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Mon, Dec 31, 2012
The Straits Times
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Vernetta Lopez stepping into ex-hubby's job

At signings for her book Memoirs Of A DJ, recalls Class 95 DJ and actress Vernetta Lopez, 39, some women would come up to her and begin to weep.

The autobiography, published in August, created a stir as it contained details of her ex-husband Mark Richmond’s extra-marital affair that eventually ended their marriage. Richmond, also a DJ with MediaCorp, is now married to theatre director Beatrice Chia-Richmond, 38.

“One woman told me: This is the first time I’ve put on a dress. And for a woman who has not put on a dress for a long time, it means she has found confidence in herself. And she said it’s because of my book, and I was like, wow,” says Lopez. She adds with relish: “A lot of women came up to me and said, ‘I’m going through that right now, you have given me inspiration to be happy.’ That was awesome.”

All this is a far cry from the raised eyebrows that first greeted news of the release of her memoirs. Lopez says: “They were saying: Is the book all about spite? Some were a bit angry that I would be so evil, but I was not. And after that, people read the book.”

Memoirs Of A DJ has sold several thousand copies so far, says her manager and sister Loretta Lopez, 42. The DJ says with a smile: “People come up to me with the book, well worn, for a signature, and it’s a great feeling. It’s been nice hearing people say they can hear my voice, as if I’m reading it out to them.”

It has been a busy year for Lopez, who has been married to IT professional Wayne Gladwin, 42, for three years. Besides releasing her memoirs, she has just wrapped up her role in the Wild Rice pantomime Hansel And Gretel. She is also a puppeteer on Okto’s long-running children’s show Knockout, and recently did a guest acting stint on the Channel 5 series Code Of Law, as public prosecutor Vivienne Lau.

While speaking to Life!, Lopez is candid, gamely striking wacky poses for the photographer. She is quick to stress again that the book is not motivated by vindictiveness. She says: “It was more about having fun and sharing fun stories. It’s a bit of a dig in the ribs, but it’s not being evil. If I didn’t put (the divorce) in, you guys would be like, ‘Aiyah bulls***, what is this?’”

But what of Richmond, who was working in the same building as her? Have they spoken since the book was released?

“I saw him every morning after the book. We never talked about it, there’s nothing to say. And I relied on the fact that, if he read the book, then maybe he would understand where I was coming from,” says Lopez.

Chia-Richmond has certainly been forthcoming about her opinion. Speaking to The New Paper soon after the book came out, she said: “We wish Vernetta every success in her literary pursuit. And look forward to celebrating her Pulitzer when hell freezes over.”

Asked about this, Lopez laughs. “Yeah, it was quite funny,” she says. She quickly adds: “I’m sorry to say that it was funny because I’m sure she was pretty p***d off. But… I don’t want to say anything else about it because I just don’t want to make anything controversial out of it.”

But there is just a slight note of regret in her tone, when she notes that reactions to the couple have been “harsh”. “I can only just look back and go, ‘This is my book’. What you take from it is what you take from it, and you’re not going to please everybody.”

There is one last twist in this tale of a tell-all: MediaCorp Radio has announced that, come New Year’s Eve, Lopez and fellow DJ Joe Augustin will take over her ex-husband’s morning show on Gold 90.5FM.

Richmond, who had been hosting the breakfast show with his father Brian, has left MediaCorp after 25 years in radio to join the Singapore Sports Council. He declined to respond to queries from Life!.

Asked if it feels strange to be taking over the show, Lopez says: “Yes and no, only by the fact that it was my ex-husband and ex-father-in-law. But as far as I know, Mark had tendered his resignation and they were looking for a new direction. It’s not weird because I wasn’t really familiar with their morning show – I could never bring myself to listen to it.”

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