Kathryn Bernardo, Daniel Padilla’s 11-year relationship: A Timeline
The end of Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla’s relationship marks the end of a chapter in pop culture. Some viewed their reel-to-real romance as some sort of a fairytale that when it ended, it marked the end of a young adult’s childhood. Many fans watched them grow, and they did the same.
But for others, the end of KathNiel’s romance is a reminder to people in long-term relationships that “forever” is not always a given. Love is not enough. Especially when someone—whom you thought had a sure spot in your future—is not meant to last.
As fans mourn the breakup of Bernardo and Padilla, allow us to take a bittersweet trip down memory lane as we look back at their 11-year romance.
September 2011: Kathryn and Daniel paired on ‘Growing Up’
Putting Bernardo and Padilla together was initially not part of ABS-CBN’s plan. The newbie singer-actor was first paired up with Julia Montes in “Gimik 2010,” but according to Montes on “Magandang Buhay” in 2017, Bernardo knew him already.
Months later, he was introduced as Patrick Rivero in the youth series “Growing Up,” who was the love interest of Bernardo’s character Ella Dimalanta. What started as “kulitan” behind the scenes turned out to be the start of their longstanding romance. However, the exact date of the start of their relationship remains unknown until this day.
April 2012: Kathryn and Daniel’s first teleserye
Bernardo solidified her status as one of ABS-CBN’s A-lister stars with “Princess and I,” which also marked her first teleserye with Padilla. The ensemble cast also starred Enrique Gil and Khalil Ramos as potential rivals for the lead actress’ heart.
The 10-month teleserye ended on a high note, with Gino Dela Rosa turned Dasho Yuan Rinpoche (Daniel Padilla) proving to everyone that he was worthy of capturing Princess Areeyah Wangchuck’s (Kathryn Bernardo) heart.
2012: Daniel says ‘I love you’ to Kathryn for the first time
Unbeknownst to the public, Padilla confessed his love for Kathryn when they were filming for “Princess and I” which was written on a tissue paper.
“‘Princess and I’ days ‘yun, sa tissue ko nilagay (I wrote it on a tissue paper),” Padilla recalled in a “Boyfriend Tag” video by Cinema One in September 2017. Bernardo, on her part, recorded the exact “time and date” of the singer-actor’s confession in a notebook.
March 2013: Kathryn and Daniel as friends to lovers in ‘Must Be… Love’
“May babaeng gine-girlfriend, at may babaeng bine-best friend.”
“Must Be… Love” was not Bernardo and Padilla’s first movie as a love team. Prior to this, they worked together in the ensemble films “24/7 in Love” and “Sisterakas” the year prior.
But the friends-to-lovers story, through the perspective of Pachot Espinosa and Ivan Lacson, is a display of the actors’ potential to be box-office stars. The movie also turned out to be a coincidental glimpse into Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil’s chemistry—which eventually turned into a reel-to-real relationship as well.
July 2014: Kathryn and Daniel break hearts in ‘She’s Dating the Gangster’
It was at this time that KathNiel solidified their status as the “Teen Queen” and “Teen King” of show biz. After the success of “Must Be… Love,” they were paired up in the horror flick “Pagpag” with Paulo Avelino and Shaina Magdayao before starring in the teleserye “Got to Believe” as Chichay and Joaquin.
“She’s Dating the Gangster,” an adaptation of the Wattpad and Pop Fiction book of the same name, revolves around the love story of Athena Dizon and Kenji Delos Reyes which ended in a heartbreak. It also starred Richard Gomez and Dawn Zulueta, who were part of an onscreen partnership, as the present version of their characters.
This marked one of KathNiel’s biggest breakthroughs as a love team as it earned over P286 million in the box office.
“KathNiel is not like other tandems we’ve seen in the past. We know that our idols didn’t become successful just because of their good looks. They all had patience and dedication,” Padilla said during the film’s press conference.
May 2015: Kathryn and Daniel showcase acting maturity in ‘Pangako Sa’yo’
Breaking free from their “Teen Queen” and “Teen King” images, Bernardo and Padilla took on their first mature project with the modern retelling of “Pangako Sa’yo” as Yna Macaspac and Angelo Buenavista, respectively. It also starred Angelica Panganiban, Jodi Sta. Maria, and Ian Veneracion.
“Pangako Sa’yo,” which is based on the 2000 series of the same name, ended after nine months.
September 2016: Kathryn and Daniel are ‘exclusively dating’
During a press conference for the movie “Barcelona: A Love Untold,” Padilla confirmed that he and Bernardo were “exclusively dating” although they opted to keep the details of their romance private.
“We’re exclusive [to] each other. Wala nang pwedeng dumagdag pa doon,” he said. “When we encounter problems, we take the extra effort to make things work. We just remind ourselves of the reason we’re doing what we do and think of the people we are working hard for.”
Bernardo, for her part, said Padilla is the person who “knows [her] best” aside from her mother.
August 2018: Kathryn and Daniel finally confirm their relationship
Padilla confirmed that he and Bernardo were in a relationship for “more than five years,” ending the longstanding speculations about the real score between them.
