Ruffa Gutierrez and Yilmaz Bektas: Sad ending of a fairy tale?

by Nerisa Almo
May 9, 2007
ruffa yilmaz wedding
Is their marriage going to be sealed by a long, tender kiss or a divorce deal? Ruffa Gutierrez said, "Everything is final." Yilmaz Bektas said, "I will do my best to protect this home for the sake of my children."

"Yes, everything is final," was the tearful admission of Ruffa Gutierrez on her separation with Yilmaz Bektas.

In their joint statement, the former beauty queen and her Turkish husband said, "Earnest and sincere efforts at saving their marriage have failed. It is to the best interest of Ruffa and Yilmaz, their children, and respective families that such decision to severe marital ties had to be made."

The unica hija of Eddie Gutierrez and Annabelle Rama insisted in her phone interview with entertainment columnist Ricky Lo that there was no third party involved. The main reason for their break-up, according to Ruffa, was their "cultural differences."

Prior to her announcement, Ruffa never gave any indication that her marriage has been on the rocks. In her blog with PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal), the former beauty queen happily talked about Yilmaz and their children, Lorîn and Venice.

But early this year, people couldn't help but notice that her trips to Manila have been more frequent, and her stay in the country has been longer. And marriage trouble as the probable cause may have crossed the minds of some friends and fans of the former beauty queen, but Ruffa has always told the public that she misses her husband and that she talks to him over the phone constantly.

PEP goes back to the happy beginning of Ruffa's and Yilmaz's love story.


Coming from different worlds, Ruffa and Yilmaz crossed paths on May 11, 2000, in Cannes, France. The TV-host actress was there to cover the international film festival for The Century Productions of Los Angeles, while the wealthy businessman was there to buy a boat.


In YES! magazine's May 2003 issue, the then newlyweds recalled their first meeting. "I saw him at the restaurant," Ruffa narrated. "He came into the bathroom and smiled at me..."

Yilmaz described the moment, "It was destiny. I swear to God I can't explain how she's coming to me. How are we starting to look at each other..."

After their brief exchange of glances and smiles, Yilmaz wasted no time and made the next move—find out the hotel where the lady was staying. The businessman, who was still in the process of mastering English, admitted, "I asked where she's live, why she here, what she's name, what she's birthday..."

Yilmaz further added, "I paid the reception desk. You know, it's the festival, and it's very hard to book a hotel right away. But I said I want to stay in the room next to her, you know? And I stayed in the next room to Ruffa."

The Turkish businessman was so determined to pursue Ruffa, so the next day, Yilmaz went to meet Ruffa again. This time, he brought a friend who could act as his interpreter because he hardly spoke English back then.

"We had coffee," said Ruffa. "Every time I would ask him something, his friend would interpret. But he was doing sign language, you know. Then, he'd draw, 'tapos nakalagay, ‘I love you, can you be my girlfriend?' And I said, ‘My gosh, you're so fast.' He doesn't waste time."

"He's so persistent," recalled Ruffa. "The first fax that he ever wrote to me, pinasulat pa niya sa bellboy doon sa hotel."


Aside from those sweet notes, the couple also remembered their funny verbal exchanges.

"Hindi ko sinabi sa kanyang actress ako," said Ruffa. "Sabi ko, 'I'm a secretary. ' He didn't really buy it. Pero two days lang naman ako nag-lie sa kanya. No'ng magustuhan ko na siya, I told him the truth."

But Yilmaz still didn't buy the new story. When she told him she had been Miss World Second Princess, he didn't believe her either.

He laughingly said, "I told her that I am Prince." Quickly, he added: "But I don't care what's she's answering. It's just like I'm fall in love."


A month after their very first meeting, Yilmaz followed Ruffa to the Philippines.

Yilmaz could still clearly remember his plane ride. "I thought it was just like three hours from Istanbul. Well, I'm sleeping like six hours, and when I would go look in my watch, still we not landed. And the flight attendant said, six hours more or something like that, and I wanna jump already," recalled Yilmaz.

After a few months, it was Ruffa's turn to visit Yilmaz's homeland, Turkey.

When they started going to the beaches, Ruffa began to wonder: "My goodness, who is this guy? How come there's so many paparazzi following him?"

She continued, "Maybe he lied to me, that he's not a businessman. I was thinking that maybe he's a singer or an actor because he's always in the newspapers.

"Minsan dinala niya ako sa Bodrum. It's parang Boracay nila. Talagang sinusundan kami. Kasi, they're interested to know who he's dating."


