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by Ricky F. Lo, The Philippine Star, October 26, 2000

                Katrina  Ojeda
  POPS     and     MARTIN
And finally,   four years after Funfare broke the sad/bad news that their  supposedly "perfect marriage" was headed for the rocks, Pops Fernandez  and  Martin Nievera are now legally free to marry other partners – if they  wish to, that is – or, who knows, each other.

                    Yesterday morning, Judge Leticia Morales of the Makati Regional Trial
                    Court rendered Pops and Martin's marriage null and void after hearing the
                    case for barely a year. This piece of (well, good) news was confirmed by
                    Pops' lawyer, the Katrina Legarda, in a brief interview with Funfare.

                    The annulment was granted to Pops and Martin on the grounds of
                    "psychological incapacity" on both sides. The couple has two children,
                    Ram and Robin.

                    "In an annulment case," said Katrina who's also the lawyer of Carmina
                    Villarroel (against Rustom Padilla) in a similar annulment petition, "there's
                    no alimony involved. But Martin is required by the court to give a monthly
                    support for their children."
At press time last night Funfare called Martin who arrived Tuesday evening from the US after a successful  concert tour. Informed about the verdict, Martin was surprised, saying he was hearing about it for the first  time. "Kailan pa ang decision?" he asked.

The case was first heard in June last year, with Pops and   Martin initially giving their testimonies separately before  meeting in court for the final hearing. Although the couple
has been separated three years ago, they have buried the  hatchet (no, not on each other's back but) in the dustbin.
They have become better friends now that they've split up,  with Martin paying their kids regular visits or taking them  out for a good time.

Pops has remained at their conjugal home in Ayala  Alabang with Ram and Robin, while Martin is now living  alone or, according to some sources, with Katrina Ojeda,  the girl long romantically linked to him and said to be one of the reasons why he and Pops broke up.

Pops and Martin were married in a fairy-tale wedding in June, 1986, a showbiz event featured as an added  attraction in their post-wedding movie Now and Forever. Unlike in the movie, however, the couple didn't live  happily ever after, not forever anyway. Their marriage started to crack in 1996 when Martin was rumored to  have an "other woman."

Although linked to other men (Aga Muhlach and Troy Montero, among them), Pops has remained fancy-free.
But now, as the title of her new Viva movie says (Gusto Ko Nang Lumigaya), she's free – and legally so – to  fall in love again.

Now, will Martin, as he has been rumored a few weeks back, remarry now that any legal barrier is gone?

Stand by for further developments in the continuing Pops-Martin real-life soap opera.

MARTIN: I WISH POPS THE BEST (October 27, 2000)


           At 30 minutes past 7 yesterday morning, my phone rang. Martin Nievera was on the line,
            his voice very sad. He was reacting to Funfare's banner story yesterday about the
            annulment of his and Pops Fernandez's marriage (solemnized on June 28, 1986), with
            the verdict handed down last Wednesday, Oct. 25, by Judge Leticia Morales of the
            Makati Regional Trial Court more than one year after the petition was filed for Pops by
            her lawyer, Katrina Legarda (a second cousin of Pops' late father, Eddie Fernandez).

            Martin clarified two things: 1) the title of his and Pops' post-wedding movie was Always
            & Forever (very ironic after what happened to their marriage, isn't it?) and not, as Funfare
            reported, Now & Forever; and 2) he isn't living with another woman, that the only mestiza
he's living with is his mother, the Conchita Razon.

Asked how he felt about the annulment verdict, Martin was speechless for several seconds (so unusual for  somebody so, yes, talkative, er, articulate). "I don't know if I should be happy or I should be sad. Honest, I  don't know!"

I wished him "all the best" before he hung up. Two hours later, Martin faxed to me his official statement on the  matter. Here it is, verbatim:

Dearest Ricky,

I read your article this morning. I am surprised, but then again, not surprised by the news about the  annulment. I knew it was coming. Once again, I was the last to know.

Let's not forget I didn't file for the annulment. I am very aware of my faults and mistakes. Though I'm not  proud, I have openly shared each one with all of you.

I did all I could do to fix what I have broken but everyone knows I failed.

Let me make it perfectly clear, I have not remarried, have no plans to in
the near future, and am not living with anybody, only my mother. If ever I
decide to do any of the above, you will be the first to know.

Having said all these, at this crossroad in my life, I will never stop loving
and caring for Pops, and most especially my children. They will always be
forever in my heart and forever a part of me. I wish Pops well and all that
she does. I've said it once, and I'll say it again... I'm sorry for any pain I
may have caused in the past.

I say all these to you for the sake of my children. The less we
sensationalize and overprint details of our lives yesterday, today and
tomorrow, the less they will hurt.

I hope this is clear to one and all. I did my best but I guess my best
wasn't good enough. Now life has no choice but to go on.

What matters most is that we loved at all.

– Martin Nievera

I told Martin, "Who knows? Years from now, you and Pops might marry each other again. Love is lovelier the  second time around; love is more comfortable the second time you fall. Who knows? It happened to Natalie  Wood and Robert Wagner, and Eddie Mesa and Rosemarie Gil. So, who knows?"
Said Martin, his voice still sad, "Yeah, who knows?"

POPS TO MARTIN: BE HAPPY! (October 28, 2000)
     <   Pops pic during her presscon when she filed
                                                                                      her annulment case last March 2, 1999

                                           POPS Now....  as a single woman

"Thank God, it's over!"

That, according to Pops Fernandez, was her first reaction Wednesday morning (Oct. 25) when the secretary  of her lawyer Katrina Legarda informed her that Judge Leticia Morales of the Makati Regional Trial Court had  handed down the decision on the annulment case she filed against Martin Nievera in early 1999.

