Filipino celebrities

2020: The year in showbiz kalat

Amanda T. Lago
2020: The year in showbiz kalat
2020 was a messy year on all fronts, and showbiz definitely kept up

With cancelled films and TV series, lock-in tapings, the ban on live shows, the shutdown of media giant ABS-CBN, and major network and management transfers, the entertainment landscape looks drastically different in 2020.

But through all the changes, celebrities continued, for better or worse, to get into all sorts of sticky situations – which may just be inevitable for human beings who live in the public eye.

In a truly 2020 twist, celebrity scandals strangely gave us a sense of normalcy, as we tried to stay sane in quarantine and plodded through a health crisis that exposed incompetencies, injustice, and corruption.

From a secret wedding with an apparently very unhappy mother of the bride, to a beauty queen’s ex posting very confusing Instagram stories, to a singer letting the world in on her “Happy Break-up,” the artista drama kept coming even as the COVID-19 pandemic raged on.

Here we look back at 2020 in showbiz controversies – because the world as we knew it disappeared this year, but celebrity kalat is forever.

The JaDine break-up and everything else that followed

The year began with heartbreaking news for JaDine fans as Nadine Lustre and James Reid confirmed, after days of speculation, that they were breaking up.

On its own, the end of their relationship probably wouldn’t have made it to this list. It seemed like a mature break-up, with the two wishing each other well and continuing to support each other’s projects and spend time together with their squad.

When the rest of the world got involved though, their low-key, drama-free break-up turned rather messy.

Even before the two confirmed that they were no longer together, entertainment columnist Ricky Lo broke the news, saying that James was being extra careful with their separation because of Nadine’s “mental illness,” and even mentioning her late brother Isaiah.

Nadine clapped back at Ricky, and posted on Instagram stories to stress that mental illness is a sensitive matter, and that what he wrote was “so low.”

The drama did not stop there – when Nadine and James finally confirmed their break-up, heartbroken fans looking for someone to blame pointed the finger at (and quite frankly, cyber-bullied) the ex-couple’s close friend Issa Pressman, saying she was the third party that got between their OTP.

This prompted Nadine to post a photo of herself with Issa’s sister Yassi, to quash the cheating rumors and prove that there was no bad blood between them

Kalat rating: No matter how hard you try, break-ups can be messy if you’re one of thec country’s top loveteams, so this one gets a 10/10 – and an 11/10 for the ex-couple for taking it all in stride.

Divine intervention at a secret wedding

Longtime couple Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Guidicelli surprised everyone when they finally tied the knot after dating since 2014 – especially since their wedding was first “confirmed” to the public after the groom was accused of punching a bodyguard of the Geronimos after the ceremony.

Sarah and Matteo’s wedding would have been drama-free by all accounts – the secret ceremony was held at a church in Taguig City, followed by a simple reception at a nearby posh hotel. Few guests were invited, with Matteo’s family only learning of their plans to wed the night before, and Sarah’s notoriously strict mother Divine not making it to the guest list.

Divine – who, according to the couple’s relationship counselor and friend Letty Fuentes had long opposed their union – would not let this go silently. In a move that many people now remember as “divine intervention,” she supposedly gatecrashed the wedding and shouted at the newlyweds.

It was supposedly then that Matteo got into a brawl with the Geronimos’ bodyguard Jerry Tamara – though Matteo and Letty both denied that this happened.

As controversial as their wedding was, the two now seem to be enjoying life as husband and wife, with Matteo holding out hope that they will one day be able to reconcile with Sarah’s family.

Kalat rating: a divine 14/10

Clint Bondad gets cryptic

Fans of Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray were delighted for their queen when she finally confirmed her long-rumored relationship with actor Sam Milby in May.

A few months after they came out as a couple though, people noticed a string of strange Instagram stories being posted by Catriona’s ex, model Clint Bondad, who she dated for 6 years.

In July, Clint first posted a screenshot of a private message he sent to Sam saying “Want to become my client?”

The stories that followed were filled with allusions to Catriona and Sam, with lines like “I have Zero Allergies Accept Cats…Irony” and “re.pent.ance #666communitydays4sam.”

He also repeatedly referred to himself as “the ex.”

The bizarre stories had many people concerned about Clint’s state of mind – though he has since stopped posting them, and continues to update his Instagram with photos of him and his friends and family.

Kalat rating: 9/10, hope you’re okay Clint

Donnalyn Bartolome and the unboxing video that beats all unboxing videos

Singer Donnalyn Bartolome gave us the best kind of kalat – not toxic, not stressful, just an overflow of emotions from one kakaibabe – when she posted a vlog of her unboxing all the things that her non-showbiz ex returned to her.

The video arguably set the standard for all unboxing videos, with Donnalyn taking us along on her emotional rollercoaster as she went through things like hair extensions, the top she wore on their first date, and BTS merch that they were supposed to surprise her sister with, and So-en panties (apparently, an inside joke between the ex-couple).

