De Molina, the longtime cohost of Univision's hit talk show, tells PEOPLE about visits from Bad Bunny, Hillary Clinton, and more
Raúl De Molina has met thousands of celebrities and notable people throughout his career as the host of Univision's El Gordo y la Flaca — which is the longest-running news and entertainment talk show with the same two hosts in the history of television.
The one thing that De Molina, 64, says always thrills him, after 25 years of filming the show? How much fun the guests have — even if the show wasn't initially on their radar — and how popular it is in Spanish-speaking markets around the world.
Molina recalls the time he had Eva Mendes, who was born in Miami to Cuban parents, on the show for the first time.
"She was already very popular in Hollywood, at the top of her career. But the reason she told us she came on our show was because her grandmother told her her she wasn't considered famous in the Spanish market until she was on El Gordo Y La Flaca," De Molina says. "She told me, 'My grandmother is watching from home, and she's just so happy I'm here.'"
He adds, "We also had Hillary Clinton on in 2016 when she was running for president. She wasn't sure about coming on at first, but then we ended up laughing and dancing for the full hour," he says with a laugh.
The series (its name translates to 'The Fat One and The Skinny One') is co-hosted by Lili Estefan, the niece of music producer Emilio Estefan and his wife Gloria Estefan, and recently filmed special episodes in Disneyland to celebrate its 25th year. In early 2024, the hosts will be receiving stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
De Molina notes that he actually got his start as a photojournalist for newspapers, but he later turned to shooting celebs somewhat accidentally.
"All I ever wanted to do was take pictures," he says of his early career. "This was the 1980s, and Miami was a very rough place back then, with the drug dealers and the riots. I was freelancing and getting all these pictures in Newsweek and US News."
Soon, a new TV show would soon change the course of his life.
"Miami Vice, with Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas, began shooting down here, and I started to get a lot of requests to get pictures of Don Johnson," De Molina recalls. "Soon I became the paparazzi that followed those two around and I photographed them every day." Those pictures led to jobs shooting subjects like Princess Diana, Princess Caroline, and Madonna.
De Molina was then invited to come on talk shows like Maury Povich and Geraldo and the Joan Rivers Show to talk about the famous subjects he covered, and he was such a fun guest that it led to a job as an entertainment reporter on Telemundo.
In 1998, El Gordo Y La Flaca launched, and De Molina says he has no plans to ever leave it — as long as it keeps airing and the celebrity guests like Shakira, Salma Hayek, and Bad Bunny keep coming on.
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'It's incredible it's lasted this long," he says of the show. "When I first started, the Hispanic entertainers didn't want to speak in Spanish. They wanted to speak in English. Now everyone wants to speak in Spanish because they're proud to speak in Spanish. There are 50 million Spanish Speakers in the United States — and stars like Shakira and Bad Bunny have become the mainstream. It's all changed so much."
El Gordo Y La Flaca airs weekdays at 4 p.m. ET on Univision.
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