Remember when VIVA Television produced the drama series Anna Karenina in 1996?
No, it was not a retelling of the great Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy's masterpiece.
Rather, Anna Karenina the TV series is about three girls claiming to be the missing rich heiress named Anna Karenina who, in the story, was named after the Tolstoy novel.
The teleserye aired on GMA-7 and brought immense fame to Antoinette Taus as Anna, Sunshine Dizon as Karen, and Kim delos Santos as Nina.
VIVA Television is part of Viva Entertainment.
The TV show also gave birth to the love teams of Antoinette Taus & Dingdong Dantes, Sunshine Dizon & Polo Ravales, Kim delos Santos & Dino Guevarra, before they all became part of another successful youth-oriented show, TGIS.
Anna Karenina is also one of the most successful and longest drama series ever aired on GMA. It ran for six years, from 1996 to 2002.
The Kapuso network did a modern adaptation of the GMA series in 2013, with Krystal Reyes, Barbie Forteza, and Joyce Ching in the lead roles.
As had happened in the original series, the modern version of Anna Karenina boosted the showbiz careers of the actors and actresses who played support roles in it—some of whom have remained in the spotlight to this day.
PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) looks back on some of the stars who became a big part of the Anna Karenina GMA series 24 years ago.
Antoinette started her career as a child actress in the roster of ABS-CBN Talent Center (now called Star Magic). She appeared in the ABS-CBN morning kiddie series Hiraya Manawari and in the 1995 reincarnation of the movie Patayin Sa Sindak si Barbara as Dawn Zulueta's possessed child.
In 1996, Antoinette transferred to VIVA Artists Agency, which gave her one of the lead roles in the VIVA-produced weekly series Anna Karenina.
She played Anna Serrano, one of the girls believed to be the real Anna Karenina Monteclaro, the missing heiress of the Monteclaro clan.
Among the three girls claiming to be the real Anna Karenina, Anna is the more reserved and kind one.
Anna Karenina's popularity led to Antoinette's inclusion in the second batch of the top-rating youth-oriented series TGIS in June 1997.
In both Anna Karenina and TGIS, Antoinette was paired with Dingdong Dantes, with whom she developed a real-life romantic relationship.
The popularity of their love team gave birth to a movie in 1999 titled Honey, My Love, So Sweet, which they top-billed together with the two other Anna Karenina love teams: Sunshine Dizon-Polo Ravales and Kim delos Santos-Dino Guevarra.
Antoinette also headlined her own segment in the variety program SOP called T-Time. The letter "T" stands for "Toni," Antoinette's nickname.
In the year 2000, Antoinette decided to migrate to the United States and leave her blossoming career. Anna Karenina was still airing, the reason why her character had to leave the story.
Although their love team also ended with her departure, Antoinette and Dingdong remained to be an item.
She visited the Philippines a year later and appeared as a guest in Anna Karenina as Bekbek, a guest kontrabida in the show.
Between 2003 and 2004, Antoinette again visited the Philippines and during her short stay, she appeared in SOP as part of its Side to Side segment. When she left in 2004, it was to pursue a career in Hollywood.
In 2005, Dingdong and Antoinette called it quits, ending a relationship that lasted for almost eight years.
In 2013, after 13 years of residency in the States, Antoinette returned to the Philippines for good to resume her acting career at ABS-CBN, her original home network.
A Kapamilya once more, she did the shows Bridges of Love (2015) and Tubig at Langis (2016), among many others.
In late 2016, Antoinette launched her own non-profit organization called CORA, which aims to achieve the sustainable development goals of the United Nations.
Her organization was even featured in GMA-7's program Amazing Earth, hosted by her ex-boyfriend Dingdong Dantes. However, they did not have a face-to-face interview.
On January 5, 2020, the face-to-face interview between Antoinette and Dingdong finally happened when Amazing Earth featured Antoinette as the episode's Amazing Earth hero.
Antoinette is also a United Nations Environment Ambassador of Goodwill.
When GMA-7 did a remake of Anna Karenina in 2013, her Anna role was portrayed by Krystal Reyes.
Dingdong Dantes was a member of the all-boy dance group Abztract Dancers before he was introduced in Anna Karenina as Brix, the love interest of Anna (Antoinette Taus).
Dingdong made a name for himself in the show, and when Antoinette left for the United States in year 2000, Dingdong was paired with Tanya Garcia.
