When actress Sarah Lahbati announced that she was leaving the biz indefinitely to pursue her studies in Switzerland, not a few speculated that the Kapuso starlet was just trying to get away from the public eye to hide her alleged pregnancy.
At a recent press con, Richard Gutierrez, Sarah’s real-life boyfriend and leading man in the coming film “Seduction,” flatly denied the rumors. “That’s not true,” he said. “Actually, right now, I don’t see why it became a big deal.”
Just a rumor
“Someone just spread it and, all of a sudden, people were asking me about it,” he added. “There’s nothing to talk about.”
Richard insisted: “She’s (Sarah’s) vacationing; unwinding and spending quality time with her family.”
Meanwhile, kibitzers still insist that Sarah was noticeably plumper, probably hiding a baby bump under loose clothing, when she boarded an Etihad Airways flight to the United Arab Emirates last Jan. 13.
“No, her belly [hasn’t become bigger]. I don’t understand why people are saying these things. People became anal about it, but there’s nothing, really,” said Richard, who admitted that he accompanied Sarah at the airport.
The 28-year-old actor didn’t seem to be in the mood to elaborate on the pregnancy issue or discuss other personal matters involving him and Sarah. “There are many rumors circulating right now and I don’t want to blow them out of proportion by talking about them,” he said.
Aside from the pregnancy rumors, Sarah is embroiled in a legal mess with her home network GMA 7, which has filed a P7-million civil suit for breach of contract against her.
GMA 7 exec Annette Gozon-Abrogar has also filed a libel suit against Sarah for linking her to alleged “under-the-table deals” with Icons, a management group.
The 19-year-old has evaded the cases by flying out of the country. At press time, the half-Moroccan is in Casablanca, Morocco.
“She has my full support, of course. I know what she’s been through,” Richard said. “But I’m torn. Both Sarah and GMA 7 are close to my heart.”
He continued: “I hope everything turns out well at the end.”
Richard said it was a shame that Sarah couldn’t be with him to promote their film, which also stars Solenn Heussaff and is directed by Peque Gallaga. “I miss her. But I can’t do anything about the situation. I’m just glad that she’s happy and relaxed right now,” he said. “I might visit her soon, if my schedule permits.”