After the secret wedding of pop superstar Sarah Geronimo and actor-sportsman Matteo Guidicelli last February 20, fans of the couple asked why they kept everything a secret, and quite in a rush.
Until a scuffle during the reception involving Sarah’s mother, Divine Geronimo, who allegedly disapproved the union, explained everything that the couple wanted to do—to keep things low-key to avoid such a confrontation.
Photo from Instagram (@matteog)
Immediately, social media erupted with a frenzy, taking sides on Matteo, the strong-willed husband who only wanted the best for her fiancee; on Sarah, who some said was already old enough to decide on her life, away from the shadow of her parents; or on Mommy Divine, who just wanted to protect her child from everything that proved a threat to their family.
Are mothers naturally over-protective?
This was the question that became the main subject for debate. Life Coach Ellen Perez explained in Magandang Buhay why mothers act so over-protective of their daughters or children: “'Di maiiwasan talagang ayaw pa rin ng biyenan kahit sabihin mo na lang perfect [ng partner], close to perfect.” She also mentions jealousy, and worrying about an unforeseeable future as key factors. “Dahil na rin ito, una, sa selos. Selos, at pangalawa, yung takot na pagdating ng araw, may mangyaring hindi maganda, at mauwi lang sa pagkasira ng pamilya nung anak niya.”
The unwavering concern of Mommy Divine for Sarah possibly lies on the fear that someone so important to her might get hurt without her in Sarah’s radar. “Natatakot tayong mawalay, magkaroon ng sariling desisyon, magkaroon ng ibang buhay ang ating mga anak.”
Photo from Twitter (@sgxish)
Sadly, being overprotective is also a product of distrust. “Ang mga magulang, kumbaga, naiisip niya na ‘yung anak niya hindi kakayanin,” Coach Perez continues. “Hindi siya ganoong lubusang nagtitiwala sa anak niya, hindi niya kakayanin ‘tong buhay na may asawa, o hindi niya kakayanin na magluto o magdesisyon, dahil noong pinalalaki ko siya, ganoon siya.“
Mommy Carol chimes in
In an Inquirer Teleradyo interview, Judy Ann Santos’ mom Carol had a few words to say about mommy Divine at the height of the controversy. “At the end of the day, ang isipin mo ay ang kaligayahan ng anak mo, hindi yung kaligayahan mo. Kasi ikaw, paalis ka na sa mundo. Itong mga anak mo, paumpisa pa lang, so you always wish them the best na mangyayari sa buhay nila.”
The Santos family, together with Judy Ann’s husband Ryan Agoncillo, is good friends with Sarah and Matteo.
Mommy Carol adds: "Kahit nga ayaw mo ang mapapangasawa ng anak mo, the mere fact na gusto ng anak mo yun, wala kang magagawa. Kasi, ikaw ba ang pakikisamahan ng mapapangasawa? Pabayaan mo ang anak mo. Sila naman ang magiging maligaya. At the end of the day, kung magkakagulu-gulo, anak mo ang masisisi, at hindi ikaw.”
Sarah’s wedding is not the first time Mommy Divine made a strong participation in Sarah’s love life. In fact, she had been present since the first time her daughter fell in love—and got her heart broken.
The secret relationships
It was in 2009 when Sarah began her relationship with actor Rayver Cruz. The relationship, which they concealed for the most part, fell apart in 2011. It was a relationship they hid from Sarah’s parents, which meant secret dinners, covert meetups, and other strange ways of communicating with each other.
In an ANCX article, it was also reported that Sarah’s friend, actress Maja Salvador, pretended to give her a Christmas gift that was actually from Rayver, so it would not catch Mommy Divine’s attention.
Photo from Instagram (@lhabsyu)
After her heartbreak from Rayver, Sarah was rumored to be dating movie co-actor Gerald Anderson. In 2012, Sarah revealed to have received a necklace as a Christmas gift from Gerald. Many gestures coming from both Sarah and Gerald suggested a blossoming romance. Fans were happy that Sarah was becoming more carefree about her lovelife, and even caught her calling Gerald ‘babe’.
Photo from Instagram (@yumiyumers)
While the two were getting deeper into their relationship, Mommy Divine advised her daughter who was 24 that time to avoid choosing the dictates of heart.
READ: Gerald Anderson denies 'secret relationship' with Sarah Geronimo
Gerald then stopped pursuing Sarah in 2012, after six months of courtship. Fans speculated that Sarah’s parents allegedly talked to Gerald, telling him to do the courting inside their house.
In an interview with ABS-CBN News, Mommy Divine defined the right man for her daughter: ““Yung masasandalan niya for life, intellectually and spiritually. 'Yung sana habambuhay, hindi siya iiwan.”
Photo from Instagram (@ashraldmovies)
In 2013, Sarah revealed in Tonight with Boy Abunda that her parents never approved of any man in her life. The 25-year-old Sarah said, “Para sa akin, at 25, importante lang talaga na you have to make your own decisions, lalo na sa pag-ibig... Ngayon, hindi ka na madidiktahan kung sino ang gugustuhin mo, kung kanino ka mai-in love, kung sino ang mamahalin mo.”
Mommy Divine on the man who never left her daughter
For the first time, Sarah revealed her relationship with Matteo Guidicelli to the public in 2013. Ever since, their relationship remained low-key and private for six years out of Matteo’s respect for his then-girlfriend's family. Sarah became more vocal throughout their relationship which made Matteo very proud of her, but the couple still hinted that her parents had not totally accepted their relationship.
Photo from Instagram (@matteog)
According to the couple’s relationship counselor Letty Fuentes, there was a point when the couple resulted in a ‘cool-off’ when Sarah would get confused because of her parents’ non-acceptance.
Photo from Instagram (@sarah_geronimo25)
Nevertheless, a different Sarah Geronimo finally emerged when she had the courage to break free, and married Matteo even without her parents’ blessing. Even then, Mommy Divine still showed up at the reception, ready to make a scene.
In an ABS-CBN News report, Fuentes recalled an outraged Mommy Divine: “Traydor kayo!’ Sigaw-sigaw, ang lakas talaga. Meron pa yatang nagmura or something.” Fuentes showed her bruises, saying she got them when she and Sarah fell to the floor while trying to stop Mommy Divine.
Despite the scuffle and the evidently present disapproval of Sarah’s parents, Matteo managed to pen a meaningful Instagram post where he confirmed that he got married to the Popstar Princess—and that he was looking forward to healing and peace. “In time, with God’s grace and Love, everything will heal and fall into place."
Photo from Instagram (@matteog)
While mothers will always be nurturing and protective of their children, love—both the romantic and familial kinds—will always conquer all.