IN THE SPOTLIGHT: These celebrity moms are strong independent women
Mother's Day feature

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Celebrity single moms who took charge of their lives, became better versions of themselves

/ 05:46 PM May 08, 2023

Janella Salvador and LJ Reyes with their children.

Janella Salvador and LJ Reyes with their children. Images: Instagram / @superjanella, @lj_reyes

Put your hands up for these celebrity single moms. Like regular moms, they know firsthand that being a mom is a thankless job. But being a single mother, and who also selflessly took the role of a father to their children, is an entirely different ball game. Shining through this situation and coming out stronger to become better versions of themselves make them a hero in their own right.

As we celebrate Mother’s Day on May 14, let’s take a look at some of the celebrities who empower single moms with their own life hacks to keep going for their families, while building a life for themselves.


Janella Salvador

Janella Salvador with her son, Jude Trevor Paterson. Image: Instagram/@superjanella

A staunch defender of women empowerment and independence, Janella Salvador revealed in September 2022 that she fiercely fought to remain a single mom, with a firm belief that she is capable enough of raising her two-year-old son Jude on her own.


“Being a single mom — talagang nilalaban ko ‘yon. At the end of the day, alam kong kaya ko naman siya. As much as I love the people around me who are always there to help me, I always want to know na kaya kong gawin. I can rely on myself na hindi ko kailangang humingi ng tulong sa iba.”

As a passionate supporter of women empowerment, the “Darna” star stated that she hopes that balancing her duties as a singer-actress and mother can empower other women to be capable of doing anything they want.


“‘Yung thinking na [mothers are only meant to stay at home] ay sobrang (so) outdated na because honestly, women can do anything they want. And they should be able to do anything they want,” she said. “I believe we are capable and nothing is stopping us, we can make our own money if we want to. And there’s so many single moms out there who I look up to, and I believe that single mothers are so strong.”

LJ Reyes

LJ Reyes with Aki and Summer. Image: Instagram/@lj_reyes

In August 2021, LJ Reyes made the life-changing decision to move to New York in the US to become a single mother to Aki and Summer, leaving behind a blossoming career. And while it’s tough to raise her children on her own, she makes it a point for them to feel her love in “every sense of the word.”

“Wala naman handbook for parents. Wala naman iisang tamang paraan kung paano maging magulang. There could be a lot of things that [are] uncertain and not ideal, but one thing remains certain and true — that LOVE would hold you altogether,” she said on Instagram.

Following her controversial split from Paolo Contis, Reyes proved that moving forward from pain is a process, but it’s something that made her stronger as she forged ahead for her family.

Jodi Sta. Maria

Jodi Sta. Maria with her son Thirdy. Image: Instagram/@jodistamaria

Jodi Sta. Maria with her son Thirdy. Image: Instagram/@jodistamaria

Between acting and being mom to teenage son Thirdy, there’s something about Jodi Sta. Maria that seems so effortless in pulling off her duties without a hitch, even if it takes a lot of mental and emotional strength to do so.

Sta. Maria, in previous interviews, made it clear that her top priority is her son at all times. This was evident during her appearance at a brand launch event, where she expressed her excitement about her son learning how to figure out life on his own.

In fact, her son is top of her mind even when it comes to matters of the heart, as she is mindful about how it can affect her son. This is why the actress has rarely been linked to anybody even though she has long separated from estranged husband Pampi Lacson in 2011.

Kris Aquino

Kris Aquino, Josh, Bimby

Kris Aquino with her sons Josh and Bimby. Image: Instagram/@krisaquino

Kris Aquino may be all things, but you cannot find a more devoted mother. Before her multiple autoimmune diseases took away her good health, she was the lady boss who was never afraid to lead the life she wanted. And though her health could be better, she remains to be an inspiration for other single mothers who are passionate about becoming the best version of themselves for their children.

Aquino has always been vocal about her love for her sons, 27-year-old Joshua and 16-year-old Bimb. Her colorful love life aside, her kids constantly assured her that she doesn’t have to be perfect to be “loved.” “My sons show me everyday — I don’t have to be perfect in order for me to be LOVED,” she said in a now-deleted Instagram post in April 2018.



Pokwang with her daughters Mae and Malia. Image: Instagram/@itspokwang27, @maesubong

Pokwang appeared to be bracing for a legal battle against her former partner Lee O’Brian, and some people criticized her for being crude. But what some might be forgetting was that she was fighting for the rights of her daughter Malia, who the American actor fathered.

The actress-comedienne earlier revealed that O’Brian became “displeased” after finding out that they are going to have a child together, but this did not stop her from proceeding with her pregnancy. It has always been her mantra — her children comes first. And now that the two have separated, she realized more and more that fighting for her children was the right thing to do.

