Celebrity sisters Gretchen and Marjorie Barretto -- File Photo
MANILA -- Celebrity sisters Gretchen and Marjorie Barretto surrounded themselves with "love and prayers" to surpass the recent string of controversies that have rocked their family.
"I'm so much better now. Through the grace of God, I am okay. The love of my friends and family around is just amazing... I'm okay now," Gretchen said in an exclusive interview with ABS-CBN News' Marie Lozano on Thursday.
In April, Gretchen's mother Inday released a statement saying she had disowned the 43-year-old actress.
The feud stemmed partly from allegations that her sister Claudine has set out to "block" the showbiz career of Marjorie's daughter, Julia. This was denied by Inday.
Subsequent statements made by two other Barretto siblings, Joaquin and Gia, brought up previous issues among their family members, including one about Gretchen being the breadwinner of the family when she was just a teen.
Asked on Thursday whether she still hopes that "things will get better" among her family, Gretchen said, "Honestly, no, I'm not. I don't think about that."
"I try not to talk about anything that's painful, anything that's negative. I just try to move on and do my thing," she said.
NO HOPE FOR RECONCILIATION?
She added that she has also "given up" on the possibility of reconciling with the family members she's been at odds with.
Gretchen cited the unfailing presence of her friends and loved ones as helpful in moving past the publicized family feud.
"I surround myself with people who love me, and who appreciate me. I think that's what's important for me," she said.
According to Gretchen, the support of loving friends and kin is likewise helping Marjorie overcome the controversy involving private photos of the latter which went viral online.
"Nung nagka-problema ako or si Marjorie, nandiyan lang kami, andiyan 'yung mga kapatid ko, andiyan yung mga pamangkin namin," she said.
She added: "They're just there, walang sinasabi, ayaw namin pag-usapan 'yung problema, o kung sino 'yung problema, o kung sino 'yung nakakasakit, we just tried to be positive."
The actress said she also realized the value of the physical presence of her loved ones.
"One of the things that I really appreciate is that importante pala talaga 'yung yinayakap ka pag may problema," Gretchen said.
"Kasi 'di ba masakip sa dibdib pag may problema, so when you embrace the person, kahit wala kang sabihin, it means so much.
"I never thought na ang yakap pala, when it's given to you at a time... that very painful time, it means the world to you. Parang 'yung lang, sapat na," she said.
Above all, Gretchen said her friends and other family members continuously prayed to survive the ordeal. "Kung walang dasal, siguro I gave up already na," she said.
"Salamat sa Diyos, I have friends, I have people who love me, I have people who pray for me. Kapit sa Diyos, iyon ang importante," she said.