Showbiz’s May-December affairs

Sep 1, 2007
"Both of us, malawak. Broadminded. Twenty years na kami and never kami nagkaroon ng malaking problema because we know how to give and take. We respect each other, that's very important,” said Vilma in a file interview about her marriage with former senator Ralph Recto. Vilma is ten years older than her husband.

In contemporary times, there’s nothing unusual anymore about May-December affairs.

A May-December union is about the significant age gap between two people in a relationship. We’re not talking of merely a year or two difference in terms of age. It is common of course to see young women hooking up with much older men. Experts attribute this to the fact that, in general, the “young once” are more mature, being more emotionally and financially stable, than young ones.

But what if it’s the other way around, when it’s the woman who’s more experienced than her partner?

Philippine Entertainment Portal (PEP) lists some of local tinsel town’s married couples, with the wives being way ahead in years.

Eula Valdez and Richard Litonjua. Coming out of a turbulent relationship that had spanned nine years, actress Eula Valdez had no inkling that her knight in shining armor would appear as someone 14-years younger than herself.

But that’s what fate had in store for Eula and Australia-based electrical engineer, Richard Litonjua.

They first met on December 5, 2002, while Eula was stationed in a bazaar booth at the World Trade Center. Richard was with actress-cousin, Sharmaine Arnaiz when they passed by Eula’s stall and bought some items.

For Eula, no sparks filled her eyes that first time she met Richard.

But it was a different experience for the young engineer.

“Eula is cool,” Richard remarked to his cousin after meeting Eula, who was then still involved with Ronnie Quizon and had a son by him.

After the good actress emerged, emotionally scarred, from her previous relationship, Richard eventually rekindled Eula’s faith in love.

On December 27, 2003, on the picturesque island of Boracay, Eula formally became Mrs. Richard Litonjua.

Kris Aquino and James Yap. Kris Aquino was already a celebrity while James Yap was still slugging it out as an amateur standout for the University of the East Red Warriors in the UAAP. By the time James crossed over to the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) as a professional ball player in 2004, Kris’s luster as a star was doubly brilliant.

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But love irreverently made these facts irrelevant.

With an 11-year age gap between them, Kris Aquino and James Yap threw all caution to the wind and fell in love, in spite the cynicism whirling around them.

James’s quiet and reserved nature, critics argued, don’t stand a chance compared to Kris’ gregarious character.

Legend has it that James was already nurturing a longtime crush on Kris when he asked his manager Dondon Monteverde to set him up for a date with the well-known actress. Despite their personality differences, James’s persist courtship eventually won her heart and the two became an item.

The exact date of their marriage through civil rites fell on July 10, 2005.

It came as a surprise to many that Kris kept the romance, and even their marriage, a secret. Kris had a reputation for feeding the public with mundane to the most interesting details regarding her personal affairs.

Kris has repeatedly said that the age gap between her and James was never a problem, except on instances when she had to explain certain things he didn’t know or hadn’t experienced.

But doubts resurfaced anew when a Belo medical clinic receptionist named Hope Centeno smeared James with her claims of his alleged marital infidelity last year. Skeptics said that being young and a rising PBA superstar, James would most likely seek—or be sought by—younger women in place of his very popular wife. In short, it was easy to think that the 6’3” sweet-shooting swingman was not done yet with his bachelor days.

Fortunately, the marriage was saved and the couple soldiered on until Kris gave birth to their first son, James Aquino Yap Jr., last April 19, 2007.

After the scandal that threatened to tear their marriage apart, Kris decided to take a low profile to avoid attracting controversies that could harm her volatile domestic life.

Vilma Santos and Ralph Recto. Revered actress-turned-politician Vilma Santos insists that the 10-year age gap between her and husband, former senator Ralph Recto never became an issue since day one.

"Both of us, malawak. Broadminded. Twenty years na kami and never kami nagkaroon ng malaking problema because we know how to give and take. We respect each other, that's very important,” said Vilma in a file interview.

She even joked that she considers Ralph as one of her sons.

“I have three sons,” she smiled, pertaining to the first as Luis and the second, Ryan Christian, in a previous interview. “With Ralph being the youngest because he’s the most hard-headed,” said Vilma with a laugh.

But being a statesman with a good background, Ralph is easily perceived as a mature and level-headed man.

