Vernetta Lopez and Mark Richmond playing masak-masak (with bonus review!)

From ‘Illicit affair off air’, 26 August 2012, article by Akshita Nanda, Sunday Times Lifestyle

…In Memoirs Of A DJ, published by Marshall Cavendish, Lopez reveals that Richmond had wanted to call the wedding off days before the ceremony, and she had refused, fearing public embarrassment. She wrote in the book: “Because little 26-year-old me was worried about the public fallout. What would they say? How could I possibly walk around after that? How would I ever buy nasi lemak in a food court again?”

According to her, she could not see or did not want to admit that there was no connection with Richmond, that they were two kids who were merely playing masak masak. Their relationship dissolved not long after the honeymoon and the book described how she became suspicious of his relationship with another woman, identified only as B in the book,and found an illicit love note in his car when Richmond was away filming.

The note was filled with sweet nothings that only an intimate partner would say, she recalled in the book, including the words “…I can still smell you on my pillow…”

…She later followed Richmond secretly and saw him on a date with the other woman. Even then, she could not make herself ask for a clean break. Instead, she cried in solitude or in front of her make-up assistants.

…Lopez stresses that her autobiography is not intended to lash out at her former husband, even though she is aware that many readers will flip immediately to the pages about her first marriage.

“It’s definitely not revenge. It’s just what happened. If I’m going to do my memoirs, it would be silly not to mention it…..People know who I am, but they don’t really know about my personal life. I thought, let people get to know me a little bit more and let them see if they’ve known me at all.” She says she was initially hesitant to write about her first marriage and its breakdown, but then decided “people are expecting to read it. If you’re going to write about your life, write about your life.”

“My mistake throughout that time was to keep it to myself, I was totally isolated,” she adds, as her sister silently takes her hand.

“But I don’t want to hurt people’s feelings. I’m not about to take a dagger and stab it in someone’s back and destroy a family. All I’m saying is, this is what I went through.

“At the end of the day, I’m very happy for him, he has a wife and a kid and his career’s doing okay.

The only other Singaporean public figure I could think of to write ‘MEMOIRS’ is Lee Kuan Yew. Despite being a veteran in the media business, you’d need to be of a certain calibre, maybe age, before you may even qualify to describe what’s essentially a tatter tale’s gimmick as a collection of ‘memoirs’.  It’s not like she desperately needed the money to sell books, and although she insists that this isn’t about ‘revenge’, Vernetta seems to have forgotten that both of them are already happily married, herself to a British IT guy and Mark to a pro-gay NMP hopeful with a 5 year old kid Sol . Beatrice and Mark presumably met on the set of Triple 9 in 1998, playing LOVERS, when Richmond’s marriage was already ‘on the rocks’.

What started out as a concerned friend turned into ugly ‘the other woman’ finger-pointing. No surprises that they got together so soon (married in 2004) after the divorce, a celebrity script uncannily similar to Hollywood’s most famous love triangle (Brad and Angelina were LOVERS in Mr and Mrs Smith, Beatrice even behaves like an Angelina Jolie in some aspects). Interestingly, Mark himself previously played Denise’s boyfriend in ‘Under one Roof’, while both Vernetta and Beatrice were co-actors in the 2001 flop ‘Now Boarding’.

In a 2009 interview, she had this to say about her previous marriage:

Any lessons you’re carrying over from your previous marriage (Her seven-year marriage to Mark Richmond ended in 2004)?

Don’t be the stereotypical needy chick. You just chill and enjoy the relationship. Hold it back a little, man! Not that I was needy before, but I think I became needy after that. I’ve never been in such a tolerant, understanding, fun, relaxed sort of relationship, where you feel comfortable to say anything.

We take it that the chapter of life with Mark is closed?

People always ask. It’s so closed. You do your own thing, I do my own thing. There are no hard feelings or anything anymore. I’ve definitely closed the book on that one.

Er, no Vernetta. You literally WROTE a whole needy BOOK to remind everyone about it. Someday even little Sol is going to get his hands on your book and uncover dirty secrets about Daddy.

Whether it’s a sly publicity stunt or some form of self-victimising ‘autobiography-therapy’, she appears to have refused to let bygones be bygones, and you could feel the searing heat of the dagger in Beatrice Chia’s back when Vernetta used the painfully obvious ‘B’ in her account of the affair. The divorce was already swirling with rumours of the involvement of a ‘third party’, which both denied at the time. But perhaps the way the article was framed says a lot about ST’s lust for gossip as well. Little effort was made in pitching the actual BOOK itself, but rather spilling the beans on a celebrity marriage gone wrong and putting everyone involved in a bad light, despite the ex-couple still being annoyingly cordial to each other, maybe even exchanging gifts and buddy-hugs every Christmas.

