Jul 27, 2007

Gretchen: Shaken but not broken

They were at the same party but their paths didn’t cross.
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Thanks to the expert “orchestration” of the birthday celebrator, Douglas Quijano, who saw to it that Gretchen Barretto and John Estrada, one of Douglas’ talents, didn’t meet face-to-face to avoid a repeat of an ugly incident last May when Gretchen and John were caught kissing by John’s cell phone camera (clicked by somebody else) during a surprise birthday bash for Rufa Mae Quinto at her own place.
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Home two weeks ago from Boston where her beloved

Tonyboy Cojuangco underwent throat surgery, Gretchen arrived at around 6:30 p.m. Wednesday night, July 25, at the Greenhills home of Richard Gomez and Lucy Torres who hosted the party. Gretchen came only with her yaya who was ready with a lampin (diaper) everytime Gretchen had to wipe her perspiration.

John and his current flame, 2004 Miss Earth (and 2003 Miss Globe) Priscilla Meirelles of Brazil (former girlfriend of Marc Nelson), arrived at around 9:30, a safe 30 minutes after Gretchen left.

Unscathed by the so-called “kisscandal,” Gretchen was in her element that night, very relaxed among friends (only close ones were invited to the intimate salu-salo), engaging in no-holds-barred chit-chat without fear of being misquoted or even quoted at all.

When I asked Gretchen if I could take her picture, she jokingly shot back, “With a cell phone?” I showed her my Cybershot and she laughed and laughed.

“I don’t know anything about cell phones,” she said when I wondered what model she’s using. (The “culprit” cell phone was a Nokia N70.) “I can ‘text’ but I don’t know how to take pictures.”

Asked to strike her best pose for the night, Gretchen turned around and showed her partly bare back.

“Do I look better in my new short hairstyle?” she asked.

Assured that she looked beautiful whether with short hair or long hair, she proceeded to smile and smile as I clicked away. Gretchen beside Janice de Belen, John’s ex-wife. CLICK! Gretchen between equally controversial couple Regine Velasquez and Ogie Alcasid. CLICK, CLICK!! Gretchen with the Birthday Boy. CLICK, CLICK, CLICK!!!

By and by, I sat down with her at a far corner of Richard and Lucy’s cozy home.

Asked if she was broken by the “kisscandal,” Gretchen paused and said, “Shaken but not broken. You know, you wake up the next morning and realize what you did the night before and you can only regret it.”

She promptly apologized for her “indiscretion” and thanked her beloved Tonyboy for being understanding and for standing by her, no matter what, come what may.

Their daughter Dominique just shrugged it off, according to Gretchen.

“Dominique studies in a British school. She doesn’t read the papers and she seldom watches TV, so she’s almost clueless about what happened. All she said to me, jokingly, was ‘At least you didn’t go to jail like Paris Hilton’.”

Her biggest consolation is that the advertisers didn’t lose confidence in her. In fact, even after the “kisscandal,” Gretchen said she got even more offers, including one (name of product confidential just yet) she was supposed to shoot in a nearby Asian country. She begged off because she had to accompany Tonyboy to Boston.

“Tony almost died,” revealed Gretchen.

On Monday, July 30, Gretchen is again leaving with Tonyboy for the US for further treatment.

Asked what she learned from the “kiss-candal” — stay away from bad company or to be, ehem, more “discreet” and more “careful”, you know ? — Gretchen paused again before answering in jest.

“Stay away from suspicious-looking people with cell phones!”

Ricardo F. Lo
Philippine Star

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