Gretchen Barretto on Nadia Montenegro: "Gusto kong mahalin siya at patawarin siya."

"Unexpected" is one word to associate with Gretchen Barretto these days. Aside from the fact that it's the title of her album, a lot of unexpected things are happening in her life. There's the rumored affair with Dodie Puno, the "kisscandal" with Ricky Yabut, and the latest, the messy confrontation with longtime friend Nadia Montenegro.


The eventful encounter between GretchenBarretto and Nadia Montenegro in a hotel last week gave showbiz news readers something to talk and wonderabout since it involved the perfect mix of betrayal, politics, and a music album.

StarTalk's comedictandem Lolit Solis and Joey de Leon got the opportunity to interview throughphone patch the lively (and oddly melodic) Gretchen in an attempt to clear theair of speculation and bring Greta and Nadia's friendship back in tune.

Joey decided to ask the serious questions first. He said,"Hindi na ako magpapaliguy-ligoy. Puwede mo sagutin ang tanong ko o hindi. Totoongmay album ka daw na lalabas?"

"Ay, naku, ‘yan ang hindi tsismis!" Gretchen answered as if oncue. "Meron akong album, The GretchenBarretto Unexpected! Available na sa lahat ng record bars."

With that, the airwaves suddenly filled with a singing Gretchen'srendition of Audrey Hepburn's "Moon River."

GRETCHEN'S VERSION. Joey,who probably thought that asking an icebreaker question would've set a relaxedmood, now poised himself in asking Greta about her encounter with Nadia. Beforehe could finish, Greta immediately reacted with, "Naku, huwag na natin anohin‘yan."

"Okay, d'yan po nagtatapos ang ating interview..." Joey jokinglyanswered back as Gretchen and Lolit laughed. Rephrasing his earlier question,Joey said, "Sa sarili mong version, sino ba talaga nag-initiate nitong meetingat ano ba talaga'ng nangyari?"

"Lahat kami," Gretchen answered, "Sina Cristy Fermin, JobertSucaldito, Tanya and Nadia—gusto talaga naming magtagpo kasi, para walangsisihan at malaman talaga kung saan nag-umpisa ang istorya. Hindi ko namansinuspetsa talaga si Nadia. Kaya kami nagkita [Nadia, Jobert, and Cristy], paramalinaw."

Tanya is the elder sister of Nadia.

"Pero Gretch," Lolit followed, "Bakit kasama yung isang governmentofficial sa meeting?" Lolit was, of course, referring to Dody Puno who is being linked to Gretchen.

"Kasi po, kami ang nalalagay sa mga diyaryo at tabloids,"Gretchen replied. "So, para lang malaman namin na klaro lahat. Yung lahat po nana-involve doon sa natsismis, nandun lahat, para klaro."

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Before both Lolit and Joey could react, Gretchen saidthat she didn't really want to talk about it since issues like these are veryburdensome—to her personal life and career.

"Ayos na ba kayo ni Nadia?" Lolit inquired.

Gretchen replied, "Hindi maganda yung entry namin, pero sigurosa tamang panahon, ‘pag hindi na masyado mainit ang ulo at wala ka nang hurt,e, puwede na ulit mag-usap. Pero mabuti sa ngayon, huwag muna."

How about the reported hysteria, shouting, crying, and wine-glasshurling? Did it really happen?

"Hindi mo naman maaalis yun, di ba, ‘pag nag-uusap," Gretchensaid. "May iyakan, may sigawan, maya-maya kung anu-ano na. Pero ganyan talagayun. Normal lang yun."

Lolit immediately asked, "Pati ikaw, umiyak ka? Nag-hysteriaka din?"

"Syempre umiyak ako, alam mo naman, iyakin ako, di ba?"Gretchen replied.

"Akala ko, iniiyakan mo lang, e, mga diamonds!" Lolitjoked.

Gretchen, who might've misheard Lolit's comment, said, "Ah,‘yan ang hindi ko binato! Haha!"

Joey, who was quietly listening to the playful banterof the two ladies, was suddenly reminded by Gretchen that it was his turn to do the questioning. Joey began by asking another Nadia-related question.Before he got into mid-sentence, however, Gretchen interrupted him, saying thatshe didn't want to hear it.

A confused Joey shot, "Tingnan mo, gusto mo akong marinig,pero ayan, ayaw mong marinig. Ano ba talaga?"

"Ayoko," Gretchen insisted. "Ang dami ko pang trabaho. Alammo ba, pagkatapos nito, e, pupunta pa ako sa SM Marilao, Bulacan. Maymini-concert ako doon."

"Alam mo bang nandoon si Nadia?" Joey joked, trying again toget Nadia's name in the conversation.

"Pag negative, ayoko nang marinig," Gretchen said. "Alam moba ang policy ko sa buhay, e, ‘pag negative ayoko nang marinig. You have toshield yourself from things that are not good or negative. Kasi ako, ayoko magsabing negative about anybody dahil pagdating ng panahon, mahirap yung lulunkin momga sinabi mo."

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Possibly detecting the seriousness in Gretchen's voice,Lolit immediately changed the mood into something lighter by asking awell-delivered quick question.

"May bago ka na naman daw na papa [boyfriend]."

"Alam mo ‘Nay [Lolit]," sighed Gretchen, "Kahit sinongkatabi ko, nili-link sa akin. Kahit saan ako, makatabi ko lang kahit sino, sabihinnila, boyfriend ko na. Sino na naman yun?"

"Ikaw magsabi ng pangalan," Lolit dared.

"Si Ricky Yabut? Friend ko lang yun," Gretchen offered.

"Ano'ng sinasabi ni Tonyboy [Cojuangco, Gretchen's longtime partner] tungkol sa tsismis na ito?" Lolitasked.

"Wala naman," Gretchen replied. "Alam naman niya, e. Ganitonaman dito sa Pilipinas, e, katabi mo lang, sasabihin na agad na boyfriend mona. Hindi ko naman boyfriend. Girlfriend ni Ricky Yabut, 20-something yearsold, 25 lang yata, napakaganda!"

"Ano ‘yan, kanina ayaw mo sumagot, ngayon wala ka nangtigil!" Joey quipped.

"I'm just his friend," Gretchen said, dispelling rumorsabout her alleged affair with Ricky.

"Si Dominique [Cojuangco, Gretchen and Tonyboy's daughter], how is she taking this?" Joey asked.

"Okay naman siya kasi hindi siya nanonood ng TV. So, sanay nasiya. Sabi nga niya, ako ang the Paris Hilton of the Philippines. Sanay na siyasa akin," ang sabi ni La Greta.

"Gretch, kung ikaw si Paris Hilton," Joey said, thenpointing to Lolit, he exclaimed, "ito naman si Lolit Sofitel."

The three laughed.

MESSAGE FOR NADIA.When asked about how the issue betweenher and Nadia would end, the positive Gretchen gave her lengthy opinion.

"You know, masyado na kaming matatanda para mag-away. Ako,sa dami-dami ng blessing na binibigay ng Panginoon, e, I will always find aplace in my heart to forgive Nadia and to understand Nadia. Ayoko magsabi ngnegative tungkol sa kanya dahil ayoko lunukin yun bukas or next week. Gustokong magbagong-buhay, gusto kong mahalin siya at patawarin siya. In time, thatwill all happen."

Before hanging up, Gretchen sang to the fortunate StarTalk cast, crew, and viewers herheartwarming version of "Fly Me to the Moon." She even quipped that she wasreally the one singing and not some ghost singer.

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