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The lives, pregnancies and heartaches of showbiz stars: Is media coverage unfair?

By LEAH C. SALTERIO Published Feb 26, 2021 2:34 am

Entertainment celebrities are the most ideal bait for intrigues or controversies. Their lives often imitate art or the job they do.

Once you’re an entertainment figure, expect that every aspect of your life is an open book to the public. No matter how hard you try to draw a line between your private life and what’s seen on camera, purveyors of intrigue will always delve on anything that sells the publication. Or what creates a stir in today’s digital media.

Hollywood is understandably at the forefront of the worldwide spectacle when it comes to entertainment news. Didn’t singer-actress Mandy Moore recently get furious when a certain publication scrapped her scheduled interview, simply because she refused to talk about her previous relationship with her former husband, singer Ryan Adams?

Mandy Moore. Photos from the celebrities’ Instagram accounts
Britney Spears

The 36-year-old Mandy is now married to musician Taylor Goldsmith and she recently gave birth to her first born, August Harrison or Baby Gus.

And didn’t celebrity blogger Perez Hilton regret how he once previously treated pop superstar Britney Spears badly in the past? He maliciously gossiped about Britney, who reportedly had a sex tape that Hilton was inclined to believe existed.

Stars vs. media and social media

While other brave stars merely struggled to stay on survival mode and roll with the punches, despite being constantly hounded by media, the others who endured cruel backlash treatment opted to withdraw from social interaction or shut down emotionally, whichever was better for them.

Still, it appeared like a never-ending tussle between the celebrities always in the spotlight and the paparazzi pursuing them, ever on the look out for anything interesting, if not controversial or simply hot.

There’s always something to talk about in showbiz and that’s the leading topic of conversation in the news cycle. Rumor is inevitable for stars who live in the public eye.

Understandably, the entertainment landscape looks totally different this year, with everything affected by the pandemic. With the shift to digital media, concerts, films and press conferences were done virtually. Yet, the lives of showbiz stars continue to be the focus of everyone around them. And that’s no longer surprising in this showbiz-crazy world.

There’s always something to talk about in showbiz and that’s the leading topic of conversation in the news cycle. Rumor is inevitable for stars who live in the public eye. The stars are not spared from celebrity scandals. With fame comes intrigues and controversies. Real-life showbiz drama reels off even as the health crisis situation continues to rage on.

When you are in the entertainment world, expect that all your moves are publicly scrutinized, noted, subjected to criticism if not bashing. Take or leave it. The bashing, that is. Undeniably, it’s part and parcel of being a star. There are those who get sick of dealing with the press that’s why they inevitably retreat in seclusion.

Gerald Anderson and Julia Barretto. Photo from Philstar.com

In the local front, the public has gotten used to the lives of showbiz stars getting magnified by controversies. Some may be career-defining situations. Whether they like it or not, some real-life dramas are bigger than others.

The public, more than talking about the latest useful vial of COVID-19 vaccine coming from the US or UK, is more interested in the nagging rumor about Gerald Anderson and Julia Barretto—are they or aren’t they in love?

It will be remembered that during the wake of the Barretto patriarch in October 2019, his daughters, Gretchen and Marjorie, had an altercation that needed to be pacified even by President Rodrigo Duterte, who tried to reconcile the sisters.

Pregnancies and births away from public eye

Janella Salvador

Thanks to the pandemic. Young actress Janella Salvador managed to hide her pregnancy away from the prying eyes of the public, despite talks that she was expecting when she flew to the United Kingdom in September 2020.

It was in the UK where Janella quietly gave birth last October to her firstborn with actor-boyfriend Markus Paterson. She divulged the news proudly via her social media account, when she posted the photo of her baby, Jude. This month, Janella, Markus and baby Jude returned to the Philippines.

Ellen Adarna and Derek Ramsay

The same thing previously happened with actress Ellen Adarna, when she disappeared on the set of the ABS-CBN weekly sitcom, Home Sweetie Home, where her romance with lead actor John Lloyd Cruz bloomed. That was in 2017.

Ellen gave birth to Elias Modesto in Cebu in June 2018. The couple parted ways a year after the baby was born. Lately, Ellen has been often seen with sexy actor Derek Ramsay. Neither has confirmed nor denied any serious romance.

Sarah Lahbati and Richard Gutierrez

In 2013, when then 19-year-old Sarah Lahbati gave birth in Switzerland to her first born, Zion, her eldest with actor Richard Gutierrez, the baby had to be brought in to Manila by Sarah’s mom, Esther Lahbati.