In 2007, she was cast as an ‘unhappy woman stuck in a dysfunctional marriage’ in a Channel 5 anthology called Stories of Love. Maybe that didn’t help her deal with her ex because her reel-life groom then was comedian Gurmit Singh. Earlier in 2003, 2 years after the break-up, she was cast in ‘Ceciliation’ as a mother struggling with her husband’s INFIDELITY. She won an Asian Television award for ‘BEST DRAMA PERFORMANCE by an actress’, which suits the DRAMA queen manner in which she’s handling her divorce. Maybe all this vicarious acting has whetted her appetite for finally telling the truth, even if it’s only one person’s side of the story.

Maybe the Richmonds are consulting their own publisher as we speak. They could sneak in a response to Vernetta’s bawling expose amid their Grandfather stories, and call it MEMOIRS of a DJ/ACTOR/PRESENTER/COMMENTATOR. I just hope serial DJ-husband Glenn Ong doesn’t get any ideas. Maybe Vernetta’s ex-husband was indeed a total scoundrel and philanderer but there’s no reason to call him out, dig up the past and package it as a sob-story for money. Instead of calling her book ‘Memoirs of a DJ’ and ripping off a Geisha epic, I think ‘V for Vernetta’ would be more appropriate.

Postscript: Following some nasty feedback about how unfair I have been to Vernetta since the post was based on her media interview and not on the actual pages off her book, I decided to head down to Kinokuniya to check it out myself. Surprisingly, Memoirs wasn’t front entrance promo stock, and I took at least 15 minutes just to locate it inconspicuously stacked along one of the quieter info counters (I couldn’t find a ‘Local series’ section. The only local author on display was LKY). Skimming through the chapters, I found them more like essays than a linear timeline of her life from childhood to second marriage. Her tone was exactly like what you would expect from her character on air, sharp, bitchy, even witty. Yes, Vernetta is funny. I said it. Case in point, she excused Mark’s habit of ‘bringing his phone into the toilet with him’ on the basis that ‘reception is better when the toilet flushes’. LOL.

The chapter on everyone’s mind was titled ‘The dark years’ and it started off bleak, about how V was unsure about the relationship and had to consult her mom, who told her that she could still change her mind before wedding day. Then came the rumours of Mark and Beatrice getting too close for comfort in their scenes together as actors, followed by a self-destructive spell of loathing, niggling doubt (felt like ‘strangers on their honeymoon’) and picking up SMOKING. She even had a table of excuses and lies that Mark had presumably told her, of note one about his filming a movie with a ‘famous director’ that either never existed or bombed so bad it just disappeared. The only mention of ‘B’ came when she was snooping around her husband’s stuff, and found the love note, which, as V wrote, ‘was signed off as ‘B’. It was a piercingly shrewd way of pointing fingers, while ‘telling it like it is’. When confronted, ‘B’ came over to ‘explain’ that the pillow story was taken off some literature to ‘console’ her husband who needed to feel loved again. V thought it was priceless. I call it Occupational Hazard.

I had to flip to the last few chapters on the ‘revelation’, when V, with the help of some friends (or relatives, I can’t remember) ‘staked out’ Mark after work, spotting him and B in each other arms, heads nudged together, and him peeking into her car window supposedly ‘kissing her goodnight’. Game over then, with V going ‘I want a divorce’ at the end of it. Interestingly, other than the ‘B’ reference, no names were mentioned in her account. It wasn’t sleazy at all, and although it did seem a little whiny, was over-CAPPED and tends to overplay female empowerment (V worships Oprah), it was actually entertaining enough for me to finish the chapter in one piece. It was snappy, effortless prose and to pay the compliment further, actually worthy of a second flip, though I skipped those BFF moments with Gurmit Singh.

It’s still one side of the story, but for you all know it could have been a restrained narrative when far worse things could have happened in the affair. I would give V credit for her writing style, for putting a witty spin on something gone horribly wrong, but for making public something that happened years ago, for not letting go, even if she had every damn right to spit on her ex’s new family, I still think it isn’t exactly a discerning thing to do. I also think her new Brit husband better watch his back. Memoirs is both a jibe at her ex and love rival, and a stern warning to her current hubby. I bet he keeps it in the office bookcase to remind himself not to mess with his tenacious wife every single day.

So V isn’t going to win the ‘Revenge Sleaze Book Prize’, but someone thinks she’ll get a Pulitzer. When hell freezes over, that is.

