Trigger warning: this story discusses suicidal feelings.
The year 2008 beyond a doubt put the relationship of celebrity dermatologists Vicki Belo and Hayden Kho on the line.
Unknown to many, it was more than just saving face from Hayden’s leaked sex videos involving other women. But more so, it was a battle of life and death.
Guesting on Toni Gonzaga’s YouTube vlog on Feb. 24, the now happily married couple revealed everything they have gone through to heal from the fateful incident.
Vicki said that it began in December 2007, when she first learned about Hayden’s videos, which led to their breakup that lasted for four months.
Just when the couple was rekindling their relationship in May 2008, Hayden was blackmailed by an anonymous malefactor to pay him money in exchange for not publicizing the videos.
“Hindi siya willing to negotiate, so the guy released it on my birthday, May 20. So it was all over the news. Then every week, naglalabas sila—hindi ko alam kung sino—naglalabas sila ng videos again and again,” Hayden recounted to Toni.
“Walang words to describe it,” he continued. “Definitely there’s a lot of humiliation, there’s a lot of fear, and there’s a feeling of desperation na ‘What am I going to do to fix this?’ Nag-rollercoaster ‘yung emotions pero walang positive, lahat negative.”
For Vicki, that fateful incident was the last straw to their struggling relationship.
“That night kasi, [his] friends told me what was going on,” she said. “When I saw the videos, it was all there already. And then on that same night, one of his friends had dinner with him, and told him, ‘We went to Vicki and told her what’s going on. She’s, of course, breaking up with you and then we got all your hard drives.’”
It left Hayden down in the dumps, so much so that he decided to cease living from that moment forward.
Vicki continued, “So that same evening already, he decided to kill himself.” Hayden added, “Parang ayoko makita kung anong mangyayari.”
Hayden’s attempt to end his life resulted in a coma that lasted for three days. Vicki then decided to push all hurts aside and take care of the man that she, after all, still loved.
She recounted, “What people don’t know, parang for three days, he didn’t wake up. So who else was gonna take care of him? Parang I was the one. So, we—his neurologist—decided to do an EEG (electroencephalogram) and it was very low, ayaw niya magising. If he woke up, he might be a vegetable.”
Anxious and afraid, Vicki turned towards heaven and made a promise that she’s been living up to until today.
“I really prayed hard, I went to the chapel, I said, ‘Mama Mary, if you just make him normal, I wouldn’t leave him,’” she said. “Then he woke up and he was fine.”
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According to Vicki, 65, her decision to forgive Hayden, 40, was rooted in her deep understanding of him as a survivor of child sexual abuse.
The doctor told Toni, “I was very sure na he’s very kind. But I also know that he was molested by a gay guy when he was like eight years old. And that part of him, which he talked to me about, parang really molded everything after that. And unlike other people who told tell their parents, he didn’t. So he had nowhere to process it. So parang ang nangyari, he’s good but in his mind, I know he felt so dirty. Parang I know this guy is capable of so much, such a good person, kaya lang he got the wrong breaks when he was younger [and] he couldn’t control anything.”
A part of Vicki’s forgiveness was influenced by her ex-boyfriend who passed away due to lung cancer. “For me that was so painful kasi it’s so finite. Parang I’ll never see him again, no matter what I do, I’ll never see him again,” she revealed, adding, “In the back of my mind, I love him (Hayden). I know we’ll not end up together pero some time in the future, I want to see him kahit lang from afar.”
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Vicki said that everything fell into place when she “let go” and let God do what was best for Hayden. And it has been doing wonders for him since then.
He revealed, “‘Yung point of surrender na ‘yun, God sent me my mentor, si Ravi (Zacharias), who passed away few months ago and shared with me how important it is to live your life according to truth. And that truth is not an idea, it is a person. So that’s when I discovered Christ and I really got to know my Lord.”
“And without really an interntion to change, I just noticed some of my friends were already commenting na ‘O, parang nag-iba na yung disposition mo, parang you’re at peace, you’re mellow,’” Hayden added.
“Ako, my focus wasn’t on myself anymore, I just wanted to focus what He was saying about me because that is the truest thing any one can tell you… that I am precious, that I am important, I’m made in the image of God and that I have a purpose. I think when you experience that kind of love, that really transforms you,” he said.
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Looking back, Hayden couldn’t be more grateful for having found new life in Vicki, whom he considers an “instrument” of God’s love for him.
“I experienced God’s love through my wife Vicki,” he said. “That’s why I treasure and cherish our marriage so much. It’s not just a ceremony we lavishly did in Paris. Lavish and grand as it was, hindi iyon ang importante sa akin, the whole idea that I married [whom] God sent me—the person who changed me and changes me by her love—that to me is a very, very [wonderful] gift. That is why we have a small family now with Scarlet. I really really treasure and cherish that,” Hayden concluded.
The celebrity doctors welcomed their daughter Scarlet Snow on March 3, 2015, through surrogacy with a Mexican-American woman. Two years later on Sept. 2, 2017, the couple said their “I do’s” in a glamorous fairytale-like wedding held at the American Church in Paris with the reception at the luxurious Palais Garnier opera house.