Celebrity weddings and their not so happy endings

Aug 12, 2007
It was pure euphoria when Sharon Cuneta and Gabby Concepcion announced their engagement to a nation that was equally in love with them because of their numerous hit romantic movies. Sadly, the marriage broke down. Looking back, a wiser and more forgiving Sharon admitted that irreconcilable differences caused the breakup.

What makes celebrity weddings always appear like fairy tales that promise a happy ending?

No doubt, there's the lofty status of the bride and the groom whose love story unfolded right before our eyes. In the lavish nuptials and wedding reception, fame and affluence go hand-in-hand. And, of course, everyone's ardent hopes embrace the newly-weds: may their conjugal love last forever.

But very often it doesn't. Celebrities, who are always susceptible to public scrutiny, must bear the pressure of living up to that magical time. But that's maybe the reason why it is aptly labeled as a fairy tale anyway.

Philippine Entertainment Portal (PEP) lists some celebrity weddings that fascinated the public but unfortunately turned into sand castles crumbling in the wave of harsh realities.

Sharon Cuneta and Gabby Concepcion. They were the screen love team to beat during their prime in the ‘80s. That the young couple's reel romance turned real sent their fans wild. Sharon and Gabby announced their engagement to a nation that was in love with them for their numerous hit romantic movies.

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The church wedding took place on September 23, 1984, with no less than then president Ferdinand Marcos serving as principal sponsor. Sharon and Gabby's daughter, Maria Kristina Cassandra Concepcion (KC) was born on April 1985.

It was a truly an enchanting event! People said it was the local version of the U.K.'s Prince Charles and Princess Diana's grand wedding ceremony held in 1981 in London, which was viewed worldwide. Sharon and Gabby first had a civil wedding. But of course, given the stature of Sharon's prominent background, as well as their shared celebrity status, a church wedding was a necessity both for spiritual reasons and for publicity.

In a 1981 file interview published in Filipino Star magazine, Sharon recalled the first time she and Gabby first had a real conversation away from the cameras. The two were in Manila at the time to shoot some scenes for the movie, Dear Heart.

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"April 5 (1981) to be exact. We attended this rally at Plaza Miranda and since we could not watch the proceedings of the program because there were so many people, we went to the rooftop and we sat down and talked. We talked about our likes and dislikes, the intrigues in the movies, our zodiac signs and other things that came into our head," revealed Sharon to writer Remy Umerez.

It was the start of a rosy friendship that eventually morphed into romance.

The interview had all the hallmarks of young love written all over it and Sharon put down all her defenses when asked about Gabby's endearing traits.

"He's conservative, always concerned, protective and thoughtful. He is good and nice all over him. It's in him already to be very likeable. We have a lot of things in common. He is jolly and he tells funny things. He is a perfect gentleman. He is the type of person who couldn't even hurt a fly. He gives importance to women," a young Sharon rosily elaborated.

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Unfortunately the marriage never lasted as the two eventually parted ways, much to the dismay of their fans.

Though various speculations were brought up on why the union crumbled, it is easy to conclude that their young age took its toll on the once touted fairy-tale marriage.

Sharon would later admit that she fell into a black hole after the separation. But she's always proud that she never resorted to drugs or even alcohol to numb the pain and emptiness that follows a failed marriage.

Several years after, a more mature and happily married Sharon fondly looked back on her first marriage and related it with her current marital status with Senator Kiko Pangilinan.

"After my first marriage (to Gabby Concepcion) broke up, I'd always say, ‘Hindi ako nakipaghiwalay sa asawa para magwala. We parted ways because magkaiba ang aming paningin sa marriage and family. It didn't mean he was evil, hindi lang talaga kami magkasundo," she confided to the Philippine Daily Inquirer in a published interview dated March 31 of this year.

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"Now that I'm older, however, I'm more forgiving-and I take responsibility for what could have been my part in the failure of that relationship. But I never gave up on marriage-or the idea of it. I always knew I'd be ready to be a wife and mother again. You can't allow anyone who has caused you pain to make you feel defeated or less of a woman," she ended positively.

Martin Nievera and Pops Fernandez. Their titles as Concert King and Concert Queen were enough to render theirs a fairy- tale wedding.

Martin and Pops met while sharing hosting duties for the iconic TV variety show, Penthouse Live! Both were rising stars during the ‘80s and their ability to draw huge crowds during concerts made them a certified sensation as a duo and as teen idols of their generation. Banking on the strength of their pairing and strong following, Penthouse Live! was soon replaced by a show titled Martin and Pops Twogether.

