‘Lovers/Liars’ hopes to bring back the Claudine Barretto ‘people missed’
She may not have been the luckiest when it comes to love life and marriage, but her children, Claudine Barretto said, more than make up for it.
“I’m very happy with my kids … ‘Di man ako swerte [sa love life], swerte naman ako nang sobra-sobra sa mga anak ko,” she told reporters at a recent press conference for GMA 7 and Regal Entertainment’s upcoming drama series “Lovers/Liars.”
“Sabi siguro ni God, ‘Grabe na ‘yung mga pinagdaanan mo, so ‘yung mga anak mo magiging mabait,” she added.
Claudine has four children: Sabina, 19; Santino, 16; Quia, 8 and Noah, 4—all “sweet and kind” and don’t give her a headache.
“Sabina recently surprised me with flowers on our first taping day. Santino wrote me a letter, thanking me for working hard for him and his siblings. ‘Thank you for doing everything for us to make us happy,’ he wrote,” Claudine related. “They couldn’t be happier seeing me return to acting.”
“They’re so proud of me. They were teasing me, saying that, ‘The queen is back,’ so nakakatuwa naman,” she added. “They’re supportive of my going back to work.”
At 44, Claudine can safely say that she’s already happy and content with her life. A romantic relationship, she said, is longer on her list of priorities. “You don’t see me being linked to anyone. Hindi ko siya hinahanap,” she stressed. “I’m focused on being a mother. I think I was born to be one.”
Just a bonus
That’s not to say, however, that she’s completely closing her doors on love. “It would just be a bonus. I believe that if it’s meant for you, it will come at the right time,” Claudine said, adding that should she find herself entering a new relationship, it would be with someone who will understand that her kids come before everything else.
“I want someone who will love my children more than anything. Kung mahal ako, sana mas mahal ang mga anak ko. Because at the end of the day, they’re No. 1. The partner comes second,” said Claudine, whose marriage with estranged husband Raymart Santiago is in the process of being annulled.
The last time Claudine starred in a soap opera was seven years ago. That’s why she couldn’t hide her excitement with her return to GMA 7’s primetime block. “I feel like I’m in heaven. I’m happy and excited,” she said.
But as experienced as Claudine is in the field of television, the nerves, she admitted, never really go away. “I get nervous about every teleserye I do. I grew up working with the likes of directors Wenn Deramas and Olive Lamasan. And they always told me, ‘Kung ‘di ka ninenerbyos, nerbyosin ka na. Because that means you have become complacent,” she said. “I take every role to heart.”
Directed by Crisanto Aquino, “Lovers/Liars,” which premieres today, is set in “a world of empowered women struggling with authenticity and vulnerability.” Claudine is Via Laurente, a successful businesswoman who gets ensnared in an illicit affair with a much younger man named Caloy (Yasser Marta).
“I have been getting scripts and offers. But when I was presented with this project, I thought it was different from other roles I have done. I have played my share of powerful female characters, CEOs … But this is the first time that involves an illicit affair,” she said. “We got to show here that no matter how brave you are, you’re bound to have a weakness.”
Show the range
For Claudine, love and lies are not so strange bedfellows. “When you start a relationship, we put our best foot forward and that can be considered a lie. You never fully know a person until after a while. Sometimes, you keep secrets to protect yourself, your past and the people you love,” she said.
“And when love breaks, it’s almost always because of betrayal and lies,” she added.
What was it like working with Yasser and the show’s other young cast members like Lianne Valentin, Kimson Tan and Rob Gomez?
“It feels great working with new actors you don’t know yet. But now I see that they have hunger and depth,” she said. “Yasser is the same age as some of my nephews. And I know the feeling of being a newbie and working with a veteran star. It’s nerve-wracking. That’s why I make sure to make him feel comfortable, especially since my character is feisty.”
The character Claudine plays is a “sensual woman.” Intimate scenes are inevitable. But she’s leaving it all up to Direk Crisanto, whom she wholeheartedly trusts.
“He talked to me and asked, ‘Hanggang saan ang kaya mo? Ano ang limitation mo.’ And I grew up thinking that the director is the captain of the ship. And as an actor, it’s my job to respect the director and do what is required of me,” said Claudine, who—as part of her preparations— shed 84 pounds. through intermittent fasting.
“And I trust the director that he won’t do anything vulgar, especially with the love scenes. Because it will also reflect on them. If their execution of the love scenes or sensual shots is bad, then it’s also on them,” she said.
With this soap, Direk Crisanto hopes to bring back the Claudine “people missed on TV.” “I want to show the range of Claudine that we experience,” he said.