Danica Sotto-Pingris, LJ Moreno-Alapag, Jeck Maierhofer and RR Enriquez reveal what it's really like to be the wife/girlfriend of a basketball star

Text: Bianca Geli Interview: Bernie V. Franco
Jan 17, 2015
The hosts of TV5's upcoming show, Happy Wife, Happy Life dish out details of what it's like to be the life partner of a basketball player.

Lovely ladies Danica Sotto-Pingris, LJ Moreno-Alapag, Jeck Maierhofer, and RR Enriquez will be hosting TV5’s upcoming morning show, Happy Wife, Happy Life.

Danica, LJ, and Jeck are all married to basketball stars, while RR is in a relationship with a cager.

The ladies of Happy Wife, Happy Life share with PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) the joys and tribulations of life with a basketball player.

ADJUSTMENTS. For the four ladies, being in a relationship with a popular athlete isn’t about the fame; it's about adjusting to their partner’s lifestyle.

LJ reveals the hardest part of being a basketball player's wife. “Yung schedule, kailangan maka-adjust dun. But other than that, I mean, it’s just like any typical marriage."

Danica also had to get used to the schedule. “It's like being married to a normal guy, except for the schedule. And it's not only the PBA [Philippine Basketball Association] schedule, you also don’t know if your husband's team is gonna win, if he's gonna get eliminated, or if he's going to stay longer sa conference."

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RR thinks being in showbiz helped her understand her boyfriend, JJ Helterbrand. “Siguro advantage lang namin, nasa showbiz ako, so hindi na ako nasha-shock.”

For her part, Jeck had to adjust to her husband’s sleeping and eating habits. “Ako kasi prepared na ako, e.

"Bago pa ako magpakasal kay Rico, si Ate Cindy [Conwi], asawa niya si Alvin Patrimonio, 'di ba? So bayaw ko si Alvin.

"Sanay na ako, sinabihan niya [Cindy] ako na maaga kayong matutulog, bawal kayo gumimik.

“May mga ganyan na kami. So normal naman or sanay na ako. Kasi yung ate ko, nakita ko rin dati kung paano yung buhay nila ni Kuya Alvin.

"Normal pa rin naman kami. Tama rin talaga yung mag-a-adjust ka sa schedule.

“Even yung mga special events sa life ng mga anak niyo, minsan may mga birthday, graduation that he cannot attend. Hindi kasi sila puwede mag-absent. It’s in the contract,” Jeck says.

Aside from adjusting to the hectic lifestyle of an athlete, the women have to stay fit.

RR reveals how she maintains her slim figure. “Si JJ kasi mapilit 'yan. Wala kasi kaming maid ngayon, so ako yung naglinis, nag-general cleaning ako, nagluto… aba gabi na, pagod na ako. Sabi niya ‘Hindi, mag-workout ka.’

"Sabi ko, 'Yung totoo, haggard na ako, pagod na ako, workout pa rin?'

"Sabi niya, 'Yun nga yung yung pinaka-effective, kasi yung body mo mainit na, so ituloy-tuloy mo na 'yan.'

"Kaya siguro pumayat rin ako ng ganito.

“Kapag nag-work out ako, every day talaga or at least four times a week. Mostly ginagawa ko puro buhat talaga para magkaroon ng muscle,” she adds.

FEARS. Basketball isn’t exactly a death-defying sport, but major injuries and foul play can happen anytime on the court. The girls of Happy Wife, Happy Life reveal their fears.

Danica reveals, “Every game, hindi na mawawala yun. Every game lagi nila tinatanong, ‘Nasasanay ka na ba?’ Nakakakaba pa rin e."

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LJ is reminded of a good friend who suffered an on-court spinal injury back in 2006.

“I remember Eugene Tejada, he’s a good friend. So when that [injury] happened to him, it hurt all of us.

"Every time parang may hulog or bagsak, nakakanerbiyos talaga. Every game, we pray na they’re okay and walang mga major injuries."

RR says she feels protective of JJ when he’s playing. “Kapag feeling ko nasiko siya, or feeling ko hindi pinapasok, gusto ko sapukin yung coach or yung referee kung mali-mali yung ginagawa.

"Gusto ko pumunta sa court para batuhin ko sila ng sapatos, pero nasa isip ko lang yun,” she jokes.

AGGRESSIVE FANGIRLS. Athletes aren’t just prone to injuries, they tend to capture the hearts of women. They become heartthrobs.

How do the Happy Wives, Happy Lives hosts deal with their guys’ fangirls?

LJ shares, “Jimmy does a very good job of making me feel secure so wala, hindi naman. Siguro I was less secure back when we were girlfriend and boyfriend, mga younger years."

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Jeck adds, “Nasa image rin nila yun, kailangan pa rin nila alagaan image nila, kasi kapag nalaman na ganoon sila, nambababae sila, marami silang fans na madi-disappoint.

“I think it's a question of how you handle it. Siguro for us, being in the business for so long, you learn huwag na lang pansinin."

RR doesn't see her boyfriend’s fans as competition.

“Ay hindi ako selosa sa mga fans. Actually siya [JJ] yung dating hindi malapit sa mga fans, ako yung naglapit sa kanya. Meron mga fans lang na maghi-hate lang talaga, pero may mga fans na mababait."

HANDLING FINANCES. Like showbiz, being a basketball star lasts a few years, and then you retire. Our hosts share how they’ve been handling their finances while their partners are at the peak of their careers.

Jeck says, “Ako tinuruan ko talaga si Rico mag-invest. Importante talaga kasi hindi naman forever ang basketball. Importante rin yung mga insurance."

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Danica shares she has Marc’s Ilocano side to thank for the wise decisions in handling money.

“Sa amin naman, si Marc yung mas magaling mag-handle ng pera. I think yun yung Ilocano side niya. Of course minsan, may konting luho, kailangan din naman silang pagbigyan dahil they work so hard. Pero hindi naman yung over. Parang don’t live beyond your means.”

LJ shares her “no touch fund” tip to save money for the future.

“Ever since we got married, we have this ‘no touch fund.’ Hindi namin gagalawin yun. Goal namin that time was to get a house, so talagang we didn’t touch that until we were able to get the house that we wanted."

And now that Jimmy has retired from the PBA, they plan to expand the franchise of their business, The Lollicake Factory.

Jeck has started investing in a variety of businesses. “I sell online. We have a café, we have laundry, 'tsaka pharmacy. 'Tapos nagsi-sell ako online ng mga bags, raketera!”

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Danica combines her passion for cooking with business. “Meron kaming mga cooking [workshops] para sa mga moms, helpers, saka mga kids.

Bago pa lang, first time ko lang siya gawin with two of my friends. Kami yung owners, 'tapos we teach also.

RR, for her part, says that JJ is saving up the money he earns.

“Actually, meron kaming business, hindi niya ginagalaw yung pera dun, ayaw niya talaga. We also have a T-shirt printing business.

"'Tapos ako naman, ka-sosyo ko siya sa skin care and nail spa."

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The hosts of TV5's upcoming show, Happy Wife, Happy Life dish out details of what it's like to be the life partner of a basketball player.
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