Here are some of the most controversial moments in showbiz in 2023

Just like every year, many celebrities have been involved in different controversies in the year 2023.

Most of these controversies were breakups involving longtime couples, which affected and brought the nation to a heartbreak.

Shakeups on Philippine TV have also become controversial, specifically on noontime.

But the good news is also present as rekindled friendships sent showbiz fans into a frenzy.

There are also names who became controversial with the several issues they have been involved in this year.

As 2023 comes to a close, FreebieMNL looks back at these showbiz personalities and TV shows who made it to the headlines in 2023.

Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla

It all started as a rumor in November 2023 that Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla had already broken up after being together for 11 years.

There was even a report that an alleged third party entered the scene, causing the breakup.

Daniel first debunked the rumor by reposting Kathryn’s daring Preview magazine cover on his social media accounts. Later that month, they were also spotted partying with other celebrity friends at a brand event.

But on November 30, 2023, the KathNiel fans got heartbroken after Kathryn and Daniel themselves confirmed that their relationship had finally ended.

Kathryn first uploaded her statement on Instagram, calling the relationship a “chapter closed” and thanking Daniel for the 11 years of real love they have been together.

Daniel, on the other hand, posted his own statement poetically, declaring his love for Kathryn.

Kathniel breakup
Art by Dani Sison

Amid the breakup, Kathryn and Daniel were spotted in two events, still interacting. First was at the ABS-CBN Christmas Special where they have their own number, and the second was at the Asian Artists Awards 2023.

While showbiz fans are thinking that the two might have gotten back together, Kathryn said in an Instagram caption that says, “Not looking back, only moving forward.”

Meanwhile, there were a few names that were tagged as the reason behind the breakup but one of them stood out: Andrea Brillantes.

Her name was highlighted for a reason as ever since the rumor came out, Ogie Diaz reported in his vlog that she and Daniel had some involvement.

Even before confirming the breakup, Kathryn unfollowed Andrea on Instagram.

In a scoop published by, Kathryn finding out about Andrea and Daniel’s tryst was the last straw for her, and that Andrea herself confessed to Kathryn about what happened between the two of them.

At press time, Andrea, Kathryn, and Daniel have not commented on the report. 

Kim Chiu and Xian Lim

On December 23, 2023, Kim Chiu issued a statement through an Instagram post that she and boyfriend Xian Lim had broken up after 12 years.

This confirms the rumor from the last few months that their relationship is on the rocks.

It was during the promotion of Kim’s series, “Linlang,” when she was first asked about the breakup, which she denied. Even then, the rumor persisted after Kim’s relationship had become the subject of some jokes in some episodes of “It’s Showtime.”

Just this December, Xian wiped out his YouTube channel, including his vlogs with Kim.

Kim Chiu Denies Split Rumors With Xian Lim

A few days before the confirmation, Kim admitted in Maricel Soriano’s vlog that her love life was hanging.

Finally, on December 23, Kim said on Instagram that it was the “end of a love story” for KimXi, saying it was a mutual decision on their part.

Later, Xian posted his short goodbye letter to Kim, calling the 12 years they had the “best gift” but, “like all good things, it must eventually come to an end.”

Noontime TV shows

In the first half of the year, the noontime slot had been controversial beginning with the issue of “Eat Bulaga!” original hosts Tito Sotto, Vic Sotto, and Joey de Leon with the show’s producer, TAPE, Inc.

Amid all the discussions and interviews, the tempest came when TVJ, along with the other hosts of “Eat Bulaga,” aired a statement on May 31, 2023 that they are dissociating themselves from TAPE, Inc.

Following the controversy, TAPE, Inc. had to find new hosts for the new “Eat Bulaga,” which were eventually composed of Paolo Contis, Buboy Villar, Betong Sumaya, and Cassy and Mavy Legaspi.

Of course, the new “Eat Bulaga!” did not sit well with the original fans and was met with bashing and apprehension from viewers.

In June 2023, TVJ announced that they had found a new home in TV5, and that they would be welcomed in the noontime slot. However, such move displaced ABS-CBN’s noontime show, “It’s Showtime,” which had a blocktime deal with the Kapatid network.

tvj on tv5 thumbnail

Later, ABS-CBN announced that “It’s Showtime” would be leaving TV5 after it offered a delayed afternoon telecast. The network then accepted the offer of a blocktime deal with GMA-7’s sister channel, GTV. Such partnership stemmed from the collaboration between ABS-CBN and GMA-7 for a teleserye titled “Unbreak My Heart.”