Switzerland was a perfect place for Sarah to give birth, as she was born and raised there. Her parents also live there. The baby, however, was carried by Sarah’s mom into Manila, to avoid turning the arrival into a circus.

Carmina Villarroel and Zoren Legaspi with their kids.

Another actress who shied away from the media when she got pregnant in the year 2000 was Carmina Villaroel, who opted to give birth in the US to her twins, Mavy and Casey, her children with Zoren Legaspi.

It was understandable why Carmina deemed it better to go to the US. At that time, when the twins were born in January 2001, Carmina’s marriage with her first husband, then Rustom Padilla (now BB Gandanghari), was not yet annulled. Escaping the press was perhaps the ideal thing to do.

Phoemela Barranda and daughter Kim

Didn’t model-TV host Phoemela Barranda not only hide the truth about her daughter from the press, but from her daughter, too? Phoem was only 18 when she got pregnant out of wedlock. For years, she managed to make her daughter believe they were sisters, but only revealed the truth to her when the child was already a teenager.

Gerald Anderson and Bea Alonzo

Even the most successful and beautiful celebrities cannot be spared from cheating partners. Bea Alonzo gave up on her relationship with actor Gerald Anderson, whom she indirectly accused of cheating. Through cryptic messages in her social media account, Bea called it quits with Gerald after he ghosted her.

Successful showbiz marriages

Robert Arevalo and Barbara Perez. Photo from ABS-CBN

There are showbiz celebrities who have admirably managed to stay away from intrigues and kept their lives private. Take the case of veteran star Robert Arevalo and Barbara Perez, who have stayed married—and happily in love—for 58 years now.

The actors met back in the 1960s, when they were already in the business. They have two daughters and a son. Yet, through the years, Robert and Barbara never became involved in anything controversial in their married life or even in their respective careers.

Tirso Cruz III and Lyn Ynchausti

The same goes for Tirso Cruz III and his non-showbiz wife, Lyn Ynchausti, who have been married for four decades now and blessed with three children. Tirso is still very much active in front of the cameras. Yet, he was never involved in anything intriguing that could have put his family’s untainted reputation at stake.

“If you don’t want others to talk about your life, stay away from intrigues or anything controversial,” a veteran talent manager once told his ward.

Past coverage was more respectful

Three decades ago, writers followed protocols in interviewing showbiz stars once the latter figured into anything controversial or scandalous. Although nothing was written in black and white, rules were observed, followed and yes, respected and hardly ignored.

A writer goes through the celebrity’s manager or publicist, who, in turn, speaks on behalf of his talent. The manager or the publicist is always the go-between of the star and the writer. Often, an official statement is issued and released, if the celebrity cannot face the press.

Issuing a press statement is perhaps the ideal route of clarifying an issue for any celebrity. He does not need to face the press at that crucial time as he could be subjected to more feeding frenzy from the press.

There were cases when a manager directly talked to the writer involved to clarify certain issues about the star. There were times, too, when the stars called for a press conference to announce something important – moving to a different network or management outfit, winning an award, starting a new film venture, announcing the latest TV project.

Back in the 1960s and 1970s, the rules were perhaps even more stringent. The stars were grouped according to the film companies and studios they worked for. There was only one appointed spokesperson for every company who released a statement on behalf of the contract star.

The public, more than talking about the latest useful vial of COVID-19 vaccine coming from the US or UK, is more interested in the nagging rumor about Gerald Anderson and Julia Barretto—are they or aren’t they in love?

The entertainment writers and editors needed to go through the spokesperson, from whom they get an official statement.

Today, everybody who is anybody, can examine and easily lash at the entertainment celebrity through social media any time of the day. Social media gives liberty to every Tom, Dick and Harry not only to be connected to the world, but to be heard and make their opinions, valid or not, known.

Times have indeed changed. While before, it would take a day before a writer’s interview with a celebrity gets published or printed, today, it takes only an hour or less for a writer to upload his article and be read online.

The reach of digital media is far, fast and wide. Anything happening in the entertainment scene in Hollywood is easily transported in a matter of seconds to Manila.

There was a time this writer had to excitedly wait for her weekly subscription of Entertainment Weekly magazine just to have her fix of Hollywood news. That is no longer needed now.

Time is of the essence then, but more so, now. While authenticity is the currency of social media, keeping the posts real is perhaps the key to building trust, not only for entertainment celebrities, but for anyone for that matter.

That is always important.