Sunday 2 September 2012

Say my name, say my name: Who is 'B' in Vernetta Lopez's new book?

When I learnt that Vernetta Lopez’s autobiography Memoirs Of A DJ: Life In Progress was published last week, I rushed to the nearest major bookstore to buy it for the same reason everyone else did:

I wanted to see if I’m mentioned in the book.

After all, I have written a few episodes of Under One Roof which she starred in. I have also written and directed a few episodes of Daddy’s Girls which she also starred in. (The show won the Asian TV Award for best comedy in 2005.)

She has seen me undo my pants for reasons that shall remain unclear. It was the 90s.

I have even attended her wedding dinner - the first one.

It was held in a ballroom of a hotel on Orchard Road and it was funnest wedding dinner I had ever attended. I might have forgotten to give a hongbao, which made it even better. Free food!

So I was a little disappointed and hurt that in 2009, I wasn’t invited to her second wedding dinner.

Who knows why she didn’t invite me? Maybe she thought I jinxed her first marriage to Mark Richmond, which ended in divorce in 2003, and she didn’t want me to have anything with the second one. That's understandable.

Or maybe she remembered I didn’t give her a hongbao for that 1997 wedding dinner.

Anyway, I forgive her.

But you know what I can’t forgive?

I’m not mentioned anywhere in her book!

I just wasted $19.90. (Actually. I paid only $17.91 for the book because I got a 10 per cent discount by using my Popular membership card.)

Don’t tell me she's still mad about the hongbao.

I mean, what does a guy have to do to get a mention in her autobiography?

Make a Gangnam Style parody video? Get uninvited to Diner en Blanc? Star in a pornographic movie filmed at Marina Bay Sands?

Marry her and cheat on her with a woman with the initial “B”?

That's what Richmond did and he has two big chapters about him in the book. I'm so jealous.

In the chapter called “The Dark Years”, Lopez described how two weeks before the wedding, Richmond wanted to call it off because of “cold feet”. But she didn’t want to as she was “worried about the public fallout”.

I’m glad she didn’t because otherwise, I would’ve been deprived of attending the funnest wedding dinner ever.

As she writes in the book: “But seriously, wasn’t the party great?”

Yes, it was.

Later in the chapter, she confronted her then-husband Richmond about a note she discovered among his things with the words: “I can still smell you on my pillow.” It was signed “B”.

I’m not sure what the big deal is. When my wife tells me she can smell me on her pillow, that’s just a not-so-subtle hint that it’s about time I change the bed sheets - and to stop using her pillow.

Although Lopez writes about “B” meeting her to explain the note, Lopez doesn’t identify “B” in the book. I wonder who “B” could be.

In another chapter called “The Stakeout”, Lopez describes how she was coaxed by a friend to secretly follow the cheating Richmond and they caught him with the other woman, whom again Lopez doesn’t name.

In the book, she likens the stakeout to something in the movie When Harry Met Sally, but doesn’t she know this is actually a plot from an episode of Under One Roof, where Dolly and her friend Rosnah followed Dolly’s husband Teck because they suspected him of having an affair?

I guess the difference is Teck wasn’t really having an affair, Dolly and Teck didn’t get a divorce and Teck didn’t marry a tall woman who would become the creative director of National Day Parade 2011, which is best remembered for the Fun Pack Song, sung to the tune of Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance.

I’m referring, of course, to Richmond’s second wife Beatrice Chia, whom he married in 2006.

Wait ...Beatrice starts with a “B”. Could it be …nah, I’m sure it’s just a coincidence.

Yes, I’m aware of the old rumours that Chia was the other woman, partly due to her acting in intimate scenes with Richmond in several local film and TV projects when he was still married to Lopez. But I don’t believe those rumours.

Lopez herself said in a 2000 interview: “Acting is his job. He’s in a vulnerable position on-screen and off-screen, and rumour-mongers don't help.”

Richmond was more to the point in a 2003 interview: “Absolutely false, it’s pure BS. She (Beatrice) was never in my life as a lover (during the marriage).”

Chia also denied the rumours in another 2003 interview: “Eh, just because I directed a few R(A) plays and posed topless doesn’t make me a shameless homewrecker, you know?”

Furthermore, in Memoirs Of A DJ, Lopez reminisces about filming the 2001 sitcom Now Boarding in Kuala Lumpur where she shared a room with co-star Chia and they didn’t kill each other.

Lopez writes that she “enjoyed the experience” of working with the people on the show and adds cheerfully: “How many people can say they were roommates with their husband’s future wife?!?”

Since she mentions a flop like Now Boarding in the book, you would think she would also mention the award-winning Daddy’s Girls and how wonderful I was to work with as a writer and director. No such luck.

As revenge, I’m now going to write my own autobiography and not mention her!

But I think I’ll mention “B”.

Whoever she may “be”.

- Published in The New Paper, 2 September 2012

UPDATE: Asked to comment on the book, Beatrice Chia-Richmond told The New Paper: “Both Mark and I prefer not to comment to preserve the dignity and privacy of our families who have been mortified and incredibly hurt by this. We wish Vernetta every success in her literary pursuit. And look forward to celebrating her Pulitzer when hell freezes over.