"It's a relief!"

Unlike Pops, though, Martin learned about the decision (as he said in his letter to Funfare yesterday, "I'm the  last to know") from somebody else (yes, from Funfare, actually), when called for his comment Wednesday  evening.

                    "Alangan naman I'd be the one to call and inform him pa, di ba?" said
                    Pops during a brief phone chat with Funfare early last night.

                    But Martin did send a text message to Pops, saying: "Congrats! I guess
                    you're happy now!"

                    "I really felt bad that, as he said, he's the last to know," added Pops who,
                    earlier yesterday, broke into tears when she was interviewed by bosom
                    friend Kris Aquino on Today With Kris Aquino. "His lawyer should have
                    informed him."

                    Like Martin, Pops received the news with mixed feelings.

                    "Yeah, I wanted it; I felt relieved that it's finished but I couldn't help feeling

                    Reacting to Martin's public confession (also contained in his letter to
                    Funfare) that he'll always love her, Pops said, "I guess it's a different kind
of love now," and in the same breath sent a message to Martin: "Be happy!"

Pops and Martin will meet for the first time (after the verdict and since his arrival from several weeks of concert  tour in the US) tomorrow on A.S.A.P. Pops will try hard not to cry and, if possible, be casual about the whole
thing, promising to greet Martin a sweet "Hi!" as soon as they cross paths. "I don't want to dwell on the past,"  said Pops. "We shouldn't dwell on the past. The best thing to do, once you have let go and come to terms  with the situation, is to move on."

She plans to just go on with what she has been doing (since way back when), with her kids, Ram and Robin,  as the focal point of her life. As is the set-up since they separated two years ago, Martin can see the kids  anytime he wants to. "I'd never say anything bad about him to the kids. I'm not that type. I want him to  continue his good relationship with our children."

How do Ram and Robin react to their mom's decision to be more daring in her recent movies (Linlang and now  Gusto Ko Nang Lumigaya where she plays a school guidance counsellor and dabbles in steamy scenes with
Albert Martinez, Diether Ocampo and Anton Bernardo)?

"Before I do any project, I consult Ram and Robin. I talk to them, explain everything to them, even the  promo/publicity thrust of the movie."

More message to Martin?

"I truly hope and pray that now that it's finished, we should bury the past. If ever somebody we'd talk about  what happened, let's hope that it would be without pain, without tears; maybe we could even laugh about it.
Sana no more hurting, no more blaming nor fault-finding. What happened is the best for everybody concerned.
Let it be."

Updates on Pops' Movie "Gusto Ko Nang Lumigaya" (as of  02 November 2000)

This movie  will now be shown this  08  November 2000 in big Metro Manila theaters with a "For Adults Only" rating due to its sensitive theme and plot.


Pops will have an advanced premiere at the Louis' THX   Cinema on November 03, 2000 at 7:30 Pm (thanks Melissa for  the info!)



by Maridol Rañoa-Bismark, The Philippine Star, September 29, 2000

It's all she could do to get past the hurt of a broken marriage. Move on, that is.

Pops Fernandez, separated woman for three years now, admits feeling "a  little scared" about falling in love. But, at the risk of sounding like a  mascohist, she's not afraid to get hurt again, all in the name of love.

Like the title of her upcoming film, Gusto Ko Nang Lumigaya, Pops won't  mind risking her emotions again, all in search of the one thing that has eluded her these past few years – happiness in her personal life.

"You'll never know if it's okay until you try," is her cry of hope.

And when will Pops know she's ready to love again?

"Falling in love is not a matter of being ready. It will just happen," she  replies, smiling enigmatically.

That she is more vocal about the topic speaks a lot about Pops' growing confidence about starting anew and  kissing her marital woes behind, finally.

Everything about her shouts "new." She is going bolder, as a wife trapped in a loveless marriage (to Albert  Martinez) in Gusto Ko Nang Lumigaya. There are kissing and love scenes – one with screen stud Anton  Bernardo.

Director Maryo J. de los Reyes likens the turning point to Vilma Santos' Burlesk Queen, where the Star for All Seasons made a 360 degree career turn by turning sexy.

Pops, in Gusto Ko Nang Lumigaya, is bound to shock conservative fans whose image of her is limited to that of Concert Queen or the noontime TV  show host. Pops doesn't necessarily do some baring in the sizzling  scenes, but the camera can work  onders, and the extra flesh can make many a red-blooded male's imagination run wild.

Dubbed as one of the sexiest women hereabouts, Pops defines sexy, not  so much as going nude, but as an attitude, a "way of carrying yourself."

It shows in the way your eyes move, the way you tease or play around  with the camera. That, to Pops, is sexy.

As if her daring self is not enough in Gusto Ko Nang Lumigaya, Pops wants to take the act further – this time by playing the mistress, for a  change. No longer the suffering wife who gets fooled, beaten to a pulp and made mincemeat of, Pops now
wants to play vixen – scheming, mean, downright different.

For starters, she says "I already have a role model."

But she's not telling who she is. One can only hazard a guess: Is it someone she knows, someone close to

Whoever she is, Pops knows one thing: she wants to explore her world as an actress some more.

De los Reyes, who has directed Pops since her sugary Stupid Cupid days, nods assent: "The maturity is  there. The time is ripe."

This is Pops' green light, her sign that the road is open and she can start her journey toward being the  actress she wants to become – daring though her image will be.


POPS wins the Female Star of the Night and  Best Musical Variety Show Female Host in the recently  concluded  PMPC Star Awards for TV  last Oct 7, 2000.

      Pops  with Kris Aquino