MANILA — Actor Romnick Sarmenta clarified that there was never a third party involved in his separation from his wife Harlene Bautista, as he confirmed being romantically involved anew on Friday.
Sarmenta and Bautista first confirmed their breakup in 2018, after being married for 19 years. They have five children together.
At the time, neither of the couple went into detail about the reason behind their decision. But in his open letter addressed to both his fans and critics on Friday, Sarmenta categorically denied speculation that a third party caused the split.
"Much had been said about both of us, and I guess to a certain degree, more about me and my character, by people who do not know me personally. But to set things straight, there was no third party when it happened. I wanted that clear," he wrote on Facebook.
"Because I feel it is a disservice to the people who will be in both our lives, to accuse them of being at fault, when my ex-wife and I clearly both know that they are not."
Sarmenta went on: "I respect the mother of my children very much. Her privacy and her happiness is still valuable to me. And I want her to be able to live freely from all these.
"Above all that, I want to protect my children from careless comments and accusations thrown at their parents. They know the truth, and they guard precious memories of our family with their hearts, and I just want to protect them and those memories they cherish. I will always be as I have been a father and a friend to them. No matter what."
In his open letter, Sarmenta also confirmed a new romance. He, however, did not divulge his partner's identity.
"These past few days, people had been talking about me and a person whom I respect greatly," he said, amid rumors set off by a June 5 post on his Instagram page showing a woman, whose face is obscured, holding flowers.
"What people do not know about her is that she is an insightful, talented, passionate individual with several advocacies that mirror my beliefs. That she is a person of great importance to me, deserving of respect and privacy. That I see her equal to anybody else, never less and never more than the beautiful person that she is. That I see her as my equal, and at a lot of times - a person whom I admire. That for me - for her to be known as a just a person who is with me - is a grave insult to her, and a disservice to what she means to me," he said.
Since the woman became romantically involved with Sarmenta, the actor said she has been "called names, accused of things that she is not and do not do, and exposed to scrutiny that she doesn't deserve."
"Only her intelligence, wisdom, trust and knowledge of me stopped her from going away. And I am grateful. For her."
Sarmenta went on to appeal to his followers to respect the private lives of celebrities in general, and not resort to baseless rumor-mongering which he said can cause hurt and unnecessary conflict.
"To end, if people are so curious as to what is going on in my private life, then allow me to be the one to post it. Not some rumor, nor gossip - or a lengthy debate between people hiding behind their gadgets and opinions. You will hear it from me. And I will state it clearly. No more. No less," he said.
Below is Sarmenta's full open letter, which also addresses the clamor for a reunion with his former onscreen partner, Sheryl Cruz: