• VALENTINE’S SPECIAL

    Showbiz couples who withstood the test of time

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    They say nothing is forever—and when it comes to relationships, there is sadly truth to this in show business where most wedding anniversaries rarely go beyond the 10-year-mark.

    But while denizens of the celluloid world are generally likened to rigodon de honor dancers who swap partners in a gaily waltz, there remain a few but inspiring number of couples who have endured not just the test of time, but also the temptations of fiery liaisons.

    Granted that some of these celebrities had also come from past relationships, they never let go of believing in love and proved how fulfilling it is to hold on to forever.

    Foremost among this fortunate cluster include Christopher De Leon (from his marriage to Nora Aunor) with Sandy Andolong; Vilma Santos (from her marriage to Edu Manzano) with Ralph Recto; Sharon Cuneta (from her marriage to Gabby Concepcion) with Francis Pangilinan; Robin Padilla (from his marriage to Liezl Sicangco) with Mariel Rodriguez; and John Estrada (from his marriage to Janice De Belen) with Priscilla Merielles.

    Relatively newlyweds but still going strong are Dingdong Dantes and Marian Rivera, Jericho Rosales and Kim Jones, Chito Miranda and Neri Naig, and JC Intal and Bianca Gonzales.

    Earning praise and admiration too in showbiz are couples who have remained faithful with each other through the years, thereby setting good examples for the younger generation whose idea of marriage have significantly changed from before.

    Today, in celebration of the Day of the Hearts, The Manila Times toasts showbiz’ enduring couples in the hopes of impressing upon the young that love, coupled with devotion and determination, can bring about forever.

    Barbara Perez and Robert Arevalo just celebrated their 54th wedding anniversary PHOTO FROM WHOSDATEDWHO.COM

    Robert Arevalo and Barbara Perez – 54 years
    Robert Arevalo comes from a clan of artists – his father was a composer, the late Jay Ilagan was his cousin and award-winning director and National Artist for Film Gerry De Leon was his uncle. He attended some of the best schools in the country – Legarda Elementary School, San Beda College and Ateneo De Manila University; and also anchored ABS-CBN’s TV Patrol at one time in his career.

    Barbara Perez is one of the few Filipino actresses who was able to do a Hollywood movie, No Man Is An Island with Jeffrey Hunter in 1962. She was offered a five-year contract by Universal Studios but turned it down as she was already pregnant and decided to marry Arevalo. They were together in the movie Daigdig Ng Mga Api where they became the first reel and real life couple who won Best Actor and Best Actress.

    The actress and former journalism student at the University of Santo Tomas related to this day her husband still massages her feet whenever they ache.

    Tito Sotto and Helen Gamboa – 47 years
    Vicente Sotto 3rd studied at the Colegio De San Juan De Letran from elementary through college, and completed a Bachelor of Arts Major in English. His career in showbiz as singer-songwriter, actor, comedian, and host propelled him into politics – first as Vice Mayor of Quezon City then a multiple-term as senator.

    Helen Gamboa was the country’s most popular singer-actress who at the peak of her career married band musician Sotto. They had already been secretly married when she introduced Sotto to her mom.

    They have four children and are now enjoying being grandparents.

    Eddie Gutierrez and Annabelle Rama – 39 years
    Eddie Gutierrez already had a lovechild by Liza Lorena (Tonton Gutierrez) and by Pilita Corrales (Ramon Christopher) when Annabelle Rama admitted to begin stalking him. She also confessed she became pregnant with their eldest on purpose!

    After more than “50 times of separation and six children”— Ruffa being the most prominent and then twins Richard and Raymond—the Philippines’ Elvis Presley and his fiesty wife are still together to this very day.

    Tirso Cruz 3rd and Lyn Ynchausti – 35 years
    Tirso Cruz 3rd was called the “Topstar” when his perennial screen partner Nora Aunor was baptized the Philippines’ “Superstar.”

    They are “Guy and Pip,” the most popular love team in local showbiz history.

    However, “Guy and Pip” were best left to the movies as Cruz found his forever in ramp model Lyn Ynchausti. Their marriage on May 25, 1985 in fact was a top secret until a single photo of the event got published later.

    Ynchausti said in a magazine interview that they renew their wedding vows every five years, and have already gone beyond celebrating silver.

    Gary Valenciano and Angeli Pangilinan – 32 years
    Gary Valenciano is one showbiz personality whose marriage did not affect his popularity. In fact, his wife Angeli, also being his manager and adviser greatly contributed to his success as a performer.

    They met when Valenciano was a member of La Salle Greenhills’ high school vocal group Kundirana, and Pangilinan was a vocalist of Music & Magic.

    Their relationship was said to have been bumpy but they both endured the trials. They are gifted with three children – Paolo who is now married himself, Gab who ended a tumultuous marriage in 2016, and Kiana who is now active in the music scene.

    Ramon ‘Bong’ Revilla Jr. and Lani Mercado – 30 years
    Bong Revilla was only 20 years old and Lani 18 when they got married. They pursued showbiz careers while raising their family with Revilla becoming a top action star, after which he entered politics just like his father, Ramon Revilla Sr.

    Mercado admitted in the past she wanted to leave her husband due to his womanizing, but reconsidered each time as she was the only “good spirit” holding the family together.

    Even with the incarceration of Revilla from the infamous PDAF scam, Mercado continues to be that good spirit in their marriage, taking care of both their family as well as the clan’s beloved Bacoor City as mayor.

    Christopher Roxas and Gladys Reyes – 24 years
    Gladys Reyes is known as the perpetual villainess to Judy Ann Santos. She and Christopher Roxas became childhood sweethearts when they met on the set of Mara Clara in 1992. They were engaged in 2003 and got married in 2007.

    Both members of Iglesia Ni Cristo, their faith besides their love strengthens their marriage.

    Robert Seña and Isay Alvarez – 24 years
    Colleagues in theater, Robert Seña and Isay Alvarez fell in love after working together in the original cast of Miss Saigon in London’s West End.

    Coming home to start a family, they continue to be active as artists and in fact have also set up their own theater and concert production company, Spotlight Artists Center. Their latest hit is juke box musical Dirty Old Musical.

    Ronnie Ricketts and Mariz – 23 years
    Ronnie Ricketts was previously in relationship with Maricel Soriano as they co-starred in a number of movies starting with My Heart Belongs To Daddy topbilled by Dolphy and Nida Blanca.

    Mariz, meanwhile, was a singer-TV host. He was her first boyfriend.

    Theirs was considered a dream wedding at San Antonio Church in Forbes Park on December 18, 1993. They are blessed with two daughters.

    Aljon Jimenez and Manilyn Reynes – 20 years
    Aljon Jimenez and Manilyn Reynes were both members of German Moreno’s That’s Entertainment and paired with different stars. Reynes’ reel and real life boyfriend was Janno Gibbs, then Kempee De Leon, while Jimenez was linked to Ruffa Gutierrez.

    Jimenez proposed to Reynes on national television in 1996 and they were married in the same year. He now stands as his wife’s talent manager.

    Gelli De Belen and Ariel Rivera going strong at 19 years of marriage INSTAGRAM PHOTO

    Ariel Rivera and Gelli De Belen – 19 years
    Ariel Rivera and Gelli De Belen’s relationship is considered as one of the most enduring in showbiz. Reconciling after Rivera’s brief liaison with Regine Velasquez, they got married in December 1987.

    De Belen said that the formula to their happy marriage is “mutual respect and generosity of the spirit.”

    Richard Gomez and Lucy Torres are one of the few couples successful both in showbiz and politics FACEBOOK PHOTO

    Richard Gomez and Lucy Torres – 18 years
    They met in a shampoo commercial, and since then Richard Gomez never let go of Lucy Torres, who confessed she had a crush on the actor since she was 12 years old.

    They have a daughter—Juliana—and now devotes their time to family and as public servants. Torres is her district’s congressional representative while Gomez finally won as mayor of his wife’s hometown after several attempts at election.

    Aga Muhlach and Charlene Gonzales with their twins Atasha and Andres in one of their travels abroad INSTAGRAM PHOTO

    Aga Muhlach and Charlene Gonzales – 15 years
    From being friends to being engaged is what happened to Aga Muhlach and Charlene Gonzales.

    Gifted with beautiful twins – Atasha and Andres – the couple has had their own share of marital woes but proved to be strong in their relationship, even without the benefit of courtship.

    Ryan Agoncillo captioned this Instagram selfie with wife Judy Ann Santos as ‘partners in crime’ INSTAGRAM PHOTO

    Ryan Agoncillo and Judy Ann Santos — 7 years
    Although they’ve been married less than a decade—having tied the knot on April 28, 2009—Ryan Agoncillo and Judy Ann Santos are a picture of true wedded bliss.

    They have an adopted daughter, Yohan, and two biological children, Lucho and Luna who just turned one year old in January.

    Both active on social media, the Agoncillos are the perfect modern day parents who, despite their busy careers, are very hands on with their children.

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