Sharon Cuneta Biography, Music, Family, Net Worth and Awards
Sharon Cuneta – Sharon Gamboa Cuneta-Pangilinan (born January 6, 1966) is a Filipino singer, actress, TV host and a reality show judge.
She has starred in 53 films, 10 television shows, recorded 40 albums and worked as a celebrity endorser for many products.
On November 22, 2011, Cuneta moved to TV5 with a PHP 1 billion (US$21 million) contract with the network. She parted ways with ABS-CBN, her home network of 28 years, on a cordial note. Her daily afternoon talk show Sharon: Kasama Mo, Kapatid Ko premiered on May 14, 2012, and has been called an engaging program that aims to entertain and to inspire.
Sharon Cuneta Early life
Cuneta was born to Pablo Cuneta (1910–2000), a former mayor of Pasay who was the longest-serving mayor in the Philippines from 1951 to 1998, and Elaine Gamboa (1934 – 2014), a sister of actress and singer Helen Gamboa. She was born on January 6, 1966 at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Santa Mesa, Manila. Cuneta is also the first cousin of singer-actress Jenn Cuneta. She has lived most of her early years in Dasmariñas Village, Makati.
Cuneta grew up surrounded by music, listening to her dad’s record collection. Cuneta during her early years made her first TV appearance in Ike Lozada’s show, in the Bulilit portion, where she mimicked songs of her aunt, Helen Gamboa. Cuneta was just as young when she appeared in her first movie, the Rosanna Ortiz-George Estregan starrer Lovers for Hire. She played one of Roderick Paulate’s playmates.
Cuneta attended St. Paul College, Pasig and International School Manila for her primary to secondary education. But decided to forgo her high school education due to her singing commitments, at the age of 14.
At the age of 11, in one of the parties Cuneta and her family has attended, she was asked to sing one of Cinderella’s 1970s hits entitled, ‘”Bato sa Buhangin”. One of the guests in the party was TV host and comedian, Tito Sotto, the husband of her aunt Helen and Vicor Music’ vice president at that time. Sotto invited Cuneta to make a record for his label. She recorded her first single entitled, “Tawag ng Pag-ibig” (Call of Love) at the age of 12 as a gift from her parents on her 13th birthday. However, the record received a lukewarm response from the public, mostly radio listeners as they felt that Cuneta was too young to record a love song, yet too old to record a children’s song.
Sharon Cuneta Career
1978–80: Career beginnings, Jukebox Princess
After the lukewarm response to her first single, “Tawag ng Pag-Ibig”, Sharon convinced her father that she wanted to make another song. Sotto chose composer, Rey Valera to create a song for the 12-year-old aspiring singer. Valera composed “Mr. DJ” and handed it over to Sotto. The single resulted in Cuneta’s first gold medal award.
Cuneta first appeared on Philippine pop charts in 1978 with the Filipino pop culture hit “Mr. D.J.”. The song became popular that gave her the moniker, “DJ’s Pet” (which also became the title of her debut LP). Cuneta release one hit single after another including “Naaalala Ka”, “I-Swing Mo Ako”, “Kahit Maputi Na Ang Buhok Ko” and “High School Life” which were also part of the Manila Sound era. Aside from her recording career, Cuneta began hosting with her aunt, Helen Gamboa, in a variety show entitled, C.U.T.E. or Call Us Two for Entertainment on IBC 13.
In 1980, Cuneta was tapped to sing the theme song of a Vilma Santos starrer and a Cebu Film Festival entry entitled, “Tubig at Langis” (Water and Oil). The song was also Cuneta’s first George Canseco song. At the time of the Cebu Film Festival, Santos was pregnant, Director Danny Zialcita asked Cuneta to pinch-hit, to ride the float during the parade. Zialcita told her: “If you would do this for me I will make you a star. It was a commitment, a promise I made to her.”
1981–83: Dear Heart and early movie career
In 1981, Contrary to popular notion, Cuneta’s first film was not produced by Viva Films but by a production outfit known as Sining Silangan. Director Danny Zialcita was selected to direct the film; part of his job was also to convince the Cuneta household to allow Sharon to jump into acting.
