Fat Joe is a beloved rapper and hip-hop personality. Family has always been central to his branding, and he was introduced to the world by “brother” Big Pun and is known to have very close familial relationships with his frequent collaborators like Remy Ma and Jennifer Lopez.
In his real family, Joe is a husband and father. He’s opened up over the years about his family life, something he says he was worried about for a while because he has a son with autism.
Born Joseph Antonio Cartagena, Fat Joe has been a mainstay in hip-hop since the mid-’90s. He was already into his 3rd studio album when he met fellow Latino MC Big Pun. The two became like brothers and founded Terror Squad together. When Big had his mainstream crossover, he brought Fat Joe along for the ride, and the two became stars. Following Pun’s death, Fat Joe stepped into the spotlight and began finding his own mainstream success with records like “Lean Back” and “What’s Luv?”
In his personal life, Fat Joe has been married for over 20 years and is a father of 3. Their family currently lives between Miami and New Jersey. His wife is Lorena Cartagena, and his kids are Azariah Cartagena, Joey Cartagena and Ryan Cartagena. The family largely remains out of the spotlight except for a brief stint in which Lorena was dragged into the public eye amidst a cheating scandal. It was rumored that the pair were heading for divorce, and Mrs. Cartagena was planning to join the cast of Love & Hip-Hop. They would eventually reconcile and remain a family unit. The couple now seems stronger than ever and has been doing an amazing job raising their children, which includes Joey, who is autistic.
In a lengthy post about his eldest, Fat Joe celebrated Joey on his birthday last year and opened up about the struggles of raising a child with autism, especially since Joe had him when he was only 19. Joe admits that he was terrified when he became Joey’s father. Doctors told him his son would have a difficult life and that things would not be normal for them, but Joe and his family never gave up on him.
Joe’s Oldest Son’s Mother Wanted To Give Him Up For Adoption After Discovering His Autism
While Lorena has helped raise him, Joe actually fathered Joey with a different woman. Joey’s mother was not equipped for the challenges of raising a child with autism and initially wanted to give the boy up for adoption. “His mom couldn’t handle him, and instead of him going to a center, we raised him all his life. Fat Joe and his family decided they could not part with the boy and decided to raise him themselves, a decision that Joe is super proud of. “Joey’s just always, always happy. He’s just a bundle of joy.”
Fat Joe sympathizes with parents who cannot deal with raising a child on the spectrum and does not sugarcoat how challenging it can be at times. “Now, of course, ya know, kids on the spectrum, you know they’re hard to deal with, and a lot of fathers run away. A lot of parents run away from the responsibility because it’s not easy.”
Fat Joe Feared Showing His Son To The World
Fat Joe has been fiercely protective of his boy and has largely kept him outside of the spotlight. This is in large part due to how cruel people can be in the world, a truth further egged on by him being in hip-hop, where rappers can easily target your families during beefs and diss-records. However, Fat Joe is sure to let people know that he was never ashamed of his son and has come around to sharing their story in hopes of inspiring and uplifting others. “I’ve always kept Joey out of the limelight cause they’re bad elements out there I never wanted him exposed to. Joey has accomplished above and beyond & I also believe he keeps my parents alive cause they love him sooooooo much.”
He also showed his boy love on World Autism Day. In the post, you can see him hugging Joey, who is sitting in a wheelchair. Fat Joe says in the caption, “God makes no mistakes. I pray every day for everyone, and I hope you keep us in your prayers.”