As he marks his 15th anniversary, Xian Lim is ‘living truthfully’

As he marks his 15th anniversary, Xian Lim is ‘living truthfully’

The actor addresses the red-hot issues surrounding his breakup with Kim Chiu
/ 12:05 AM May 19, 2024

As he marks his 15th anniversary, Xian Lim is ‘living truthfully’

Xian Lim — Alexander Angeles

Xian Lim, who is celebrating his 15th year in the business, said he would want to be remembered as an actor unafraid to take on unconventional roles, who puts in time on improving his craft and, most of all, as someone who is known “for living truthfully.”

From the time Xian joined show biz in 2008, to when he landed his first lead role in 2011 (“My Binondo Girl”), to when he portrayed a man who gets pregnant in 2022 (“False Positive”), he has always maintained that he is “a shy kid.”


This was why he couldn’t understand why he is such “a magnet of intrigues and fake news,” he said. It didn’t help his cause after his “painful breakup” with actress Kim Chiu, his girlfriend of 12 years, in November 2023. He claimed to have begun receiving “below-the-belt messages” from former supporters of their love team, KimXi.


“My friends say, ‘Things are getting out of hand. Hahayaan mo na lang ba? Just tell the truth.’ Again, I don’t want to be defined simply by all these. I worked really hard to get to where I am today. Fifteen years is no joke. I don’t want people to remember me just because of this breakup, just because of the made-up things that people are saying now. I want to be remembered for living truthfully,” he said in a recent interview.

In this hourlong chat with Xian, not only did he discuss his goals as an actor and filmmaker, he also bravely answered questions on topics that he described as “absurd,” as well as clarified an issue related to his work behavior. “These are the things that played out. I wouldn’t say talking about them felt liberating, but people deserve to know the truth,” he pointed out

Excerpts from the interview with Xian:

What are some of the highlights of your 15 years as an actor?

A highlight would be lasting this long in this field, which isn’t for everyone. It’s hard to land a job or exist in this space. Another one would be my evolution or growth. Prior to joining ABS-CBN, I was a shy kid. I wasn’t used to performing. So, the growth of being an actor, then becoming a writer and filmmaker…I never imagined that would be me. As a sporty guy, I’ve always thought of becoming someone famous in sports. But this was where fate brought me.

What are the things you consider major blows or setbacks, and what have you learned from them?


Each artist has a different path. For some reason, I feel like I’m a magnet for intrigues and fake news. Maybe because, to be honest, I don’t really care. But I’m only human and I also feel hurt and I question why this is happening to me. I try not to let this get to my head. It was difficult in the beginning, but I’ve learned to live with it. So be it. I’m just going to be myself.

What direction do you see yourself heading in terms of being an artist?

I think all [my experiences] work hand in hand. Being an actor made me so curious about the world, especially through the roles I agreed to portray. From the time I left my previous network up to now, I’ve been given a chance to do things I like. They led me to wonderful stories. This is also the reason I have this dream of becoming a filmmaker, which I’m pursuing now. Everything is possible. It’s not true that actors are always busy. We have plenty of time, to be honest.

As he marks his 15th anniversary, Xian Lim is ‘living truthfully’

Lim with mom Mary Anne and grandmother Leonie. Photo credit: CONTRIBUTED

When did you fall in love with the industry?

I was an introvert. I was introduced to an acting workshop years ago. I auditioned. Every Wednesday—this is open to the public—they show potential talents to Mr. M (Johnny Manahan, founder of ABS-CBN’s Star Magic), then whoever has potential will have to attend a workshop.

I was picked to attend a basic acting workshop with personalities like Robi Domingo, Ejay Falcon and Maricar Reyes. We were all just starting then. That’s when I realized, “Oh wow! There is actually a world that allows you to live a crazy life!” In this world, anything is possible.

Have you ever felt so frustrated that you thought of quitting? What kept you going?

Yes, a lot of times—from not being able to memorize my lines to not being able to cry [on cue]. [There was also] the time when the director always shouted “cut!” because he didn’t like my acting.

Being an actor, you constantly get judged for your appearance, for how you carry yourself. What kept me going was the love [for the craft]. I would always remember that spark, the time I fell in love with the industry and I try to return to that moment. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

How proud are you of this milestone?

