For years, a beautiful local singer kept her love affair with New York Mets infielder Jose Reyes a secret.
She was part of what’s commonly known as a “road family.” So Christina Sanchez kept things hush hush and only saw the married major-league baseball player when he was away from his wife and kids. It was the classic side chick, a.k.a. the other woman, thing.
Not only is she speaking out, earlier this week she was ordered out of a New York court hearing about child support after she became loud and emotional, yelling at lawyers about how Reyes wasn’t being a good father to their daughter.
“I just snapped right there because I was so hurt,” Sanchez explained on Thursday.
But this column isn’t about Sanchez, whom I met in 2011 when she was named a Daily News Sexy Single. She’s an adult and perfectly capable of taking care of herself. At issue here is a little girl. An innocent 8-year-old named Liyah who misses her father and would really like to meet his other children, her half-siblings.
“He abandoned our child. He hasn’t seen her in over a year,” Sanchez told me.
Her lawyer, Steven Gildin, described her former relationship as one that’s fairly common in professional sports in which pro athletes “have one family at home and then they have one family on the road.”
“Christina and their daughter were kind of forced into this very secretive life where for many years, maybe six years, Jose Reyes flew them around the country and even the world a couple of times every month and would spend two, three, four days together at a time on the road,” Gildin explained. “It kind of established them as a secretive road family. He never did anything at home where his wife and three daughters from his marriage would be. He kind of lived this double life.
“Unfortunately, what happened is that in late 2015, Jose’s wife found out about Christina and their baby and he cut off all contact at that point. He’d been seeing the child a lot. … That’s been very traumatic for the child.”
Calls to Reyes’ lead attorney, Sam Ferrara, were not returned.
There’s currently a temporary order of support for $11,500 a month, an amount that Reyes reportedly had been paying regularly even before lawyers got involved.
“That might, at first glance, sound like a whole lot of money but it’s really not,” Gildin pointed out. “He has given the child a certain lifestyle … that’s quite higher than that temporary order of support of $11,500. We have bank records to show that he has given as much as $30,000 a month. We want the child to have the lifestyle she really deserves. Remember, he has three children by his wife … whom he lives with in a multimillion-dollar house. They want for nothing. We expect that this child should be taken care of in the same manner that his other children are taken care of. … So we are asking for three to four times the amount that the court has temporarily ordered.”
Their next court date is Aug. 7. A trial is expected to get underway in September.
Meanwhile, Sanchez deals with the inevitable social media backlash that comes from being associated with such a high-profile professional athlete.
“A lot of people call me gold digger or harass me online and I just feel like it’s not fair for the woman to get thrown under the bus,” Sanchez said. “It’s like a male privilege thing. I never put a gun to his head and forced him to get me pregnant. It’s just something that happened years ago.”
Sanchez says she met Reyes in 2007 when she was 22 after he spotted her hosting a local Latin TV show.
“He asked the producer for my cellphone number and called me out of the blue,” she recalled. “I was, like, ‘Who is this?’ And he started talking and after that, we just kept in contact via phone. He flew me out [to various places]. … We had a good time. He was not married. He didn’t tell me he was in a relationship. Nothing. And in ’08 I got pregnant. In ’09 I had the baby. While I was pregnant, I found out that he got married at City Hall in New York City.
“My friend called me, like, ‘Oh my God! Your boyfriend is in the paper. He just got married,’ ” said Sanchez, who was several months pregnant at the time. “I didn’t talk to him for a while and then after I had the baby I was vulnerable and I felt like I needed him. So, I just started seeing him again, which was wrong and I apologize for that. I publicly apologize for that.”
Things began to sour for the lovers in 2014 after Sanchez met someone else, and Reyes didn’t like it.
“I snapped out of it eventually. I was just like, ‘I can’t do this no more. I can’t live this lie. I can’t have a secret child anymore.’ And then from there, it just went downhill, you know?”
It’s been a sad saga and Sanchez, understandably, is eager to move on. She has an album, Love You Down, coming out this summer and recently shot a music video in Puerto Rico. But more than anything, she wants to do right by her little girl, who loves gymnastics, sings, and plays the piano. She said, “Even if her father never wants to be a father, I’ve got to step up to the plate and be the best mother that I can be.”
In other words, Sanchez has no intention of being sidelined ever again.