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The pair got married in June 1986 with much hoopla and fanfare. Their wedding was even featured as a bonus attraction in their post-wedding film, Now and Forever.

Pops and Martin remained a strong team to beat on stage as they held on even more to their title as the country's concert royalty. Re-living their role in Penthouse Live! and Martin and Pops Twogether, they were tapped by ABS-CBN in 1995 to host its new Sunday variety show program, ASAP.

It was in 1996 when the perceived perfect marriage started showing some cracks, though everything was written as blind item reports by a few entertainment reporters who were aware at that time of their domestic woes.

Even that early, the name of a certain Katrina Ojeda was already surfacing as Martin's alleged girlfriend, and according to reports she was the main reason the marriage of Pops and Martin was in peril.

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The internal problems of the marriage eventually became public knowledge and the two separated under strained conditions. Who could ever forget Martin's heartfelt singing in ASAP that was reportedly dedicated to ex-wife Pops even before the separation officially came out.

The annulment of the marriage was officially handed down in year 2000. Immediately after the court ruling, Martin sent entertainment columnist Ricky Lo the following message.

"I truly hope and pray that now that it's finished, we should bury the past. If ever somebody we'd talk about what happened, let's hope that it would be without pain, without tears; maybe we could even laugh about it. Sana no more hurting, no more blaming nor fault-finding. What happened is the best for everybody concerned. Let it be."

At present, the estranged couple have moved on with their respective lives and are now publicly involved with their new partners. Martin's longtime girlfriend, Katrina Ojeda recently gave birth to their son Santino, while Pops is into a relationship with actor Jomari Yllana.

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Ruffa Gutierrez and Yilmaz Bektas. Ruffa Gutierrez's lavish wedding with Turkish businessman Yilmaz Bektas was enough to make any woman gush with envy. And given Yilmaz's status as a dashing millionaire, indeed who wouldn't want to be in Ruffa's place?

According to Ruffa's accounts, she and Yilmaz met for the first time in May 11, 2000 during the prestigious Cannes Film Festival. Ruffa was working for a TV network at the time.

The two tied the knot in a grand ceremony at the NBC Tent in Taguig City in 2003. Ruffa halted her showbiz career to settle in Istanbul to be with her husband. Although Ruffa was very vocal in mentioning Yilmaz's possessive and jealous nature during interviews, it never affected the public's perception of a happy and abundant marriage complete with all the trappings of an affluent lifestyle.

Of course we all know what happened. Unfortunately Ruffa and Yilmaz bitterly parted ways and even exchanged hurtful words for several weeks, consequently exposing personal matters previously unknown to the public.

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Now, Ruffa has resumed her showbiz career while life also goes on for Yilmaz as he attends to his ventures in and outside Turkey. As of late, Yilmaz resurfaced and gave an interview to ABS-CBN where he divulged that there are certain legal issues facing Ruffa back in Istanbul although nothing has been heard about the case or its development since then.

Ogie Alcasid and Michelle Van Eimeren. Singer-songwriter Ogie Alcasid fulfilled every guy's fantasy when he tied the knot in 1998 with Australian beauty queen and Ms. Universe candidate, Michelle Van Eimeren.

For a time, Ogie's and Michelle's love story lived up to that idea of love conquering racial boundaries and even height differences. On the surface, the couple seemed tailor-made for each other. They embodied the classic family ideal, with Ogie as the loving provider and Michelle, the diligent wife taking care of her man.

That's why many were surprised when Michelle, along with their two children decided to migrate to Australia to settle there indefinitely. It is important to take note that prior to the move, there were already some reports popping up that the Alcasids were having some marital issues but nothing definite ever came out. Michelle and the kids' departure in 2003 raised the issue considerably and made the separation angle more susceptible to attacks and suspicions.

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Ogie was able to avoid the issue for years until he confirmed to YES! magazine last June that his marriage had already broken down.

"I'm separated. Michelle and I are separated, and we have been... for a long time," Ogie bravely confessed to YES!

He also confided in the same interview that he had found a new love in Regine Velasquez. Incidentally, the rumor linking Ogie to Regine had been going on for years and some observers even pointed to the affair as the main reason Ogie and Michelle decided to part ways.

Ogie shrugged off the accusation against Regine and argued that the Songbird never ruined his marriage. At present, although the storm has weathered down a little, both Ogie and Regine continue to be the target of critics who view the relationship as unacceptable. He doesn't mind them though.

