The sad childhood of Gretchen B
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Before anything, I have nothing against Gretchen Barretto!
I find her highly amusing and entertaining, unlike her sister Claudine, whom I find strangely aggressive.
One thing I’ve always wondered about Gretchen though, is why a pretty woman like her needs to alter her face that much.
Another thing, Gretchen recently found her voice in social media. Through Instagram we can all see her bling


her ride


her gifts


her drinks


her shoes


her bags


her food galore!


But what drives a woman who seems to have everything to show off what she has, when we all know she’s “married” to a very rich man?
The answer finally came when her good friend, former actress and schoolmate, Tania Montenegro, recently spoke to about Gretchen’s sordid childhood.
The idea was not to put down Gretchen, but to discredit Gretchen’s sister Gia, who wrote a letter to discredit brother Jay-Jay (Joaquin), who wrote a statement to discredit their mother Inday, who wrote a letter to discredit Gretchen.

I know, long story.
Tania’s story is quite a read in Tagalog. I thought it would be easier to understand by summarizing and asking my sister Ana Maria Zamora to illustrate them.
Here goes…

Tanya Montenegro
Tania Montenegro

While they were “put in exclusive schools”, Tania says many times during exams, Gretchen would be asked to leave the room because her tuition fee was not paid.
no tuition

“Most of the time, she’d come to school, wala siyang baon. So many countless times, I make her libre for recess,” Tania recalled.

Food galore?
Tania says she used to see Gretchen’s siblings in the canteen, “nagre-recess, nagla-lunch”, while Gretchen only had one meal. “Bakit si Gretchen, it’s either lunch or recess, ganyan? Lagi, lagi ‘yan,” Tania asked.
Gretchen is the fifth of seven children of Miguel at Estrella “Inday” Barretto.
Her elder siblings are Mito, Michi, Jay-Jay, at Gia (non showbiz) while the younger ones—Marjorie and Claudine both joined Gretchen in showbiz.

kapatids eating

“Sometimes, we’d go out as a group, hindi ‘yan oorder kasi she has no money to pay for the food, yung ganun ba.”


“Nakakaawa nga ‘yan, e. There was one time nga, e, dumadalaw ‘yan sa house, mga early 1990s.
We were living in Capitol Hills, and she was within the area lang, kasi she had shooting. She passed by.
So kami naman, unintentionally, we served Spam and California rice. She sat on the table and sabi niya, ‘Ang sarap naman nito! Di bale, I promise, some day I’d be able to buy myself this.’

spam and rice

Yayas and chauffeurs? According to Tania, Gia’s recollection of their lifestyle during the ’80s is “weird”.
The chauffeur was actually Jay-Jay, the brother who drove them to school in a yellow combi!

yellow combi

“And their house, lahat naman yun rented. Rented lang mga houses na yun.
There were times nga, may mga art project kami, may mga project kami for art or for GMRC [Good Manners and Right Conduct], na we’d have to go to the school and bring this. Wala siyang madadala, kasi nga wala…Hindi siya nabigyan ng pambili or ganyan. Kaya nga kami naging close niyan. Kasi ako, madalas, I’d share. I’d share with her.”

friends cos of sharing

“Nagulat lang ako talaga kung bakit kinailangan magsalita pa ni Tita Inday. I don’t know why she had to come up with that statement na parang…parang disown Gretchen. Parang tinatanong ko lang, ‘What has she done to you guys? Kasi, all throughout…ano ‘yan, e, she has a very big heart. So I don’t know.”

big heart

Another thing she can’t understand is Tita Inday’s “hatred kay Gretch.”
“I don’t know why. Hindi ko rin maintindihan na bakit parang through all, ha…seven kasi sila [magkakapatid]. I don’t know why siya [Gretchen] lang, sa nakita ko, sa naririnig kong kuwento from Gretch, sa na-witness ko, I don’t know why merong ganyang hatred si Tita Inday kay Gretch. I don’t know why.

Kasi dati pa sasabihin niya: ‘Si Gretchen ang itim-itim! Ang pangit ni Gretchen!’ Kaya nga si Gretchen, nagkaroon ng kailangan na pumuti siya, kailangan gumanda siya. Kaya naging ganyan ang effect kay Gretch, e. Kasi she hears it from her mom na, ‘Maitim si Gretchen! Maitim si Gretchen. Hindi naman maganda si Gretchen! Maraming gano’n.’”

maitim si gretchen

“And then there was one time, she had a big pasa dito sa may face niya…between her cheek and her neck.
Sabi ko sa kanya, ‘What happened to you? Why do you have a bruise?’
Sabi niya her mom slapped her daw. Sabi niya, ‘She hit me.’
Sabi ko, ‘Why?’ She started to cry.

“I didn’t bother asking her kasi naawa ako because of the bruise on her cheek. Yung malaking bruise.
We were like Grade 6 lang siguro—so, mga 12? There was one time, may pictorial may pictorial kami, na-late siya.
‘Parang you cried,’ sabi ko sa kanya.
‘Yeah,’ sabi niyang ganun.‘Inday pulled my hair.’”
pulling hair

Even though Gretchen now lives the good life, Tania says it’s not so difficult to please Gretchen—it could be as simple as mocha cake and hugs.
“Gretchen is so mababaw. A simple Goldilocks mocha slice or mocha cake will make her so happy.
When we were young, she would have to wait for her birthday para makatikim ng Goldilocks. Kaya if people out there want to make Gretch happy, give her Goldilocks mocha cake or mocha slice!”

mocha cake

“She was deprived kasi of love and affection growing up. That’s why, if you notice, Gretchen is a hugger, she loves to hug her friends, and she always says, ‘I love you.’ Because her mom never said that to her.” (Source)

P.S. Gretchen didn’t pay me to write this!! xo

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