34 top show biz scandals from 1985-2019

/ 12:03 AM December 09, 2019

Over the years, a number of celebrities have found themselves being the subject of unwanted attention either because of uncalled-for remarks and actions or because they got embroiled with former lovers or family members.

Drawing from newspaper and online reports, Inquirer Entertainment has compiled a list of 34—because the paper turns 34 today—scandals/controversies that shocked local Tinseltown in the last 34 years. Anything to add to this list, dear readers?



Filipinos mourned the passing of 16-year-old actress Julie Vega on May 6, 1985. Her death, which was reportedly caused either by Guillain-Barre Syndrome or multiple sclerosis, had been a big mystery to the public.

Julie Vega

Rumors as to how she really died turned her into an urban legend. Her untimely death left her TV series, “Anna Liza,” with an unfinished storyline. Her funeral was attended by millions of grieving fans and show-biz friends.


On May 31, 1985, sexy actress Pepsi Paloma—one of the so-called Softdrinks Beauties of the 1980s, committed suicide by hanging, spurring shock and speculation.

Not a few observers wondered if the rape complaints she had filed against television hosts Vic Sotto, Joey de Leon and comedian Richie D’Horsie three years prior was a factor in her suicide.

She also allegedly left a diary—whose authenticity was never verified—where she wrote about her money problems and troubled relationships with her mother and boyfriend.


Singers Pops Fernandez and Martin Nievera got married hurriedly in June 1986. This was because Pops was already pregnant with their first child, Robin, who was born in November of the same year.

The couple had another son, Ram, but eventually separated in 1996. Their marriage was officially annulled in 2000.


Teen sweethearts Aga Muhlach and Janice de Belen became the subject of tabloid reports when the former child actress admitted that she was pregnant at age 19.

In a television talk show, Janice said: “God was with us when we did it.” Luigi “Igi Boy” Muhlach was born in 1987. Janice raised him on her own.



The elopement of actor Albert Martinez and Liezl Sumilang, daughter of 1960s superstar Amalia Fuentes, was a big controversy. They got married in the United States in 1988.

Amalia didn’t approve of Albert for Liezl because he wasn’t a big-time actor at the time. Back then, his brother William, who was paired with Maricel Soriano, was more popular and churned out blockbuster films.


After eight years of partnership, Dolphy broke up with actress Alma Moreno, with whom he has a child, Vandolph, after falling in love again with a younger woman—Zsa Zsa Padilla.

Alma Moreno

At the time, Zsa Zsa was still married to Modesto Tatlonghari. They have a daughter—Karylle.

In the book “Dolphy: Hindi Ko Ito Narating Ng Mag-Isa,” the Comedy King revealed—as told to author Bibeth Orteza—that one of the reasons he left Moreno was that he couldn’t stand the actress’ penchant for inviting reporters to their home, and even to their trips abroad.

Dolphy (left) and Zsa Zsa Padilla


In August 1993, Sen. Ernesto Maceda demanded an investigation on human trafficking in relation to what was then referred to as a group of “Brunei Beauties.”

They were actresses, singers and models who visit the sultanate reportedly at the behest of rich playboys in that country.
Citing tabloid reports, Maceda claimed that the women earned up to $750,000 for a month-long stint.
Actresses Leah Orosa, Cristina Gonzales-Romualdez (who’s now Tacloban City mayor) and Ruffa Gutierrez figured prominently in news reports about the issue.


Talent manager and show-biz columnist Lolit Solis manipulated the result of the best actor and best actress honors at the Manila Film Festival awards ceremony on June 22, 1994.

Instead of announcing the real winners—Edu Manzano and Aiko Melendez—the name of Lolit’s talent, Gabby Concepcion, as well as of beauty queen Ruffa Gutierrez were called.


In December 1994, actress Kris Aquino admitted to being pregnant with the child of actor Phillip Salvador, who is not only twice her age, but is also married and a father of four. Their son Joshua was born on June 4, 1995. Kris is the daughter of former president Corazon Aquino.
Newspapers described the controversy—and not the numerous coup attempts to topple her government—as the “toughest crisis” in President Aquino’s life.


Model Hans Montenegro found himself in the middle of one of show biz’s biggest scandals, after a video of him and other men being molested by talent manager Jojo Veloso surfaced in 1996.

Hans Montenegro

Although he was already a college graduate at the time of the controversy, Montenegro was only 13, a minor, when he suffered the abuse during what was supposedly a “screen test.” “It was definitely tough,” he said of the “media circus” around him at the time.


During an arrest for sideswiping a balut vendor in Pampanga in 1994, actor Robin Padilla was found to be in possession of an unlicensed .357 caliber revolver, an M-16 baby Armalite rifle, a .380 caliber pistol, and six other .38 caliber revolvers.
On March 12, 1997, the Supreme Court upheld an appellate court ruling finding Padilla guilty of illegal gun possession. However, his jail term was reduced to 10 to 18 years from 17 to 21 years.
A month later, then President Fidel V. Ramos granted Padilla conditional pardon. In November 2016, President Rodrigo Duterte granted Padilla absolute executive pardon.


