Gretchen Barretto's best friend, former actress Tanya Montenegro
MANILA, Philippines – The best friend of actress Gretchen Barretto came to her defense amid an ongoing feud involving the actress, her siblings and their mother, Inday.
In an interview with “The Buzz” aired on Sunday, former actress Tanya Montenegro countered most claims of Gretchen’s sister Gia, who collaborated with their mother’s earlier statement.
“Hindi sila rich, hindi rin sila poor. Middle. Beautiful houses? Those houses were rented. Contrary to the [statement] na they had a chauffeur, no because it was always Jay-Jay, their brother, who would take them to school in their yellow car,” Montenegro said.
When they were in grade school, Montegro shared that Gretchen would normally go to school with only enough food for either recess or lunch.
She added that there was also a time when Gretchen was not able to take their exams because of her unpaid tuition.
“I begged my mom ‘Baka you can come and talk to Father Rodriguez and ask if he can just allow Gretchen to take the exams kasi they are sending her out of the room,’” she said.
As for Gia’s statement that each of them had nannies, Montenegro said: “As far as I recall, from the stories of Gretchen sa akin, they never had a maid. They had one that was living with them and they call her Naning. Naning is her mom's sister. Iyon ang nag-alaga sa kanila.”
Gia earlier said that Gretchen’s claims -- as revealed in their brother Joaquin’s statement -- of financial support for their family have no basis since their father always managed to provide.
“For the record, we may not have been so rich but we were never poor. 1. We live in big beautiful houses. 2. Slept in carpeted, air-conditioned rooms. 3. Food galore. 4. Put in an exclusive school. 5. Members of exclusive country clubs. 6. We each have our own yayas, yours even a midwife. 7. Driven by chauffeurs," Gia said.
Meanwhile, Montenegro said Gretchen loves all her nieces and nephews as much as Claudine does.
“Si Gretchen, sobra niyang mahal lahat ng pamangkin niya. Actually ang tawag ng mga pamangkin niya sa kanya, Mama Gretchen. Even kay Claudine, mama din. Very close sila sa mga bata eh,” she said.
According to Montenegro, what Gretchen went through when she was still young was no joke.
“She grew up na emotionally deprived of love from the parents. Because if you noticed Gretchen, when she sees a friend, she's very huggy. Si ‘I love you’ iyan eh. When I asked her before why, sabi niya 'Wala lang, because I never got this from my parents. I never felt love. I was never hugged,'” she shared.
Asked if she thinks Gretchen was abused as a child, Montenegro said: “Ako ang masasabi ko sa mga nakita ko, there was one time, I will never forget this, I saw her in school, siguro mga grade 6. She had a big bruise here (near her jaw). Sabi ko, what happened? Tapos she started crying. Hindi ko na pinilit na magkwento kung bakit. I saw that bruise.”
The feud among the Barrettos started when the family matriarch released a statement last Wednesday, announcing that she is disowning Gretchen.
Mrs. Barretto defended her daughter Claudine against the allegations of Gretchen, who had supposedly criticized her younger sister for "bashing" their niece, Julia, on Instagram.
Following this, Joaquin and Gia also addressed the issue. Gia sided with her mother and youngest sister, while Joaquin sided with Gretchen, saying Claudine's "condition" should be addressed.
Gretchen and Claudine have yet to speak on the issue.