Almers De Luna, a member of the group Sharon’s Angels, revealed that the Cunetas asked for a P220,000-talent fee, which at the time was a large amount for a newcomer. To the disbelief of Sharon’s parents, Sining Silangan agreed to pay the sum without reservation.
Sharon Cuneta starred in her very first feature film entitled, Dear Heart. She was paired with then Close-Up model and Regal Films’ 1980s heartthrob, Gabby Concepcion. Dear Heart was successful and paved the way for future collaborations.
Due to the commercial success of Dear Heart, a sequel was made. Since Sining Silangan didn’t have the means to create an immediate follow up film, Pablo Cuneta collaborated with Vic Del Rosario and established Viva Films. On November 12, 1981, Viva Films released its first feature film, P.S. I Love You, starring Cuneta and Concepcion. The film was a box office success and was followed by another Sharon-Gabby collaboration, My Only Love (1982).
Sharon Cuneta was also paired with other leading men, with the likes of William Martinez (in Forgive and Forget), Rowell Santiago (in Cross My Heart and Friends in Love) and Miguel Rodriguez (in To Love Again) from 1982–83, which made her the Ms. RP Movies for the years mentioned. She continued hosting the noontime show, Germspesyal, later called GMA Supershow, with German Moreno. She released albums such as PS I Love You (1981), Sixteen (1982) and Sharon & Love (1983).
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After playing “poor little rich girl” roles in her earlier movies, Viva Films decided to bring Cuneta to a wider variety of roles. After a year of hiatus in the movies, Cuneta was paired once again to Gabby Concepcion via the film Dapat Ka Bang Mahalin?, which turned out to be a box office hit and led to the reconciliation of the couple after breaking up in 1982.
In July 1984, Cuneta took on a rags-to-riches role for the first time with the movie, Bukas, Luluhod And Mga Tala. It was shown against the revolt film and Vilma Santos film Sister Stella L. Bukas, Luluhod.. became a huge box office hit, beating the Santos film, and eventually crowned Cuneta as 1984’s Box Office Queen of RP Movies.
Sharon Cuneta also staged a two-night sold-out major concert at the Araneta Coliseum entitled, Sharon Solo with the Boys on July 20 and 21, 1984, and was cited as the year’s Most Outstanding Female Concert Hall Act by Aliw Awards.
In September 1984, Cuneta publicly married Concepcion, eight months after Sharon’s 18th birthday. Their wedding ceremony was filmed and later on released as The Best of Sharon & Gabby on October the same year. It was followed by another Sharon-Gabby film entitled, Sa Hirap at Ginhawa the following month.
In 1985, a pet project of the late Mina Aragon-del Rosario, Bituing Walang Ningning was made into a film by Viva Films starring Cuneta, Christopher de Leon and Cherie Gil. Cuneta was then pregnant with KC Concepcion, her first born with Concepcion. The film was released on Valentine’s Day, 1985, and was a box office success, crowning Cuneta once again as 1985’s Box Office Queen of RP Movies and “Bida sa Takilya”, the latter given at the 1986 FAMAS Awards. The moniker “Megastar” was also given to her by the press during that year because of her continuous success in the box office.
Sharon Cuneta was also recognized as 1984’s Best Actress by FAMAS for her performance in Dapat Ka Bang Mahalin and by the Film Academy of the Philippines for Sa Hirap at Ginhawa. In 1986, Cuneta’s string of hit movies continued as she stars on three big blockbuster movies: Nakagapos Na Puso (with Lorna Tolentino), Captain Barbell (where she played a cameo role as Darna) and Sana’y Wala Nang Wakas (with Cherie Gil and Dina Bonnevie), the latter crowning her once again as 1986’s Box Office Queen of RP Movies.
Her first solo musical-variety show, The Sharon Cuneta Show, also premiered in September 1986 on IBC, which also went on to be one of the longest running musical-variety shows in Philippine television.
