It could be remembered that Rustom Padilla, who grew up in a family of machos (Robin, Royette, and Rommel), married TV host/ actress Carmina Villaroel in civil ceremonies in 1994. The couple, which never had children, separated in 1997 for reasons that are still unknown to the public until now. Both kept mum about the cause of their separation.
Three years after calling it quits, Carmina gave birth to Cassandra and Maverick, with her partner Zoren Legaspi. Rustom, on the other hand, went abroad. He also embarked on a business that sold beauty products—this, among other things, triggered the gossipmongers to question his sexuality.
Early last year, Rustom made his comeback to the local showbiz by joining the Pinoy Big Brother Celebrity Edition. And as we're all aware now, his comeback definitely created a stir.
PEP will take you back to the most emotional moment in PBB history to date. This particular episode got the Pinoys here and overseas glued to their television sets.
The Sign. It was early morning of February 28, 2006, when Rustom had a serious talk with fellow housemate Keanna. In the middle of their conversation, just before Rustom's revelation, a brown mariposa landed on Rustom's right leg.
While staring at the mariposa, Rustom said, "Kinikilabutan ako." The insect stayed for a while on Rustom's hands, and before it flew, it touched the actor's lips. Following the direction of the insect, Rustom whispered, "Thank you, thank you. Thank you very much."
According to a superstitious belief, a butterfly or a mariposa symbolizes a dead person's spirit who has come back to relay a message to the person who has seen it.
In an article found in the March 16-31 issue of Hi! Magazine, Robin was asked by the press about the possible significance of the butterfly to Rustom's revelation.
Robin explained, "Matagal nang patay ang tatay ko. Matagal na siyang matahimik, at sa napanood ko sa PBB ay nagparamdam sa kanya ang tatay ko. Kami noong mga bata pa ay naniniwalang kapag may paru-parong malaki, aba'y kung ‘yan ay hindi ang lolo namin ay ang ispiritu ng lola namin ang nasa loob ng paru-paro. Ang nakita kong paru-paro ay siguro, isa sa kanila."
The Revelation. "I'm gay. Sinasabi ko sa 'yo ngayon, sinasabi sa ibang tao na hindi ako masamang tao," confessed Rustom to Keanna.
Rustom tried to recall some details of his childhood, which may have led him to doubt his sexuality.
He started, "Kasi dumating ako sa punto sa buhay ko na na-realize ko na meron akong ibang personalidad. Na kahit anong gustuhin ko na baguhin, kahit anong pagsisikap ko na tanggalin, e, na-realize ko na parte ng kabuuan ko.
"Kasi noong bata ako—'yong sinasabi ko sa'yong binubugbog ako noong bata ako—parang kung iisipin mo simpleng bugbog kasi lahat naman tayo binubugbog. Pero 'yong bugbog kasi na iyon is, kung babalikan ko ang buhay ko, parang 'yon ang humulma ng buhay ko. Iyon ang humulma ng buong pagkatao ko."
Keanna then asked what caused the incident to happen. Rustom answered, "Naglalaro kami ng mga kapatid ko, hindi ko alam kung bakit ako nakadamit pambabae. Dumating bigla 'yong tatay ko. Tatay ko kasi maraming babae kaya ‘di mo alam kung kailan darating.
"Naglalaro kami sa garahe, ‘tapos pagdating nakita akong nakadamit pambabae, bugbog. Hawak ako sa isang kamay, sinisinturon ako sa isang kamay."
Rustom continued, "Rage ang natatandaan ko. Hindi anger o ordinaryong galit, but rage. 'Tapos, ‘Bakla, bakla, bakla,' 'yong ganun, iyon ang pumapasok sa isip ko."
Aside from his feelings against his father, Rustom also showed his disappointment to her mother Eva Cariño during that time.
Rustom said, "'Tapos alam mo 'yong feeling na imbes na, 'yong bumaba 'yong nanay mo. Imbes na kunin ka para i-comfort ka, minumura ka para humintong umiyak.
"'Yon 'yong umpisa ng confusion ko. Iyong mga malisya tungkol sa kung ano ang kabaklaan, kung paano mabuhay... May mga tanong ka na hindi mo masabi sa tao kasi baka magalit."
Binoe's support. Immediately after Rustom's revelation, Robin and their other relatives showed their acceptance and full support. In fact, Kuya allowed Binoe the Big Brother's house so he could personally talk to Rustom.
Robin said, "Isang bagay 'yan na dapat natin respetuhin pare-pareho. Isang bagay 'yan na nagpapakita ng pambihirang katapangan."
Aside from Rustom, Robin also talked to Keanna, to whom Rustom confided his biggest secret. Robin's message to Keanna was, "Kung wala ka, 'di niya nailabas. Pagkatapos noon, para kang kapatid namin."
Carmina's Reaction. Meanwhile, the entertainment press, who were at the Imperial Palace at the time Rustom revealed his true sexuality, was able to immediately get a reaction from Carmina through her manager Dolor Guevarra.
Carmina's short reaction was, "Matagal ko nang alam na gay siya. Minahal ko rin siya. Siya ang ayaw na magkaroon kami ng anak dahil gusto niyang makaipon kami."
She chose not to disclose further details about her relationship with Rustom. She was happy that Rustom has finally unburdened himself.
Present Rustom. Career-wise, Rustom's revelation paved the way for a lot of movie projects.
In last year's Metro Manila Film Festival, Rustom starred in one of the film entries, ZsaZsa Zaturnnah Ze Moveeh. He played the role of a gay named Ada who transforms into a gay super hero named ZsaZsa Zaturnnah.
Barely three months after the ZsaZsa Zaturnnah project, Rustom will release his follow-up movie Happy Hearts on March 14, under Mother Lily Monteverde's Regal Entertainment. Here, he plays the role of a gay father to Rayver Cruz.
Rustom is definitely back in the limelight—he's busy and he's happy. Indeed, the truth has set him free!