The revelation was made during the grand media launch of their film “The Hows of Us,” where they also admitted that they had been discussing marriage and plans to settle down for good.
“Nag-uusap kami about that, yung pupuntahan namin, ‘yung sa bahay. Problema magkaiba ‘yung dream wedding ko sa dream wedding niya,” Bernardo said, noting that she wanted to get married in a beach ceremony in the future.
In the same month, the couple disclosed that they chose to confirm their relationship as it became “difficult” for them to answer questions about a topic that was seen as an “open secret” at the time.
“Ever since parang open-secret sa lahat, kinonfirm lang, pero alam naman nila… Sinabi niya [Padilla] noong press con kasi nga paulit-ulit nila tinatanong parang minsan hindi mo alam kung paano iibahin na naman ‘yung sagot,” Bernardo said in a “Magandang Buhay” interview.
“Akala namin hindi na maitatanong, eh may isa pang nagtanong. So parang panget na ‘to, [walang] kwenta naman kung na-deny na naman kasi parang yun na lang ang kulang eh so sinabi niya. I think ikinasaya naman ng lahat,” she added.
September 2018: Kathryn spills the beans on first kiss with Daniel
During a “Tonight with Boy Abunda” interview, a blissful Bernardo admitted that her first kiss with Padilla was “super quick” because her mother was there, and that it took place somewhere in Quezon City.
“‘Yung first kiss namin [was] super quick. Noong tumalikod si Mommy, [nasa] Kamuning [Quezon City] pa kami,” she recalled. “Sabi ko, ‘Yun na ‘yung first? Hindi ‘yun ang na-imagine ko!’ Pero ‘yun. Super quick. Si Mama nandu’n. Tapos parang tumalikod lang po siya, may kinuha siya or something.”
February 2019: Karla Estrada denies KathNiel split
Just months after making their romance public, breakup rumors hounded Bernardo and Padilla which were quickly dismissed by the latter’s mother, actress-singer Karla Estrada.
“For the record, walang ganyan. Don’t mind the people who think otherwise,” Estrada said, following reports of the couple taking a short break from films and shows. “[In fact] Daniel asked permission from his bosses at ABS-CBN to take a month—the whole of February—off, so he could relax… go on vacation. He was with Kathryn.”
March 2019: Kathryn denies breakup with Daniel
Bernardo also dispelled allegations on her relationship with Padilla during an event for a cologne brand, where she stressed that they were both “very happy.”
“Sobrang saya namin ni DJ ngayon. Hindi porke’t hindi kami nagpo-post na magkasama kami, hindi ibig sabihin hindi kami okay. Privacy na lang namin ‘yung iba. Wala kaming problema. Super okay kami,” she said.
January 2021: Kathryn and Daniel admit staying with ABS-CBN is among their proudest achievements
Despite the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and historic network shutdown in 2020, Bernardo and Padilla said that maintaining their loyalty to ABS-CBN was one of their proudest achievements.
“It was our proudest moment last year. We’re also proud of the fans who stood by us, and the network, no matter what happened. We stayed,” Bernardo said during a press conference. “We’re sure we did the right thing.”
The media launch was done to promote the finale episode of their web series “The House Arrest of Us,” which tells the story of an engaged couple who get locked in one house with both of their families.
Prior to the series, Bernardo and Padilla were at the peak of their careers—and were making their mark as independent artists as well.
September 2021: KathNiel celebrates 10th anniversary as a loveteam
Bernardo and Padilla marked their 10th anniversary as a love team with an “exclusive and special documentary,” in which they expressed their gratitude to their loyal fans.
Take a peek into #KathNielIsangDekada in this exclusive and special documentary made with love 💙 by Kathryn and Daniel themselves ✨
— Star Magic (@starmagicphils) September 22, 2021
In a separate post, the actress described their fans as the “best cheerleaders” who are “capable of giving so much love.”
“A fandom that has eventually turned into a family, a fandom that I’m proud to be part of. Happy 10th anniversary to us, KathNiels! Maraming salamat sa inyong lahat,” she wrote on Instagram.
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January 2022: Kathryn defends Daniel amid cheating scandal with Barbie Imperial
Padilla made headlines after he was embroiled in a cheating controversy that linked him to Barbie Imperial. The rumors stemmed from internet personality Xian Gaza showing the latter at what is apparently the house of Estrada.
Despite this, Bernardo laughed off the allegations—which was seen in a screenshot of a text with MJ Lastimosa on the former beauty queen’s X (formerly Twitter) page.
“Alagang Ford po, opo,” she said in her message to Lastimosa, referring to Padilla using his real surname.
For his part, Padilla denied the “nonsense” allegations in what seemed to be a response to a concerned fan on Instagram.
May 2022: KathNiel reunite in ‘2 Good 2 Be True’
Five years after their last teleserye “La Luna Sangre,” Bernardo and Padilla sent fans into a blissful tizzy after reuniting in “2 Good 2 Be True.” It was a historic show for their dedicated supporters for many reasons including the show being the first collaboration between ABS-CBN and streaming platform Netflix.
