A report by Stephen Gibbs for The Times of London.
The Nobel prize-winning author Gabriel García Márquez once said that we all have three lives: the public, the private and the secret.
Nearly eight years after his death, the Colombian author’s own secret has emerged: a daughter with a Mexican woman 33 years his junior.
In the 1990s García Márquez had an affair with the writer Susana Cato, with whom he worked on two film scripts.
Their daughter was named Indira, after the former Indian prime minister, Indira Gandhi, whom García Márquez admired and who was reported to have been the first person to congratulate him when he was awarded the Nobel prize for literature in 1982.
At the time of Indira’s birth, García Márquez was married, apparently happily, to Mercedes Barcha. The couple, who lived in Mexico City, had two sons, Rodrigo and Gonzalo.
It is not known whether Barcha, who died in 2020, knew of her husband’s daughter. The Colombian journalist who uncovered the story, Gustavo Tatis, said it was possible she had had “an intuition” about the affair and the child.
Susana Cato was born in 1960 in Mexico City. She wrote the screenplays for You Don’t Play with Love in 1991 with García Márquez, as well as the short film The Mirror of Two Moons.
Indira Cato, now in her early thirties, has always used her mother’s surname. She is a documentary producer in Mexico City, and won awards for a 2014 film on the migrant crisis in Mexico.
She bears a striking resemblance to her father, who is understood to have supported her and bought her a house in one of the richest areas of the city.
Known for his novels One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera, García Márquez died in 2014 in Mexico City. His funeral was attended by thousands of admirers who lined the streets to pay their respects.
The Colombian paper El Universal reported the secret on Sunday and two of García Márquez’s relatives have since confirmed the story.
Members of his family told El Universal that they had kept the secret out of respect for his widow. One of his nieces, Shani García Márquez, said she had known for years but that her parents had told her to be discreet.
A nephew said he had connected with Indira Cato through social media but had never met her. “My cousins Rodrigo and Gonzalo told me about her casually during a reunion,” he added.