After conducting his press conference for his new show Inside the Cinema, Boy Abunda faced the press to answer questions regarding his wards, most notably Gretchen Barretto who recently had a falling out with Nadia Montenegro.
When asked to give his comment on the ongoing tiff between the two women, the TV host said: "Sana maayos, sana magkabati. When Gretchen walked out of Entertainment Live, she said: ‘I don't want to say nasty things about the people I love.'
"That says a lot. Ako, bilang manager [ni Gretchen] umaasa ako na maayos. That's why when Gretchen stood up and decided to walk away, it's a sign na ayaw niyang makipag-away. Hindi marunong magsinungaling ang taong iyon—sasagot at sasagot siya sa mga tanong.
"Rather than palalalain ang situwasyon, she decided to go and to be very vague. She refuses to talk about it."
Would Gretchen have stayed if a more veteran host (like Boy Abunda) interviewed her instead of Entertainment Live's Luis Manzano and Toni Gonzaga?
"Luis and Toni tried the best they could. As a matter of fact, prior to the interview, they were courteous and polite to Gretchen. Alalahanin natin, the VTR is produced by a different set of people and the hosts are a different set of people.
"It takes some years to understand the nuances and the details of a show. Mas sensitibo lang kami sa ibang bagay. It had nothing to do with Toni and Luis. ‘Wag nating isali sila. They are two of the brightest young hosts today. It [the walkout] had something to do with the video essay that hurt Gretchen," explained Boy.
How true is the perception that Gretchen likes to be in controversies because it will build up interest in her current project, her music album titled Unexpected?
"Mahalaga sa amin ang perception. But years have taught me—and I share this with my talents—that perception should not define you. Gretch is playful, she's a child. Sa isang minuto, she's a feisty woman...sa susunod na minuto, she's a woman crying for love.
"Ako simple lang, she's not perfect but neither is she bad. She's not flawless, but she's beautiful."
Are Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco (La Greta's longtime partner) still together?
"Hindi ko alam kung ano'ng nangyayari sa loob ng kanilang tahanan. Pero ang masasabi ko lang ay hindi sila naghiwalay, hindi pinalayas [si Gretchen]. They are still together.
"Hindi ko ide-deny that they are going through tough times. Mga detalye, wala ako nun. Wala akong alam, and the little that I know is so little that I wouldn't even want to say it," Boy pointed out.
The manager even defined the boundaries between his being a friend and being a manager to his wards. "This is very strange, I'm very close but hindi ako magtatanong hangga't hindi mo sinasabi na may karapatan akong magtanong. At hindi ako sasagot sa mga tanong na wala akong alam kasi hindi ‘yan bahagi ng ating pagiging magkaibigan. Ang alam ko lang, kung nasaan ka, umiiyak o tumatawa.
"Kung mali ka, pagsasabihan kita. Kung tama ka, sasamahan kita sa laban," promised Boy.
PEP took this opportunity to ask Boy about the "kissing" incident involving Gretchen and Ricky Yabut, the brother-in-law of Tonyboy.
"I talked to Gretchen about it and tinawanan niya. Hindi raw totoo. It happened in a restaurant. Kulang ang alam ko rin doon. Pero what I know is that they were in a group. Delikado kasi yung nagsasalita ka ng marami tapos konti ang alam. I know very little about it, pero ang alam ko, hindi totoo."
Gretchen is scheduled to go to the United States for two weeks to accompany Tonyboy for his medical check-up. Does he think Gretchen will patch things up with Nadia when she returns to the country?
"I really hope so," said Boy. "Palagay ko, in God's good time. Remember Grade 4 pa lang mag-best friends na ‘yang dalawang ‘yan. Whatever is happening between Gretchen and Nadia, we are hoping it could still be fixed."
GOLDEN ADVICE. How does Boy handle being the manager of some of the most controversial stars today?
"Napakahirap," he admitted. "Nahihirapan ako. May mga kontrobersiya na kailangang itahimik, may mga kontrobersiya na kailangang sagutin. Depende yun kung anong kontrobersiya at depende kung sinong artista ang involved.
"May mga artista na hindi kumportable harapin ang mga kontrobersiya. Sasayaw ka talaga. Sasayaw ka ng tango, hip-hop, cha-cha...bilang manager sasayawin mo lahat.
"Ang lagi ko lang sinasabi sa kanila, ‘kung magsisinungaling ka rin lang, manahimik ka na lang. Kung magsasabi ka ng totoo, dapat handa kang mabugbog. At kung magsasabi ka ng totoo, at ginawa mo naman talaga, panindigan mo," he said.
Inside the Cinema will air every second Tuesday of the month on cable channel Cinema One. Boy Abunda's show, which is patterned after James Liptons's Inside the Actor's Studio, will premiere on March 11 (9 pm).