It's a familiar story.
An older woman has a relationship with a much younger man, as in the case of Demi Moore when she was married to Ashton Kutcher. Daddy has a girlfriend young enough to be his daughter, as in the case of Donald Trump and Melania Knauss, or Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones.
It’s called the May-December affair, defined as an instance of the romantic involvement of two parties between whom there is a considerable age difference.
It happens not only in Hollywood and in local showbiz, it is common in any strata of society, anywhere.
As with any relationship that defies the norm, the reaction to such a liaison is mixed. Some are scornful, others are dismissive.
And the liberal ones, of course, are nonchalant, if not outright accepting.
A cougar and her boy toy? Well, to each his own. A greying man and his very young squeeze? Ho-hum, what else is new?
PEP.ph (Philipine Entertainment Portal) has compiled a list of May-December affairs currently ongoing in local tinsel town. In creating this list, we have limited our category to an 18-year age difference and above, admittedly an arbitrary consideration based on the legal age of 18.
Senator Chiz Escudero and Heart Evangelista therefore narrowly avoided this list as their age gap is only16 years.
Freddie Aguilar admitted that his third wife was 17 when they became a couple. So what was so shocking about him taking a 16-year-old for his fourth wife?
Ka Freddie converted to Islam to marry the sixteen-year old Jovy Gatdula in an Islamic rite.
Their relationship heaped criticisms from social media, spurred fiery discussions, and grabbed headlines that the Department of Social Welfare and Development stepped in “to ensure that the welfare and interest of the 16-year old, considered to be a minor child under the law, is not at risk.”
The government agency wanted to make sure that Jovy was not coerced or intimidated by the adults involved, whether by Freddie or her parents.
In a radio interview, Jovy assured that their relationship has the approval of her parents, “Sabi ng nanay ko, 'Eh di sige kung doon ka masaya eh di susuportahan ka namin.'"
Aguilar’s daughter Maegan at first came out defending her father, “Ano’ng masama dun? Ano’ng masama kung nagpakatotoo siya?”
In May this year, she retracted. Maegan charged that her father threw her out of the house. In her interview by Dolly Anne Carvajal of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, she said that she was never in favor of his relationship with Gatdula.
Mommy Dionisa Pacquiao and Michael Yamson
Age gap: 27 years
Manny Pacquiao’s mom Dionisa, famously called Mommy D, shocked the nation when she confirmed that she is in a relationship with 38-year Michael Yamson, her escort at her 65th birthday celebration last May.
The two met at a karaoke bar in February, where they sang together, and exchanged numbers.
According to Mommy D, it was Michael who approached her and said, “Ma’am pwede po ba kitang ligawan? Kung hindi ka maniwala sa text pwebe ba kita makita ulit?”
She said he was a persistent suitor.
About her son Manny’s reaction to the relationship, she said, “Sa interview niya, ayaw niya akong mag-asawa … ang may edad hindi ba marunong magmahal?
"Mas higit magmahal ang may edad kaysa bata pa. Ako ang masusunod.”
Michael has denied he is after Mommy D’s money, that even without help of the Pacquiao children, he can support Mommy D if he will be allowed to work again as a seaman.
About their sex life, she said, laughing, "Okay naman! No problem diyan!"
He added, "Hindi maiiwasan iyon. Meron talagang gano'n. Okay naman!"
However, when Mommy D expressed her desire to have a baby with Michael, he rejected the idea, saying he fears for her health.
In the course of their eight-month relationship, Michael has realized it’s Mommy D he wants to spend the rest of his life with.
He affirmed, "In God’s grace na pagtibayin yung nararamdaman ko sa kanya, handa akong tumagal sa piling niya. Kasi siya na talaga yung napagdesisyunan ng puso ko…
"Sa kanya, masaya na ako, wala nang iba.”
The couple recently admitted they are living together at Mommy D’s house. They spend time having karaoke sessions, while Michael awaits his agency’s call to sail anew as a seaman.