In 1987, Cuneta starred in the comedy flick, Jack ‘n Jill, opposite Herbert Bautista. The film was a success in the box-office and a sequel was released the following year (Jack ‘n Jill Sa Amerika).
Sharon Cuneta also worked with National Artist for Film, Lino Brocka, for the first time via the film Pasan Ko Ang Daigdig. The film did not fare well at the box office; however, it has earned Cuneta another Best Actress nomination from FAMAS. In 1988, Cuneta only did two films, Jack ‘n Jill Sa Amerika and Buy One, Take One, both receiving lukewarm response from the public. Her musical variety show, The Sharon Cuneta Show transferred to a different network, from IBC to ABS-CBN on March 6, 1988.
Sharon Cuneta continued touring abroad with “The Sharon Cuneta US Concert Tour ’88” and was given a Plaque of Welcome and Appreciation from Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley at her show at the Los Angeles Shrine Auditorium. In 1989, Cuneta worked with Lino Brocka once again in two movies, 3 Mukha Ng Pag-ibig and Babangon Ako’t Dudurugin Kita, the latter giving her another Best Actress nomination from FAMAS and the Film Academy of the Philippines.
1990–95: Box-Office Hall of Fame
Cuneta’s reign as box-office queen even made stronger when she did films with popular action stars like Fernando Poe Jr. (Kahit Konting Pagtingin-1990) Robin Padilla ,(Maging Sino Ka Man-1991), Ramon ‘Bong’ Revilla Jr. (Pangako Sa ‘Yo-1992), Rudy Fernandez (Kung Kailangan Mo Ako-1993) to name a few. All those movies were certified blockbusters, that though she was already elevated to Hall of Fame as Box-Office Queen in 1990, she was crowned again in 1991 through 1993 because of the success of her movies.
Sharon Cuneta also reconciled with estranged husband, Gabby Concepcion, in three more films, Bakit Ikaw Pa Rin? (1990), Una Kang Naging Akin (1991) and Tayong Dalawa (1992), the latter giving her a grandslam Best Actress nomination from PMPC Star Awards for Movies, FAMAS, Film Academy of the Philippines and Gawad Urian. Cuneta won a Platinum award in 1992, Double Platinum award in 1991 and 1992, and Triple Platinum award in 1992.
In 1992, Cuneta reunited with former flame, Richard Gomez in the film Ngayon at Kailanman and in 1994 with Kapantay Ay Langit. In December 1993, Sharon Cuneta first met with Atty. Francis Pangilinan, a radio personality.
Sharon Cuneta also worked with musicians, Gary Valenciano in Kaputol Ng Isang Awit (1991), Ariel Rivera in Ikaw (1993), and rapper Andrew E. in Megamol (1994).
In 1995, Cuneta reunites with Fernando Poe, Jr. in Minsan Pa… (Kahit Konting Pagtingin 2), and also worked for the very first time with Cesar Montano in The Lilian Velez Story (Till Death Do Us Part); however, the latter bombed at the box-office.
1996: ‘Madrasta’, second marriage and hiatus
For the first time, in 1996, Cuneta made a film outside her mother studio Viva Films via the film Madrasta from Star Cinema. This film garnered her Best Actress Awards from all major award-giving bodies in the Philippines, hence a Grandslam win for her outstanding performance in the film. Cuneta became one of the few actresses (along with Nora Aunor, Vilma Santos, and Lorna Tolentino) to be given a grand slam best actress award in Philippine Cinema.
On April 28, 1996, Sharon Cuneta married for the second time, to marry Senator Francis Pangilinan in a private ceremony at the Cuneta residence in Dasmarinas Village, Makati City.
In 1997, Cuneta also worked once again with Cesar Montano in Wala Nang Iibigin Pang Iba and with Albert Martinez in Nang Iniwan Mo Ako, the latter giving her another grandslam Best Actress nomination the following year. On June 15, 1997, Cuneta’s long-time running musical variety show, The Sharon Cuneta Show ended as she left the country for a while to be with her husband in Boston. Even though Cuneta was not in the country, she remained in the limelight because of her many TV commercials that Filipinos were able to view everyday.
