Physical abuse in a relationship often starts gradually, such as a push or a slap, and it becomes worse over time. Most people in abusive relationships think twice before speaking up or going to the authorities, and who can blame them? They're scared, and they feel helpless. It's also disheartening to note that even when women (or men!) do decide to speak up and file legal action against their abusers, most cases take years to solve.


Over the last few years, a number of local female celebrities who experienced physical abuse spoke up about what they went through. It's time to revisit their stories.

1. Janella Salvador

On October 24, 2018, in an interview for The Philippine Star with Ricky Lo, Janella Salvador claimed that Elmo Magalona physically hurt her while under the influence of alcohol. When it first happened, she forgave him and he promised that he wouldn’t do it again. However, it allegedly did happen again, this time during a party hosted by Janella’s friend.

Janella said, “For two years, I focused on Elmo and myself. This time, I am giving more attention to myself. He hurt me and I cannot, can never tolerate that.”

Elmo has not yet released a statement regarding the issue.

2. Sunshine Cruz

In her tell-all interview with PEP, Sunshine Cruz detailed a long history of emotional abuse and incidents of physical abuse throughout her marriage to Cesar Montano. Sunshine also claimed that she was attacked and raped by Cesar on Mother’s Day 2013—a claim which he denies.


Their annulment was granted in September 2018 and Sunshine has filed cases against Cesar. Here's what Sunshine said about her ex-husband: "Kung meron mang pinagpapasalamat sa kanya—lumakas ako, naging matapang, natuto akong lumaban, hindi ko nagagawa 'yun noon! At, siyempre, binigyan niya ako ng tatlong mga anak."

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3. Ruffa Gutierrez

Ruffa Gutierrez opened up about her experience as a battered wife on the television show Rated K on March 8, 2009. The television host and former beauty queen shared that despite the fact that her former husband Yilmaz Bektas physically abused her, she was afraid to go to the police since she was living in a foreign country.

The couple got divorced in 2007. Ruffa's advice? "Importanteng mahalin mo ang sarili mo. If something happens—kung sinasaktan ka—it's best to speak out. Call a friend. Call anyone and get help."


4. Barbie Imperial

In a series of now-deleted social media posts, actress Barbie Imperial shared alarming photos of her body with bruises. She also posted a tweet on July 14, 2018 saying, "Girls, just because mahal niyo ang isang tao pero sinasaktan kayo physically, hindi pwedeng patuloy 'yan. HINDI TAMA MANAKIT NG BABAE PHYSICALLY."

After deleting the controversial posts, Barbie tweeted the words, "Be strong."

5. Jennylyn Mercado

On December 2014, actress and proud single mom Jennylyn Mercado shared that she suffered severe physical abuse from her stepfather when she was a child and it came to a point where her aunt had to take her away from their home to protect her.

Recalling the painful memories, Jennylyn shared that there were times when she wouldn't be able to get out of bed, that she was literally black and blue. "Yung likod ko pinaplantsa tapos pinapaso ako ng cigarette. Tapos kapag pinaso na niya ako ng cigarette, di ba lolobo siya, pipisain niya iyon. Gusto talaga niya nang nakakasakit, ganon.” (The Philippine Star)


6. Claudine Barretto

In 2013, Claudine Barretto revealed that her ex Raymart Santiago had been abusing her since 2002. She filed a case against him, detailing Raymart's "physical, sexual, psychological, and economic" abuse, with photos showing her wounds and medical certificates as proof.

According to PEP, Claudine declared, "My life with [Raymart] was a vicious cycle of violence, abuse, battery, and exploitation. During the years I have been with him, I have been in constant fearful state of mind, because I was repeatedly abused and controlled over a period of time. Now, it's time, with all my horrendous experiences in the hands of my husband... Today, I am breaking my silence. I have decided to stop and end the abuse and violence and make my husband criminally and civilly liable for all his actions."


If you're in an abusive relationship, feel free to reach out and ask for help from the following hotlines:


Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)
Batasan Pambansa Complex, Quezon City
Tel. No.: (02)931-8101 to 07

DSWD –NCR Ugnayan Pag-asa Crisis Intervention Center
Legarda, Manila
Tel. No.: (02) 734-8639/ 734-8654/ 734-8626 to 27

Philippine National Police (PNP)
Camp Crame, Quezon City
Tel. No.: 723-0401 to 20

PNP-Women and Children Protection Center (WCPC)
Camp Crame, Quezon City
Tel. No.: 410-3213

NBI-Violence Against Women and Children Desk (VAWCD)
Taft Avenue, Manila
Tel. No.: 523-8231 to 38 / 525-6028

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This story originally appeared on

* Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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