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Timeline: Richard Gutierrez and Sarah Lahbati’s love story

by Joanna Deala

CELEBRITY couples have been making headlines since the start of 2024, creating a buzz in the online world. Some news delighted fans as several couples announced either their engagement or marriage, but there were also a few confirmations that made their hearts sink.

The third month of the year opened with another couple confirming their split: Sarah Lahbati and her husband Richard Gutierrez. They had been the subject of breakup rumors since last year, which Sarah finally addressed through an interview with ABS-CBN News.

The Swiss-born Pinay actress was asked for confirmation if she was single, to which she answered: “Yeah, I mean, there’s nothing to hide and I think it’s pretty clear to the public.”

The public is a witness to their romance—from how it began as a simple crush, until it blossomed into love. The two were expressive of their love and admiration for each other publicly, as seen from their penned sweet messages, gifts, trips, and quality time together with their kids that they shared online.

Here’s a look back of the moments they shared with one another from the moment the universe let their paths crossed:

March 2012: Sarah admitted having a crush on Richard

It all started with Sarah admitting she had a crush on Richard, whom she first saw on television. At the time, Richard’s popularity was at its peak, following the success of his dramas like “Mulawin,” “Sugo,” “Codename: Asero,” “Zorro,” “Full House,” and “Captain Barbell,” where he played lead roles.

In a March 2012 interview, Sarah, who was relatively new in the entertainment industry at that time, expressed her admiration for the actor’s craft.

Lumaki ako sa Switzerland, pero mahilig ako sa Pinoy movies and siya yung first actor na napanuod ko. Hindi naman [makakaila] o [maitatago] na he’s very in demand and magaling siya. So, talagang natuwa ako,” she recalled.

It was in the same year that the two celebrities joined forces together for their first-ever television series “Makapiling Kang Muli” on GMA Network. 

But this was not the first time that they were on the same project. Before the series, they were already part of the noontime musical-variety show “Party Pilipinas” in 2010, when Sarah won as the Ultimate Female Survivor in the fifth season of reality talent competition “StarStruck.”

September 2012: Trip to Europe

People began speculating more about the real score between Sarah and Richard when the two traveled to Switzerland and France.

In September 2012, the actor posted a black-and-white photo of him and Sarah, where the latter was seen clinging onto his arm. Richard wrote: “I wandered everywhere through cities and countries wide, I realized now that I’m happiest just here by your side.”

October 2012: Sarah and Richard confirmed their relationship

A few weeks later, Richard finally addressed speculations and confirmed that she and Richard were indeed in a romantic relationship.

In an interview with PEP.ph, the actor shared that their relationship started at the set of their first teleserye. He also shared more about their Europe trip, which he said was a “memorable” one. 

According to the actor, they went to Geneva, where Sarah grew up.

“I’ve never been to Geneva. I’ve never been to Switzerland—and isa ‘yon sa parang dream ko na mapuntahan,” the actor was quoted as saying in a PEP.ph article in October 2012. “At mas nagging perfect pa ang travel ko dahil kasama ko si Sarah.”

Sarah also confirmed the status of her relationship with Richard in an interview with “Tonight with Arnold Clavio,” where she told the host: “Hindi na namin tinatago yung relationship namin. ‘Yun ‘yon, kung ano yung nakikita niyo.”

The actress also shared that they went to Geneva to visit her dad, and traveled to Paris, France.

January 2013: Pregnancy rumors

Following the confirmation of their relationship, Sarah became the subject of pregnancy rumors when it was reported that she was leaving for Switzerland to pursue her studies. 

This, as she was also embroiled in a legal dispute with the Kapuso network that filed a civil suit against her for breach of contract.

The Kapuso actor, however, initially denied that her then-girlfriend was bearing a child.

Parang may nagkalat na lang bigla ng issue na ‘yan na all of a sudden, people are asking me [about] that,” he said, adding, “It’s not true.”

June 2014: Sarah and Richard introduced first son

In June 2014, the former couple finally revealed the newest addition to the Gutierrez family: their son, Zion. 

They revealed this in the pilot episode of their reality show “It Takes Gutz To Be A Gutierrez.” 

Sarah also posted photos of her son on Instagram and gladly delivered the good news, “Extremely happy to announce the new member of our family, baby Zion.”

She argued that they did not deny their son, instead, they just wanted to “keep our privacy.”

July 2017: Engagement

Three years later, Sarah and Richard surprised the public with their engagement news.

In July 2017, Sarah posted a photo of the exact moment when Richard asked her hand for marriage. The actor, who was seen kneeling down in front of her then-girlfriend, proposed in Zermatt, Switzerland.

“The stars aligned in the universe and this happened. I’m marrying my best friend,” Sarah wrote in the caption.

Richard also shared a photo from his wedding proposal on Instagram. He was seen carrying and kissing Sarah, as the latter flaunted her engagement ring.

“I love you and I can’t wait to start this new chapter of our lives together,” he said.

September 2017: Baby no. 2 is coming!

Sarah once again shared some good news to the public, saying that their family of three was growing.

On Instagram, she posted a family picture showing her and Richard holding a sonogram. Their son, Zion, was being carried on his father’s shoulders.

“We are thrilled to announce that our little family is growing. Zion is about to be a kuya!!!!! So excited for the future,” Sarah wrote.

March 2018: Kai is born

The following year, Sarah gave birth to their second child, whom they named Kai.

Richard posted a photo of him and Sarah adoring the newest member of their family.

March 2020: Wedding day

The world was placed under lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but this did not stop Sarah and her then-fiancé from ringing the wedding bells.

Instead of a grand wedding, the former couple exchanged their “I Dos” in a civil ceremony, attended by their respective family members.

Sarah wore a simple off-shoulder wedding dress made by designer Mark Bumgarner, while Richard wore a black-and-white suit made by Joey Samson.

March 2021: First wedding anniversary

The ex-couple celebrated their first anniversary as husband and wife, with Richard posting photos of them together along with a lengthy message to Sarah.

“I know the road ahead will not always be smooth, there will be speed bumps along the way, some inevitable setbacks, but with God shining light upon us, I know our love will always be victorious,” the actor wrote.

“You are the pillar of my life and I wake up every morning trying to become a better man because of you. I love you and I will forever cherish you,” he added.

Sarah, on the other hand, posted an Instagram video of her sweet moments with Richard.

2023: Split rumors 

The two celebrities were the talk of the town last year as they became the target of breakup rumors. The public noticed that the actress was not present at her mother-in-law Annabelle Rama’s birthday celebration.

The rumors were fueled when Sarah changed her Instagram name from Sarah Lahbati-Gutierrez, to SLG, and now to only Sarah Lahbati.

January 2024: Unfollowed

Breakup speculations continued in the first month of 2024, when several eagle-eyed netizens noticed that Sarah was no longer following Richard on Instagram. She was also no longer following Richard’s mom and his siblings Ruffa and Raymond.

It didn’t take long for the actor to return the favor and unfollow Sarah on the social media platform. Richard’s family members also unfollowed the model-actress.

March 2024: Split confirmation

On Friday, March 1, Sarah finally confirmed that she and Richard have parted ways.

When asked if she’s single now, she told ABS-CBN News: “Yeah, I mean, there’s nothing to hide and I think it’s pretty clear to the public.”

She added, “Both of us are [single], I think.”

A few days prior, Sarah admitted during her interview with “Frontline Pilipinas” that she and Richard were not on speaking terms, and that they are on a co-parenting set-up for their children.

“It’s not easy on any child but I’m here for them, and they’re better,” she said.

Richard’s camp has yet to issue a statement regarding this matter.



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