A blind item came out in Dolly Anne Carvajal's weekly column at the Philippine Daily Inquirer on February 5. The piece reported that the husband of a certain TV host has been having a "dangerous liaison" with a "pretty facialist" from a popular skin clinic.
On February 11, Kris Aquino celebrated her birthday—which all showbiz aficionados know to be February 14, the Day of Hearts no less—in The Buzz. Kris's family—her mother, former President Corazon Aquino, her sister Ballsy, her husband James Yap, and her son with actor Phillip Salvador, Josh—were on the set of the show to greet her.
And when James's turn came to give a message to his wife, people couldn't help but notice the tension and aloofness between him and Kris.
The following day, February 12, several tabloids carried the stories of a possible Kris-James marital problem. Even Kris's The Buzz co-hosts Cristy Fermin and Jobert Sucaldito wrote about the cold-shoulder incident.
Within days, stories of James's alleged extra-marital rendezvous with a Belo Medical Group receptionist—then only referred to as Hope—appeared in print and on the Internet.
By the following Sunday, February 18, the public was expecting Kris and James to clarify the reports. The two did, but through television.
Kris admitted that she and her husband have been having problems in their marriage. She fell short of providing any details, saying that whatever had to be said were already said between her and James. James apologized, still falling short of providing any clue as to what they were talking about, and added that whatever it was would never happen again.
The public was left with more questions than answers.
On February 20, PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) received information that the alleged other woman in James's life, Hope, was going to grant Startalk an interview.
Thursday, February 22, the seven-month pregnant Kris was rushed to the Makati Medical Center. An ABS-CBN source said that Kris had "medical problems related to her pregnancy." The term "false labor" surfaced. "Stress" became a corollary description to Kris's medical problems. Soon after, James's camp was reported to have pleaded with Startalk not to air the Hope interview.
On February 24, Startalk went ahead with the interview. Hope revealed that she had a relationship with James Yap that lasted eleven months. (See related PEP stories.)
JAMES'S SIDE OF THE STORY. In an interview with Korina Sanchez for The Buzz and Rated K that aired last night, February 25, Kris and James answered all the issues surrounding them.
"Wala kaming relasyon," James clarified.
He said sternly, "Nagugulat ako sa sinabi niya na ako pa ang naghahabol sa kaniya. Niligawan ko [daw] siya. Ang tingin ko kasi, parang hindi niya iniisip ‘yong mga sinasabi niya."
The Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) cager admitted that he knows Hope—he knows her because she arranges his visits at the Belo clinic.
He elaborated, "Every Monday, andoon ako dahil ‘yon talaga schedule ko. Nagte-text ako sa kaniya 'pag nagpapa-schedule ako na ganitong oras ako puwede. Ang textback [niya], ‘Kamusta sir? Okay na po ‘yong appointment niyo.' Sinasabi niya sa akin na ganitong oras. Ako, sinasagot ko, ‘Okay lang ako.'"
After arranging the clinic schedule, Hope, James said, would make a follow-up about the appointment.
James narrated, "‘Sir James, meron kang facial ng ganitong oras. Meron kang scrub ng ganitong oras.' [Sinasabi ko,] ‘Okay, thank you,' so dumarating ako doon. ‘Tapos hinahatid niya ako. ‘Sir, eto ‘yong room mo.'"
James clarified that no sexual liaison transpired between him and Hope during his visits to the clinic.
"Walang nangyari e," he stressed.
He added, "Ito ha, honest talaga, gustong-gusto talaga niya pumasok. Gusto niyang pumasok. Hindi ko alam kung anong balak niya, pero pinapalabas ko siya, after scrub 'to ha. ‘Sir, habang ginaganiyan mo ako, lalo akong nacha-challenge.'"
He repeated, "Nagugulat na lang ako na kung bakit lumabas na ganito, na lumabas na ako ‘yong naghahabol, na niligawan ko siya."
When asked as to why he thinks Hope is claiming that they had a relationship, James could only conclude, "Well, sinabi niya sa interview niya, ‘Na-in love ako. Nagmahal ako.'
"Ewan ko kasi 'pag nagpupunta ako sa Belo, lahat sila pantay-pantay ‘yong treatment ko e. ‘Hi,' ganyan."
Kris commented, "Eto na lang siguro, sa dinami-dami na ng nailabas na niya, 'di ba sinagot niya kung nag-I love you ever, sinabi niya hindi?
"Parang sorry ha, I mean it's a given, e, na tayong lahat 'pag na-in-love tayo, sasabihin mo na ‘I love you.'—at maghihintay ka ng ‘I love you' back. Parang sabi ko na, sa kaniya na galing, e, na never silang nag-I love you. So ano ‘yon?"
THE LAST TO KNOW. James admitted that his mistake was that he was not being able to tell his wife about Hope allegedly doing "inappropriate" things.
He explained, "Ang kinakatakot ko lang kasi, dahil kung sasabihin ko sa kanya, magulo. So hindi ko naisip na ‘tong tinatago ko sa kaniya, mas lalo pa palang magulo."
Kris remarked, "Ang ikinagagalit ko kasi talaga, and I think everybody who's watching me now would understand, kung sa umpisa pa lang nasabi sa akin na may ganitong sitwasyon, hindi aabot sa ganito."
The 36-year-old host explained that she would only react as any other wife would react.
"Kasi ang sinasabi niya sa akin na, ‘[Pag] sinabi ko sa ‘yo na may babae na ginagawa ito, na humahabol sa akin, kung ano-anong ina-attempt na gawin, iiskandaluhin mo siya. E, di ang laki pang gulo sa atin.'
"I said, ‘Ang nakalimutan mo, asawa mo ako. I would be within my right. Karapatan ko, na sabihan ang kung sino mang babae na sinusubukang agawin ang asawa ko na, 'wala kang karapatan dahil ako ‘yong asawa.' Kung gumawa man ako ng iskandalo doon or sinugod ko man ‘yong babaeng ‘yon, walang babae ang hindi makakaunawa sa akin,'" said Kris.
She continued, "Forgiveness is a process. ‘Yong parang sobrang fake ko 'pag sinabi ko na 100 percent forgiven kasi hindi—kasi ilang beses niyang narinig sa akin talaga na, ‘I didn't deserve any of this.'
"Iyong parang ilang beses na naulit talaga na, in this one wala akong kasalanan pero bakit akong nagbabayad? Ilang beses na lumabas sa bibig ko rin na pinapagalitan na ako ng Ate ko na, ‘Stop repeating it, Kris. Just try to move on.' But I always say, ‘Ni minsan hindi ko binastos ang pagkatao mo, ang marriage natin. From the very beginning of this relationship, I can swear to 100 percent fidelity.'"She remarked, "‘Yong sa pagpo-forgive, sinabi ko sa kanya na sinusubukan ko, and that's all I can promise."