Mexico City: Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman called the actress Kate del Castillo "beautiful," while she confessed her "dream" of meeting him in text messages leaked to the press.
The exchanges, published by the newspaper Milenio on Wednesday, took place before and after Guzman, Del Castillo and US actor Sean Penn came together in a now notorious meeting in the Mexican jungle in October.
The messages provide a new window into the mysterious relationship between the then-fugitive and Del Castillo, who brokered the sitdown between Guzman and Penn, which authorities are investigating. The telephone text exchanges were intercepted by Mexican authorities.
In them the pair discuss meeting over tequila and champagne, with Guzman promising to "take care of you more than my own eyes" while the Mexican-American actress expresses her "eagerness to see you eye-to-eye."
"I'll take care of you. You'll see when you come," Guzman, who went by the name "Papa" in the messages, wrote on September 26, just over two months after his escape from a maximum-security prison.
"You're so beautiful, my friend, in every aspect," he told Del Castillo, famous for her role as a drug boss in the TV show "The Queen of the South."
Del Castillo, using the name "Beauty," answered: "I must confess that I feel protected for the first time. You'll know my story when we have time to speak, but for some reason I feel safe and I know you know who I am, not as an actress or public figure, but as a woman, as a person."
Penn, who wrote about the October 2 meeting with Guzman in a Rolling Stone article published on Saturday, said the kingpin wanted Del Castillo to help him make a biopic about himself.
On October 10, after they met, the actress wrote: "I don't sleep much since I saw you. I'm very excited about our story. ... It's all I think about."
Guzman replied: "I'm more excited about you than the story."
He wrote her again on October 23 to wish her happy birthday when she turned 43.
"What a nice birthday gift! Thank you! we will hug very soon," she wrote.
Two government officials told AFP that the text messages leaked to Milenio were authentic.
Officials said Tuesday that Guzman's "almost obsessive" desire to see Del Castillo again contributed to his recapture last Friday in Los Mochis, a seaside city in his northwestern home state of Sinaloa.
Guzman left his mountain hideout because troops were circling him, but his hope of seeing her again also led him to the city, the officials said on condition of anonymity.
The Mexican government said authorities were investigating the "actions" surrounding the meeting, not the people directly.