In an interview for Istoe, Kaka’s wife, Caroline Celico tells how she faced the bad times in her professional life, admits she was fanatic when she was at Renascer em Cristo Church, and tells why she left it.
Caroline Celico, 24, is late. When she finally arrives at the hotel where we should meet, she is in a hurry and apologizes. “The pediatrician left me waiting”, she explained, wearing impeccable make up, clothes and jewelry. Mother of Luca, 3, and Isabella, who is 6 months old, she took the opportunity to take her two children to the doctor. Wife of Kaka, who plays for Real Madrid and was chosen the best football player in the year of 2007 by Fifa, she’s in Brazil to release the second edition of her CD and DVD. Two years after she left Renascer em Cristo Church, owned by apostle Estevam Hernandes and bishop Sonia, she is enjoying the privileges of her spiritual freedom. “I have grown so much about things that were essential to me”, she admits. “I thought I was superior. That’s one of the worst features I have ever had.”
The process of growing up wasn’t easy for Caroline. When she was 15, she started dating one of the biggest stars of the Brazilian football. A year later she joined “by free will” Renascer em Cristo Church, which Kaka used to attend. She got baptized, joined study groups of the Bible and started to attend the cults in a compulsive way. Her mother, Rosangela Lyra, 46, who is catholic and fashion ambassador of Dior in Brazil, noticed her blindness and tried to tell her daughter. “She wanted to protect me from Renascer. She tried to make me leave the Church, but everytime she did it, I got deeper and deeper”, Caroline remembers. Their fights went beyond the usual arguments between teenagers and their parents, and they almost stopped talking. “I even threw away some of her ‘saint’ stuff, and one of her bracelets”, she says. “I was completely involved, I was fanatic”.
In 2005, when she was 18, Caroline got married at the Renascer headquarters, at the time in Lins de Vasconcelos boulevard, in Cambuci, center of Sao Paulo. The building would later collapse for lack of maintenance of the framework, killing nine people and hurting 117. She was in the height of her faith. When she moved to Italy, where her husband was living since he was transferred to Milan, in 2003, she arrived with the idea of expanding Renascer to Europe. That’s when she became a pastor and started preaching for Renascer via internet. In 2009, during one of these sermons, she suggested that God had given money to Real Madrid, right in the middle of a financial crisis, to hire her husband. “I deeply regret saying that. I heard it from someone else and repeated it”, she tells. When asked who originally said it, she smiles, drinks a glass of water and changes the subject. ”I don’t think like that Carol anymore, the immature, easily influenced one. I want to follow my way with my own legs. That’s why I left Renascer.”
“Some friends lost contact with us because he wasn’t playing that well. It happens, specially when the person has a huge expectation from someone like Kakа”
It was also in 2009 that she left the Church. Without giving details, she tells she saw things in Renascer she had never seen before, things she had been told about, but she had never believed. Aware of her guilt, she knows she is also blamed. She recognizes she was trying to please humans and not God, a common flaw among the evangelists, and she admits her own hypocrisy. “I used to go to church and be the heroin of faith, a great pastor, but when I got home I didn’t treat the person who worked for me right”, she says. Like a sponge, she explains, she used to absorb the energy of those in the place she visited the most, the church. She tells they were people “who couldn’t give things they had never received”, like love, politeness and respect. She is honest about Renascer’s problems: “It became a business that needed to be administered”, she claims. “I didn’t want that for me.”
Today she doesn’t attend any church, preferring to pray at home, without any other influences and only with her family, which became closer during the time when Kaka stood at home, recovering from the injuries he got for insisting to play in the 2010 World Cup, even though he knew he was hurt. “We noticed football wasn’t everything”. In the gloom moments of her husband, Caroline tells she used to remind him everything he had conquered so far to cheer him up. But it was a though journey. “Some friends lost contact with us because he wasn’t playing that well.” she says. “It happens, specially when the person has a huge expetation from someone like Kaka.” Caroline adds, to whom this may have been the worst part during the time he didn’t play.
Called by coach Mano Menezes for the friendly matches of the Brazilian squad against Gabon and Egypt, Kaka will be back in light and these colleagues might come back with it. Caroline will welcome them with arms wide open. “We also need colleagues, not only friends.” she says, with the tolerance and resignation that mark this new phase of her life. While her husband goes back to playing football, Caroline slowly dedicates time to her new project called “Horizontal Love”. It is a new website dedicated to the donation of hygienic and health products, food, among other things. “I want to help small institutions that take care of homeless children, no matter which faith they have”, she says, showing that the old Caroline was kept in the past.
*Some images have been updated recently!