Known as the Lord of Scents, Joel Cruz built a multi-million empire with his perfume business, Aficionado. But did you know that he spent at least Php52 million to have eight kids via surrogacy?
Influence from Ogie Diaz
As friends in the entertainment industry, Joel Cruz and Ogie Diaz knew each other. Although he’s openly gay, Ogie has a wife and five children.
Ogie recently made headlines for encouraging another openly gay entertainer, Vice Ganda, to have children of his own so he can have heirs to the wealth he built. Though it seems that Vice doesn’t have plans to do that in the near future, Joel shared that he listened to Ogie’s advice that’s why he had kids via surrogacy.
Having Kids Via Surrogacy
According to Joel, Ogie had long been telling him to have kids, but he just can’t do it with a woman. So, surrogacy came into the picture.
Surrogacy is not yet legal in the Philippines, but Joel admits to trying this route with three Filipinas. But the implantation didn’t work. So, he turned to Russia where surrogacy is legal.
He chose a tall, beautiful woman who already had kids with her husband so the implantation will be more viable. He picked Lilia because she’s 5’ 11”, saying that he’s short so he wants his kids to get some help in becoming tall by picking a tall mom.
Spending Php52 Million to Have Kids
For his first set of twins, a boy and a girl, Joel spent at least Php12 million for fare, hotel accommodations, payment for Lilia, and other expenses. He also gave Lilia extra money aside from what she received from the surrogacy firm.
He spent Php11 million for the second set of twins, both boys, and another Php11 million for the third set, a boy and a girl.
The seventh and eighth solo babies had two different surrogate moms; Joel spent Php9 million for each child.
Although they have different surrogate mothers, the children were full siblings with Joel’s sperm and Lilia’s eggs.
Raising eight kids is a challenge, but Joel enjoys his babies and they have a slight idea about how they were born. All the kids have their own nannies and Joel raises them in one big household.
He remains friends with their mother and her family. Lilia’s family even had plans to visit the Philippines, though that was postponed because of the pandemic.