Sunshine Cruz Is Living Proof That You Can Raise Kids Without A Man
Sunshine Cruz has raised her three daughters on her own, and we think she’s doing an awesome job
Being a single mom can feel completely isolating, especially in a place like Manila, where almost everyone’s wrapped up in their own nuclear families. This is exactly how Sunshine Cruz felt, after making the decision to leave her husband of 13 years. While she still felt supported by friends and family, for Sunshine, it felt like she was the only one going through a separation. To top it off, she had three girls— Angelina, Sam and Chesca, to think about and the remnants of an unhealthy, toxic relationship. Armed with nothing but talent, ambition and steely determination to make it work for her and her girls, Sunshine braved the big, bad world and raised her daughters with grace. Here’s her story:
Right before their wedding, Sunshine already had an exchange of unpleasantries with her ex-husband, not the greatest of signs. She felt like she constantly had to prove herself to him, despite reports that he was far from being the loyal husband he presented himself to be. She quit show business for him, determined to be a devoted wife. “I never thought I was good enough — I even took cooking lessons so I could serve him more. He just wanted me to stay home so I could take care of him, the household and our daughters,” Sunshine shares.
Despite all the signs — and infidelities on her ex’s part, Sunshine stayed in the marriage out of love. The final straw? When Sunshine’s daughters — Angelina, Chesca and Sam— saw a photo of a woman who wasn’t their mother, on their father’s phone. It was right there and then she knew she had to leave him. After separating in 2013, it wasn’t until September 2018 that her marriage was finally annulled. She had the full support of all of her daughters, who were more than happy to see their mom go for it on her own.
Nothing good comes easy
While Sunshine finally got what she wanted — her daughters and her freedom, she was anxious at first about having to start from scratch. “I was jobless for 13 years, I needed to rediscover myself again,” she says. Slowly, Sunshine regained her confidence. She started receiving more projects, and on top of that, went back to school to finally earn her degree. It wasn’t easy, Sunshine had to completely support the girls on her own, with barely any support from her ex-husband.
But it was through these difficulties that Sunshine grew into the person she’s always dreamed of becoming; a true role model to her daughters. Every curveball that’s been thrown at her has been fodder to make her stronger, fighting tooth and nail for what she believes in. While she felt challenged, she knew she had to adjust emotionally, physically and mentally. Finally, it felt as if she had her life under control, even if she felt the weight of it all on her shoulders. Having to go through a separation, then an annulment from a thankless marriage while trying to be a rock for her daughters was tough at first, but more than worth it.
A strong, independent woman
There’s no doubt that single moms are some of the strongest women out there. They are exceptionally brave; having to face judgement from other families and parents. And for Sunshine, it is these criticisms and other challenges that have made her the mom she is today. She’s stood strong against the careless comments and actions of others instead of feeling judged or excluded. She’s become impressively independent, rebuilding her career and being able to give her children beyond their needs — something she’s always dreamed of doing when she became a single parent. And her daughters have been nothing but grateful — it’s evident in their closeness and sheer love and admiration for their mom.
And lately, Sunshine’s had to stand up once again to malicious social media posts focusing on her and her daughters. She demanded the respect she — and her three girls — rightfully deserve. “Treat me as a human being,” Sunshine pleaded. “I get hurt just like you. My family has done nothing wrong.” As we all know, this is not the first time Sunshine and her girls have been under public scrutiny and not the first time she’s had to stand up for them. Here’s the thing: these comments aren’t just malicious, they’re normalizing female objectification. Pretty sad, considering the fact that Sunshine’s daughters are still teenagers. Why not treat them with dignity and respect, so they can feel safe and authentic, not only in person but on social media too?
When love comes knocking
And while Sunshine was — is doing just fine on her own as a single parent, one of her closest friends, Ara Mina, pointed out that she needed to let other people in her life too. Dating was the last thing on her mind — her priorities included taking care of her daughters, working and providing for them. “I was checking my DMs, and had this request from someone who wasn’t following me. It was Macky (Mathay) — he sent me a message and we’ve been together ever since. We’ve been together for four years now,” she says.
She gushes about how well her daughters, Macky — and even his children get along. “I have a new baby, ” she says sweetly. “His youngest, Charley!”
“If I could give myself advice back then, it would be: know your self-worth,” Sunshine reveals. There’s no doubt that Sunshine is more than aware of it. She’s made her own way in the world while raising three great girls in the process and got out of a toxic relationship. She’s the epitome of strength, courage, and resourcefulness — qualities she never saw in herself while living in her shadow of a marriage. She is proof that there is indeed sunshine after the stormiest days, and nobody is prouder of her than her own daughters.
Words JANA BLANCO
Photography MIGUEL ABESAMIS
Art Direction NICOLE ALMERO & PATTY SACAY
Styling PAUL SESE
Make-up MURIEL VEGA-PEREZ
Hair JOSEPH FANTONE & DESIRE DESPI of COLORBARPH
Sittings Editor MARGA MEDRANO TUPAZ
Shot on location at SHANGRI-LA AT THE FORT