IN THE SPOTLIGHT: For Nadine Lustre, love is about maintaining a sense of self
Editor’s note: This feature on Nadine Lustre discusses her take on love and relationship after she emerged as the most date-worthy female celebrity on Valentine’s Day after a two-week survey among readers of INQUIRER.net last February.
Nadine Lustre never lost herself in the pursuit of love. She may have found it with Christophe Bariou in the island of Siargao, but it never got in the way of her career, personal decisions, and sense of self.
After all, it seems that self-love is crucial to her shining career. A notable memory is her decision to leave everything behind in Manila for Siargao. Her reason? “I noticed that when [I’m] in Siargao, I was really slowing myself down and I was just taking my time. I loved it. I got to savor my life even more,” she said in a February 2022 exclusive interview with Mega magazine.
Nadine’s decisions and career moves seem to be drastically different from conventional Filipinos. But for her, it’s a reminder that loving yourself is a step closer to achieving the things you deserve — even when it comes to the matters of the heart.
Growing in love
Her thoughts on love, and her love life, are seen as interests among the general public. But for Nadine, she refuses to let her personal life dictate the currents of her career. After all, she knows that she can make a name for herself — without her personal life and an onscreen partner getting in the way.
It is common knowledge that Nadine was in a relationship with James Reid from February 2016 to January 2020. Their breakup might have been a shock among loyal fans especially during the height of their split, but she chose to look at her past romance with a grateful heart.
“I guess it is what it is. We have supported each other immensely, we are so close pa rin [still],” she said in an interview with TV host Boy Abunda in June 2021. “I guess it is best not to put a line on it. We’re happy.”
Much to the heartbreak of JaDine (James and Nadine) fans, Nadine admitted that she’s no longer in touch with Reid in an exclusive interview with ANC’s Headstart in December 2022.
“Every time I look back, I always think to myself na parang that person was a different Nadine. He’s very busy and so am I. So we don’t really have time to see each other or talk to each other,” she said in the report.
She eventually opened up to love again as her relationship with Bariou blossomed in Siargao. But as seen in her exclusive interview with Abunda in July 2022, she made it a point to not make her love life appear as her sole focus.
“I have friends who have been living in Siargao for a while now. So in July last year, two of my friends [and I] ended up going to Siargao just for a vacation. Medyo maluwag na nung time na ‘yun so we were able to fly out. We stayed in another place but one of my good friends kasi is working for him [Bariou],” she said, as she recalled how they met.
“She asked him [if] we can go to his spot because there’s a secret beach there where there’s no one there most of the time and it’s really peaceful. ‘Yun ‘yung kung saan nagmi-meet ‘yung ilog tsaka ‘yung dagat. So she asked him if we could go but we ended up just swimming in his pool. That’s pretty much it,” she further explained.
Nadine seemed to have a rather good first impression of her partner, saying he’s “actually kind of cute.” And the rest, as they say, is history. But despite being an A-list star, Bariou remained understanding about her career.
“He’s getting used to it, at least. I think he understands that it’s something that he cannot escape. It’s part of it so he’s okay with it,” she told Abunda.
It is clear that she values relationships — both platonic and romantic. But at the same time, it seems that the 29-year-old multi-hyphenate does not lose sight of what truly matters. Herself.
And why would she lose sight of herself? She has made a name for herself as an award-winning actress, singer, dancer, fashionista, passionate creative, entrepreneur, and advocate of issues that matter. The 29-year-old actress is proof that being in a committed relationship should not stop an individual from growing and exploring what lies beyond their comfort zone.
When it comes to love, Nadine does not subscribe to “attachments and ownerships” of people, much like what most with traditional way of thinking would claim.
“If you wanna love a person, just love them fully. You don’t have to pick who you want to love because, at the end of the day, that’s what we’re here for. We’re meant to show love to everyone else,” she told Abunda in 2021.
It’s tough to survive in such a competitive and cutthroat industry, especially with showbiz going full speed ahead. Despite this, Nadine allows herself to be human. She admitted to Metro Magazine in 2020 exclusive that people are not expected to be put together all the time.
“When waves of sadness, worry, and fear come, it’s one hundred percent okay to feel them. It’s normal for us to feel these emotions and it’s healthy for us to actually go through them kasi, how are you supposed to know what these emotions are like and how are you supposed to help other people,” she was quoted as saying.
After all, self-love is crucial to Nadine. There was even a time in her life, particularly during the pandemic where she was forced to get real with herself and say no to things that don’t benefit her anymore, as she told the “Fast Talk with Boy Abunda” host.
“It’s not really letting go of people. It’s more of learning to say no and understanding what is beneficial for you and the things that don’t serve you anymore. If this person is making you feel a type of way, then why should you hang out with that person? If you’re not benefiting from that person, there’s no need for that exchange,” she said.
“Energy is a currency. And being that it is as a currency, it runs out. The more you try and give your energy to those people, made-deplete ka eh,” she further explained.
The art of saying no even carried through Nadine in her career, as she opened up about her openness to exploring more of her craft as an actress. One of her recent out-of-the-box projects to date is the Mikhail Red-helmed “Deleter” where she was named as Best Actress in the 48th Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF).
Perhaps, maintaining her sense of self is one of the factors that carried her to greater heights.
“I’m glad I’ve reached that point in my career where I can choose my projects and have the freedom to say no,” she told the Inquirer in December 2022. “I’m so unassuming, so I didn’t expect to win Best Actress. All that matters to me is that I did my best. Our movie ignited my passion to act. When I was still doing rom-coms, it came to a point when it felt like a routine.”
As an advocate of mental health, gender equality, and human rights, Nadine is clear proof that love is more than being involved with a romantic partner. It goes deeper than what people think. She appears to be the epitome of how strong emotions can also evolve into how you carry yourself, especially when you’re in the midst of growing through what you have to go through.
“I really just allow myself to feel everything, everything it is that a person could feel, all these experiences. You know, sadness or all the ‘negative emotions,’ I don’t really see them as negative because in a way, these things that we go through, these emotions help us become a better person,” she told Metro magazine in October 2020.
One of Nadine’s recent pursuits is opening her YouTube channel earlier this month. Fans have only seen glimpses of her life through her social media accounts through her breathtaking photos and witty responses. But maybe, this is a start to seeing more of what this gorgeous woman can offer. Especially when it comes to a more nuanced take on love.
She is Nadine Lustre after all. EDV
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