Claudine and Rico’s Family: The Reconciliation
In July last year, what everyone thought would never happen, did. TV and movie star Claudine Barretto and the family of Rico Yan had kissed and made up.
That was the good news, of course. After all, there had been a real romance between Claudine and Rico for the four years they were together. At the time they marked their lives as a couple, Claudine was four months shy of 19, and Rico, a few days shy of 23. They were not married and has not been affianced, but there relationship was generally seen as intense and exclusive. Certainly, there was talk of building a future with each other. They have even lived together for a time.
But then came their tempestuous breakup on March 4 2004. She, then nearly 23, was done with him; he, then nearing 27, was still smitten. She had a new suitor, he was in pain. Each of their camps—from blood relations to career associates in and out of show business—had something foul to say about the other. It was not a pretty ending.
So when the news spread in July of 2994 that the Yan’s had reconciled with Claudine, and Claudine with them, the news was highly welcome. It had been a long two years, three months, and two weeks after Rico’s death.
The Past Recalled
Rico Yan died at 10:45 in the morning of March 29 2002.
The cause of his death was established as acute hemorrhagic pancreatitis, or the inflammation of the pancreas. But because a celebrity dead is a big news, and a young celebrity dead, even bigger—it spawned wild rumors. Drugs and suicide were linked to Rico’s death.
The Yan’s had to issue a statement announcing the findings of the doctors from both the St. Luke’s Hospital and the Philippine National Police crime laboratory. There were no drugs found in his body, the statement read, and ethyl found inside him came up to the equivalent of two bottles of beer.
In any event, Rico—dead at 27—was not left home.
He was young, schooled, handsome. His family was well-connected, politically and socially. He was in show business, where his budding talent and obvious good looks had opened doors. He was also an entrepreneur, for which his de la salle marketing management degree was a definite advantage. Product endorsements, including the big Talk ‘n text, were coming in thick, and he had just made Got to believe, a hit movie.
He had money, he had fame, he has youth—the modern day’s modern celebrity. And, as always with celebrity, gossip followed.
With Rico the irony was that the ugliest and most damaging gossip to hound him in his last days would come from the very girl he had loved till the end.
The Events of the Night
On the evening of March 4 2002—or three weeks four days after Rico died—Claudine Barretto and Rico Yan had the biggest, and final, row of their four year romance.
There were just the two of them; there were no witnesses.
But soon, the papers carried feeds that the lover’s quarrel, which began at a dinner to mark their fourth anniversary as lovers and which ended in Claudine’s condominium unit, had turned violent. The feeds, all anonymous, also said that by the time they parted in the early morning hours of March 5, Rico had hit Claudine.
Indeed, she had bruises on the forehead, which she brought for treatment to the Cardinal Santos Memorial Hospital. She had photographs of the clothes and furniture in her unit in disarray.
And indeed, rico has bruises in his hand, which he brought for treatment to the same hospital. But he steadfastly denied the accusation—to his best friend, to his father-confessor, to his family.
He swore that his bruises came from hitting a closet door. He said he was trying to get out of Claudine’s condominium, but that Claudine had barred his way and demanded a confrontation, and he had shoved her aside.
Janna Victoria, a friend to both Claudine and Rico, arrived at the scene soon after receiving a call from Claudine—and the story she would later tell matched Rico’s.
To a dear friend who had sent him brief words of comfort, Rico had texted back: “Masakit ‘yong mga sinasabi nila, but with God’s help I’ll be able to come out a better and stronger man. If it’s not too much to ask, please include me in your prayers tonight.
But, because there were no witnesses to the actual fight—it was down to Claudine’s word against Rico’s.
Tension escalated when claudine’s camp floated the idea of suing Rico in court for physical injuries.
It was under such a cloud that, 25 days later, Rico would die at the Dos Palmas beach resort, in Palawan, on Good Friday of the year 2002.
At the wake, the grieving Yan barred Claudine from going near Rico’s coffin. Claudine managed to get close for the first time she visited, but not ever again after that, not even when his body being sealed in its crypt.
This, in turn, incensed the Barretto family—sending Inday Barretto, claudine’s mother, into a public harangue of the Yans.
As things grew uglier, the Yan family withdrew from the fray, issuing this statement in the YES! May 2002 issue instead:
“Since Rico’s death, our family has struggled to cope with the great loss of a beloved son, a brother and a friend. With the help of countless relatives and friends, we have achieved a level of acceptance of Rico’s demise. But we continue to hurdle the setback in our beings, which our Almighty Father has presented us. It is therefore unconscionable, to say the least that certain parties still refuse to leave our family and Rico’s soul at peace. Statements and innuendos made by the Barretto family defaming the memory of Rico and consequently tainting our name, which we, especially Rico, have protected and cared for all these years.
Rico’s life has ended, his career over. The lights are off and the curtain has fallen to conceal the silver screen where he was once appreciated and loved. We, his family, would like o keep his memory at that ad opt not to respond to any imputations used by the Barretto family to further their personal interests, they, knowing fully well that any refutations can never be given by our beloved Rico. May God’s peace reign always in our hearts.
In truth, the Barrettos and the Yan’s have not made peace. Until, that is, in June last year. By July, or a few weeks after, the public would hear the news: the two camps have reconciled.