For those who know Harlene Bautista and Romnick Sarmenta from their That’s Entertainment days, today’s news will probably sadden you: the couple has announced they are separating after 19 years of marriage.
In a joint statement issued to Pep.ph, Harlene and Romnick said that they are appealing for privacy following their announcement.
“Romnick and I have five beautiful children, whom we love and treasure very much — we have spent many years together as best friends and partners in everything that we have done. Even more so in raising our family,” read the statement.
Though they are parting ways, the former couple said that will “always be great friends if not the best of friends.” They also want nothing but happiness for each other, noting they’ve always had the greatest respect and mutual love for one another.
Romnick and Harlene, who has always kept their family and personal life private, also said the joint statement served as the first and the last time they will talk about the separation. They hope that their fans, friends, and family will refrain from making more comments that may end up hurting or offending not only them, but most especially their five children.
The news does come as a big surprise to fans who saw their marriage as inspiration. In media interviews, they always get asked about about the secrets to their relationship.
In 2016, SmartParenting.com.ph was able to sit down and talk with the couple during the launch of Salu, their family-friendly restaurant in Quezon City. At the time, they were out showbiz limelight, busy with raising five kids (Abijah, Seki, Bo, Merel, and Yuwela) and running their own production company aside from the restaurant and various other businesses.
Though it’s been said that getting into business with your better half is a bad idea, Harlene and Romnick were not fazed at all. “We really support each other. Whatever endeavor that I want to get into, sinusuportahan niya talaga. And most of the time naman, pareho kami ng interests. I think that’s what makes us successful in a way,” Harlene shared.
They apply the same teamwork and dedication to raising their kids. “We encourage honesty; they can talk about anything with us,” Romnick said.
The couple also emphasized putting the family first — even with two teenagers who have plans of their own, the kids always make sure that hanging out with their barkadas don’t get in the way of family time.
In a previous interview with Pep.phalso in 2016, Harlene said that the secret to their marriage was because they married for the right reason. “Gusto namin na kami ‘yung magkasama habang buhay, hanggang pagtanda.”
“Yung kilig nawawala talaga ‘yan. So kami, alam namin, siya ‘yung gusto kong makasama habambuhay.”
The mom of five also said then that she believes in forever. “Sa amin pa lang meron na,” she had said with a laugh.
Back in 2014, Romnick told Pep.ph the key to their lasting marriage was being faithful to each other. “’Yung tukso kasi, nandun ‘yon. Nangyari na sa amin ‘yon nung bago pa lang, tinawagan ko talaga siya at sinabi ko sa kanya na nahihirapan ako nang malayo. Kasi ang dami talagang tukso [pero] kailangan mong umiwas at maging totoo sa asawa mo.”
The couple has kept mum on the reasons surrounding their separation, and their plans moving forward, but it seems that they have been separated for a while even before issuing a statement. “Neither he nor I wish to speak at length about the matter, seeing as to how we had been able to keep the fact for as long as we have,” the statement read.