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'I Didn't Realize It's Been 15 Years': Ruffa Tells Vicki Belo Why Daughters Only Reunited With Dad Now
PHOTO BY INSTAGRAM /ILOVERUFFAG (LEFT) AND VICTORIA_BELO (RIGHT)
  • Actress Ruffa Guttierez was noticeably glowing and at ease when she was interviewed by Dra. Vicki Belo in the latter’s vlog, Dr. Vicki Belo, recently. More importantly, she was unguarded and welcomed any topic the celebrity doctor threw her way. 

    Naturally, Dra. Belo opened the conversation about the recent reunion of her daughters --Lorin,18, and Venice, 17--with their dad and Ruffa’s ex-husband, Yilmaz Bektas, in Istanbul in Turkey. The former Beauty Queen said that the June reunion was a long time coming and it so happened that the perfect time has arrived. “Time heals all wounds and in God’s perfect time I think [the reunion] just came naturally already,” Ruffa tells Dra. Belo. 

    Ruffa married Yilmaz in 2003 and they separated in 2007. In the last 15 years since, Lorin and Venice have not seen their father who is based Istanbul. 

    RELATED: ‘Maybe It’s Time To Reconcile’: Ruffa Gutierrez Is Ready For Daughters To Reconnect With Estranged Dad Yilmaz

    It’s no secret that Ruffa had a ‘traumatic’ separation with Yilmaz and her hesitation to send the kids to Istanbul to be with their father was understandable. “You can’t blame me. At that point in my life I was afraid and scared dahil din sa pag hihiwalay namin …gusto kong maging safe ako, maging safe yung mga bata, and I didn’t realize it’s been 15 years,” she says. 

    “Hindi naman sa binawalan [ko silang makita ang tatay nila]. I just told Yilmaz if you want to see the kids let’s do it in a neutral country like the US or Europe–anywhere pero wag muna sa Turkey,” she adds. 

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    A reunion 3 years in the making

    Ruffa reveals that her children’s reunion with their dad has been three years in the making. She and Yilmaz would always talk about the possibility of a meeting but the ex-couple would always end up in disagreement. 

    “Everytime we try to set something up we would be fighting over the phone. He was supposed to come to the Philippines. So nagkakainitan kami and we didn’t talk for over a year,” she reveals. 

    It was a dream that Yilmaz had that finally sealed the much-awaited event. Ruffa narrates how during the Holy Week, Yilmaz dreamt of Venice and immediately asked if his daughter was doing okay and if she was going through something. When Ruffa finally mentioned this to Venice, the latter said, “Why? Give my number I’m old enough.”

    RELATED: Reunited After 15 Years: Venice and Lorin Bektas Tearfully Reconnect With Dad Yilmaz In Turkey

    Over speaker phone, while Ruffa was on a vacation with her kids, the father and daughter finally spoke to each other. Ruffa narrates that initially Venice put up a tough exterior and was set to question her dad on why he never reached out to them all these years but upon saying “hello” she says Venice started crying.  

    “So, nagusap sila. I was there when they initially had the conversion… Lahat ng hinanakit ni Venice nilabas niya talaga and she cried.”  

    That conversation ultimately led to Ruffa to allow Venice and Lorin to fly to Istanbul and be with their dad and older sister Ilknaz Lauren Bektas. The anticipated reunion was well-documented in Lorin’s vlog from their flight from Manila, the touching first meeting with their dad at the airport, to their weeklong tour in the best spots of Turkey. The two spent a total of 12 days in Turkey with their dad. 

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    RELATED: Ruffa's Daughters Lorin and Venice Have A Half-Sister In Turkey: Meet Ilknaz Lauren Bektas

    With this new development in her and her daughters’ lives, Dra. Vicki couldn’t help but ask Ruffa if she had already forgiven Yilmaz and the actress was quick to answer in the affirmative. “A long time ago Doc, I’ve forgiven him,” she says.  

    “If I was fearful I wouldn’t send them (Lorin and Venice) to Istanbul...I just felt really light about it. I said ‘God, if this is the right time for Lorin and Venice to meet their Dad, just give me a sign’ and the sign was being comfortable, being light, being at peace and para sa akin yun yung sign na hinahanap ko.”

    Now that ties have been re-established between her daughters and their father, all Ruffa wishes for are her kids’ happiness. If that means rebuilding their relationship with their Dad, then so be it. “For me, importante talaga ang happiness ng mga anak ko. They deserve to grow up with a father, so I really have to be patient, have a lot of faith, and have trust in God,” she reflects. She then adds, “I know this is the start of something beautiful.” 

    RELATED: Ruffa Tells Parents With Estranged Loved Ones, 'May Your Past No Longer Block Your View Of The Present.'

    All’s well that ends well, as they say.  Surely, the public can’t wait to see what other adventures Lorin and Venice will have with their Dad in the future.

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