Claudine 'holding up well' amid controversy
MANILA, Philippines -- Amid the controversy involving her family members, Claudine Barretto is "holding up well," according to a long-time friend of the actress.
"It's a most difficult time but my friend, Claudine Barretto, is holding up well," Francis Simeon, a friend of the 33-year-old actress' for 21 years now, said in a statement sent exclusively to "Showbiz Inside Report."
"She is grateful for the love and support of her true friends, her parents, Daddy Mike and Mommy Inday, sister Gia, her loyal Claudinians and her two most precious treasures, Sabina and Santino," said Simeon, who is also a writer for the entertainment magazine StarStudio.
Sabina and Santino are Claudine's children with husband Raymart, who has recently decided to live apart from the actress, according to her mother Inday in a statement released early this week.
Aside from her marital problems, Claudine is currently involved in a feud among her other celebrity sisters, Gretchen and Majorie, who both allegedly accused her of sabotaging the career of showbiz newcomer Julia Barretto.
Julia, the second daughter of Marjorie, was recently introduced as an artist of Star Magic, the ABS-CBN talent management firm that launched Claudine to stardom until her transfer to another network in 2009.
Early this week, in response to reports on the allegations, Inday released a statement denying Claudine's supposed plans to "block" Julia's road to stardom.
In the same statement, Inday announced she has disowned Gretchen "in order to save one who has always been there for all, and with all of her love…Claudine."
Subsequent statements made by two other Barretto siblings, Joaquin and Gia, addressed the issue. The latter sided with her mother and youngest sister, while Joaquin sided with Gretchen, saying Claudine's "condition" should be addressed.
According to Joaquin, Claudine was put in a hospital for a time, as decided by their parents, to address her mental health -- a matter denied by Inday.
In his statement released Saturday, Simeon said that his friend Claudine "draws strength from [her family and friends], and the Lord for standing by her, never forsaking her, believing in her even when the rest of the world thinks otherwise."
He added: "She continues to pray for wisdom and discernment and that things will be well in God's perfect time."