Vic Sotto and Pauleen Luna
Age gap: 34 years
Vic Sotto and Paula Luna first crossed paths back in 1995 when she was seven and a contestant of Little Miss Philippines, a segment of Eat Bulaga where Vic, now popularly called Bossing, is a mainstay.
They became an item three years ago, when she was 23 and he, 57.
In April this year, the legendary host and comedian celebrated his 60th birthday with a party organized by Pauleen and his children.
Paulina, Vic's daughter with '80’s commercial model Angela Luz, is almost the same age as Pauleen. Meanwhile, Oyo Boy Sotto and Danica Sotto Pingris, Vic's children with ex-wife Dina Bonnevie, both said they respect their father's decisions.
But, "Siguro nandun lang yung ilang,” Otto had said, and Danika admitted, “Ayokong magsinungaling. Nung una, parang medyo nakakailang yung edad.”
Pauleen, who once had a relationship with politician Sherwin Gatchalian, 15 years her senior, had admitted she prefers older men because she likes "being babied and taken good care of."
Previous to Pauleen, Vic had a five-year relationship with TV host Pia Guanio, 19 years his junior.
Pauleen is very vocal in interviews and social media posts about her love for Vic. For his part, he has vowed to support her in all her endeavors.
Ai Ai delas Alas and Gerald Sibayan
Age Gap: 29 years
After her bitter split with husband Jed Salang, with whom she was married for only a month over a year ago, comedienne Ai-Ai delas Alas had kept her personal life under the radar.
But in an interview with PEP last July, Ai-ai insinuated that she has been dating somebody. Last month, she made entertainment headlines when she confirmed her relationship with Gerald Sibayan, a 20-year-old Sports Management student and former member of the De La Salle University badminton team.
Ai-ai is the manager of the team.
She formally introduced Gerald to her friends in show business during Wenn Deramas’s 48th birthday celebration. After the event, Gerald posted pictures of them together at the party in his Facebook account.
When asked by PEP via Facebook chat if he and Ai-ai have a relationship, Gerald said, “Opo. God bless you.”
The confirmation stirred reaction from netizens, fans, and Ai-Ai's friends in showbiz.
Gerald’s parents are retired members of the Philippine army. Ai-ai said her boyfriend wants to be a pilot so she made him quit his badminton team so he can finish a college course, a prerequisite of becoming a pilot.
When asked if they have wedding plans, Ai-ai was quick to answer, “Ay, hindi! Waley, waley. Ayaw, ayaw! Okey na yung ganyan… tahimik lang kami.
“Okey na sa mas bata, kesa naman sa may asawa."
Ai-ai is turning 50 this November.
"Ayoko nung matanda na may asawa saka hiwalay, ‘tapos may mga anak pa! Napakakumplikado!
"Pakikisamahan mo pa yung anak, pakikisamahan mo pa yung nanay ng anak.
“Ay, ano ba ‘yan?!
"'Tapos ipagsa-shopping mo yung tatay, ipagsa-shopping mo rin yung nanay," she was quoted as saying.
About her boyfriend, she said, “‘Eto, hindi ko hinanap ‘to talaga.
"Dumating na lang siya talaga sa buhay ko.”
Keanna Reeves and Kevin Mercado
Age gap: 27 years
Keanna Reeves formally introduced to the public her boyfriend Kevin Mercado, 27 years her junior, in an interview with Startalk in November last year. They had already been together for seven months at the time.
She never revealed her age to anyone, what more to her boyfriend. But her Wikipedia entry says she was born in 1967, making Kevin younger than her first child even.
Keanna admitted she had found him cute immediately upon sighting him at a friend’s party. Kevin, however, mistook her for a transsexual when he caught sight of her from afar because of her unnaturally large bosom.
He had no idea who Keanna was until his friends in Pampanga told her she’s a showbiz personality.
On Rated K later that year, Keanna was asked to compare her relationship with Kevin to that of Freddie Aguilar and his 16-year-old paramour.
Quick-wittedly she replied, “I checked his ID first! Siguraduhin ko po na 18 above na po siya kasi baka makulong ako!"
