TODAY

TODAY   |  July 01, 2013

Sister: Jenni Rivera always found a way to get ahead

Telemundo’s Maria Celeste Arraras got an exclusive interview with Rosie Rivera, sister of the popular Mexican-American singer Jenni Rivera, who was killed in a plane crash in 2012. Arraras tells TODAY’s Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb that she was surprised by how much she learned about the star through her autobiography, “Unbreakable.”

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> nearly one year ago, a plane crash just ten minutes into flight taking the life of one of the world's most popular mexican american singers. 43-year-old jenni rivera , the latin grammy nominated artist was a superstar in both countries who performed to sold-out crowds. she starred in her own reality show and was working on her memoir right before she died.

>> telemundo got an exclusive interview with jenni's sister about her autobiography called "unbreakable." let's take a look.

>> i think of all the people in her life, you were probably the closest to her.

>> i'd like to think so. i'm blessed to be her little sister . but along life we became really good friends. they always say god made us sisters but our hearts made us friends.

>> friends and fans alike felt close to jenni who was always open about her personal struggles, now detailed in her new autobiography.

>> why "unbreakable"?

>> because if there's one word to describe this woman, my sister jenni rivera , she is unbreakable. she went through every diversity you could in life and through every one, she would smile. she'd find a way to get ahead. and nothing ever broke her.

>> wow.

>> hello ma, maria celeste .

>> her book is a tell-all. she was an open book in real life , however, all of us that knew her and interviewed her many times --

>> so you did know her well?

>> yes. but there were things about her i didn't know.

>> she's very candid in this book. she got pregnant when she was 15 years old and is very graphic about that situation. you got to read it to understand what i'm talking about. was more surprised than anybody that you could actually get pregnant that way and from there she went on to have five children.

>> a single mother. a victim of domestic violence. she was -- she tried to commit suicide at a very young age and then her first husband sexually abused her daughter and her sister for many years.

>> very smart, though.

>> very smart but very dumb for choosing men. she said that herself in the book. but i think the wonderful thing about the book is that she said it's okay to make mistakes. the important thing is to learn from them and continue over. that's what she did. she learned that you can rise against adversity and make a better you afterwards.

>> you can tell why it's important to her family this book come out even after she passed.

>> absolutely. they are very excited because this was her dream. and it's coming out tomorrow, which is the day in which she would be celebrating her 44th birthday. so it's really like the best present they could ever --

>> how are her children doing in life?

>> they are doing okay. they all tell me that with time it's only gotten harder, which they said at the beginning, they were shellshocked and now it's really hitting them.

>> it's when people stop coming to ask.

>> what would be her equivalent in the united states ?

>> she was unique but she was a mixture. i would say -- that's a tough one. she was unique. she was jenni. she was a combination of kim kardashian with a singer with -- the good thing about her was she was very down to earth. she didn't care about --

>> very approachable.

>> sophisticated. she didn't want to be a size 2. she was cool with -- good in her own skin.

>> good interview. thank you.