MANILA -- Despite her silence on the controversy, Gretchen Barretto is in tears over the recent statements made against her by her mother and sister, according to Regal Entertainment matriarch Lily Monteverde.
|Gretchen Barretto. File photo
"She cried, she talked to me a while ago. She was crying," Monteverde told ABS-CBN News on Friday.
Gretchen, who rose to fame in the '80s as a sexy actress, was one of Monteverde's "Regal Babies," or showbiz talents whose careers are managed by the industry veteran's entertainment production company.
Recalling her phone conversation with Gretchen on Friday, Monteverde said, "Sabi ko, 'Gretchen be strong. Don't ever feel sad, because this is the moment for you to pray hard, pray for your mom, pray for the family, that's the best."
She added: "Naaawa ako sa kanya because I love her so much. Gretchen, you are a precious gift. I treasure you so much because I know who you are, and I love you from the bottom of my heart."
The latest feud to rock the Barretto family stemmed partly from an Instragram post, supposedly made by Gretchen, saying that her sister Claudine is not happy that their niece, Julia, is starting to make a name for herself in showbiz.
Julia, the second daughter of Marjorie Barretto, was recently introduced as an artist of Star Magic, the ABS-CBN talent management firm that launched Claudine to stardom until her transfer to another network in 2009.
Early this week, Gretchen's mother Inday released a statement denying Claudine's alleged plans to "block" Julia's road to stardom, saying the former "Mula sa Puso" star would not do anything to ruin her niece's career.
In the same statement, Inday announced she has disowned Gretchen "in order to save one who has always been there for all, and with all of her love…Claudine."
Gretchen as 'breadwinner'
Subsequent statements made by two other Barretto siblings, Joaquin and Gia, addressed the issue. The latter sided with her mother and youngest sister Claudine, while Joaquin sided with Gretchen, saying it was Gretchen who had raised their siblings in the absence of their parents.
On Friday, Monteverde backed Joaquin's statement that Gretchen started to support her family at the age of 12, when she entered showbiz -- a matter denied by Gia in her letter released on the same day.
"I cannot speak on this issue (on whether Gretchen was forced to work by her parents at a young age), but she (Gretchen) started with me (as a Regal talent) at 12 or 13. She really strived hard to work for her family. It was the mom [handling the finances], 'yung kinikita. Basta I know she always mentioned, every time she gets paid, that she's excited to give it to her family," Monteverde said.
Asked to expound on Gretchen's family history, the veteran film producer refused, saying, "I don't want to hurt Inday. Also, I don't want to hurt Gretchen."
"But in my heart, I know who Gretchen Barretto is. I really love Gretchen. Kung ano ang mga intriga sa kanya, I will be the first one to defend her, because I know her very well," she said.