29 Responses

  1. V fr Vernetta? Surely u mean V for Vendetta, surely?🙄

    • V for Vernetta is an intentional pun of the comic/movie title. She would run into copyright issues if it were V for Vendetta ha

  2. A slight factual error: Vernetta actually won the Asian TV Award for best drama actress for Ceciliation. It wasn’t a Mediacorp award. So for that one year, she was the best actress in all of Asian TV.

    • Thanks. Corrected, and wondering why she didn’t make more of her talent for acting as a woman scorned.

  3. Vernetta, i am a man but I can empathise with you. It really hurts to see your man cheating behind your back. How could B get involved when she knew he was married. I am glad you had put the past behind you and moved on. I am happy that you are married.

  4. […] Celebrity GossipVernetta Lopez and Mark Richmond playing masak-masak From ‘Illicit affair off air’, 26 August 2012, article by Akshita Nanda, Sunday Times Lifestyle […]

  5. I’d buy the book! Not because I want to know sordid details of any sort. I just often wondered what happened to Vernetta as a person and Mark as another person as I only saw them on Under One Roof years ago on SBS (TV Sation) in Astralia. I didn’t know they were even dating let alone get married.
    I like reading biographies and I have read 2 books of Mr Lee Kwan Yew’s. So why not Vernetta’s?
    Best wishes Vernetta….I’m happy for you.

  6. Bravo!!! I like STRONG WOMEN who able to speak about her broken marriage.

  7. gdy2shoez,
    I agree with your well-balanced reflections and comments.

    Vernetta is quoted in web-link
    having written in her book Memoirs Of A DJ, that
    “lucky, they get to keep most of their money in divorce settlement”
    implies that she didn’t get a sizeable sum of money in settlement.

    However, I am aware that she was awarded 50% of Brian’s inheritance he received from his father, derived from his father’s sale of property. Now, Brian inherited more than $1 million SGD. So Vernetta got at least $500,000 SGD, if not more, in divorce settlement cash. On the contrary, she got to keep quite a bit of Brian’s money in that divorce settlement.

    Not having read Vernetta Lopez’s book (and like you, I would not buy her book), I wonder whether what she wrote in her book, in comparison to the ST article was as she put it, “I think the article was way more harsh than what I wrote in the book! Geez!” as is cited in an extract from Vern’s Blog shown below:

    Monday, August 27, 2012

    I just read the article in ST and thanks to them for the review. Just wanted to clarify a few things:

    A.The headline was a bit misleading. They should have put ‘EX’ in front of ‘Husband.’

    B.The book, contrary to what the article focused on, is not just about the divorce. The book is just a fun look at me, with (hopefully) some funny stories, that you can look back on and enjoy again.

    C.I don’t mention the ex’s name when it came to stories about the divorce. Many people might not even have known who the hell I was talking about – until of course this article came out. I think the article was way more harsh than what I wrote in the book! Geez!

    D.There are WAY more stories about every other,well, random thing that I’ve experienced, so I do wish it was something that covered more of the book, and not just all the chapters.

    But end of the day, it was a review of my book, and hey, it’s their take, but I just wanted to clarify some things:)

    Memoirs of a DJ – Life in Progress is available at all major bookstores!

    via Memoirs Of A DJ.

  8. Vernetta Lopez received a sizeable cash sum in divorce settlement, I’m sure. Now she want’s more cash (and most certainly not so her readers will discover more about her) by writing about her divorce her memoirs.

    I’ll label that book V for Vindictive, or V for Vicious, as being more appropriate.

    • A bit harsh there!!!
      It is her memoirs, her life and she is just sharing it. Takes courage to even put something so personal out there. Takes courage to even admit that one as stuffed up. Takes a whole lot more courage to actually say I didn’t have the courage to call off the wedding!
      Let’s not be so judgemental.

      • there’s always 2 sides to a story guys. we’ve only heard vernetta’s story. it always takes 2 people to make a marriage work.

        she states in her book that “the relationship dissolved not long after the HONEYMOON”. so she cried in solitude and in front of makeup artistes for 7 years?

        geez, mark’s son is already FIVE years old for goodness sake. the couple married in 2004. that’s 8 years ago. you’d think people would let it go by now. seems to me like she hasn’t (let it go).

        on the other hand… how does vern’s new husband feel about all of this?

      • i doubt it’s just sharing. if anyone’s been listening to her on her radio show, she’s been bad mouthing him since the ST article came out. if there are “way more stories” in the book, why hasn’t she been mentioning the rest of the chapters? people need to be more aware and be less of a keyboard-warrior.

