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Dina Bonnevie reveals she almost became Mel Gibson's leading lady

MANILA, Philippines — Dina Bonnevie could have been one of the Philippines' most notable Hollywood stars today had she chosen to accept the leading lady role offered to her opposite Mel Gibson. 

Dina said she was not joking when she said it as she elicited laughter from the people on the set of "Fast Talk With Boy Abunda," where her guesting was aired last Friday. 

Renowned host Boy asked her what she had not become because of her children. Dina is mother to Danica Sotto-Pingris and Oyo Boy Sotto, both of whom are parents themselves. 

"I didn't become the leading lady of Mel Gibson in 'East of Eden.' No, it's not a joke," Dina said. 

She continued, "I was offered to star in 'East of Eden' with Mel Gibson after I did 'A Dangerous Life' by Hal McElroy." 

Dina joined the cast of the 1988 television film about a foreign journalist covering the last days of Ferdinand Marcos' dictatorship. 

The actress, who currently stars on the afternoon drama "Abot Kamay na Pangarap," said she was offered to live in Australia and start an acting career there. 

"I was offered to live in Australia and be an actress there and eventually be in Hollywood, HBO. Eh 'di dapat Hollywood actress na ako ngayon and I'm slaying it in the Met Gala. Hitsura ni Tyla, oh, 'di ba?" she quipped. 

She turned serious when she explained why she turned down the role. 

"I didn't become that because I chose my kids kasi at that time na nagpaalam ako kay Vic [Sotto, her ex-husband], sabi ko, kukunin ko 'yung mga bata. Pupunta kami ng Australia and I'm gonna live there. Vic said, 'If you do that, you will never see your kids again,'" the actress said. 

On the other hand, her children made her a tougher person. She and Vic separated when she was only 23, after six years together. She was a young mother to two toddlers. Dina gave birth to Danica when she was 20 and, two years, later gave birth to Oyo. 

Her situation prompted her to look for ways and means to provide for her children. 

"I became an entrepreneur. I had to look for ways and means to make money aside from being an actress and a talk show host. I put up businesses and I became a successful businesswoman because of my inspiration, my kids. I wanted