Showbiz Roundup: KathNiel split, Michelle Dee, Sarah Lahbati
Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla’s breakup felt like a tidal wave that sent the Philippines into uproar — as fans’ heartbreak and numerous speculations surrounding their separation shot up entertainment headlines in the final week of November.
But prior to KathNiel’s split, Padilla’s mother Karla Estrada denied that she confirmed the breakup earlier than expected, insisting that she doesn’t interfere in her son’s private life.
Meanwhile, the Miss Universe 2023 pageant remained a trending topic for showbiz watchers, with former titleholders Iris Mittenaere and Pia Wurtzbach sharing their two cents on Michelle Dee’s Top 5 finish.
Sarah Lahbati also caught the attention of netizens after changing her Instagram username to “SLG” while flaunting her short hairdo, amid allegations that she and husband Richard Gutierrez parted ways for good.
All these and more, as we look back at INQUIRER.net’s hottest entertainment stories from Nov. 24 to 30.
Closing the chapter to the “Kathniel” love team after months of speculation, Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla confirmed that they have split after 11 years together.
“Kathniel,” the moniker given to their pairing, is a combination of Bernardo and Padilla’s first names. Their reel-to-real partnership is arguably one of the longest relationships in the entertainment industry, which is why their breakup has garnered interest.
In a lengthy statement on Instagram account last Nov. 30, Bernardo expressed her gratitude to Padilla for maintaining a “real” relationship that was “never for show.”
Padilla issued a separate statement about their breakup on his Instagram page.
However, she admitted the past few months have been tough as they tried to “make their relationship work,” noting that the two of them have drifted apart.
“We’ve been drifting apart for a while now, and we ultimately had to accept that we can’t go back to where we used to be. It just won’t be fair to pretend that everything is still the same,” she said. “These past few months have been tough, but thank you for giving us the time we need to process the pain and finally face the elephant in the room.
Meanwhile, Padilla said his love for the “A Very Good Girl” star will never end in a separate Instagram post. “Isang malaking biyaya ang pagmamahal, ang mahalin ka, at mahalin mo. Ang mga alaala natin ay lagi kong baon sa aking puso at magiging liwanag sa mga madidilim kong araw… Thank you for dancing with me during my highs and thank you for singing with me during my lows.”
Karla Estrada denies confirming KathNiel’s split
Karla Estrada asserted that there is no truth to claims she confirmed Padilla’s split with Bernardo, saying she does not and will never meddle in the personal affairs of her children.
Estrada said this as she dismissed the claims of showbiz columnist Cristy Fermin, who said that Estrada apparently admitted the split to one of her friends in the Nov. 24 episode of “Showbiz Now Na!”.
“Kami po, maninindigan po kaming tatlo na hiwalay na si Daniel Padilla at si Kathryn Bernardo. Umamin na po si Karla Estrada sa isa niyang kaibigan na wala na, tapos na,” said Fermin alongside her co-hosts Romel Chika and Wendell Alvarez.
“Ngayon, ang desisyon kung ipagpapatuloy pa nila ang relasyon na ito, magiging masaya po kami. Sana nga mauwi sa pagbabalikan ito,” Fermin added.
Through Facebook, Estrada then shared a report citing Fermin’s claims and said, “Ito po ay walang katotohanan. Kailanman ay hindi ko panghihimasukan o pangungunahan ang personal na buhay ng mga anak ko.”
Iris Mittenaere says Michelle Dee was in her Top 5
Given the commotion that the deleted post of Miss Universe El Salvador created after showing Michelle Dee in the Top 5 finalists, one netizen reached out to Miss Universe 2016 Iris Mittenaere and expressed their sentiments on the mishap.
Mittenaere was one of the judges in the Miss Universe 2023 pageant. Other judges were Halima Aden, Mario Bautista, Giselle Blondet, Janelle Commissiong, Nadia Ferreira, Avani Gregg, Carson Kressley, Connie Mariano, Sweta Patel, and Denise White.
In a comment on Mittenaere’s Instagram post, the netizen implored her to give a statement on the circulating screenshot of the Miss Universo El Salvador’s Instagram post that included Dee in the Top 5, but which it subsequently deleted.
“During the Top 5 announcement? Why [were the] Philippines in the deleted version? … If ever you only knew anything about it. Please spare us some explanations or clarifications,” the fan wrote.
Replying to the comment, Mittenaere said she wasn’t aware of any deleted post and that Dee was part of her Top 5 choices, proceeding to compliment the Philippine representative.
“I have no idea about a deleted post or something. As judges, everything was fair and legal. But to be honest, Michelle was in my Top 5. I loved her style in the evening gown, and I have loved her style since I saw her in the Philippines almost 3 years ago,” she said.