After several coast-to-coast dates, Yilmaz's persistence paid off—the Filipina beauty queen finally fell in love with the guy from Istanbul.

"Ang lakas ng dating," described Ruffa about Yilmaz. "He has charisma. And he has this attitude that when he wants something, he sees to it that he gets it. He call's me twenty-five times a day to check on me. Long distance, ha? He's really very sweet."

Ruffa also admitted, "Pero masama naman siyang magalit. He's very impulsive." To which her mom, Annabelle Rama, agreed: "'Pag nasa mood, mabait. 'Pag naman mainit ang ulo, parang tigre."

The couple also admitted that, like any other relationship, they also have their share of bad moments. Ruffa said, "Sinusubukan na naming maghiwalay, but we always find ourselves going back into each other's arms."

And that prompted their decision to get married. They picked the date: March 2003. Come March 25, 2003, Ruffa and Yilmaz established the record for having one of the grandest showbiz weddings to date.

But unlike most couples, Ruffa said that she and Yilmaz don't really celebrate their wedding day. In her interview with Ricky Lo, the actress revealed, "What we celebrate is the day we met, which was May 11 eight years ago during the Cannes Film Festival."


On their wedding day, Yilmaz also announced that Ruffa was almost three months pregnant with their first child Lorîn.

At first she just thought she was not feeling well because of her heavy workload. But while she was vacationing in Istanbul last December 27, 2003, she found out that she was already carrying the fruit of their love.

Although unexpected, it was a dream come true especially for Yilmaz. Ruffa said, "Yilmaz had been wanting a baby for two years. Never ko 'binigay sa kanya. Sabi ko, 'we have to get married first.'"

For a while, the couple kept this secret from Ruffa's mom. But later on, while the couple was in Las Vegas, Yilmaz made an overseas call and talked to his soon-to-be mother-in-law.

Ruffa, who was laughing all the time, recalled, "Yilmaz decided to call her and said: ‘Ma, this is what's happening, you know. Ruffa is pregnant and we have to get married, then you have to say yes!'"

Annabelle, along with Ruffa's dad Eddie Gutierrez, just kept on crying after hearing the good news.

On September 11, 2004, Ruffa and Yilmaz gave birth to their second daughter Venice in Los Angeles.


After the marriage, a certain woman named Selen Gorguzel came out claiming that she was the first wife of Yilmaz. The revelation, dated April 11, 2003, appeared in the online edition of Hurriyet, Turkey's leading or largest newspaper, with a headline translated in English: "Yilmaz is married to me, he cannot get married."

In the said report, Selen insisted that [written in Turkish]: "My husband's marriage [to Ruffa] is naturally a serious problem. We have become used to his philandering, but the news that he has gotten married is a different matter. We have a daughter, and she is growing up. Such an event irritates both me and my daughter."


The article further said that Ruffa's and Yilmaz's marriage in the Philippines was against Turkish law and is considered invalid. The newspaper article explained, "If a person, who is married in Turkey, goes to a country applying Islamic law that permits to up to four wives, that is not a problem under that country's law. However, our [Turkish] laws forbid getting remarried when one is already married."

Yilmaz aired his side to the same broadsheet, Hurriyet. "We did not get married. We got engaged. The marriage will be in Istanbul in June," explained Ruffa's husband. (The actual marriage in Turkey happened on September 4, 2003, which was attended only by the immediate members of their respective families.)

In the May 2003 issue of YES! magazine, Ruffa, who was in Los Angeles at that time, made this statement: "I am the only wife—the first and last. I am part of his present, I am part of his future. Ako lang ang pinakasalan. We're very happy."

And she ignored all the controversies surrounding her marriage, and focused on her new job: to be a loving wife and good mother to her children. She also left her her showbiz career career in the Philippines, so she could stay in Istanbul as Mrs. Bektas.


Earlier this year, Ruffa made peace with Yilmaz's "ex" and treated Selen's daughter like her own.

A few months later, Ruffa's shocking annoucement about their separation erupted.

On May 8, Ruffa's interview with Ricky Lo mentioned, "We did try very hard to iron things out but we failed. In the past four months that I've been here, Yilmaz and I tried to sort things out, but things just wouldn't work out."

Ruffa firmly said, "Everything is final." Is it already time to conclude that not all fairy tales end with, "And they lived happily ever after?" Or is it not yet too late to ask the couple this question, "Can't you live happily ever after?"

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Is their marriage going to be sealed by a long, tender kiss or a divorce deal? Ruffa Gutierrez said, "Everything is final." Yilmaz Bektas said, "I will do my best to protect this home for the sake of my children."
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