Aiko Melendez on how she handles exes, protects her kids from bashers
I don’t want to complicate things,” said actress Aiko Melendez as a way to explain the kind of relationship she opted to have with the fathers of her two children, Andrei and Marthena.
Andrei, 24, is Aiko’s son with Jomari Yllana, while Marthena, 17, is her daughter with Martin Jickain. Both men have their respective partners now and Aiko is dating Zambales Rep. Jay Khonghun.
“I’m a single parent—I’m both mom and dad to my children. I also have to be the disciplinarian and the spoiler at the same time. With Marthena’s relationship with her father, I really don’t meddle. Martin and I talk only when we have to. That’s my way of showing respect to our respective partners,” Aiko told Inquirer Entertainment in a recent interview.
“It’s different when people see us together, even though we no longer like each other romantically, kahit wala nang malisya. People always react, especially when they see us on social media. In fact, there’s this one instance a few years back during Marthena’s birthday,” the actress began.
“I posted a picture of Martin, Marthena, Jay, me and Andrei. It got so many reactions from bashers that Marthena asked me to take it down. I was like, ‘Can’t they be happy that I have this setup with the fathers of my children?’ It seems like they aren’t. Marthena said, ‘I think people will really have a hard time understanding. Like what you told me before, we don’t owe anyone any explanation about what’s happening in our lives.’ This is why I talk with my exes only when I have to. We don’t need to be textmates,” Aiko pointed out.
Aiko said she has a similar experience with Jomari, whom she opted not to hang out with any more “to avoid complications.” She explained: “People know this—we tried to be friends for a time, but we would always feel pressured by people’s reactions because they all want us to get back together. We have moved on. I don’t want to be put in an awkward situation with Jom. Since Andrei is already of age, he can very well tell his father what he needs,” Aiko said.
Jomari is set to tie the knot with former actress, Abby Viduya, in November.
Aiko also swears that Jay never meddles in her relationships with her exes. “He respects me. When it comes to disciplining my children, he is hands-off because I’m the mother, although he is very close to the two, especially Marthena. I would sometimes tease him that he is playing favorites. He just said, ‘I care for them both, but we have to really focus on Marthena because she’s the girl and she’s younger.’”
Meanwhile, Aiko just finished her college degree in mass communications at Philippine Women’s University and eventually plans to take up her masters. At 47, she said returning to school at this time in her life was tough.
“Studying is not easy, but once you finish it, you will realize it’s all worth the trouble. Other students can relate to what I’m saying. Up to now, I’m still on cloud nine,” she said, adding that it took her almost a year and a half to finish the course. “It’s a gift that no one can take away from you,” Aiko pointed out. “Mahirap na masarap. I always want to do something new. I remember having a hard time adjusting in the beginning to the way classes were being conducted. I had to submit my paper online and I had to ask Marthena to help me.”
After a short break, Aiko said she would resume her work as an actress. Aiko is a councilor in the 5th District of Quezon City. “I had to really juggle school and my work as a public servant, but I had to turn down three show biz-related offers because I didn’t want to lose my focus. I told myself, ‘It’s now or never.’ If not now, then I might get disinterested,” she said.
What Aiko is also focusing on is the mental well-being of her kids. “I don’t think I went through any kind of mental illness on my own during the pandemic because maybe I was too preoccupied watching over my two children. I’ve read that it’s really today’s youth who are more affected. They are more exposed to social media and have easy access to information on what’s happening in the world.”
She added: “Andrei is turning 25 in September and Marthena just turned 17. I always ask them how their day was and whether or not something is bothering them. I think simple words like, ‘Are you OK?’ are important to individuals like them. It’s important that they have someone to share their thoughts with, so they won’t feel so overwhelmed or alone.”
Aiko is also aware of the damage of getting negative comments on social media to young minds. “I always have bashers. That’s why I’ve already warned Andrei about them. I’m used to them, but not my daughter who is not an artista and, therefore, is not public property. There’s this one photo I posted of myself and my daughter that got comments from mean people. They said something bad about Marthena that I felt was really unfair. If you have problems with me, you can tell me, but please spare my daughter. You don’t know her,” she declared. INQ