“She didn’t make any mistakes, so the Philippines should be very proud of her. The level was really high this year. I know that Michelle is very sweet, and please give her a lot of love because she deserves it. She is the perfect representative of the Philippines,” she continued.
Following the viral mix-up, Miss Universe El Salvador said their art card showing Dee in the Top 5 instead of Thailand’s Anntonia Porsild was an honest mistake, and they apologized for the error.
Despite not securing a spot in the Top 5, Dee had an impressive finish as she brought the Philippines back to the Top 10, and took home four special awards.
Short-haired Sarah Lahbati changes Instagram name to ‘SLG’
While still mum on speculations that her marriage with Richard Gutierrez is on the rocks, Sarah Lahbati-Gutierrez recently dropped her full name from her Instagram page and cut her hair shorter.
Eagle-eyed fans were intrigued after they noticed that the actress had changed her Instagram name from “Sarah Lahbati Gutierrez” to “SLG.”
Aside from changing her social media name, Lahbati also gave a little life update and showed off her new hairstyle, which is a few inches shorter than her previous one.
Meanwhile, Lahbati was also noticeably absent from the recent baptismal party of Richard’s niece, which Richard attended with their sons Zion and Kai, as seen in the photos shared by the actor’s sister Ruffa Gutierrez.
Gutierrez and Lahbati, who wed in March 2020, are hounded by breakup rumors after fans pointed out that the pair only showed photos of their individual bonding moments with their sons for the past weeks. They are previously known to be expressive of their affection.
They have yet to publicly address the breakup speculations, but Richard is noticeably still wearing his wedding band in an Instagram post.
Pia Wurtzbach doubts viral ‘score sheet’
Pia Wurtzbach is confident that the Miss Universe Organization (MUO) wouldn’t put its “credibility” on the line, days after a supposed score sheet of the pageant’s evening gown competition made the rounds of social media.
During the Miss Universe finals in El Salvador last Nov. 18, the Top 10 delegates — including Dee — competed at the evening gown portion. Reigning titleholder Sheynnis Palacios of Nicaragua, Thailand’s Anntonia Porsild, Australia’s Moraya Wilson, Puerto Rico’s Karla Guilfu, and Colombia’s Camila Avella then advanced to the Top 5.
Dee didn’t make the cut and was ushered backstage with the remaining delegates.
Following the coronation, a supposed score sheet of the judges went around social media platforms where Dee appeared to have tied with Porsild with the score of 89. Palacios (105), Guilfu (96), and Wilson (91) likewise posted the highest scores to make the Top 5.
It also showed this year’s judges, Miss Universe 2021 first runner-up Nadia Ferreira, Puerto Rican actress Giselle Blondet, and TV host Carson Kressley giving Dee a score of six. The source of the score sheet, however, is yet to be determined.
On her Instagram broadcast channel last week, Wurtzbach speculated the score sheet to be fake as it contained details that were apparently different based on her past “experience as a judge” in 2017.
“Una, bakit may nationalities ng judges? Second, when I judged in 2017, we all agreed to score between 8 to 9.9. Walang 10. I don’t think may 10 rin sa keypad namin noon but I don’t know how it looks now,” she said, noting it’s meant to not “tip the average to one side too much.”
The former titleholder stressed that the MUO wouldn’t “leak this kind of information” as “data privacy” is a priority, noting that the organization wouldn’t sacrifice their credibility.
“But then again, I judged years ago and things might have totally changed already. Who knows? Ibang era ‘yun. Ibang era na ngayon (It was a different era back then. It’s a different era now),” she added.
Michelle Dee on viral video with Anne Jakrajutatip
Michelle Dee addressed a viral video of herself with MUO owner Anne Jakrajutatip, saying the Thai mogul could have been “more respectful” to fans regardless of the outcome of the Miss Universe 2023 pageant.
Interviewed on Fast Talk with Boy Abunda last Nov. 27, Dee said that while the MOU owner “might not have [any] bad intentions” in showing her off in the video, she believes that there’s a better way to appease unhappy pageant fans.
“Miss Universe is alive because of its supporters who are so passionate. Even though [Jakrajutatip] might not have had bad intentions, the way it was executed, delivered, it could’ve been better,” she told Abunda.
In that video, Jakrajutatip can be seen pulling Dee beside her before speaking Thai to address pageant watchers from the Philippines and Thailand who “cannot move on” from the results of Miss Universe 2023. Before the video ended, Dee can be seen respectfully walking away from the camera, but Jakrajutatip again went up to her to give her a hug before calling her “Beautiful, very cool.”
Some Filipino fans, however, did not take kindly to the video, saying it was insulting for Dee, especially as they were of the belief that she had been robbed of a chance to be in the finals of the competition, citing her strong stage presence and evening gown performance.
Dee, however, said she opted to see the “best in everybody” despite some pointing out that the Thai businesswoman’s remark was done with a “malicious intent.”