When Sharon Cuneta arrived in 1998 from a year of living in Boston, ABS-CBN produced a talk show for her comeback entitled Sharon, which served as Cuneta’s TV comeback after a year of hiatus from show business. The show had a successful six-year run becoming a top rating weekly program and clinched Best Talk Show honors and Best Talk Show Host accolades for Cuneta.
In 2000, Cuneta filmed Minsan Minahal Kita opposite Richard Gomez which earned P10 million on its opening day.
In September the same year, Cuneta’s late father, Pablo Cuneta, mayor of Pasay City for four decades, died at the age of 90. In 2000, she gave birth to her second child and did a film the following year opposite Robin Padilla via Pagdating ng Panahon. Pagdating ng Panahon was also Viva Films’ 20th anniversary offering; however the film bombed at the box-office. In 2002, Cuneta celebrated her 25th year in show business with a two night sold out concert at the Araneta Coliseum dubbed “The Mega Event”.
Sharon Cuneta replicated the same feat in a similar concert later in Cebu City. The same year, Cuneta was given a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Board of Directors of the Phil. Association of Recording Industry via the Dangal ng Musikang Plilipino Award on her 25th years in music industry.
She was named Best Actress during the 2002 Manila Film Festival in June for her role in Viva Films’ Magkapatid. In the same month she was given a civic award by the City of Manila the Patnubay ng Sining at Kalinwigan for cinema. Other list of awardees included the likes of Raul Locsin for architecture, Agnes Arellano for sculpture and the late Santiago Bose for new art form.
In the last quarter of the year, she launched her first international album under BMG records in Singapore. In 2003, Cuneta made three films. In May, she did “Walang Kapalit” opposite Richard Gomez, under Viva Films. In September, she also made a film for the first time with actor, Aga Muhlach via “Kung Ako Na Lang Sana”, under Star Cinema. In December 2003, she made a film with independent producer Unitel Pictures entitled Crying Ladies.
With this film, she won a Best Actress award locally from the PASADO Awards and the People’s Choice Award in the 2003 Metro Manila Film Festiva. She was also cited as Best Actress internationally at the Brussels International Independent Film Festival held in 2004.
On May 9, 2004, she took a break from her weekly Sunday musical talk show, Sharon, for her third pregnancy. She gave birth to her third child in September 2004. In 2005, she did a brief comeback on TV with a birthday special entitled, Wish Upon a Mega and released an album entitled, Sharon Sings Alcasid, a compilation of her versions of songs written by Ogie Alcasid.
Sharon Cuneta did not make any films from 2004 through 2007 while she concentrated her career in television and music. For 2006, she released a studio album entitled, Isn’t it Romantic, which was awarded with a Diamond certification (sold over 250,000 units in the Philippines). It was followed with the making of Isn’t it Romantic II in 2007.
On January 6, 2006, Cuneta returned to television from her maternity leave with a 40th birthday celebration on ABS-CBN’s Ang Pagbabalik Ng Bituin (The Return of the Star). The following month, she came back to her musical talk show, Sharon. After a long rest from filmmaking, she made another film entitled Caregiver in 2008 which, according to ABS-CBN, is their most expensive film. In this film, Cuneta played the role of a school teacher working abroad as a caregiver. The film was the fifth highest-grossing film of 2008.
In 2009, Cuneta starred in BFF: Best Friends Forever with Ai-Ai delas Alas and for the first time in her 30 years, a film with Regal Entertainment via Mano Po 6 (which later on gave her another Best Actress citation at the 2009 Metro Manila Film Festival). On January 12, 2010, coinciding with her annual birthday show, her self-titled magazine Sharon at Home was launched and has since become one of the best-selling titles of ABS-CBN Publishing.
Her long-running musical talk show, Sharon, ended on October 3, 2010 and was replaced by a talent show (which she also hosted), Star Power with singers Christian Bautista and Erik Santos as her co-hosts. After Star Power, Cuneta hosted the Philippine franchise of the popular US reality show, The Biggest Loser Pinoy Edition on May 30, 2011, which she co-hosted.