Even prior to her relationship with O’Brian, Pokwang was never one shirk away from her duties, even if it meant working as an OFW. Ever hardworking, the all-around mother also serves as a real estate agent for a Bataan property and is an owner of several food products, on top of her full showbiz career.

Denise Laurel

Denise Laurel with her son Alejandro. Image: Instagram/@d_laurel

Being a well-known K-pop fan, it’s easy to conclude that Denise Laurel is having the time of her life solo. But many seem to forget that she is also raising her 12-year-old son Alejando on her own.

This granddaughter of former Vice President Salvador Laurel shared that she had her son at the age of 24 from a previous relationship with an Italian-American, but she doesn’t regret being a dedicated mother to her child.

“You can do whatever you want to do. Lahat ng mga sinasabi ng mga tao, hindi ‘yun importante. Ang importante ay ‘yung anak mo, and Diyos, and pamilya mo, and that you work hard,” she said at a “Magandang Buhay” interview in 2016.

Sunshine Cruz

sunshine cruz daughters

Sunshine Cruz was showered with heartwarming messages on her 42nd birthday. Image: Instagram/@sunshinecruz718

It’s been years since Sunshine Cruz’s marriage with Cesar Montano fell apart, but her life is proof that she can guide her daughters Angelina, Samantha, and Chesca to the life that they deserve.

The seasoned actress admitted in a Philippine Daily Inquirer interview in March 2018 that she had “very little money and self-esteem,” but she didn’t regret leaving her abusive relationship with Montano although they have already patched things up at the present.

Despite her hardships, Cruz said she finds joy in learning that her daughters have grown up into happy and kind-hearted people. “There’s nothing like feeling fulfilled when I see them growing up happy and kind-hearted; and that they are excelling in school. It’s like all of my hard work is paying off,” she was quoted as saying.

Angel Aquino

Angel Aquino with her daughters.

Angel Aquino with her daughters. Image: Screengrab from YouTube/@ABSCBN Entertainment

Undoubtedly one of the most beautiful faces in local showbiz, Aquino seems to have life figured out despite being a mother to her daughters. Iana and Thea. But that is not the case as she championed the need for women to take care of themselves for their “families’ sake.”

“We would like Filipino women to live good-quality lives for their families’ sake and, more importantly, for themselves,” she said during a Philippine Daily Inquirer interview in March 2015.

Ruffa Gutierrez

Lorin Bektas

Ruffa Gutierrez with her daughters Lorin Bektas (middle) and Venice Bektas. Image: Instagram/@iloveruffag

Cutting back on finances is one of the most difficult things that Ruffa Gutierrez had to do as a single mother, but she firmly believes in putting the needs of her daughters Lorin and Venice first.

“Kailangan talaga mag sacrifice para sa pag-aaral ng mga anak natin, sa future ng mga anak natin, especially ako, I’m a single working mom. Andami ko nang kinut na mga shopping, andami kong kinut na mga trips, kailangan minsan local trips nalang tayo, hindi lagi tayo nasa abroad. Kasi habang tumatanda sila, lalong tumataas ang tuition,” she said in a “Magandang Buhay” interview in July 2019.

The actress’ sacrifices have been worth it, as her daughters see her as a “role model” who came out stronger after setting herself free from her ex-husband Yilmaz Bektas’ abuse and starting afresh.

“She’s really my role model. I really admire her strength. She doesn’t hide things from me and Venice. Alam ko naman kung ano yung pinagdaanan niya before but every day, she’s still the happiest, most bubbly, most enthusiastic person I know,” Lorin said.

Jennica Garcia

Jennica Garcia

Jennica Garcia with her daughters. Image: Instagram/@jennicagarciaph

Sometimes, it’s the little things that matter for single mothers and for Jennica Garcia, such as buying an air conditioner and water heater for her daughters Athena and Alexis. And while she could have just easily asked this of her mom, seasoned actress Jean Garcia, the young actress chose to do it her way — through sacrifice and hard work.

The mama-of-two recently made headlines as she expressed her pride for Athena who can do household chores such as cooking food and doing the dishes on her own. And while it seems that the actress have been through so much, it’s her love for her kids that give her the strength to survive life in her own terms.

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“Nanay is getting emotional because I’m heading to the mall tonight to buy aircon and a water heater for our bathroom. Pagpahingain na natin yung electric fan, 10 months na tayong lapot gumigising. Hindi na rin ako ulit mag-iinit ng tubig para isalin sa balde pangligo niyo ‘pag malamig ang panahon. Anytime gusto niyo maligo, GO! Nanay got this kids! Buhat ko kayo lagi,” she said. EDV


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TAGS: Angel Aquino, Denise Laurel, Janella Salvador, Jennica Garcia, Jodi Sta. Maria, Kris Aquino, LJ Reyes, Pokwang, Ruffa Gutierrez, Sunshine Cruz

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