction that I could add; she’s got a little thing that she does with her head a lot that she might have gotten from her mom!”

    This is so cute omg. I LOVE that she did that! Not many guests do their research on the characters. I can’t wait to watch their scenes in the finale. And please I hope she will come back next season.

  7. Jimminy Cricket says:

    I think the “obstacle” is Brittany saying she isn’t going to graduate. So that will interfere with Santana’s plans.

  8. lariet50 says:

    Only one comment: They’re having Gloria Estefan on a musical show and she’d NOT singing?! The hell?

  9. RD says:

    Naturally characters speaking in spanish with subtitles has to be hilarious?

  10. character says:

    I love that they are using my name (Maribel), as Gloria’s character’s name! WOOHOO!!

  11. Ana says:

    Agree with so much! Can’t wait to see Mama Lopez. But how can they have her in the show and not have her sing??? Something with a rocking rhythm a la Miami Sound Machine. And I agree, it would be fierce to see a confrontation in Spanish.

  12. J says:

    Can’t wait to see Gloria on glee and her scenes with Brittana

  13. Angela says:

    Should be fun to see her on here. And I love her attitude about showing support for Santana. My respect for her just went up even more.

  14. holla says:

    Sanatan’s Spanish is kinda hard to understand (I’m sorry, I say this as a native Spanish-speaker), but it would be fun if they did a scene all in Spanish. I love Gloria. Can’t wait to see them together.

  15. destinee says:

    In thre preview, all the seniors are dancing around the juniors and brit was in the middle with the juniors. Awww I hope her not graduating messes up their relationship.

  16. franco says:

    brittany is junior?

    • Ve32 says:

      Yea lol all the couples are junior/senior except finches. They are both seniors lol and probably future couple puck and Quinn. They are seniors

      • Barbara says:

        Remember way back when, Blaine was supposedly a year older than Kurt, then he became younger. Ah tv world!

    • destinee says:

      No she is a senior, but she isn’t graduating. I guess that does make her a Junior.

  17. Katie says:

    I honestly wish they had more on the show about Santana’s grandmother not being supportive and the troubles she faces having little support. Not everyone gets support from their families and I feel it would be amazing to see how someone deals with that.

  18. marmotte says:

    J’ai rien compris . Pourquoi c’est pas en français

    ? C’est nul :(

  19. Ggl says:

    I’m afraid of the new season with so many seniors ! Are we still going to see them or will they be completely written out? I love Glee and all the different characters. I missed something. How did Quinn go from barely standing up from her wheelchair to “dancing” at Nationals?

    • Barbara says:

      She was not as badly injured as she lead everyone to believe. She was going to use it for the prom queen sympathy vote.

  20. Barbara says:

    Try to imagine this scenario. Sugar Motta is so distraught about the changes that Dad ponies up for all to attend NYADA (they just happen to offer senior year arts program). All would be great, however, unrealistic. Maybe Kurt defers his admission in order to wait for Blaine. Remember Blaine changed his life for Kurt’s senior year. Equality right? I can’t think of this show without all of them together. So many storylines have to be resolved and in one short hour. How can Ryan M et al. turn this around so we will want to follow the “revamped” show? I have followed this show from season 1 and know they wanted it to be “true”, but a little stretching would be acceptable. Now my Tuesdays become my Thursdays, where will Sam live, Mike O’ Malley has a new show so no more Burt, what about Beth, what about Sue’s unborn daughter, what about Wemma (rumour is wedding will be November sweeps). I don’t want to see the original characters from time to time. I guess the true Glee fans will have to have faith that change is good. I sure hope so.

  21. really luv ur clup…how can i join….reply ppppppplllllllsssssssss