Their team-up in Anna Karenina led to two prime-time shows, Sana Ay Ikaw Na Nga (2001) and Twin Hearts (2003), at the same time that Dingdong and Antoinette maintained a long-distance relationship.
In 2005, Dingdong was tapped to play one of the lead roles in the network's telefantasya, Encantadia.
Karylle, his girlfriend after he and Antoinette broke up, was also in the show.
In 2007, Dingdong played Sergio in GMA-7's adaptation of MariMar, with Marian Rivera playing the titular role.
Dingdong and Marian's team-up became such a huge success that they were made the lead stars in four more shows and several movies.
In 2008, amid all that, Dingdong and Karylle broke up.
In the latter part of 2009, Dingdong and Marian admitted their relationship.
They eventually tied the knot in December 2014. They now have two kids: Zia and Sixto.
In 2009, Dingdong established YesPinoy Foundation, which is focused on the "youth, empowerment, and service to the Philippines."
Dingdong currently hosts the educational TV program Amazing Earth, where he had a short reunion with his Anna Karenina love-team partner and ex-girlfriend, Antoinette Taus.
Sunshine Dizon was a busy child actress appearing in several movies and TV shows, starting with the movie God's Little Children in 1986.
In 1996, she entered the teen actress phase when she was tapped to play one of the lead roles in Anna Karenina. She played the role of Karen Villarama, one of the girls who claims to be the real Anna Karenina Monteclaro.
Her character Karen is the funny maldita among the three leads, the reason why she earned the ire of the kontrabidas Ruth (Maritoni Fernandez) and Carla (Katya Santos).
In Anna Karenina, Sunshine was paired with Polo Ravales, who was also her love team in TGIS batch two. Sunshine and Polo eventually had a real life relationship.
She was also the only one, among the three lead actresses, who finished the six-year run of Anna Karenina; Antoinette and Kim had both decided to migrate to the United States during the course of the show.
While doing Anna Karenina, GMA groomed Sunshine to become one of the network's homegrown dramatic actresses, tapping her for the teleseryes Umulan Man O Umaraw (2000), Ikaw Lang Ang Mamahalin (2001), alongside Angelika dela Cruz.
However, the rivalry between the characters of Sunshine and Angelika in Ikaw Lang Ang Mamahalin became too real for comfort, it became fodder for showbiz news.
Sunshine, eventually, left the show and reportedly swore off portraying a kontrabida.
But then, she said the real reason why she left the show was because her manager, Veana Fores, did not want her to play a kontrabida role.
There were also reports that she and Angelika refused to work with each other.
In an interview for the Anatomy of a Teleserye feature of PEP.ph in February 2019, Angelika did not deny there were conflicts between her and Sunshine way back then.
After Ikaw Lang Ang Mamahalin, and while finishing Anna Karenina, Sunshine played the lead role in the politically themed series Kung Mawawala Ka, which ran from 2001 to 2003.
In 2005, Sunshine played a breakthrough kontrabida role in the fantasy series Encantadia. A year later, she played the titular role in GMA-7's remake of Bakekang, a movie that was originally top-billed by Nora Aunor.
In 2010, Sunshine took a break from showbiz after marrying Timothy Tan. She gave birth to two children, and returned to acting in 2012.
In mid-2016, reports surfaced that Sunshine and Timothy were having marital problems.
In the middle of the ordeal, in December 2016, Sunshine began Ika-6 Na Utos, where she played a legal wife competing against her husband's mistress.
Ika-6 Na Utos was such a huge success that its original six-week run was extended to one year and three months.
In 2019, Sunshine ventured into film production with her Encantadia co-stars Iza Calzado, Karylle, Diana Zubiri, and director Mark Reyes via Sang'gre Productions, Inc. Their first production was their reunion movie, Mystified, shown in iFlix in March 2019.
Sunshine is currently starring in an afternoon series titled Magkaagaw, which reunited her with her Bakekang co-star Sheryl Cruz and ex-boyfriend Polo Ravales.
In GMA-7's 2013 remake of Anna Karenina, the Karen role was portrayed by Barbie Forteza.
Anna Karenina was one of Polo Ravales's first TV projects when he joined showbiz in 1996. He played the role of Vincent, the love interest of Sunshine Dizon's Karen character.
