Published on page F1 of the August 25, 2006 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer
JACKIE FORSTER HAS YET to introduce her three-month-old son to her two children by ex-husband Benjie Paras.
In an exclusive interview with Inquirer Entertainment last week, Jackie said she last saw her kids by Benjie -- Andre, 10 and Coby, 8 -- when she was eight months pregnant with Jerry, her son by another man.
?I bumped into them at the mall,? Jackie recounted. ?I hugged them, but they were kind of aloof. That was just for five minutes. I don?t know what Benjie tells them. I don?t want to force myself on them; I might scare them away.?
Jackie said the last time she really spent time with the boys was in January 2004. ?Benjie won?t let me see them anymore,? she said. "I wish we could sit down and talk about our problems for the the kids? sake. Ayaw n?ya, e.?
Under the terms of their annulment, Jackie has visitation rights.
?I?ve tried calling up the boys, seeing them in school,? she said. ?But Benjie would not allow it."
She denied that their separation was caused by another man. ?That was just Benjie?s press release,? Jackie insisted. But she admitted dating other men after the split.
?I was with Joey Marquez for a while, way before Kris (Aquino),? admitted Jackie. ?My relationship with Joey overlapped with his relationship with Kris. When that was over, I dated another man who was not from show biz. That was it, until I met this other man and got pregnant accidentally.?
Jackie would not divulge the identity of her youngest son?s father.
?He left when I told him I was pregnant," she said. To me, that was a pleasant surprise. He was just a con man.?
Her third pregnancy was difficult, Jackie said. She was in and out of hospitals for rashes, abnormal breathing, and other ailments. She dilated at six-and-a-half months, and had to take a bed rest.
?I was very scared,? she recalled.
When she finally delivered, the baby had an infection in the heart and lungs and had to be in an incubator for 12 days.
For three months, she struggled to keep the baby well. Hospital bills ate up her savings, so Jackie had to find work again. Recently, she signed up with Viva Artists to resume her stalled career.
?The last movie I made was ?Sa Huling Paghihintay? with Rica Peralejo and Bernard Palanca,? she said. ?That was about three years ago. I?d like to be active again. I?ve lost my teenage years to motherhood. Not that I regret that, but I have to get back on my feet and work again.?
At 26, she?s not too old to do that.