|Jackie Forster with her sons Andre and Kobe
MANILA – Former actress Jackie Forster wants to let her two estranged sons with former basketball player Benjie Paras know that she did not abandon them when she went abroad to study years ago.
Without any other means of communicating with them, Forster took the opportunity to do a sit-down interview with “The Buzz” host Boy Abunda to get her message across to Andre and Kobe.
“I never abandoned them. That’s the most important thing because that’s devastating. Masakit sa tao lalo na sa bata na iwanan ka. Gusto ko klaro sa kanila na hindi ko sila inwian, never,” she said.
Saying she wants to have Andre and Kobe back in her life, Forster said, “I may have moved away for a little bit for everybody’s benefit. I don’t think that’s selfish to want that for myself. If I could have, I would have taken them with me.”
The former actress also clarified reports that the court granted Paras full custody of their sons after they separated.
“It wasn’t granted to him. That should be clear. I gave him custody because I was going to go to school first. The reason why I allowed him to take the kids was because at the event of a medical emergency, let’s say something happens in the Philippines, Benjie will have the right to decide. He doesn’t need my consent,” she said.
In hindsight, Forster said she only made a decision that she thought was the best for her sons at that moment.
“I wanted to do what was best because I don’t think at that time, I was financially capable. I didn’t have a stable job. It would have been the best just to take them in. At that time, when Benjie and I were speaking, it was the best decision,” she said.
She added: “This is between my children and I. Benjie and I have our separate lives. I’d like to think that we are both happy with our lives. What’s important is 'yung mga bata. Sino bang ina ang ayaw ng may pinakamabuting sitwasyon, pinakamagandang pangarap sa mga anak nila.”
Meanwhile, Forster turned emotional as she recalled the times when she was allegedly prohibited to see Andre and Kobe when she would visit them here in the Philippines.
“Mula nung umalis ako ng bansa 2007, ilang beses ako umuwi para makita sila. Minsan kapag tumawag ako sasabihin ‘O sige.’ Pagdating ko sa pintuan hindi ako pinagbubuksan, or sasabihin they have basketball game or they have exams. There’s always something,” she said.
As to the statement of Paras that he is doing everything to make it work for Forster and the two boys, Forster only has one thing to say.
“Kung talagang he’s doing his best to make it work, why can’t he call me? I feel like things will only get better once we face the music and talk about everything,” she said.
Forster said it is her prayer that she can be with her sons again so she can watch them grow up.
“I just lift everything up to the Lord. I can only do so much. At the end of the day, ayaw ko rin naman isipin ng mga tao na pinipilit ko ang sarili ko sa kanila. I’ll make ways. They are my children, nothing will ever change that,” she said.
Andre and Kobe, who are now in college and high school, respectively, had earlier said in a televised interview they wanted "space" from their mother, explaining they were tramautized of something she had done in the past.
This prompted Forster to make a video for her sons showing a montage of happy moments with her two sons. However, it was reported that the two refused to watch the video.
Forster refused to believe this. “When you do things, you also need to manage 'yung expectations para hindi rin masakit. But my heart is telling me otherwise, [na pinanood nila],” she said.
Asked what she wants to tell her boys, Forster briefly said: “Life is short. It’s too short. Just be happy. Live in love.”