TV viewers were highly entertained by the repeated scenes of Karen fainting every time she would see Vincent because she had a crush on him. There was even a life-threatening scene when Karen fainted straight into a swimming pool.
Apart from their love team doing Anna Karenina, Polo and Sunshine were also part of TGIS.
The two also had a short-lived romance. When Sunshine moved on to do projects with other love-team partners, Polo also went on his own.
He did the 2002 prime-time series Ang Iibigin Ay Ikaw and its sequel Ang Iibigin Ay Ikaw Pa Rin, with Angel Locsin as his love-team partner.
After Ang Iibigin Ay Ikaw, Polo was tapped to play character roles in his succeeding projects, including Encantadia (2005).
In 2008, GMA-7 gave Polo his first lead role in the afternoon series Maging Akin Ka Lamang, where he was paired with Nadine Samonte.
After Maging Akin Ka Lamang, Polo returned to playing kontrabida in most of his projects.
In 2016, Polo went public about his grievance against GMA, saying he had not been given a regular project for more than a year.
He eventually transferred to ABS-CBN. At the Kapamilya Network, he did the shows Doble Kara and La Luna Sangre.
In 2018, Polo returned to GMA-7 via a guest appearance in the comedy series Pepito Manaloto.
His return to the Kapuso network became official when he was included in the cast of the afternoon series Magkaagaw, as the love interest of Sunshine Dizon, his ex-girlfriend.
Kim delos Santos started her TV career in 1995 in the youth-oriented TGIS series where she played a supporting character with the show's first batch.
In 1996, Kim temporarily left the show when VIVA tapped her to play one of the lead roles in Anna Karenina.
Kim played Nina, the last girl to enter the Monteclaro mansion and claim she is the real Anna Karenina Monteclaro.
Nina is different from the two other girls in that she hates her real mother; she even spits at her mother's painting the first time Nina steps into the mansion.
In the back story, Nina apparently experienced hardships with the family she grew up with, particularly with her adoptive father harassing her.
In Anna Karenina, Kim was paired with Dino Guevarra.They developed a real relationship and, later, got married.
With Kim and Dino's love team earning its own fan base, VIVA Films tapped them to top-bill their own movie, Ikaw Lamang (1999).
VIVA also tapped Kim to star in other VIVA-produced TV shows in different networks, such as in Tierra Sangre in PTV-4 (1996), Halik sa Apoy in GMA-7 (1998), and May Bukas Pa in IBC-13/RPN-9 (2000).
Before Anna Karenina ended in 2002, the show killed her character Nina for this reason—Kim decided to leave showbiz.
In 2003, she and Dino separated. In 2004, Kim migrated to the United States, where she works to this day as a nurse.
In 2008, Dino filed for annulment of their marriage, which was granted in 2010.
The last time Kim made a showbiz appearance was in 2017 when she visited the Philippines for a vacation. She made a guest appearance in Eat Bulaga!, where she was reunited with Sunshine Dizon.
Kim delos Santos's Nina character was given a new interpretation by Joyce Ching in GMA's 2013 remake of Anna Karenina.
Dino Guevarra played the role of Brian in Anna Karenina, the love interest of Kim delos Santos's Nina character.
In the long years that Anna Karenina aired on television, the love team of Dino and Kim became so popular that VIVA gave the two young stars their own movie, Ikaw Lamang (1999).
Dino and Kim were the only Anna Karenina love team that had a solo movie.
Their onscreen team-up also led to a real-life romance and, eventually, to a wedding.
They separated in 2003; their marriage was annulled in 2010.
In the same year, Dino and Kim were still together when he resumed his showbiz career and joined GMA's reality program, 30 Days.
The show, hosted by Lorna Tolentino, featured former celebrities seeking a second wind in showbiz. Dino won the competition and as his prize, he was given support roles in Kapuso teleseryes.
Even then, Dino did not stay long in showbiz. At present, Dino enjoys a private life with his family, and appears on TV occasionally.
Tanya Garcia started her career in the '90s as part of ABS-CBN Talent Center (now Star Magic). Her first teleserye appearance was in the prime-time show, Esperanza.
After her character was killed in Esperanza, Tanya signed up with VIVA Artists Agency, who moved her to GMA-7 in 2000.