As much as possible, I didn’t want to count the years. I love motorcycles. To become a good rider, you can take as many workshops and courses as you can, but it’s all about saddle time, or how long you’ve been on the motorcycle, about how comfortable you are staying there. I think being an actor takes a little more time to get in tune with your emotions. I’m proud that I’ve been doing this for 15 years and hope to do more.

I remember when I did “Everything About Her” with Ms Vilma Santos, the two of us had a talk. Because I was so nervous and I couldn’t memorize my lines, she told me that she’s been doing it for 50 years and one can’t fully grasp what it is that we do.

We are still under the baton of the director, of everyone around us. To be an actor is to be a vessel. I’m not saying that I already know everything, but I’m proud of the experience.

What advice can you give your younger self?

Just be prepared to work hard. I knew very little of the industry when I first joined. I did not grow up here [in the Philippines]. Another advice is to try to know everyone around you, and to be prepared to get out of your comfort zone. That’s one of the hardest things I’ve experienced. I was just in my shell as a kid. If I’m surrounded by people and they’re trying to talk to me all at the same time—like on a set, where everyone seems to be shouting at one another—I would feel rattled. So, be prepared, work hard and be ready to roll with the punches.

As he marks his 15th anniversary, Xian Lim is ‘living truthfully’

Xian Lim — Alexander Angeles

Speaking of criticisms, can you react to the issue about a scriptwriter saying you’re difficult to work with?

There’s really no relationship between an actor and a writer for a TV show. This is possible when doing a film because it’s a collaborative process, so you get to jam. But in a TV show, it’s very systematic. So, the only people I talk to are the production manager and the creative head of GMA 7.

I remember they pitched this show (“Hearts on Ice”) to me very vaguely. They just said, “Xian, are you willing to accept a project, a love story that happens on ice?” When I asked about the role, I was told, “Naku! ’Di pa namin alam ang full details, but you will fall in love on ice. [It’s about] figure skating.”

I said, “This is amazing! What a perfect time to show how hard I work as an actor.” I didn’t know how to figure skate, but I said “yes” to the project and paid for private lessons with my own money. That’s what I want to be proud of—the amount of time I put in with Coach Ronan (Capili) and Coach Dale (Feliciano), who are both talented figure skaters. I went in for six months.

It took a year for us to start this particular project. I even got my FS1 certificate. This only means you’re comfortable on ice. It took six months before I was issued one. Finally, the show began and during the initial [meeting], the creatives asked how I was doing and how comfortable I was on ice. I proudly showed the certificate. I just asked about my character and what I was expected to do. I think this was valid because I will be the one portraying the character.

I’ve never even met the guy. I just wish he can elaborate. I’ve done nothing but put in the time.

Your breakup with Kim sparked controversies. Who helped you cope with them?

My mom. She advised me to stay away from the news, from all social media platforms, because things were getting too out of hand. She also advised me to not mind all the fake news and the things people are saying about me, that deep inside, we know the truth and that’s all that matters. She also said that if people like to believe all these, then there’s nothing I can do about it.

As he marks his 15th anniversary, Xian Lim is ‘living truthfully’

Lim and mom Mary Anne

She’s my support, my pillar, the wall I lean on, even until now. I’m lucky that she’s a strong woman. Other people might have broken down because of what’s happening. She’s been getting harmful, below-the-belt messages, even threats. For some reason, people got hold of her number.

I just want to explain this well and give it some context so people will understand. Our fans—I don’t even call them fans because they eventually became our friends, they became family—have my mom’s number. For the past 12 years, we were OK. She was always just a text away from our followers. All of a sudden, this happened—Kim and I broke up. I just don’t understand why these people we know are now going out of their way to say hurtful words to my mother. What for? We gave a reason for the split, that’s it. Just take that. ‘Di na kailangan himayin.

We were very sad, of course. These were people we trusted. We considered them family. My mom had to change her number. We don’t even talk about it in the house anymore. She just tells me, “As long as we know the truth, we don’t have to play this game with them.”

As he marks his 15th anniversary, Xian Lim is ‘living truthfully’

Lim with mom Mary Anne and grandmother Leonie. Photo credit: CONTRIBUTED

Maybe they reacted that way because they felt disappointed by the breakup.