On July 1, 2023, “It’s Showtime” started airing on GTV while TVJ aired the pilot episode of their new show, “E.A.T,” which stands for “Eto Ang Totoo.”

Currently, TVJ and TAPE, Inc. are in a legal battle for the trademark on who should be using the title “Eat Bulaga!” Just this December, TVJ won the trademark of “Eat Bulaga.”

Another noontime show controversy was when “It’s Showtime” was sanctioned by MTRCB with a 12-day suspension following a series of violations, including Vice Ganda and Ion Perez’s cake-icing moment on the show.

MTRCB Rejects Its Showtime Appeal On 12 Day Suspension

The decision of MTRCB was met with criticisms on social media, emphasizing that its chair, Lala Sotto, is the daughter of “E.A.T.” host Tito Sotto.

Amid the 12-day suspension, ABS-CBN produced a temporary replacement, “It’s Your Lucky Day” headlined by Luis Manzano, Robi Domingo, Melai Cantiveros, Jennica Garcia, among others.

Richard Gutierrez and Sarah Lahbati

In October 2023, netizens noticed that Richard Gutierrez and Sarah Lahbati were not together when they spent their time with their kids during the Halloween break.

They also noticed that Sarah was not present during the Opulence party organized by Raymond Gutierrez every year.

These events led to speculation that Richard and Sarah might be facing some marital problems.

Sarah Lahbati Avoids Answering Question About Real Status With Husband 1

Later, Richard’s mom, Anabelle Rama, revealed that his son had been going home to him. She also talked about someone who has been spending their money, which people are linking to Sarah.

Both Sarah and Richard have maintained their silence amid the issue.

In fact, when Sarah was asked about her how she is during the story conference of her upcoming series, she refused to talk about her personal life.

Alex Gonzaga

Alex Gonzaga’s 35th birthday party on January 16, 2023 turned out to be controversial after a video clip of her smearing cake icing on the forehead of a waiter went viral on social media.

As this did not sit well with netizens, she was called “bastos.”

On January 17, a report from Alex’s publicist reached out to to say that they are close to the waiter. On the same day, ABS-CBN News reported that Alex met with the waiter, apologized for what happened, and showed a handwritten letter by the waiter that says “Ok na po kami.”

On January 18, Alex took to her social media accounts to air her public apology.

The cake incident also became a topic during Alex’s production number with her sister, Toni Gonzaga, who held a concert at the Araneta Coliseum on January 20, 2023 for her birthday.

Alex Gonzaga in hot water

Following the controversy that Alex figured in, an old issue was revived involving her and veteran actress Dina Bonnevie.

While everything was not confirmed, Alex’s name was dragged into Dina’s blind item in 2018 where she talked about an actress who came in late to the set.

Talking about how she reprimanded the actress, Dina even said, “Talagang I gave her hell.”

In her podcast in 2022, Alex recalled how an actress shouted at her when she came in late to the set. She did not name the actress but people were able to trace back Dina’s old interview.

To put an end to the talks and rumors, Dina had a guest appearance on “Fast Talk With Boy Abunda” confirming her heated encounter with Alex on the set of the 2011 teleserye “P.S. I Love You.”

Dina Bonnevie and Alex Gonzaga

Dina explained that her co-stars—including Gabby Concepcion, Cheska Inigo, and Nadine Lustre—were already talking about her behavior, the reason why she was urged to confront Alex.

Even then, Dina said that she and Alex were on good terms after they talked. But Dina was admittedly surprised that her interview come out again and again on social media.

Heart Evangelista and Marian Rivera

Marian Rivera and Heart Evangelista sent showbiz fans into a frenzy when after years of estrangement, everyone found them exchanging comments and following each other on Instagram.

It is known to the public that Marian and Heart had been previously involved in a feud while shooting the movie “Temptation Island” in 2011. Since then, they have not worked together.

Even then, they would always be pitted against each other by fans, the reason why everyone was happy upon finding out about their reconnection later this year.

heart evangelista marian rivera reconciliation initiation thumbnail

In an interview at the Zalora party on November 10, Heart said about their rekindled friendship, “Marian and I, we’ve always liked each other. And it’s a true testament that, you know, we should always be supporting each other because real queens support each other.”

She also revealed in a separate interview that Marian initiated the reconnection.

