Finally, after waiting for 10 painful years, Zsa Zsa Padilla’s petition for annulment of marriage against her estranged husband, Dr. Modesto Tatlonghari (a dentist), was granted by the court “with finality,” paving the way for Zsa Zsa and her beloved Dolphy to push through with their long-delayed wedding anytime they want to.
“I’m free again,” Zsa Zsa told Funfare in an exclusive interview a few hours after she received the good news last Thursday afternoon. “I’m free, at last!”
Zsa Zsa has a very good reason to celebrate. After all it must have felt like going through the eye of a needle before she got the court’s nod.
“Our house was being fumigated that afternoon so I stayed inside the car,” said Zsa Zsa who has a daughter, singer-actress Karylle, from that failed marriage. “I couldn’t believe it! I got the copy of the Decree for Nullity earlier that afternoon and I kept looking at it. I kept on saying, ‘Ito na ba talaga, Lord? Totoo na ba talaga ito, Lord? Thank you, Lord, thank you!'”
Karylle asked Zsa Zsa to wait for her (Karylle) to finish college before she filed her petition in 2001. The civil marriage was held in August 1980 and the church marriage in September of the same year. Zsa Zsa was only 16 at the time and Modesto was 35. They eloped. She must have made that crucial decision against her parents’ wishes. Her father is retired actor Carlos Padilla Jr. who gained international fame when he served as referee during the Ali-Fraser Thrilla in Manila bout in 1975. Carlos is based in Las Vegas with his wife.
Six years later, in 1987 when Zsa Zsa was 22 and already in showbiz, Zsa Zsa and Modesto separated. In 1989, Zsa Zsa fell in love with Dolphy with whom she has been living in since then.
Their plan to get married was derailed pending the annulment of Zsa Zsa and Modesto’s marriage.
Seven years ago, anticipating a favorable court decision, Zsa Zsa and Dolphy scheduled their wedding in Las Vegas. It would have been a small wedding attended only by family members and close friends. It wasn’t meant to be.
“It was heart-breaking,” Zsa Zsa told Funfare. “Everything was set. The invitations had been printed.”
Zsa Zsa saw the so-called light at the end of the tunnel in 2005 when the church approved the annulment of her and Modesto’s marriage. But due to some technicality, the annulment of their civil marriage took time.
“I waited for 10 years and when it finally happened, I still couldn’t believe it. Ang tagal-tagal na kasi, eh!”
Actually, the final court decision was anti-climactic. In December last year, Zsa Zsa was already informed by her lawyer about a “notice of finality.” Still, Zsa Zsa couldn’t believe it was real until she got the Decree of Finality last Thursday.
As soon as Zsa Zsa got the copy, the first person she called was Modesto.
“I asked naman Dolphy’s permission before I called my ‘ex’,” said Zsa Zsa. “I really want us to be friends. Since he also knew about the ‘finality’ last December pa, I guess tanggap na rin naman niya ‘yon.”
The exes’ relationship can be described so far as “cordial” and “civil.”
“I don’t want to harbor ill feelings,” added Zsa Zsa. “I'm not the type na mapagtanim. Besides, what for? We are not getting any younger. It’s not healthy to be carrying that kind of emotional burden.”
Asked if she and Dolphy will finally schedule their rudely-interrupted wedding, Zsa Zsa said, “No plans yet.”
So soon nga naman. After all, the court decision was handed down only three days ago.
If and when, it will be Dolphy’s first marriage. He has been “an elusive bachelor” all these years, even now that he’s into his mid-80s, not having tied the knot with any of the women he has had children with, 17 in all, two of them with Zsa Zsa.
“Up to now,” sighed Zsa Zsa, still looking incredulously at that Decree of Finality. “It hasn’t sunk in yet.”
But already, she’s rejoicing.
Free again, free at last!
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