"At the end of the day, when you're happy, if you're okay, then you're okay. It doesn't matter what people say you have to do, what you have to do with your life. You've got to be true to yourself," Ogie says pensively.

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Miriam Quiambao and Claudio Rondinelli. Miss Universe First Runner-up Miriam Quiambao's romance with Italian businessman Claudio Rondinelli happened so fast she never knew what hit her.

Their three-month love affair climaxed with the wedding that took place on January 9, 2004, on the world-famous scenic island of Boracay. The lovebirds sealed their union before God on the calm beach with its white sand against the setting sun. It was an ideal romantic wedding.

The union prompted Miriam to drop her career here in the Philippines and take on the role of a diligent wife to her husband. Claudio's business was located in Hong Kong, so the newly-weds immediately packed their bags after the wedding to settle permanently in the former British colony.

It was the start of a new life together. Only two years later, in 2006, Miriam returned home with a sad revelation—her marriage was over.

Miriam acknowledged that she and her former husband failed to consider their different backgrounds when they got involved with each other. The initial attraction eventually lost its luster when their cultural differences started to show up in their daily lives.

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Paolo Bediones, a very good friend of Miriam, expressed his opinion on the breakup to Danny Vibas of The Manila Times.

"Theirs was a whirlwind romance. Claudio proposed marriage to Miriam on the third month of their relationship. They were so in love with each other that Miriam accepted Claudio's proposal without seriously thinking how life would be with a man whose cultural background is almost totally different from hers as an Asian and as a Filipina. I think it would have been useless to tell Miriam at that time to delay the marriage so she could learn more about European culture and rich European men."

Despite the impression that European men are romantic by nature, Paolo explained that this is not usually the case, particularly with the wealthy:

"Rich European males, I think, enjoy only intellectual conversations about their culture, their museums, their economy, their politics. I don't think Filipino wives would care to carry on intellectual discussions with their husbands as a matter of habit. I don't think Filipina wives can stay happily married to husbands who have no time to listen to their feelings."

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During the height of Miriam and Claudio's romance, they were asked why they chose Boracay over other places as their nuptial setting. They replied simply that they both loved the beach and shared an affinity with it.

Sadly, Boracay became just another "once upon a time."

Willie Revillame and Liz Almoro. When Willie Revillame hooked up with beauty queen Liz Almoro, some people quipped that the controversial comedian-host had hit the jackpot like a lucky Wowowee contestant.

Aside from being undeniably beautiful, Liz was known to be level-headed and serene, qualities that many felt would check Willie's characteristic restlessness. Most of Willie's close friends, and even his detractors, hoped that he would finally realize the ideal domestic life that eluded him after his first marriage with Princess Punzalan broke down.

Willie himself seemed to have high expectations. Never did the public see Willie talk so openly about his emotional life. As for Liz, right from the start she publicly vowed to be a supportive wife who would always stand beside her man, no matter how shaky his reputation among some circles, and even against her family's reported skepticism and disapproval.

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Willie and Liz first married in a civil ceremony officiated by Batangas city mayor Vilma Santos on March 2005. Three months later, the couple renewed their vows in a lavish church wedding that even YES! magazine crowned as the Wedding of the Year.

The couple's union bore a son, Juan Emmanuel or Juamee.

Willie's attempt at a peaceful family life proved to be short-lived. Barely two years into the marriage, Liz announced that she was a victim of domestic abuse and that the marriage was dead.

On July 16, 2007, Willie was formally charged before a Quezon City court for allegedly violating Section 5, RA 9262 or the Anti-Violence Against Women and Children Act. Liz's testimony alleged that Willie subjected her to humiliation and physical abuse by attempting to hit her with a chair and throwing a remote control at her. She also accused her former husband of engaging in dirty sexual affairs with different women.

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Willie vehemently denied the accusations before paying a P12,000 bail to evade arrest and detention. He also argued that Liz's temper and damaging tirades against him prohibited him from being a dutiful father to their son.

Willie's case is now pending in court and the legal process will likely take a long time. But while his innocence or guilt hangs in the balance, one thing is certain—Willie's second attempt to build a stable nest once again fell through.

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It was pure euphoria when Sharon Cuneta and Gabby Concepcion announced their engagement to a nation that was equally in love with them because of their numerous hit romantic movies. Sadly, the marriage broke down. Looking back, a wiser and more forgiving Sharon admitted that irreconcilable differences caused the breakup.
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