Meanwhile, Marian said about her friendship with Heart, “Yung puso ko ay…ang nararamdaman ko, talagang my heart is happy. Tapos nandun ako sa peaceful… na finally, everything, alam mo yung God’s perfect time.”

Andrea Brillantes

Andrea Brillantes, one of ABS-CBN’s top stars of this generation, has figured in some controversial moments this 2023.

First was her much-talked-about relationship with basketball player Ricci Rivero.

This March 2023, Andrea became a trending topic after she staged her “promposal” during BLACKPINK’s concert at the Philippine Arena. This was Andrea’s way of asking Ricci to be her date for the Star Magical Prom that month.

Andrea succeeded in her plans when BLACKPINK members were able to notice her yellow placard asking Ricci to be her date. This was met with mixed reactions from netizens—from being called a “papansin” to other fans defending her.

However, just a few months after the “promposal,” news broke that Andrea and Ricci had already broken up. Beauty queen Leren Mae Bautista was dragged to the breakup after the two were spotted together days prior to the breakup.

Ricci said when he announced the breakup on X (formerly Twitter), “I hope let’s stop creating your own versions and dragging other characters into these false accusations.”

Since then, Andrea’s statements following the breakup would trend on social media.

Talking about the breakup during her “Magandang Buhay” interview, “Ako, nagmahal ako nang totoo, hindi ko yun male-let go agad.”

In an interview with Boy Abunda, Ricci said that the cause of the breakup was the speculation that Andrea caught a girl in Ricci’s place, which according to Ricci, they have already talked about.

andrea brillantes ricci riviro break up thumbnail

Andrea later revealed to DJ Jhai Ho, which was first reported in an episode of “Marites University,” that she caught a naked woman in Ricci’s room and that they were drunk.

Andrea’s breakup with Ricci also got to singer Sabrina Carpenter during her concert, and even to BLACKPINK’s Rose when Andrea commented on the international star’s Instagram live video. Her statements about Ricci, including his laundry, would also go viral on social media.

Later this year, Andrea’s name was dragged into the rumor that Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla had broken up.

This was further intensified when Kathryn unfollowed Andrea on Instagram.

Kathryn Bernardo Unfollows Andrea Brillantes On IG

While Kathryn and Daniel both confirmed the breakup, all parties remained silent on Andrea’s involvement.

But in December 2023, published a scoop confirming Andrea’s involvement with Daniel, and that she went to Kathryn to confess what happened between the two of them.

At press time, all parties remain silent regarding the issue.

Herlene Budol

The year 2023 was a mix of emotions for comedienne/actress/beauty queen Herlene Budol.

First, she enjoyed the success of her first afternoon series, “Magandang Dilag,” which became a top-rater during its run.

However, Herlene figured in several controversies, including her pageant life.

First was when pageant fans criticized how she handled her stint at the Q&A at Miss Grand Philippines 2023, saying that she did a “dogshow” in answering the question.

In a Facebook Live session, Herlene expressed her disappointment to those who criticized her in tears.

She said, “Sorry, ha. sorry sa mga nagko-comment na dinogshow ko, pero hindi ko dino-dogshow. Seryoso po akong lumalaban dito, as in.”

Following the incident and the three times she did not win the crown in the pageants she participated in, Herlene decided to end her pageantry stint.

But just a few weeks after making the announcement, Herlene clarified that she was just signing off from her title as Miss Tourism Philippines after her title did not secure any contract to compete in an international pageant.

Herlene Budol Ends Pageant Journey

She also said that she will still go on to compete in the future after enough preparation and prayers.

Just this December 2023, Herlene was involved in a controversy where she allegedly had an affair with “Magandang Dilag” co-star Rob Gomez.

It was after private messages were posted on Rob’s social media accounts, showing his exchange of messages with Herlene and Bianca Manalo.

It was even perceived that in one of the conversations, Herlene and Rob were talking about her getting pregnant when a photo of a pregnancy test kit was also uploaded.

Rob said in a statement that his phone was not with him and that the messages were uploaded without permission. He did not name the culprit, but netizens were quick to link the conversation leaks to his estranged girlfriend Shaila Rebortera.

Meanwhile, Herlene defended herself on X, debunking the pregnancy rumor. She wrote, “Dati asa #wowowin gumawa ng issue na buntis daw ako. Ngayon naman sa #MagandangDilag may issue uli na buntis ako uli?”

Herlene currently appears in the primetime series “Black Rider,” which airs on GMA-7.

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