As if the video couldn’t get any better, Donnalyn is presented with a “Happy Break-up” cake (in honor of her song) at the end of it – and she takes a bite for people who are going through different kinds of heartbreak,

Kalat rating: a solid 15/10 for this kakaibabe

Jessy Mendiola’s engagement ring

Engagements are typically happy, kalat-free occasions, so it was quite unexpected when Jessy Mendiola had to deal with drama after she got engaged to longtime boyfriend Luis Manzano.

The drama started over literally the tiniest of things: a ring – which Jessy credited to jewelry maker Manila Diamond Studio.

Another jewelry brand, Radiant Lux Jewelry, issued a now-deleted statement shortly after the engagement, saying that the couple failed to credit them for the ring.

Jessy aired her side in a vlog on December 16, saying that while Radiant Lux Jewelry had made their original engagement ring, a friend of hers affiliated with the brand showed her the ring in May, way before Luis proposed and at a time when the couple had briefly split up.

Jessy said that the original jeweler “[ruined] what was supposed to be one of the greatest surprises in my life.”

She and Luis ultimately decided to have the ring reset by a different jewelry shop “to erase unfortunate memories and start anew.”

Kalat rating: 7/10, now that the issue’s been settled, congratulations to the happy couple!

Liza Soberano, crappy internet, and rape remarks

It’s hard to imagine sweet, wholesome Liza Soberano getting angry or frustrated in real life – but bad internet connections tend to bring that out in even the nicest of people.

In September, Liza took to Twitter – where she has over 4 million followers – to call out her then-internet provider Converge, criticizing their internet speed and customer service and calling them unprofessional.

Many people could relate to Liza’s frustration – but not to the response she got from new internet provider PLDT, which entered the fray to set up a new connection for the star the day after she tweeted Converge.

Liza of course took to Twitter to celebrate her new internet connection and thank PLDT. “Lag? I don’t know her,” she said. But instead of rejoicing with Liza, people, especially disgruntled PLDT customers, felt offended – especially since many of them have been waiting for weeks to get their own internet issues fixed.

Converge employees also came for Liza – with one employee allegedly leaking her personal information, and another leaving a rape remark against Liza on Facebook.

Liza proved to be a class act, apologizing for her tweet and saying she didn’t mean to brag about her internet, and that she was really just relieved to have it fixed. She also appealed to all internet providers to improve their services as people grow more reliant on them.

She also proved that she wouldn’t be taking rape comments lightly, and filed a criminal complaint against the person who posted the rape remark against her.

Kalat rating: 7/10 for the kalat and 10/10 for Liza’s ace apology and not letting rape jokes slide

Bea Soriano and a lesson in sensitivity

Just before Typhoon Ulysses ravaged Tuguegarao in early November, its mayor, Jefferson Soriano was all the way in Batangas, celebrating his birthday with his family…as seen in a photo posted by his daughter, Bea Soriano Dee.

In a bit of terrible timing, the incriminating photo – which showed Bea and her father lounging happily in Batangas – was posted by her just before photos of Tuguegarao drowning in flood water reached social media.

Bea later deleted the photo and both she and her father publicly apologized, with the model/entrepreneur saying that she would be using her platform to help spread rescue and relief information.

It’s not hard to imagine that that whole debacle is what prompted Sunnies Studios, the eyewear brand co-owned by Bea, to give 100% of their weekend sales to typhoon victims.

The post backfired though, because it coincided with a former employee of the brand alleging that she hadn’t been given her final pay – and had been waiting for 9 months already.

The former employee’s backpay has apparently already been settled, but not without #BoycottSunnies trending on social media.

Kalat rating: 13/10, a prime example of think before you post

How not to silence pregnancy rumors

Pregnancy rumors are almost like a rite of passage for any celebrity couple – and shortly after Markus Paterson and Janella Salvador confirmed their relationship in September, the hardworking chismosas of the world quickly gave rise to rumors that Janella was expecting.

Janella unintentionally gave the rumor credence when she flew to the United Kingdom to be with Markus, who was quarantining there with family.

When Janella’s mother Jenine Desiderio followed her to the UK, fans of the couple were practically on babywatch – and continue to be as some captured fleeting Instagram stories posted by Markus showing a baby’s head and Janella in a hospital bed.

The couple continues to ignore the talk of their pregnancy and are just basking in each others’ presence – recently posting a video of them being all loved up for the holidays.

Kalat rating: 5/10 – whether Janella really is pregnant or not, we wish them all the best – Rappler.com

Amanda T. Lago

After avoiding long-term jobs in favor of travelling the world, Amanda finally learned to commit when she joined Rappler in July 2017. As a lifestyle and entertainment reporter, she writes about music, culture, and the occasional showbiz drama. She also hosts Rappler Live Jam, where she sometimes tries her best not to fan-girl on camera.