VIVA introduced Tanya in Anna Karenina as Grace. Tanya became the new love interest of Dingdong Dantes after Antoinette Taus left the show.
Anna Karenina was Tanya's first teleserye with the Kapuso network.
GMA-7 then saw potential in Tanya and Dingdong's love team, prompting the network to give them their own drama series, Sana Ay Ikaw Na Nga. This was followed by another drama series, Twin Hearts.
In 2005, Tanya and Dingdong's love team ended. Tanya was then assigned to do the afternoon series, Agos.
In 2007, Tanya did a kontrabida role for the first time, as an evil stepmother in the fantasy series, Super Twins.
In the middle of the series, Tanya had to leave the show after her delicate pregnancy with her first child with Mark Lapid. She eventually took a break from show business.
In 2011, Tanya returned to acting by playing the mother of Barbie Forteza in the remake of Ikaw Lang Ang Mamahalin. This was followed by more mother roles with GMA-7.
In 2015, Tanya returned to ABS-CBN via an episode of Maalaala Mo Kaya. This was followed by appearances in the Kapamilya teleseryes Ningning, La Luna Sangre, and The Blood Sisters.
Just recently, Tanya signed a management contract with PPL Entertainment, Inc—the artist management company owned by Perry P. Lansigan. Tanya's former Anna Karenina co-stars Sunshine Dizon and Dingdong Dantes are also part of PPL's roster of talents.
Anne Curtis joined Anna Karenina in 1998 as Ginny, one of the supporting characters in the show. She also had a separate plot with her love-team partner, Chubi del Rosario, who played the role of Benjie.
Anne and Chubi were also paired in the second batch of TGIS. He was also her first boyfriend.
After TGIS was cancelled in 1999, Anne and Chubi continued to do some of the TV shows produced by VIVA Television.
Apart from H2K: Hati-Hating Kapatid and May Bukas Pa that aired on IBC-13, the two were also seen in some GMA-7 shows.
In 2002, when Chubi became part of the main cast of the Kapuso teleserye Ang Iibigin Ay Ikaw, Anne joined the show as well. They were also in the cast of the teleserye's sequel, Ang Iibigin Ay Ikaw Pa Rin.
In 2004, Anne transferred to GMA's rival network ABS-CBN.
At the Kapamilya network, Anne got bigger and more mature roles in teleseryes sucn as Hiram (2004), Kampanerang Kuba (2005), Maging Sino Ka Man (2006), and Dyosa (2009).
She also top-billed hit movies, such as Baler (2008), No Other Woman (2011), A Secret Affair (2012), and most recently, Just A Stranger (2019).
Anne, a regular host of It's Showtime, has also become an entrepreneur. She has launched her own makeup brand and invested in a karaoke bar.
In 2016, Anne had a reunion dinner with Chubi, together with their third generation batchmates in TGIS.
Anne married her long-time boyfriend Erwan Heussaff in October 2017.
In November 2019, Anne announced that they are expecting their first child. She is currently in her fifth month of pregnancy.
In Anna Karenina, Chubi was cast as Benjie, the love interest of Ginny, played by Anne Curtis.
Apart from Anna Karenina, Anne and Chubi were able to do a lot of projects as a love team: the TV shows May Bukas Pa (2000) and H2K: Hati-Hating Kapatid (2000), and the movie Ika-13 Kapitulo (2000).
Chubi's last project was a major role in GMA's teleserye, Ang Iibigin Ay Ikaw. He left show business after the show ended in 2003.
To go by his last TV interview in 2013, Chubi owns an events company, and is active in theater.
Chubi made his fans happy when he decided to become active on Instagram in 2019, six years after his last post in 2013.
Based on his Instagram account, it can be seen that Chubi is still busy hosting events, and is also actively sharing his plant-based lifestyle and diet.
Katya Santos started her career as a part of ABS-CBN Talent Center in 1992, with Ang TV as her first show.
In 1996, Katya transferred to VIVA Artists Agency, which tapped her to play the kontrabida in Anna Karenina. She played the role of Carla, the mean daughter of Ruth, portrayed by Maritoni Fernandez.
Katya also played third wheel to Kim delos Santos and Dino Guevarra in VIVA's 2000 series May Bukas Pa.
After Anna Karenina, Katya said goodbye to her tweetums image, transformed herself into a sexy actress, and top-billed the saucy movies Sex Drive (2003) and Keka (2004). She also became part of VIVA Hot Babes.
