Gloria Estefan's world fell apart when her husband Emilio was accused of being a gay sex pest by an obsessed stalker - but the singer has emerged stronger from the ordeal.

Pizza delivery man JUAN CARLOS DIAZ had been allegedly accosting the family for two years before he made the allegations against Emilio last year (02) - and OYE MI CANTO singer Gloria went through emotional hell when she first heard of the accusations made against her husband.

She recalls, "I was numb, then I felt very angry. I just wanted to tear this guy limb from limb.

"We got a call out of the blue from our lawyer saying this guy was holding a press conference to tell the world how terrible the Estefans really were.

"Suddenly we heard this voice accusing Emilio of sexual harassment saying he had touched him inappropriately at a gym and pestered him over a two-year period."

Loner Diaz, 35, had been bothering the Estefans - even turning up at their daughter EMILY's school - before the family told their bodyguard to instruct him to leave them alone.

The next day, Gloria received a message on her answer phone from Diaz, saying, "You guys are going to pay for this."

A year of further suits and counter-suits followed, before the Estefans were vindicated and Diaz was charged with harassment, put under police surveillance, and made to do a year of community service.

And despite the awful experience, Gloria believes it has made her more resilient.

She says, "I have no worries that anyone believed one ugly word of what he said. I feel stronger in myself and in my marriage. Life throws things like this at you - you deal with it."

17/09/2003 13:39