The Mae Cruz Alviar-helmed series, which revolves around law student Eloy and nurse Ali, is a huge success, which propelled Bernardo to win the Outstanding Asian Star award in South Korea a year later.
“It’s always been more than just sharing a love story, but also spreading awareness on Alzheimer’s disease and educating people about those who struggle with it and how we can offer them the best support they need,” she said in her acceptance speech in Sept. 2023.
“This project made me appreciate our nurses and healthcare workers, so it was more than just another TV show for me,” she continued.
September 2022: Barbie Imperial says cheating scandal with Daniel has ‘no truth’
For the first time, Imperial denied any romantic involvement with Padilla in a YouTube vlog dated September 2022, where she admitted being embarrassed toward Bernardo.
“Ngayon ko lang ata sasagutin ito kasi nanahimik talaga ako e. Noong nangyari ‘yung chismis na ‘yon, siyempre nahiya ako unang-una kay Kath kasi anong iisipin niya,” she said, as she noted that she visited Estrada’s house to seek “motherly advice” as she came from a breakup with Diego Loyzaga at the time.
“Walang truth ‘yung [rumors] and nire-respeto ko kung ano ‘yung meron si Kath and DJ, and sa lahat naman ng couples nire-respect ko ‘yun,” she further added.
May 2023: Kathryn catches bridal bouquet
Many fans hoped that wedding bells would hopefully ring for Bernardo and Padilla as the actress caught the bridal bouquet during the wedding of filmmaker Cathy Garcia-Sampana.
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Padilla, who also caught the wedding garter, opted to put it on Bernardo’s leg, where he was teased to push it further to the latter’s thigh. He refused the teasing remarks while laughing, saying, “Conservative ako, pare.”
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August 2023: Kathryn ‘not in a rush’ to marry Daniel
Months after catching the wedding bouquet, Bernardo said on the sidelines of the “A Very Good Girl” conference that it was going to “take a while” before she would say “I do” to Padilla.
“Wala pa, matagal pa kasi ngayon, nandito kami sa peak ni Deej na kailangan naming magtrabaho nang mag-trabaho especially may bahay na ipinagawa, ang daming gastos. And then, alam din namin sa sarili namin na hindi pa time. And open kami about it,” she said, referring to Padilla using his nickname.
September 2023: Kathryn and Daniel walk solo at ABS-CBN Ball
Bernardo and Padilla went solo at the ABS-CBN Ball in their arguably most glamorous red-carpet looks to date, but at that time, their take at individuality was not suspiciously out of place.
In the past ABS-CBN-helmed galas, the couple always walked together on the red carpet—explaining why their solo walks came as a surprise to fans.
Donning a wig done in a shaggy bob, Bernardo showed off her slim physique in a bejeweled Mark Bumgarner gown with strategically placed cutouts on her torso and a thigh high split.
Meanwhile, Padilla looked dashing in a black and white kimono suit.
November 2023: KathNiel hounded by split allegations anew
Fans and showbiz watchers once again came to a standstill after split allegations hounded Bernardo and Padilla, but this time, it was met with silence from both camps.
The rumors hitting entertainment circles pointed to the couple, and showbiz personality Ogie Diaz couldn’t help but take a piece of the Kathniel sob story but insisted he merely cited entertainment insiders. In the same video, he also claimed that the actor-singer is being romantically linked to his “Pangako Sa’yo” co-star Andrea Brillantes.
Allegations of Bernardo and Padilla’s split were also echoed by Cristy Fermin on her “Showbiz Now Na” vlog, in which she cited a mutual friend of herself and Padilla’s mother.
Nov. 30, 2023: Kathryn and Daniel confirm breakup
A wave of heartbreaks swept up the showbiz industry after Bernardo and Padilla confirmed their breakup after an 11-year romance.
In a heartfelt letter to fans on Instagram, Bernardo said her relationship with the actor-singer was “real” and not because of the “money that comes with a successful love team.”
“We were genuinely in love. We grew up together, dreamed together, and saw many of those dreams become a reality—still together. That’s almost half of my life that I would never regret and would never trade for anything in the world,” she wrote.
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The actress also stressed that she and Padilla had been “drifting apart” for a while and that they tried to repair their relationship. “Deej and I will continue to support each other as we try to heal and move forward from this. We will continue to love you and make you proud, but we hope you understand that this is something we really need,” she continued, addressing their fans.
On the other hand, Padilla said on Instagram that loving Bernardo had been a “blessing” for the past 11 years.
“Ang mga alaala natin ay lagi kong baon sa aking puso at magiging liwanag sa mga madidilim kong araw,” he wrote. “Thank you for dancing with me during my highs and thank you for singing with me during my lows.”
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The actor likewise apologized to their dedicated fans for their split, as he noted that their bond with their community will extend beyond show biz.
“Kathniels, Maraming salamat sa pag mamahal ninyo. Maraming salamat sa napaka gandang pinag samahan natin. Hinding hindi namin ipag papalit at hindi makukumpara kahit anong pang gawin nila. Hinding hindi nila pwedeng sirain yun. This is beyond show business,” he said.