Here's a photo of Kris Aquino (left) and James Yap last January 12 singing "Kung Tayo'y Magkakalayo" at the Big Dome, where the birthday concert of Sharon Cuneta was held.

 

Five days later, the Kapamilya star announced that she had asked for time and space from her husband of five years. She added, "I'm not saying that the marriage is over because in my heart I still want it to work. I want it to work because number one, I will forever be grateful to James dahil pinakasalan niya ako, na he loved me enough to marry me. But I want it to work because Baby James deserves a mother and a father. But he doesn't deserve this gulo..."

Photo: Noel Orsal

From out of nowhere, Mayen Austria became a famous name.

Other than her address, age, and high school alma mater, the public did not know her from Eve, and simply linked her to the latest marital issue of showbiz couple Kris Aquino and James Yap.

Some friends described her as "tahimik," "relihiyosa," and "mahilig sa basketball," but bloggers recently dubbed her as "James Yap's new girl," "James Yap's text mate," and "alleged gf."

From hush-hush emerged a hubbub.

It started with this text message, which read (published as is): "To everyone. Kris Aquino passed by house to make me sugod. She spoke to my mom. Very mad, berating us saying i always text and call james. That my mom didn't bring me up right. That we shouldn't be talking to married men. She said she's leaving james and to know that i am the last straw and the reason for their break-up. My family has great respect for Teopacos who are our family friend. Mrs. Teopaco is Cory's youngest sister. My mom raised us right. My mom didn't deserve all that. James missed called and texted na he warned me pupunta siya [Kris] sa house. He called me to apologize and say sorry. Kris said we had something going on. I don't deserve this. Most especially my mom. I have chemical depression and could have easily taken an overdose of pills because of the incident. With the hugs and love of my mom and sisters, and tranquilizers, i'm okay. Do you want Kris to be in malacanang."

In a phone conversation held last January 14, Kris told YES! editor-in-chief Jo-Ann Maglipon, "It reached my sister... I imagine it could've been sent to more people, including the media..." So the host-actress gave her side of the story, which would be published once the smoke turned to fire. (CLICK HERE to read related article.)

The following day, with Mayen's uncle, Gabby Lopez, granting an interview with a daily broadsheet, the issue landed on the front page.

Since then, Kris Aquino has spoken about the issue twice—in PEP and The Buzz (CLICK HERE to read related article). But Mayen chose to keep mum.

FRIENDS COME TO HER DEFENSE. Even her closest friends no longer want to discuss the issue.

"Let's leave her alone. Kung anu-ano na labels sa kanya ng mga tao, pero third party nga ba talaga siya? She's not used to this. She's not a big star like Kris," said a former schoolmate.

For his part, James Yap denied having a relationship with Mayen in his interview with Ricky Lo, who mentioned in his column dated January 15 that Kris got suspicious because Mayen had been sending "chocolates, cakes, or other goodies" to the cager.

But another friend of Mayen said via a source, "Nagpapadala nga siya ng mga cupcakes, pero kahit sa ibang players ng Purefoods [Tender Juicy Giants]. Hindi lang kay James Yap." It was a "marketing" strategy of Mayen, whose family is in the pastry business. Kris herself used to order from her.

Another source, who met Mayen through the PBA (Philippine Basketball Association), affirmed, "Marami siyang kaibigan na players, at namimigay siya ng mga regalo sa kanila..."

Mayen, to date, has not responded to any queries from the media. She called up Showbiz Central yesterday just to clarify one thing: She did not send the text message.

In a phone conversation with her mother this morning, Mrs. Minna Austria politely declined to talk: "We're not granting any interview. We'd rather not talk about it. We'll let the issue die down."