- March 06, 1970 (age 51)
- Actor, Model, Singer
- Antonio Cojuangco
- Estrella Castelo Barretto, Miguel Alvir Barretto
Gretchen Barretto (born March 6, 1970) is a Filipina actress from the Philippines. She was launched in Regal Films' 14 Going on Steady as a singer-actress, with the release of her debut single "Going Steady", which served as the soundtrack single to her debut film. In the late eighties, Barretto rose to prominence after gaining success in skin flicks produced by Seiko Films like Tukso, Layuan Mo Ako!, Ang Bukas Ay Akin, Ama, Bakit Mo Ako Pinabayaan?, Lumayo Ka Man Sa Akin and Bakit Ako Mahihiya?. She has released two studio albums under Star Records. Her debut album, Unexpected, was released in 2008, and her second album Complicated was released a year after. Her two younger sisters, Marjorie and Claudine, and niece Julia are also actresses. Since 2010 she is a contract star of ABS-CBN.
Barretto was launched as one of the newest Regal Babies together with former child actress Janice de Belen upcoming actress Nadia Montenegro. Barretto released her debut single entitled "Going Steady", which was also the official theme song of the movie 14 Going on Steady in which she top-billed along with de Belen and Montenegro. The single was critically panned but became a radio hit in the Philippines. Rumors swirled about the rift between Barretto and de Belen about who should have sang the soundtrack single. In the aforementioned film, Barretto was chosen to record the song, while de Belen got more screen time dancing to the song as shown in the movie credits. Barretto continued to star in films like Ang Mga Kuwento ni Lola Basyang, Paalam, Bukas ang Kasal Ko, Life Begins at 40 and Goat Buster. Despite being launched as a singer-actress, Barretto never got the chance to record a studio album due to the annual movies lined up for her. She soon dropped out of high school to fully concentrate on her acting career.
Softcore movies and hosting stint
In 1988, Barretto was signed by Robbie Tan to become a contract star of Seiko Films. In 1989, Barretto's image was revamped from being a teenybopper actress to a full-fledged sex siren. She appeared in several films like Ang Lihim Ng Golden Buddha, Ipaglalaban Ko, Tukso, Layuan Mo Ako!, Ama, Bakit Mo Ako Pinabayaan and Paminsan-Minsan. Due to the string of successful softcore films she starred in, Barretto, along with actresses Rita Avila, Cristina Gonzales and Rina Reyes, were tagged as the "ST Queens" (which stands for "sex trip") since they were among the most popular softcore actresses in Philippine cinema at that time.
In 1992, while shooting the movie Ako Ang Katarungan, Barretto was involved in a highly controversial relationship with married actor Bong Revilla whom she had an affair with for four months. Barretto moved back to her home studio Regal Films in that same year. Some of her biggest films included Bakit Ako Mahihiya?and Kailangan Kita in which she was paired opposite Gabby Concepcion, all of which were produced by Regal Films. In 1994, Barretto embarked on a hosting career. She joined Boy Abunda in the late night talk show Show & Tell. It was in that same year that she ended her contract with Seiko Films in an attempt to make her image more wholesome and commercial to the public. Show & Tell was canceled in less than a year, after poor ratings.
Public scandals and pregnancy
In June 1994, Barretto became the witness to the scandal in the Manila Film Festival (which is not to be mistaken for the Metro Manila Film Festival which is held every December). In that said event, Barretto presented the award for Best Actress alongside Miss Universe Mauritius beauty queen Viveka Babajee and actor Rocky Gutierrez, where both announced actress Ruffa Gutierrez as the recipient of the award when it was Aiko Melendez who actually won the award. Rocky Gutierrez was caught on camera slipping the envelope with the winner's name in his pocket while Babajee was heard uttering the words "Take it! Take it!" while handing the award to Ruffa Gutierrez. The same incident happened to the announcement of the winner of Best Actor in which Ruffa Gutierrez and actress Nanette Medved declared Gabby Concepcion as the winner, when it was actor Edu Manzano who was the real recipient of the award. Barretto revealed that it was Concepcion's agent, Lolit Solis and Gutierrez' mother, Annabelle Rama (who was also Babajee's talent agent) who masterminded the apparent fraud, and she also told reporters that Solis promised her a Best Actress win, a year later if she kept quiet about this plan. Solis pleaded guilty to the offense of orchestrating the hoax, while siblings Ruffa and Rocky Gutierrez, Medved and Babajee were all charged with estafa.
A year later, Barretto got pregnant and gave birth to a daughter named Dominique. She also went public in announcing her relationship with billionaire business tycoon Tony Cojuangco, a man twenty years her senior. Cojuangco admitted to being the father of Barretto's daughter. Two years later, acclaimed filmmaker Carlo Caparas cast Barretto as Dolores Josefa in the historical film Tirad Pass: The Story of Gen. Gregorio del Pilar opposite Romnick Sarmienta and Joel Torre. Barretto took a hiatus in showbiz to concentrate on her life as a mother, and partner to Cojuangco.
Barretto is the fifth out of seven children by Miguel Alvir Barretto and Estrella Castelo Barretto. Her two younger siblings Marjorie Barretto, Claudine Barretto, and niece Julia Barretto are also actresses. Barretto has a daughter named Dominique, with common-law partner and billionaire businessman Tony Cojuangco.