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Inside Leo Martinez and Cherie Gil’s relationship: Filipina actress dies age 59

Bruno Cooke August 5, 2022
Photo credit should read YANN COATSALIOU/AFP via Getty Images


Cherie Gil’s death at the age of 59 has thrust her personal life into the limelight, including her relationship with fellow actor Leo Martinez.

Leo and Cherie had a child together before Cherie entered into a relationship with Israeli violinist Rony Rogoff. 

However, they don’t appear to have married. 

Leo Martinez is now married to Gina Valenciano, and they also have a child together. But what do we know about Leo’s relationship with the late Cherie Gil?

Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

When were Leo Martinez and Cherie Gil together?

Cherie Gil’s relationship with ex-husband Rony Rogoff started in the 1980s – they married in or around 1988 – and she was with Leo Martinez before that.

That means their son Jay Eigenmann, also known as Jay Gil and Jeremiah “Jay” David, was likely born in the 1980s. If so, he would be in his mid-to-late 30s at time of writing.

According to an ABC-CBN Fresh Scoop from April this year, Cherie’s eldest son is an audio engineer in New York. He’s close with his two younger half siblings, Bianca and Raphael, whose father is Israeli violinist Rony Rogoff.

Leo Martinez and Cherie Gil separated some time after the birth of their son Jay. Martinez then entered into a relationship with Gina Valenciano, which connects him to the illustrious Pangilinan family tree of entertainers and politicians. 

What does Leo Martinez do?

Martinez is a Filipino actor, comedian and director. 

Before Vivian Velez’ appointment, he was director general of the Film Academy of the Philippines. He was in the post in 2011.

He talked about building local audiences for independent films and encouraging Filipino filmmakers to adapt works of Filipino literature.

“I noticed most of the films winning abroad are those that show the souls of their countries,” the Inquirer quotes him as saying. “Where else will we get the soul of our country but from our literature?”

He also sought to promote what the Film Academy called “advocacinema,” ie, cinema that engages with advocacy.

Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Did Leo Martinez and Cherie Gil appear in the same movies or TV shows?

Yes – three. Although one of them was an awards ceremony so it doesn’t really count.

Their mutual credits are comedy movie Bagets 2, which came out in 1984; a 2006 TV special of the 24th Luna Awards; and a 2015 episode of drama series Magpakailanman, entitled Ina Ko, Bugaw Ko.

Cherie was 19 years old when Bagets 2 came out. Her mother Rosemarie was also in it

Both of Cherie’s parents are entertainers. Her father, Eddie Mesa, now 82, earned the nickname Elvis Presley Of The Philippines; Rosemarie (full name: Maria Rosa Francisca Catalina Gil-Eigenmann y Castellvi), 80, is an award-winning actress known for playing rich socialite-villainess roles.

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How old is Leo?

Born March 7, 1945, Leo Martinez is 77 years old at time of writing – about the same age as Cherie Gil’s ex-husband and the father of her two other children, Rony Rogoff.

Cherie, meanwhile, was 59 when she died. Her cause of death was likely to be cancer-related. Based on her recent social media posts, Rappler reports, she had been receiving treatment at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York.

Her talent manager, Annabelle Rama, tweeted on Friday that she had passed away at 5pm local time, and asked people to pray for her.

Tributes have poured in following news of her death. People have described her variously as “one of a kind,” “one of the most iconic Valentinas,” and “a legend.”

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Bruno is a novelist, amateur screenwriter and journalist with interests in digital media, storytelling, film and politics. He’s lived in France, China, Sri Lanka and the Philippines, but returned to the UK for a degree (and because of the pandemic) in 2020. His articles have appeared in Groundviews, Forge Press and The Friday Poem, and most are readable on Medium or