"Ralph taught me how to read the newspapers starting from page 1. He noticed that when I opened a newspaper, I would start reading the entertainment section first. He told me I should also read the news even if I just scan the stories. That way, he said, I would know what's happening when people talk about issues,” revealed the actress dubbed as the “Star for All Seasons” in an interview with a major broadsheet.

Both Ralph and Vi acknowledged their mutual influence on each other. Ralph’s influence was obviously Vilma’s surprising interest and eventual foray into public service. While Vilma on the other hand, gave Ralph that crucial mass appeal, which according to political analysts, is essential to endear his image to the public. Although Vilma’s endorsement failed to shore up Ralph’s senatorial bid during the last election, his wife’s clout for sure would still benefit Ralph in his future endeavors.

Again, the question of fidelity comes into play especially in cases where the husband is much younger than the wife. Curiously, Vilma maintains an open mind with regard to such a sensitive issue.

“I’m not saying he’s not flirting. That’s natural. I would not tolerate it if it were more than that. If it’s a boys’ night out, let them enjoy. I also want to be that way if I’m with my friends,” she admitted with much candor in the same interview.

"But when we're together, we enjoy each other. We love each other, trust each other. I learn a lot from him.”

Aiko Melendez and Martin Jickain. Actress Aiko Melendez said that fashion model Martin Jickain, who is eight years her junior, came into her life during a tumultuous time.

Still reeling from a failed marriage with actor, Jomari Yllana, with whom she has a son named Andre, Aiko met the good-looking ramp model on September of 2004.

“I realized he’s a God-given refuge,” said Aiko when they were already an item.

Despite the age gap coupled with their whirlwind romance, Martin said that right from the beginning, he was certain that she was the one for him.

“I just knew. It’s destiny. There’s magic between us,” said the then 22-year-old Martin.

He admitted having a huge crush on Aiko and immediately courted the actress-turned-politician upon their first meeting. After a few weeks came the marriage proposal in Boracay, which was so grand that the media mistook it as the actual wedding ceremony.

The couple tied the knot on February 16, 2006, at Fernwood Gardens in Quezon City with Aiko’s close friends in showbiz on hand to witness the special occasion. Comprising the bride’s entourage were Dawn Zulueta, Gelli De Belen, Carmina Villaroel, Kris Aquino, Boy Abunda and columnist-host Cristy Fermin.

During the wedding itself, rumors floated that Martin’s family was not in favor of the union. Despite the presence of the groom’s father and brother, Martin’s mother was curiously absent during the ceremony.

Martin never hid the fact that his mother was surprised when he made known his decision to get hitched. He revealed that his mother asked him to give her sufficient time to adjust and accept the fact that her favorite son is on his way to be a full-fledged family man. Mrs. Jickain however obliged to give her message and well wishes to the newly weds through a VTR.

Aiko, who was eight weeks pregnant during the wedding, openly expressed admiration for the way Martin honored his commitment despite his young age.

Perhaps as a way of answering all doubts brought by the May-December affair, the following words were inscribed in the couple’s wedding invitation:

"The quantity of time is not what matters...Quality of time is what we both shared and will cherish for the rest of our lives...With two different worlds, we meet...Indeed, we are destined to be together."

Agot Isidro and Manu Sandejas. Singer Agot Isidro was in a bad mood the first day she met her husband-to-be in 1998.

“I was such in a nasty mood then,” recalled Agot. “The night before, I was in Malate until two, and then we had to go out so early in the morning.”

That initial meeting happened in Anilao upon the instigation of Manuel “Manu” Sandejas’ sister who labeled the setup as a “dive date.”

“I didn’t really look at him until we were on our way home, and I said, ‘Uy, cute pala siya,’” Agot beamed.

Advertising executive Manu Sandejas was five years younger than Agot but that didn’t stop him from pursuing the beauteous actress known for her soothing voice and megawatt smile. Right after the meeting, the two constantly dated, although they never discussed jumping into a serious commitment at first.

Two years of being steady and the pair finally walked down the aisle on October 7, 2000, at the St. John Bosco Church at the Laguna Techopark in Sta. Cruz, Laguna.

The wedding mirrored the couple’s desire for privacy and close intimacy as they kept the ceremony simple and free from media coverage.

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"Both of us, malawak. Broadminded. Twenty years na kami and never kami nagkaroon ng malaking problema because we know how to give and take. We respect each other, that's very important,” said Vilma in a file interview about her marriage with former senator Ralph Recto. Vilma is ten years older than her husband.
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