Tinseltown’s most enduring couples: Boyet-Sandy; Gladys-Christopher
(Editor’s Note: To celebrate the Valentine month, Inquirer Entertainment is running this series about celebrity couples and the reasons behind their lasting unions.)
(Second of a series)
Romantic relationships in show business are often fleeting. However, there are also unions that have withstood the test of time.
“Our marriage isn’t perfect. There is no such thing,” Christopher de Leon said.
“Your marriage will not work if you’re all ego,” added Sandy.
For Gladys Reyes, a couple’s relationship would also last longer if they share the same faith. In 1997, hubby Christopher Roxas converted from Catholicism to Iglesia ni Cristo (INC).
“No one forced him to do it,” Gladys, a devout INC, swore. “He was convinced after he learned of our doctrines and beliefs.”
Ultimately, they all said that a couple must always keep in mind the reason they fell in love with each other. “Marriage is a work in progress … Through time, you develop the necessary skills and learn from your mistakes,” Gladys said.
Here are excerpts from our interviews with two of the most enduring couples in local show biz:
Christopher de Leon and Sandy Andolong
“I’m the showy type. She’s actually more affectionate to her cat (than to me),” said Christopher of Sandy, his wife of 37 years.
“… the cat that he gave me as a gift,” interjected Sandy.
“That’s OK,” said Christopher. “I’ve learned to acknowledge that we have different personalities. I’m more of a touch person than she is. She likes to be cuddled and hugged, especially when we’re in the middle of the sea.” Sandy explained that they both enjoy taking trips to the beach. “We like snorkeling and scuba diving,” added Christopher, “and every time we do that, we’d hug each other while we’re in the water.”
With these, the couple successfully painted a picture of how they are when they’re together. But, they also admit this wasn’t always the case in their two-decade-long relationship.
The actor recalled a topic at a Bible study they had attended prior to this interview: “We were talking about how to deal with loved ones, how to know when to speak or when to just be a good listener. As years pass, you should be able to tell what your partner wants or needs with just a glance.”
Maintaining a relationship is difficult because “work in show biz can be very taxing,” said Christopher. “We’re not just talking about the long hours spent at work, it’s also the competition between partners. You sometimes get jealous of the other’s achievements. If one of you is immature, it could lead to a breakup.”
A good example, said Christopher, was the marriage of veteran actress Susan Roces to the late action king Fernando Poe Jr. “It lasted until FPJ passed away. Swanie (Susan’s nickname) was also a superstar when they met, but she supported FPJ’s career by taking the backseat. Now, she’s benefiting from her husband’s legacy. She handles screenings of projects under FPJ’s name,” he explained.
Christopher said relationships between two actors were often fragile because “they both have moods. Artists assume roles—good or nasty—that they have to learn to shake off before they go home to their families.”
Sandy added: “There was a time while I was doing a TV drama, I was made to shed tears the whole day during taping. When I got home, I cried buckets in front of my husband. I just had to unload the heavy feeling inside me.”
The actor said he first knew of Sandy after reading a feature story about her in the Express Weekly magazine. “I said, ‘This is the girl I will marry!’” They then got to work together in a documentary on the late President Ferdinand Marcos and his wife, Imelda, that was shot in Ilocos Norte. “We started dating a few months later,” recalled Sandy.
After a civil union in 1981, Christopher and Sandy reaffirmed their marriage in a Catholic ceremony in Batangas City in 2001. Of their five kids, only Maria Angelica, or Mariel (2017 Binibining Pilipinas International), decided to follow in their footsteps. Their other children are Rafael Sandino, Juan Carlos Miguel, Augusto Gabriel and Maria Mikaela.
Sought for advice for young show biz couples, Sandy said: “You need to sit down, assess each other’s moods, as well as your needs. Agree to talk things out in such a way that nobody gets hurt. Our pastor said that, in marriage, it’s important that you tell the truth, but in a loving way.”
Christopher Roxas and Gladys Reyes
For actress Gladys, there’s no recipe for a perfect relationship.
“You just approximate, like a pinch of salt. We don’t know the exact amount of patience or self-sacrifice needed to make it work,” she pointed out. “Through time, you develop the necessary skills and learn from your mistakes.”
Gladys and Christopher recently celebrated what they called their “25th year of togetherness” in a ceremony in Tagaytay City. With them were their children Gian Christophe, 12; Gianna Aquisha, 9; Grant Carlin, 7; and Gavin Cale, 8 months. “While it had already been a long journey for us, we still can’t say that things will be smooth-sailing from now on. We still expect challenges to come our way,” Gladys told the Inquirer.
The two met in the drama series “Mara Clara” in 1992, when Gladys was 14 and Christopher was 12. “He courted me for a year. He would visit me at our house in Valenzuela, even though he lived in Laguna,” Gladys recalled. “He showered me, my family and coworkers with gifts.”
But what really endeared Christopher to Gladys was that “he accepted my youngest brother, who has autism, with all his heart. What I saw in him was compassion and sincerity,” the actress said.
They officially became a couple in 1993, “but since I was just 15, we weren’t allowed to go out unescorted. I still remember Christopher arriving on the set wearing loose clothes, because he was just circumcised,” she said (laughing).
Seven years—that was how long it took for them to finally be allowed to go on dates on their own. “I was already over 18 when I was permitted to go on out-of-town trips with him,” Gladys said.
Their relationship took a more serious turn on its 10th year. “Christopher decided to work abroad to save up for our wedding. It was a mutual decision. He returned to Manila months later unannounced, with an engagement ring.”
Asked why she thought a lot of romantic relationships between people in the biz don’t last long, the actress said: “First, there is competition between them. One person feels insecure, especially if the other has more job offers. This hurts the ego,” she declared.
In their case, Gladys said she was fortunate that Christopher was the type who had interests other than show biz. “He doesn’t seek too much exposure. His dream is to put up a restaurant, since he also took up culinary arts.” For Gladys, however, show business is her bread and butter. “I was able to help my family because of my work,” she pointed out.
Individuality is also important, said the actress: “You should have interests other than those you share with him. This way, you’d have interesting things to tell each other when the day ends.”