Mark Anthony on ex-gf Claudine: We were never enemies . . . always liked each other

Mark Anthony Fernandez (left) and Claudine Barretto

While Claudine Barretto and former boyfriend Mark Anthony Fernandez never had “closure” in their relationship, the two never lost respect for each other.

“We never had a problem with each other. We never spoke ill of each other—ever,” said Claudine, who said she may have “ghosted” her first love, Mark, to prioritize her career. “Walang masamang tinapay sa kanya.”

“He has always been the same Mark that we all loved. I miss his kakulitan. He’s a good person, so he’s not difficult to love. Bilang kaibigan, mahal na mahal ko ‘yan,” she said in a recent virtual conference for her upcoming movie, “Deception.”

Mark echoed Claudine’s thoughts, saying that they were “never enemies.” “We have always liked each other even if we weren’t together anymore,” he said. “And I’m just thankful that we were given a project with a strong script like this.”

Reunion

The movie marks Claudine’s screen reunion with Mark after 25 years. “Working with Mark is very easy and we really have good rapport,” said the 41-year-old actress, who’s looking forward to doing something more mature than their 1996 film “Mangarap Ka.”

Mark said he’s excited about working with Claudine again because he had nothing but good memories from their past projects. “Every moment was fun for me. If you will ask me I would do it again, yes, of course, why not. Each minute of the journey was full of fun memories,” he said.

In Viva Films’ “Deception,” Claudine portrays a former actress who gets 10 years in prison for killing her husband and burning their house. After her release, she sets off to find her estranged son and attempts to redeem herself and make up for all the years she lost.

“If you have followed my journey, you know the things I have been through—the separations, betrayals—I have experienced them all before. The movie’s theme hits close to home,” she said.

Motherhood

For Claudine, putting her acting career on the back burner was a painful decision—but one she doesn’t regret, she stressed, because her children will always be her top priority.

“Motherhood isn’t something you can just take a break from… When Raymart [Santiago, her ex-husband, and her] separated, I felt I had to take a step back from show biz, because my children needed me. I don’t want them to just wake up one day and feel like they don’t have a father and a mother,” she said.

Claudine has a 13-year-old son, Santino, with Raymart. She also has three adopted kids: Sabina, 16; Quia, 6; and Noah, 2.

“Looking at them now individually, I can see they all have different needs, personalities and wants. So, I really have to get out of my way and make time to pray, so that I can be the mother I should be,” she said. “Having them is such a blessing to me. And I will never regret stepping back [from the limelight].”

But now that her two eldest kids are teenagers, Claudine said she has more leeway to accept show biz projects. “Acting has always been my passion. It’s what I know well, it’s what I’m good at. And now that Sabina and Santino are bigger, they say that they’re OK with me working more often. I make sure to ask them if they’re OK with it,” she said.

Because she’s no longer as active as she was in the 1990s and 2000s, she admitted that self-doubt creeps into her once in a while. “Periods when you don’t work make you ask yourself, ‘Am I still good enough? Can I still do this? Will the people still find me convincing?’” she related.

And when she does accept acting projects, the feeling of rustiness is something she always has to shake off. “Actors are some of the most insecure people. You always have to go with the flow or the times. Now, when I do, say, an episode of ‘Maalaala Mo Kaya,’ I feel nerves that were never there before because I was so used to the grind,” she related.

“But in times like that, I just tell myself, ‘You did teleseryes for so many years.’ If I’m feeling rusty, I just need to warm up,” she added. “I miss the chaos of tapings—even the sleepless days. If acting is your passion, there’s no turning back.” INQ

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