Actress Anjanette Abayari, who is best-known for playing Darna, was arrested at the Guam airport for possession of a different kind of “bato.”
Security officers found traces of “shabu” in a broken plastic pipe in her makeup bag.


Beauty queen and “Chicks to Chicks” star Maria Teresa Carlson reportedly leaped to her death on Nov. 24, 2001 from the 23rd floor of her apartment building in San Juan.
This was merely hours after her failed attempt to speak with then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in Malacañang.
Carlson had wanted to show the president a video tape of her husband, former Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas, hurting one of their six children.
Days prior to her death, Carlson was quoted to have told her househelp that somebody was out to kill her.


The untimely death of matinee idol Rico Yan on March 29, 2002 shocked the nation. He had just ended his four-year relationship with Claudine Barretto and was vacationing at Dos Palmas Resort in Palawan when it happened.

According to a medical report released by Yan’s family, the actor died of pancreatic hemorrhage. However, text messages that circulated said the actor died from an overdose of Ecstasy pills, which he reportedly took the night before.

Claudine Barretto (left) and Rico Yan

Actress Diana Zubiri became a household name, after doing a sexy bikini photo shoot for a popular men’s magazine on the Edsa-Shaw Boulevard flyover on May 17, 2002.

The stunt—which had Zubiri posing in a red bikini—messed up traffic and irked then Mandaluyong City Mayor Benhur Abalos, who filed grave scandal charges against her and the publication.


Marked by allegations of “physical violence” and “emotional terrorism,” Kris Aquino and Joey Marquez’s love story ended on a caustic note, with the controversial television host filing charges against the then Parañaque City mayor.
The grippingly messy aftermath of the breakup unfolded before the public.
This real-life soap opera reached its climax when Aquino gave an exclusive—and now infamous—interview to “TV Patrol,” where she revealed every sordid detail of the relationship, and accused Marquez of pointing a gun at her and giving her a sexually transmitted disease.


Actress Nora Aunor was arrested at the Los Angeles airport in March 2005 when security agents discovered eight grams of methamphetamine in her handbag.
She pleaded guilty to drug possession in 2006, but escaped imprisonment after agreeing to participate in a drug rehabilitation program.


Seventy-three people, many of whom elderly women, died and about 400 were injured in a mad rush to enter the PhilSports Stadium in Pasig City, where the first anniversary of Willie Revillame’s “Wowowee,” was set to take place on Feb. 4, 2006.
The tragedy, also known as the “Wowowee Stampede,” prompted inquiries and investigations, and led to the ABS-CBN show’s temporary suspension.


Four years after she married Turkish businessman Yilmaz Bektas, actress Ruffa Gutierrez announced on television that she was “abused and tortured” by the father of her two daughters.
She said she left Turkey with a black eye and her legs badly bruised.
In 2010, Ruffa filed a petition for the custody of their children—Lorin, then 6, and Venice, then 5.


Patrizha Martinez, daughter William Martinez and Yayo Aguila, accused Baron Geisler of groping her breasts in a party on April 25, 2008, which led to her filing of acts of lasciviousness and unjust vexation charges against the actor.

Martin Nievera (left) and Pops Fernandez

Geisler was sent to prison after having been found guilty as charged on July 1, 2013.
The following year, Yasmien Kurdi filed the same charges against the controversial actor, who reportedly sent her lewd text messages and harassed her on the set of a television series.

Cherry Pie Picache also alleged she was sexually harassed by Geisler.


In 2009, rumors abound that boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao’s marriage was on the rocks because of his alleged romantic relationship with actress Krista Ranillo.

According to reports, Pacquiao paid for the air fare and hotel accommodation of Ranillo and her family, who all watched live his bout against Miguel Cotto for the World Boxing Organization welterweight title in Las Vegas.

Further fueling rumors of a romantic liaison was a paparazzi video circulated online of Pacquiao driving a car with “a woman other than his wife.”
The unidentified woman, who was covering her face in the video, was said to be Ranillo. Pacquiao later denied the alleged illicit affair and apologized to Ranillo’s family.

Doctor-turned-show biz personality Hayden Kho found himself the subject of a Senate investigation after his stash of personal sex videos—which he filmed without the knowledge and consent of his female partners—was leaked online and sold in black markets.
The most prominent victim of what CNN described as one of the five most controversial celebrity sex scandals in Asia was actress Katrina Halili, who took legal action against Kho for causing her great “anguish” and “mental distress.”

The Department of Justice charged him with violation of the Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004.
Kho was also stripped of his medical license, which he eventually regained in 2014.


