IN THE SPOTLIGHT: What we know about Francis, Pia Magalona’s marriage
After the “existence” of the late Francis Magalona’s supposed secret lover and love child was made public, it has been inescapable for his marriage to Pia Arroyo-Magalona to be hounded by speculations and questions from the curious public.
Seemingly adding fuel to the fire were the claims made by concert producer-former model Robby Tarroza, who alleged that Pia and Francis were already separated before he had a relationship with then-flight attendant Abegail Rait. Tarroza further asserted that the celebrity pair, who are parents to eight children, were “never married in the Philippines.”
Pia and her offspring have so far opted to keep their silence on the matter, although a few social media posts from the celebrity mom and one of her daughters, actress Maxene Magalona, indicate that the couple celebrate their wedding anniversary every July.
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In addition to these, a photo posted by the late rapper’s former publicist, Pilar Mateo, shows the pair in their apparent wedding in Hong Kong in the 1980s. The Magalona family, however, has yet to address accusations that Pia and Francis did not tie the knot in the country.
In an open letter to her kids published in the book “Letters to My Children” in 2016, Pia opened up about her marriage prior to her union with Francis. Then-19-year-old Pia bore a child which prompted her to marry her partner at the time, with whom she had a second child years later.
Pia, already a mom to her two kids Unna and Nicolo, parted ways with the father of her children and later met 21-year-old Francis through an introduction from their mutual friend, actor-politician Richard Gomez. Pia and Francis, who fondly called her “sweets,” would then have six kids together, namely Maxene, Frank, Saab, Elmo, Arkin and Clara.
“When Francis and I got together, I already had two children. Francis really loved my kids also and I would joke about it na mas love niya ‘yung kids ko kaysa sa akin, and that’s why gusto niya to be with me kasi—I think it’s rare although it’s fun na—parang instant family,” Pia said in a 2021 interview for the podcast of Saab and her husband, musician Jim Baccaro.
(When Francis and I got together, I already had two children. Francis really loved my kids also. I would even joke about how he loved my kids more than me and that he wanted to be with me because he—I think it’s rare although it’s fun—wanted to have an instant family.)
“For him, he liked it already because he’s very childlike… I don’t know. He was just so drawn to us. Then we started having our kids together and still, hindi naiiba ‘yung tingin niya do’n sa dalawang panganay (he treated my eldest kids the same),” Pia continued.
Pia said she and Francis “hit it off right away” because of their shared interests in arts and in rock music, which also appears to be a factor why their manager-talent relationship had endured in the show business for 20 long years.
The talent and interest in arts evidently runs in their family as Maxene (36), Frank (35), Elmo (29), Saab (34), Arkin (24) and Clara (22) have also emerged individually into the music and acting scene. Each of the Magalona siblings already had taken acting roles, but most of them seem more inclined to follow in the footsteps of their dad as musicians.
Even after the untimely passing of Francis in 2009 due to acute myeloid leukemia, Pia never misses a walk down memory lane to honor the Master Rapper and his legacy in the music industry—may it be on his birthday, death anniversary, Father’s Day and even Valentine’s Day.
In one of her posts for Francis’ death anniversary, Pia recounted how the doctor informed her of the “bad news” and heard the “dreaded words: It’s cancer” in August of 2008.
“Francis lived a total of 7 months more after that, and it was a whirlwind of confinements and discharges and treatments and test, after test, after test. Faith is really all we ever had, and still have for those he left behind,” she wrote on her Instagram page.
“Our family will forever be grateful to family, friends, co-artists, companies and the Filipino people who supported us both financially and in spirit throughout the journey we called his Happy Battle, and even afterward,” she further noted. “Through his recordings, his legacy lives on.”
Francis succumbed to the disease in 2009 and in his wake, Pia spoke about her marriage with the Master Rapper, which she admitted via a 2020 post “was not always a bed of roses.”
“Siguro kapag talagang meant kayo with each other—which was the thing I see between me and Francis—yung life namin together, it just all happened,” Pia said when she was interviewed for the now-defunct talk show “Showbiz Central,” as per Philippine Entertainment Portal’s transcription. “We’re like away-bati, away-bati, every single day… Kasi nga, he’s very childlike and I learned to deal with that and I learned to love that talaga about him.”
(Maybe if you’re really meant to be with each other—which was the thing I see between me and Francis—our life together just all happened. We fought and made up every single day because he was very childlike. But, I learned to deal with that and I learned to love that.)
“Alam ko ang nararamdaman niya at alam niya ang nararamdaman ko. Kaming dalawa, it’s all in me. (I know what he felt and he knew mine. The thought of us is with me.) And even if I miss him, I’m glad that we have our children and it’s a reminder na he’s all with me,” the celebrity mom underscored. EDV