All I can say is that, we also felt hurt. I know it’s painful, but we never wanted this to happen. This relationship lasted for 12 years because we worked on it. It’s just that life happened. It was also painful for us. It was unexpected, but it’s best if we all just move on with our lives.

What is your current mindset? Are you moving on?

There are no ill feelings. Where am I now? I want to be more creative as possible. I just finished writing and directing a horror movie called “Kuman Thong.” We shot it in Thailand. This is why I have so much to do. I just want to be creative, to work. That’s where my focus is now.

There were no ill feelings because we talked about this when we last spoke. It was a wonderful 12 years. It wasn’t a toxic relationship. You never heard us fight in public. In those 12 years, nothing scandalous happened. So when the breakup happened, we ended on good terms.

As he marks his 15th anniversary, Xian Lim is ‘living truthfully’

Xian Lim — Alexander Angeles

This may seem petty, but it’s putting you in a bad light. Can you clarify the “steak” issue? (Talk has it that Xian asked Kim to cook steak for him before breaking up with her.)

There’s no truth to it. It’s absurd. I don’t see where it’s coming from. Is it because people are using us for entertainment? I cannot orchestrate that. I wasn’t the one who initiated the breakup. All these fake news, all these dagdag-bawas, are just too much already.

There’s also the issue about you calling Kim to ask her permission to announce that you already have a girlfriend. What was that about?

When this story first came to me, I didn’t understand it, to be honest. There’s also no truth to it. But I’ll say this—the truth is that I really did call Kim. When we parted ways, there were various stories coming out. Some parties are purposely becoming noisy. This was also the time when my family started getting messages that were below the belt.

If I may give an example for the sake of context, there was an instance when they said, “Sana mamatay na ang lola mo.” They even brought up her cancer. This was from a supporter whom we know and eventually became like family. It had already gotten way out of hand during the two weeks since we broke up, so I had to give her a call.

This was around November. I was actually begging Kim, saying we should release a statement that we’ve already gone our separate ways, that we separated on good terms at walang sigawan. Of course, there were tears, pero walang masamang tinapay. I said, ‘Can we just release it? A lot of people are getting dragged into this, including my mom and grandmother.”

I begged her that both of us could release a statement, but she said not yet because they’re doing the press launch of her series. I said, “But this isn’t work-related. It’s personal.” That’s the truth to it.

I don’t want any conflict between us. My intention now is to tell the truth—that I called to beg her, but she said, “in time.” I guess by that she meant late December, before Christmas. I don’t know why they decided for us to do it then. I was just glad that we both got to release statements. I guess some people, whoever they are, want us fighting.

We haven’t spoken after I begged for the statement, but we are on good terms. From the time we separated, we were OK.

Does it feel liberating to talk about these things now?

I wouldn’t say it’s liberating, but I think people deserve to know the truth.

Again, I don’t want to be defined simply by all these. I work really hard to get to where I am today. I don’t want people to remember me just because of this breakup, just because of the negative and made-up things that people are saying now. I want to be remembered for the projects that I do, for living truthfully.

How do you de-stress these days?

I posted this on Instagram recently. I find doing hand pan therapeutic. It’s actually sound therapy. It makes me calm, gets me grounded. It takes my mind away from all the craziness.

Tell us something about your interest in puppetry.

To begin with, I’ve always been a fan of “Sesame Street” and “Batibot.” I love the ambiguity and the feeling that puppets give you. During the pandemic in 2020, the CCP (Cultural Center of the Philippines) came to me and asked me make a puppetry film to explain “Ibong Adarna” to kids in easier terms.

Also because of this fascination, I reached out to Filipino puppeteers Wan Lu and Ony Carcamo, who introduced me to the basics of ventriloquism. We have a solid community here in the Philippines. Through puppetry, we were able to recreate “Ibong Adarna.”

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I still have a couple of things that I’m writing and directing. I just returned from Thailand. The star of the horror film I’m directing is Thai star Max Nattapol Diloknawarit. It’s under Viva Films. What’s next are more edgy, out-of-the-box roles. I like to do things that you wouldn’t expect from me. I’m not going to let go of the rom-com genre because that’s my core. I also want to do action, either a film or a series. It’s something I haven’t fully explored. INQ

TAGS: Kim Chiu, Xian Lim

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