UPDATE UPDATE: The Straits Times, 29 December 2012
At signings for her book Memoirs Of A DJ, recalls Class 95 DJ and actress Vernetta Lopez, 39, some women would come up to her and begin to weep.

The autobiography, published in August, created a stir as it contained details of her ex-husband Mark Richmond’s extra-marital affair that eventually ended their marriage. Richmond, also a DJ with MediaCorp, is now married to theatre director Beatrice Chia-Richmond, 38.

“One woman told me: This is the first time I’ve put on a dress. And for a woman who has not put on a dress for a long time, it means she has found confidence in herself. And she said it’s because of my book, and I was like, wow,” says Lopez. She adds with relish: “A lot of women came up to me and said, ‘I’m going through that right now, you have given me inspiration to be happy.’ That was awesome.”

All this is a far cry from the raised eyebrows that first greeted news of the release of her memoirs. Lopez says: “They were saying: Is the book all about spite? Some were a bit angry that I would be so evil, but I was not. And after that, people read the book.”

Memoirs Of A DJ has sold several thousand copies so far, says her manager and sister Loretta Lopez, 42.

The DJ says with a smile: “People come up to me with the book, well worn, for a signature, and it’s a great feeling. It’s been nice hearing people say they can hear my voice, as if I’m reading it out to them.”

It has been a busy year for Lopez, who has been married to IT professional Wayne Gladwin, 42, for three years. Besides releasing her memoirs, she has just wrapped up her role in the Wild Rice pantomime Hansel And Gretel. She is also a puppeteer on Okto’s long-running children’s show Knockout, and recently did a guest acting stint on the Channel 5 series Code Of Law, as public prosecutor Vivienne Lau.

While speaking to Life!, Lopez is candid, gamely striking wacky poses for the photographer. She is quick to stress again that the book is not motivated by vindictiveness. She says: “It was more about having fun and sharing fun stories. It’s a bit of a dig in the ribs, but it’s not being evil. If I didn’t put (the divorce) in, you guys would be like, ‘Aiyah bulls***, what is this?’”

But what of Richmond, who was working in the same building as her? Have they spoken since the book was released?

“I saw him every morning after the book. We never talked about it, there’s nothing to say. And I relied on the fact that, if he read the book, then maybe he would understand where I was coming from,” says Lopez.

Chia-Richmond has certainly been forthcoming about her opinion. Speaking to The New Paper soon after the book came out, she said: “We wish Vernetta every success in her literary pursuit. And look forward to celebrating her Pulitzer when hell freezes over.”

Asked about this, Lopez laughs. “Yeah, it was quite funny,” she says. She quickly adds: “I’m sorry to say that it was funny because I’m sure she was pretty p***d off. But… I don’t want to say anything else about it because I just don’t want to make anything controversial out of it.”

But there is just a slight note of regret in her tone, when she notes that reactions to the couple have been “harsh”. “I can only just look back and go, ‘This is my book’. What you take from it is what you take from it, and you’re not going to please everybody.”

There is one last twist in this tale of a tell-all: MediaCorp Radio has announced that, come New Year’s Eve, Lopez and fellow DJ Joe Augustin will take over her ex-husband’s morning show on Gold 90.5FM.

Richmond, who had been hosting the breakfast show with his father Brian, has left MediaCorp after 25 years in radio to join the Singapore Sports Council. He declined to respond to queries from Life!.

Asked if it feels strange to be taking over the show, Lopez says: “Yes and no, only by the fact that it was my ex-husband and ex-father-in-law. But as far as I know, Mark had tendered his resignation and they were looking for a new direction. It’s not weird because I wasn’t really familiar with their morning show – I could never bring myself to listen to it.”


all fallen wives and ex-es call them "B".

And "B" that female dogs on heat! They don't care, just... ahem.... when heat comes "B" 'grab' anything that moves!

I m sure u know what is "B" but u scared to offend her right? in case she marries the third time and, no invite (again) ...hahahaha! Need tissue?


'Ello mr smong

Your article is hilarious. very funny loh. U not know who is "B" who slept with Mark while still married to vernetta??

Don't act blur loh. Everybody knows.

Aiyohyo it's Beatrice Chia 100%.

Eh u not read yesterday article meh? She let the cat out of the bag herself; anyone reading it know already she had affair with Mark. There she said: "Both Mark and I prefer not to comment to preserve the dignity and privacy of our families who have been mortified and incredibly hurt by this"

Wahlau shiok reading it.

U know many yrs ago i emailed to Vernetta and told her Beatrice was sleeping with her hubby and no worries, she much prettier than Beatrice. Beatrice Chia fugly lah, looks like a giant thai transvestite.

U meet Vernetta, tell her not her fault her marriage failed. It's Mark+Beatrice shameful fault.

Her fans very proud she wrote this memoir. Way to go girl!

Eh tell Glenn Ong fans hope he too will write his memoir, pasti very laku!

Everybody know already his ex-Jaime Yeo slept with that angmoh guy who's now her hubby behind Glenn's back.

Also rumor going around claiming her ex-colleague from espn said jaime yeo got banged up in UK by man-united fans while hosting espn show. Got caught by cctv, but espn boss erased for damaged control. maybe glenn heard it too?