The Pinoy Big Brother winner is Kevin's fourth girlfriend and he calls her "babe."
How is Keanna different from her previous girlfriends? He said, “Iba siyang magmahal… Binibigay niya lahat.
"Hindi naman ibig sabihin materyal na bagay, yung pagmamahal talaga.
“Masaya siyang kasama, at saka yung physical niya, sexy.”
But there are trade-offs. Kevin, for instance, had to swallow hurtful comments from friends about their relationship.
"Masasakit din po yung mga sinasabi pero wala po akong pakialam sa kanila kasi wala naman po sila sa sitwasyon ko.
"Mahal na mahal ko po siya," he confided.
On the other hand, all is well on Keanna’s side as her children have accepted her relationship with Kevin.
Mystica and Kid Lopez,
Age gap: 22 years
Ruby Rose Villanueva, known as Mystica in show business, 45, is the manager of Edwin Nuas, screen name Kid Lopez, 23, one of many in her stable of talents. She once directed an indie film starring Kid.
Their relationship started as purely professional, until it developed into something intimate.
In an interview, Kid had said he was about to go home one night and paid Mystica a courteous goodbye through Facebook, “Sabi niya wala, wala siyang kasama sa kwarto.”
Mystica snapped, “That was a joke!”
On April 15 this year, the singer and his talent manager got married.
Kid is younger than Mystica’s son from a previous relationship, a fact for which the couple have endured censures and snide remarks.
She related in an interview, “With that gap na half my age, I never expected I’d fall in love with someone like him.
"It was really fate, tadhana, minsan lang po ito sa buhay namin.
"Kahit ano na po ang sabihin nila, we don’t really care. What matters is we are together and both happy.”
Jules Ledesma and Assunta de Rossi,
Age gap: 22 years
Assunta de Rossi was enjoying a bright career in showbiz when she met one of the wealthiest congressmen of the country, Jules Ledesma. They had been living together for six months before finally deciding to get married in a wedding ceremony officiated by the five mayors of Negros Occidental in 2002.
Jules was 41 then and Assunta, 19.
Her family snubbed the civil wedding, as they were very much against it. Assunta and her family had since reconciled, and the De Rossis were in complete attendance at the Ledesma-de Rossi church nuptial in 2004.
The couple have kept a low profile since their much-publicized wedding. They were forced to come out now and then because of the controversies that hounded their relationship in the past.
Assunta's admission in a TV interview in 2007 that she doesn’t have her own money resulted in ugly rumors. The couple, in fact, donated 60 percent of their wealth to Ledesma hacienda’s employees last year.
The actress also denied allegations of physical abuse and separation, as well as fertility issues arising from being a childless couple.
Jules and Assunta have weathered the controversies and are in face celebrating their 12th wedding anniversary in December.
Gretchen Barretto has dodged a lot of controversies, from being tagged one as one of the first ST (sex-trip) stars of the late '80s, to being at the center of the 1994 Manila Film Festival “Take it, take it” award envelope switching fiasco.
The more recent was the “kisscandal” with John Estrada in 2007 and currently the bitter Barretto family feud.
In 1995 she caught the showbiz world by surprise when she got pregnant and gave birth to a baby girl named Dominique, her daughter with multimillionaire businessmanTonyboy Cojuangco, 19 years her senior.
What makes their relationship controversial to this day is that Tonyboy is still married to socialite and erstwhile equestrienne Denis Yabut. Although separated, neither has made a move to annul their marriage, though they have separated.
Gretchen has repeatedly said in interviews that she knows where she stands in Tonyboy’s life and that, technically, it’s only a “wedding” that’s lacking in their relationship.
Gretchen had detailed in previous interviews her feud with the mother of Tonyboy, Meldy Cojuangco, and how hurt she was that the matriarch did not recognize Dominique as one of her grandchildren.
But in 2006, she revealed to columnist Ricky Lo that her relationship with the Cojuangco family has gotten smoothed for the benefit of Dominque.
As for the division in her own family, Gretchen remains mired in controversy.