Anyone with access to local TV in the early aughts would have seen beauty queen-slash-actress Ruffa Gutierrez marry Turkish businessman Yilmaz Bektas in a lavish fairytale-like wedding in 2003. But as most of us know, their marriage was tumultuous and marred by intrigue in the succeeding years. The couple officially split up in 2007.
Fast forward 14 years later in 2021, Ruffa is thriving in her acting career, successfully raising her two teen daughters Lorin and Venice, and is newly single after her six-year relationship with her French-Israeli boyfriend Jordan Mouyal. Life couldn't be better for Ruffa, and in fact, things with her estranged ex-husband are seemingly looking up. In a report by PEP.ph, Ruffa spoke to the press on February 15 about reconnecting with Yilmaz. "Si Yilmaz lang yung lalaki na hanggang ngayon, iniiyakan ko pa rin," she said.
"Kasi may anak kami. At yung sa amin ni Yilmaz kasi, malalim. May dalawang anak kami. In seven to nine years na magkasama kami—nagpakasal kami, nagkaroon kami ng dalawang anak, lumipat ako ng ibang bansa, iniwan ko yung career ko, iniwan ko yung pamilya ko, naghiwalay kami. Ang daming ganap in those years. And siya yung klaseng pain na gusto mo nang kalimutan at ibaon sa lupa. Na ayaw mo nang maramdaman yung klaseng pain na 'yon. Kasi iniwan ko siya na mahal na mahal ko pa rin siya. Pero mas mahal ko yung sarili ko. 'Yon ang nangyari sa amin, e. Hindi naman dahil nag-fall out of love ako sa kanya. It's more of...I had to learn how to love myself first."
Ruffa went on to reveal that she and Yilmaz recently spoke on the phone with each other and it was quite an emotional conversation. In spite of their shared painful past, the two decided to co-parent for their children's sake, and hopefully, for Yilmaz to help rebuild his relationship with his daughters whom he hasn't seen in 13 years. And according to Ruffa, Yilmaz has plans to visit the Philippines this June.
"And now, nag-uusap kami. Nag-uusap kami ni Yilmaz ulit, and nare-realize niya that time is so precious. That we're getting old na, and he wants to spend time with the kids. So, sabi ko kay Yilmaz…let's try to be co-parents to our children first, you know. Kasi hanggang ngayon, ako daw ang pinaka-greatest love niya."
"Siyempre, talagang mahirap talaga akong kalimutan," Ruffa added with her signature humor.
Although Ruffa and Yilmaz do talk once or twice a year, it was when he called her during her lock-in taping for Stay-In Love that they seriously talked about their children.
"Minsan, mahaba at reminiscing iyong usapan namin. Minsan, nag-aaway kami. Minsan, nagsusumbatan kami. Ganun yung stage namin. Pero nung naka-lock in ako sa Stay-In Love, tumawag siya. And 'yon...parang pinag-usapan namin yung mga bata. Pinag-usapan namin ang past namin. The thing is, every time I talk to Yilmaz, I always end up crying. The pain in my heart talaga, ganun kalalim…So, nag-reconnect kami…And, I think Yilmaz is ready to see us again. Let's see what's gonna happen."
Ruffa closed off the topic by sharing that Yilmaz is her "greatest love" but remains to be hopeful in finding her "forever love," just like her parents Annabelle Rama and Eddie Gutierrez: "Si Yilmaz ang greatest love ko. Pero ang pinaka-excited na excited ako, kung sino ang magiging forever love ko. The one that I’m gonna grow old with. Hindi naman ibig sabihin, greatest love mo, iyon ang makakasama mo habambuhay. Hindi.
"So, I'm excited for that chapter na sinong kasama ko? Ang peg ko kasi, mommy and daddy ko, e. They've been together for 50 years and through it all, they're still together. I don't think I'll live another 50 years. Pero sana, the next 30 years, meron akong kasama hanggang dulo. Kung sino naman iyon, it's either baka nakilala ko na siya, at nagbabalik siya, or nakilala ko siya ulit recently. Or baka hindi ko pa siya nakilala at all. Hindi natin masasabi. Only time will tell. And for me, what's meant to be, is gonna happen, 'di ba?"
Totally rooting for you, Ruffa! XOXO