2011–13: Transfer to TV5 and Madam Chairman
On November 22, 2011, Cuneta left ABS-CBN, her home network of 23 years, and signed a five-year contract with TV5. The contract was rumored to be worth one billion pesos, according to celebrity tweets in microblogging site Twitter, which is the biggest talent fee ever of any local artist in the Philippine showbiz history.
In 2012, Cuneta started her first talk show under her new network entitled, Sharon: Kasama Mo, Kapatid. The show ran for eight months.
In September 2013, Cuneta became a co-host of musical variety talk show The Mega and the Songwriter alongside Ogie Alcasid. Cuneta’s comedy series, Madam Chairman, premiered on October 14. It was her first TV series in 35 years. It revolves around a barangay chairwoman and her struggles in dividing her role as a mother and as a public official.
2014–present: Departure from TV5 and return to ABS-CBN
In September 2014, Cuneta announced through Facebook and Twitter that she had pre-terminated her five-year contract with TV5 and was a freelancer. In March 2015, she signed a contract with ABS-CBN, marking her return to her home network of 23 years, saying: “It is overwhelmingly wonderful! There’s really no place like home. I don’t belong to anywhere else, and now I’m back home, safe and sound.”
Upon returning, she also announced that her first project in the channel would be as a judge in Your Face Sounds Familiar. In an interview on May 2, 2016 on TV Patrol, she stated that she will serve as one of the three coaches (judges) for the third season of The Voice Kids, replacing Sarah Geronimo who earlier this year confirmed her departure from the show.
Sharon Cuneta Personal life
While filming her first feature film Dear Heart (1981), Cuneta began dating her on-screen partner Gabby Concepcion and the two continued co-starring in films like P.S. I Love You (1981) and Dapat Ka Bang Mahalin? (1984). The two married on September 23, 1984 at the Manila Cathedral. Then-President Ferdinand Marcos was among the sponsors. The couple had one child, actress KC Concepcion, born in April 1985. Three years later, in August 1987, Cuneta and Concepcion legally separated, citing irreconcilable differences and bigamy, as Concepcion had already married prior to his marriage with Cuneta. Their marriage was annulled in 1993.
After Cuneta and Concepcion’s marriage was annulled, Cuneta met politician Francis Pangilinan at her brother’s wedding. The two began dating in 1994 and married on April 28, 1996. In 1997, Cuneta, her daughter KC, and Pangilinan moved to Boston, where Cuneta completed her major in business while her husband finished his post-graduate studies at Harvard University. Together, Cuneta and Pangilinan have two daughters and one adopted son.
Sharon Cuneta Other ventures
Cuneta is the most expensive and effective product endorser in the country. She has endorsed a string of products, from fastfood chains to feminine wash, to detergent soaps to shipping lines.
McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Lux, Selecta, SuperFerry, Globe Telecom, pH Care, Lucky Me, Alaska Milk, Smart Communications and Tempra were some of the products were Cuneta became a notable ambassador. At one time, Cuneta was earning 8 million to 15 million Philippine Pesos per product endorsed.
Sharon at Home magazine
Cuneta has also released her own lifestyle magazine entitled, Sharon at Home, published by ABS-CBN Publishing Inc. It features a different side of the multi-awarded singer, actress, and TV host. She serves as the magazine’s editor-in-chief and for the maiden issue, she welcomes readers into her home with advice and tips.
Sharon at Home was able to publish seven issues before Cuneta left her home network for 23 years, ABS-CBN, who was also the publisher of the magazine.
Real estate enterprises and other business ventures
Cuneta owns a residential project of six high-quality exclusive four-storey townhouses at No. 74 Scout Rallos, Quezon City, near trendy restaurants in the area and within walking distance to and from Tomas Morato and Timog Avenues.
Aside from residential real estate enterprises, Cuneta and her husband, Francis Pangilinan, currently own a three hectare farm called, “Sweet Spring Country Farm” in the uplands of Alfonso, Cavite.