In what to this day remains as one of the most bizarre rumors in show biz, Shaina Magdayao denied that she and then boyfriend, John Lloyd Cruz, were rushed to an emergency room after they allegedly “got stuck inside each other” in September 2010.
At a press conference, Magdayao described the “penis captivus controversy” as “not just the nastiest, but the most foul and unfair scandal” she ever had the misfortune of getting involved in.


On Nov. 27, 2011, actress KC Concepcion announced that she and boyfriend Piolo Pascual have broken up. KC did not exactly say what caused it, but pointed out in a television interview that there were things happening in the relationship that she could no longer accept. She also wouldn’t say whether a third party had caused the split.
Meanwhile, KC’s mom Sharon Cuneta lashed out at Piolo and his supporters, saying: “God knows it is taking all my strength to keep my mouth shut [about the real reason of the breakup].”

Mo Twister had the internet abuzz after the leaking of his video diary, where he tearfully related that his then-girlfriend, Rhian Ramos, was aborting their baby due to pressure from her family and her home network GMA 7.

In retaliation, GMA 7 said it was filing charges against the deejay for “malicious and false imputations.”
“He’s out to destroy Rhian,” said chair and CEO Felipe Gozon, who also called Mo Twister’s act “ungentlemanly.”

One a month after Andi Eigenmann’s rumored pregnancy was confirmed by her mother Jaclyn Jose, the young actress wrote in a blog post that the father was her former boyfriend Albie Casiño, who allegedly left her after finding out that she was carrying a baby.

Casiño was vilified by the public. However, five years after the issue, Eigenmann’s half-sister Max revealed in Mo Twister’s podcast that the father is actually Jake Ejercito.


When videos of Raymart Santiago, his now estranged wife, Claudine Barretto, and six other pals ganging up on former Inquirer columnist Ramon Tulfo at an airport circulated on the internet, netizens had a field day poking fun at the brawl, calling it “Thrilla at Naia.”
The fracas started after Santiago caught Tulfo taking a cell phone video of Barretto apparently giving a ground stewardess a dressing down. The two parties would later on file charges against each other.


Sunshine Cruz filed charges against her estranged husband, Cesar Montano—whom she described as “very domineering, philandering [and one who] demanded full submission”—for violating the Anti-Violence against Women and Their Children’s Act of 2004.

Cruz claimed that Montano had physically and emotionally abused her. The couple separated early in the year, following reports linking the actor to starlet Krista Miller.

TV host and actress Anne Curtis reportedly slapped and berated actor John Lloyd Cruz at a bar in Taguig on Nov. 23, 2013.
According to eyewitness accounts, an enraged Curtis emerged from the bar’s toilet, demanding, “Who’s banging [on] my door?” She also allegedly screamed at TV host-model Phoemela Baranda and slapped a magazine editor on that same night.
Curtis later apologized and said she was not in the “right state of mind” at the party and that she had been “on the super popular juice cleanse for three days and attended my best friend’s bachelorette [party] that night.”

Jessica Soho slammed Vice Ganda for “going too far” and making a “cruel” gang-rape joke about the veteran broadcast journalist during the comedian’s comedy concert, “I-Vice Ganda Mo Ako sa Araneta.”
In a segment about unlikely personalities becoming bold stars, Vice Ganda said it would be hard to do a sexy film starring Soho because it would have to entail a “gang-rape.”


Vhong Navarro was mauled by a group led by businessman Cedric Lee at the condominium of model Deniece Cornejo, who accused the TV host-comedian of attempting to rape her when he visited her in her unit on Jan. 22, 2014.
However, Lee and his sister, Bernice, arrived in time to save her, Cornejo added.
Four years later, a Taguig court would find Cornejo and Lee, as well as their companion Jed Fernandez, guilty of grave coercion for mauling Navarro.


After ignoring a checkpoint that prompted a police chase in Pampanga, Mark Anthony Fernandez was caught with a kilogram of marijuana, which he claimed was for “medicinal purposes to prevent cancer.”

He was subsequently detained in the Pampanga Provincial Jail in San Fernando City but later released.


In July this year, Bea Alonzo had everyone glued to their phones, waiting for new updates, after liking Instagram posts hinting that her boyfriend Gerald Anderson cheated on her with Julia Barretto.

The younger actress, meanwhile, called out Alonzo for “bullying” and “playing victim.”

In an interview, Alonzo revealed that she and Anderson didn’t have a formal breakup. The actor, she said, just stopped talking to her.


On Oct. 16, 2019, celebrity siblings Marjorie, Gretchen and Claudine Barretto, as well as some of their nephews and nieces, figured in a fight at the wake of the family’s patriarch, Miguel.

The incident happened in front of President Rodrigo Duterte, who was there to condole with the family. The altercation led to the sisters posting cryptic messages and accusations on social media directed at each other and eventually, to television guestings where they revealed many of their family’s dark secrets.

Marjorie’s daughter Julia, niece Nicole and Atong Ang, business partner of Gretchen’s live-in partner Tony Boy Cojuangco, were among those involved in the squabble.—With a report from Inquirer Research INQ

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