  9. So Beatrice Chia got a husband by seducing another woman’s husband. OMG ! Shameless singaporean woman ! That is why I wonder why ugly Beatrice can get Mark Richmond who is not quite handsome due to angmoh heritage. Beatrice Chia is too UGLY for Mark. Look at Beatrice’s long face (her face is too long, far away from cute ! ) Look at Beatrice’s ugly ptosis chinese eyes. Typical chinese eyes without double eyelid . That is why Beatrice stole Mark from Vernetta…. OMG ! OMG ! Beatrice … u are VERY BAD & UGLY chinese woman to me.

  10. Beatrice chia = ugly chinese woman. Face is too long, eyes are too small with fat surrounding the eyelid (PTOSIS. Pls google if u don’t know)

    Wanting handsome angmoh husband, she seduced someone else’s husband.

    Now she is very happy to have one son from Mark Richmond. It is good that Vernetta published a book so that we all can know the ugly truth.

    I wonder whter Beatrice Chia would like to share Mark Richmond with me. I also want an angmoh husband…er… boyfriend like hers.

    As she took him from other woman, now can I do the same thing ?

    Can your husband fuck me & give me a baby girl pls ?

  11. Don’t know who is the keyboard-warrior here, Keeping it Real!!!

  12. I don’t think she’s much of a veteran in the industry as a DJ/actress to even come out with a book like this. Being already married to someone and claimed that she moved on, maybe she should be concentrating on her new life instead of harping on whatever that has happened years ago. I’m sure no one really remembered or bothered about this until she came along with this book and interview. I definitely agree with gdy2shoez, not a book that’s worth a space in my shelves I reckon.

  13. for someone who thinks that it is not worth your time to read vernetta’s memoirs, it is rather ironic that you would spend the time writing a blog post about it. And for someone who seem to think that she is not worth your time, you do have an awful lot of information on her. Again, another irony. But perhaps the bigger question is whether we should be gracious to other rather than being unneccessarily harsh. Whether Vernetta should write her memoirs is not for us to decide; but once she decided on that path, then yes, she cannot ignore that part of her past. Do we really think it is much better to think the worst of others, to think that the world is more depressing than it already is? And do we have to use harsh language on other characters in the plot?

    • Realised the irony too. Just like it’s ironic how one can say she”s happy for an ex but chooses to expose his cheating ways in a memoir. I also did not use the exact words ‘Not worth my time’, but I’d have to admit it’s not so much V herself that I give a hoot abt but rather her rltp with other celebrities. Like anyone else who buys this basically.

      It would also be an irony that by writing about her I may be inadvertently plugging the book, which would mean V would have the last laugh , so be it then. Yes the world is a depressing place but apparently not as depressing as someone’s love life enough for her to write about it and I have nothing to add as to whether what she did was ‘gracious’ to characters im her plot. After all being nice alone doesn’t sell bios. Kim Jong Ils memoirs would outsell the Pope’s. But I digress.

      • Just wondering if you actually read her book….
        Or….were you just basing your opinion on the article?
        Whoops….you did say you wouldn’t read it…..perhaps you may if it was given to you for free?!

      • I just read a bit of it. See comments in updated post. And no, I still wouldn’t buy it.

      • Perhaps you should read her book before commenting. All you’ve heard is bits and pieces from the media which I might add has the tendency to ‘sensationalise’ things. So before having a go at Vernetta and assuming that its ‘all’ about her divorce, you might want to research it yourself before going on a rampage. Afterall, your credibility is at stake here. You haven’t even read the book, for God’s sake, how can you comment?
        Anyone can write a memoir, its their prerogative. You can too.

      • I could write a memoir but I don’t have a celebrity scandal to spice it up. So I took up your challenge and went to see for myself what the chapter was all about. See ‘review’ in updated post.

    • Hear! Hear!

  14. do u have a problem with her? why do you sound like the whiny bitchy asshole instead?

  15. maybe this is her way to close her dark chapter in her life. sometimes it took years to realise it’s not really over until we got the revenge we want.. the result may not be as sweet.. but she can say it’s over now. if next time she talk about it again.. then she should see her doctor.

  16. Akshita Nanda – fat, ugly, loveless virgin left on the shelf who has never had a boyfriend in her life but will be more than happy to strip naked just to have a man throw a glance her way, even if the man already has a woman on his arm.

    Please lah, Akshita, have you taken a look in the mirror recently?

    The book was fine. I read it all.

    It was funny.

    I think you are the bitch here. Not to mention fat bitch.

    Known you since school, so don’t kaopei Lopez’ fan. She’s a nobody but her book was cordial, sincere and witty.

    What do YOU write? Other than lousy fat essays. Yawn.

  17. You object to her book on moral grounds, you’re taking what she says at face value and using her position to tear her down? If you don’t want people to air your dirty laundry, DON’T wrong others. She has every right to speak out.

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