Eventually, Katya returned to ABS-CBN wherein she played different supporting roles.
Currently, Katya is part of the Kapamilya prime-time series Make It With You, starring Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil.
Katya recently made showbiz news when she revealed her encounter with a bratty young actress who sized her up from head to toe and asked who she was.
She did not name the uppity actress, but said the incident happened when they worked together in a past teleserye and that the girl came from Pinoy Big Brother.
Katya is happily married, a working but doting mom leading a low-key other life with her non-showbiz husband and their daughter.
Pinky Amador was known in the1980s as an award-winning theater performer and movie actress.
She was given the Aliw Award for Best Stage Actress for two theater productions: Agnes of God in 1983 and The Foreigner in 1987.
In 1986, she made her debut in a movie, when she played a kontrabida role in Magdusa Ka, which was produced by VIVA Films.
Pinky was also part of the original London cast of Miss Saigon in the late '80s.
In 1996, ten years after her movie debut with VIVA, Pinky did her first major role in a TV series via Anna Karenina, where she played the role of Maggie Monteclaro.
Maggie is the sole heiress of the Monteclaro clan. In the back story, she was disowned by her parents when she got pregnant at the age of 18. Maggie then named her daughter Anna Karenina, after the eponymous classic novel of Leo Tolstoy. However, a tragic accident separated Maggie from her daughter, which also caused her amnesia.
After Anna Karenina, Pinky continued her career in the theater and on screen.
After playing the kind-hearted Maggie, Pinky went on to do kontrabida roles in TV shows of ABS-CBN and GMA-7.
Pinky's most recent TV project was the ABS-CBN afternoon series Precious Hearts Romances: Los Bastardos, where she played a kontrabida role.
She also made a special appearance in GMA-7's new prime-time series, Anak ni Waray vs. Anak ni Biday.
Maggie's character was portrayed by Yasmien Kurdi in GMA-7's 2013 remake of Anna Karenina.
Maritoni Fernandez was already an established TV and movie actress before VIVA tapped her to play Anna Karenina's main villain, Ruth.
In Anna Karenina, Ruth is the greedy daughter-in-law of the Monteclaros eyeing the family's wealth and plotting to eliminate the three girls claiming to be Anna Karenina Monteclaro.
Anna Karenina was still airing in 2001 when Maritoni was diagnosed with breast cancer, and had to leave the show.
The show's script had Ruth jumping off a building and true to her kontrabida character, her apparent suicide was meant to inflict guilt on the conscience of the Monteclaros.
Maritoni underwent lumpectomy, and was declared cancer-free by October 2001.
Maritoni then resumed her role in Anna Karenina, where the Ruth character returned also with amnesia.
After Anna Karenina, Maritoni joined its replacement show, Kahit Kailan, where she played the catatonic mother of Roxanne Barcelo, a far cry from her evil character in Anna Karenina.
This was followed by more kontrabida roles in Maritoni's succeeding projects with ABS-CBN and GMA-7.
In 2010, Maritoni's daughter, Lexi Fernandez, joined GMA-7's Tween Hearts, which was aired in the same timeslot of Anna Karenina 14 years ago.
Like her mom, Lexi was tapped to play kontrabida roles in most of her projects. But then, Lexi decided to leave show business in 2014.
Maritoni's last TV project was the 2018 series Victor Magtanggol.
At present, Maritoni is busy with her food supplement business. She is also a member of the ICanServe Foundation, a non-profit organization that advocates early breast cancer detection.
Maritoni's character was portrayed by Valerie Concepcion in the 2013 remake of Anna Karenina.
Czarina Lopez de Leon played the role of Naida in Anna Karenina, one of the kontrabidas in the show. She played third wheel to Sunshine Dizon and Polo Ravales's love team.
As part of VIVA Artists Agency's talent roster, Czarina was also given other kontrabida roles in VIVA-produced TV shows and movies such as Kiss Mo 'Ko (1999) and H2K: Hati-Hating Kapatid (2000).
Czarina later decided to leave show business.
In a 2017 interview, Czarina told PEP.ph she is happy that avid television viewers still remember her as Naida after all these years.
At present, Czarina is a happy mother of three. She also does wholesale retail of perfumes and sells authentic, branded bags.