Local sparky weds Asian TV soapie star

By SAM BENGERsamb@gladstoneobserver.com.au

RICHARD Litonjua may be just another face in the crowd in Gladstone, but in the Philippines he's a superstar.

Having graduated from Toolooa State High School in 1998, and completed his electrical apprenticeship at NRG, the humble Filipino-born electrician headed to his homeland in 2002, unaware that he would soon rise to stardom.

He fell in love with and married one of the country's biggest soap-stars.

While the name Eula Valdes may not mean a lot to local Gladstone residents, a quick internet search shows she's bigger than Bec Cartwright in the Philippines.

After a whirlwind romance of just six weeks ? and with Eula being 12 years his senior, at 36 ? the couple were engaged and married two days after Christmas in 2003.

Photos of the celebrity beachside wedding were pasted all over Filipino magazines and newspapers while gossip columns were fuelled by what the bride and groom donned for the A-list event. But until now it appears, very few people knew that the Gladstone electrician was married to an Asian superstar.

They now have a six-month old baby girl and are living in the Philippines, but in the long-term are looking at moving back to Australia.

But life in Gladstone, where he still lives in between visits to his wife, is very different.

For comparison, he said 'if we were to walk from one end of Queen Street (in Brisbane's CBD) to the other, we'd be stopped five times and asked for photos or autographs.'

'People know us, they know who she is but I couldn't care less.

'If it's not hurting us I'm fine by it. It annoys her at times because it can be an invasion of privacy.'



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