Julia Barretto, grateful debutante
Teen star Julia Barretto said her dad Dennis Padilla was “shocked” when she invited him to her 18th birth anniversary celebration (Tuesday night).
“I surprised him. I said, ‘Dad here is your invitation. What will you wear?’ He looked at me for a moment and then started talking. I kept quiet and listened,” Barretto related during a press conference for her debut, which will be held at the Rizal Ballroom of Makati Shangri-La Hotel.
The rumored rift between Julia and Dennis surfaced in July 2014, when the young star filed a petition in court to have her surname legally changed from Baldivia, her dad’s surname, to Barretto, her mom Marjorie’s.
In December, Dennis said he was hurt when Julia ignored him at a Christmas party. Marjorie explained that Julia had been “scared” because he reportedly said hurtful words about the petition.
Weeks before her debut, Julia decided to make peace with her father. “Wounds take time to heal,” she told reporters. “But if you wait too long, it may be too late. Should that happen, I would be devastated.”
Julia, who said she “felt 100 percent relieved,” also announced she has decided to keep using her dad’s surname. “We haven’t talked about it as a family. This is the first time I’m mentioning it. There’s really no need to change my last name.”
She denied talk that she was using her father for publicity: “How could people even think a child would do that? He is my dad. Why wouldn’t I want to be okay with him?”
She invited every member of her family, including feuding aunts Gretchen and Claudine, to her party tonight, Julia said. However, she refused to confirm or deny the rumor that her mom and Claudine have reconciled and that Gretchen was feeling sore about it.
“[These questions are best] answered by my mom and aunts,” she said. “I don’t want to interfere.”
A video about Julia’s debut shown during the press conference featured an interview with Claudine. “I’m happy to hear from her again,” Julia said. “I hope everyone important to me will be present. I want to believe that’s the purpose of my debut.”
Gretchen earlier said she would celebrate her birth anniversary, March 6, in London with her daughter Dominique. Julia is fine with this: “I’m only her niece, not her daughter.”
Angry no more
The controversies that the Barretto family has figured in made her more mature, said Julia. They also taught her how best to handle bashers, she added. “I’m only human. I have feelings, too, but I choose to be strong. I can’t let bashers dictate how I’m going to feel. I’ve been dealing with them for as long as I can remember. Rather than get angry, I choose to be thankful.”
Julia will wear a gown by international designer Michael Cinco for her party. Its color scheme is white, gray and silver. The ceremonial 18 Roses dance will feature Dennis Padilla, Matteo Guidicelli, Rayver Cruz, Enchong Dee, Khalil Ramos, Robi Domingo, Sam Concepcion, Dominic Roque, Leon Barretto, Mark Barretto, John Barretto, Cholo Barretto, Jason Soong, Mark Soong, Miguel Barretto, John Lapus, Enrique Gil and Iñigo Pascual.
To hand her the 18 candles are her sisters Dani and Claudia Barretto; friends Patita Tumpalan, Erich Gonzales, Alora Sasam, Natalia Ortega, Nicole Barretto, Cris Navarro, Marissa Kalaw, Pokwang, RB Chanco, Lala Flores, Denise Heredia, Coy Barretto, Ella Pangilinan, Liz Uy, Janella Salvador, Liza Soberano and Maja Salvador.
A TV special on the party, titled “Just Julia, Beautiful @18,” will air on March 29 on ABS-CBN’s Sunday’s Best.
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