2019 Yearender: Entertainment—Love, dreams, and feuds show human side of celebs
With the end of 2019 also comes the close of a decade which saw a rapid change in access to celebrities, with smartphones that capture unguarded moments outnumbering cameras meant to present the ideal, and Instagram statements eliminating the need for a “The Buzz”-style televised sit-down to address a controversy.
In the past year alone, the drawing of those curtains between stars and their fans increasingly showed the human side of celebrities. Their frailties and milestones, whether shared with intention or exposed against their will, reflected their followers’ own.
Heartbreaks happen to the brightest of these stars, too, as fans of Bea Alonzo were reminded after the “ghosting” of Gerald Anderson. Anyone who has experienced similarly may find comfort in the story of Vice Ganda, who, after a string of relationships kept secret, finally found a man who is proud to call him his partner.
Millennials who just started or are starting a family may have seen themselves in John Lloyd Cruz, who became a first-time dad with Ellen Adarna; Anne Curtis, who announced her pregnancy with Erwan Heussaff; or Andi Eigenmann, who is building a home in sunny Siargao after welcoming her second child.
Now all those sound blissful, but what family hasn’t seen a shouting match? The Barretto clan had its own round — and then some — during a closed-door wake which nonetheless became gossip fodder after stealth recordings circulated online.
Fans with career goals may have related to the opportune timing of Jane de Leon, an up-and-comer who clinched the coveted “Darna” role after two actresses bowed out due to injuries, or Ethel Booba, who, after years in the industry, had a fresh breakthrough with her “Tawag ng Tanghalan” win.
Indeed, love, dreams, and feuds were mirrored in 2019’s most read stories involving stars — an indication that they, after all, aren’t so far removed from those who gaze at them. Here’s a look:
NO ‘CHAROT’: ETHEL BOOBA WINS TAWAG NG TANGHALAN
We wouldn’t be talking about Ethel Booba in this year-end roundup if she had backed out of the finals of “Tawag ng Tanghalan.” That nearly happened due to losing her voice the day prior. Thankfully, she pushed through with competing and was eventually named the contest’s first celebrity champion just last month. She later on revealed that she is also six months pregnant, making it a year to truly remember for the fan-favorite comedienne.
Michael Bagtas, ABS-CBN News
ASIA’S SONGBIRD EXPERIENCES DISCRIMINATION
In a candid revelation that reignited the discussion of class and racial discrimination among Filipinos online, Regine Velasquez said she was disallowed by a Louis Vuitton store representative in New York to try on a pair of shoes she had long been eyeing. Following the headlines, the French fashion house sent flowers to Velasquez in an apparent gesture of apology.
Screengrab from ABS-CBN
ANNE CURTIS REVEALS PREGNANCY
When Anne Curtis revealed that she was pregnant last month, she said that she was already five months into it. At first, it was a complete surprise given that she had just been pulling stunts for “It’s Showtime” during the show’s anniversary week. But in hindsight, there might’ve been hints about her expecting like how she began wearing more blazers and jackets while hosting. She and husband Erwan Heussaff then revealed their first child to be a baby girl. They’re set to welcome her around March 2020.
Erwann Heussaff and Anne Curtis. Instagram: @annecurtissmith
‘HE JUST STARTED NOT TALKING TO ME’
After Bea Alonzo uttered this line in relation to her breakup with Gerald Anderson, “ghosting” became a buzzword among showbiz spectators. Similarly memorable was Julia Barretto’s response — “Wala akong inahas” — amid Alonzo’s apparent implications, through her visible Instagram activities, that she was a factor in the separation. Through and through, Barretto and Anderson have denied being romantically involved.
Bea Alonzo, Gerald Anderson at Julia Barretto. Instagram: @beaalonzo/@andersongeraldjr/@juliabarretto
VICE GANDA GOES PUBLIC WITH ION PEREZ
Vice Ganda’s “It’s Showtime” co-hosts had long been hinting in live episodes of the noontime program that the comedian’s playful interactions with Ion Perez were rooted from real life. And that indeed turned out to be the case, as Vice Ganda confirmed in November that they have been together for a year. That marked the first time Vice Ganda has gone public with a relationship, he said, pointing out Perez’s own willingness, and pride over having him as a partner.
Vice Ganda and Ion Perez. Instagram: @praybeytbenjamin
KEEPING UP WITH THE BARRETTOS
The wake of Barretto partriarch Miguel would have been a good opening for reconciliation among feuding sisters, at least in the eyes of President Rodrigo Duterte. But what was meant to be a solemn affair became the stage for a scuffle, which in subsequent weeks triggered the uraveling of family secrets, including the parentage of Marjorie’s youngest daughter, and the unspooling of complicated personal histories, particularly Atong Ang with three Barretto women.
Claudine Barretto Instagram account
PASSING ON DARNA’S STONE
Darna’s stone has finally found a new owner in Jane De Leon, signaling the komiks icon’s flight to the big screen after half a decade of anticipation. De Leon landed the coveted role of the Mars Ravelo character after ABS-CBN Films and Star Hunt opened auditions, in light of Liza Soberano’s injury-related departure from the film project. The casting of the 20-year-old Star Magic artist in July came five years after Star Cinema’s film adaptation was first announced with lead actress Angel Locsin, who also withdrew due to medical reasons.
Angel Locsin, Jane de Leon, and Liza Soberano. Instagram: @lalaflores16, @santiagoraymond/ Star Cinema
JOHN LLOYD RESURFACES
Since he went on “indefinite leave” in late 2017, John Lloyd Cruz has been largely elusive as he opted to focus on building a family with Ellen Adarna. But 2019 saw Cruz slowly resurfacing, notably with an endorsement project with Bea Alonzo and a cameo appearance in the upcoming movie “Culion.” With his apparent comeback in showbiz, however, came rumors of a split with Adarna. Neither has addressed the speculation.
John Lloyd Cruz appears in the teaser trailer of ‘Culion.’ Screenshot/Facebook: CulionFilm
ANDI EIGENMANN FINDS NEW LOVE
In a touching Instagram post back in August, Andi Eigenmann wrote about how her boyfriend, champion surfer Philmar Alipayao, made her life better. “It’s a pleasure having you by my side as we go after our dreams together, and take care and raise our little fam!” she told him for his birthday. She first revealed their relationship last year, but it was during these past 12 months that her fans got to see just how much in love the two are as they chased those “dreams” she mentioned — welcoming their first kid together and building a home in Siargao.
COMEDIAN CHOKOLEIT DIES
The death of comedian Chokoleit around the beginning of March shocked many, notably Vice Ganda. “I lost a friend. That's even harder than losing a workmate,” said the “It’s Showtime” host, who was not alone in describing Chokoleit, whose real name was Jonathan Aguilar Garcia, as one of the most “genuine” people in the industry. Chokoleit succumbed to pulmonary edema and heart attack after performing in a show in Abra, doing what he loved most — making people laugh.
Michael Bagtas, ABS-CBN News