How Chiz wooed Heart
MANILA -- Heart Evangelista had just gone through a break-up and wasn't ready to enter a new relationship when she met Sen. Francis "Chiz" Escudero, but the lawmaker somehow convinced her to become more than friends.
Speaking with StarStudio magazine in its September 2013 issue, the 28-year-old actress recalled being given a "list" by her friend and mentor, Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, enumerating potential "dates."
"Binigyan niya ako ng mahabang listahan ng boys. Si Chiz 'yung una sa list, hindi na ako umabot sa number two," Evangelista said, laughing.
"Senator Miriam didn't want me to settle down and have a boyfriend. She wanted me to date lang. She would tell me, 'You know... you should treat men like furniture. Just replace them.' Of course she would say it jokingly lang," the actress said.
While she agreed to seeing Escudero, who is 15 years her senior, Evangelista said she only ever intended to make new friends. She recalled having just broken up with Brazilian-Japanese model Daniel Matsunaga at the time.
'Like a dream'
Referring to Escudero, Evangelista said, "I really thought na friendship lang ang meron kami. I thought I found a friend. He wasn't really showing any hints. I've been seeing him almost everyday."
"I was also very attracted to him, but it got to a point in my life that I wasn't ready for anything. I was enjoying being single, going out with some friends," she said.
But the lawmaker, Evangelista narrated, eventually brought up their situation, having formed a close relationship over a short span of time.
"He was shy until one time he just told me, 'You know this is like a dream. Why are you giving me the time of day?'
"I didn't expect anything from it until he told me it's like a dream, 'You're so beautiful, chu-chu.' Ganyan. Two or three months after, naging kami na," she said.
The celebrity couple made their relationship official on July 31, 2012.
Past the worst
Looking back at their first year together, Evangelista said, "It's like being with him for 10 years. It's good that the trial happened early para tapos na 'yung hard part."
The actress was referring to the strong objections of her parents, Rey and Cecile Ongpauco, to her relationship with Escudero.
Despite mounting pressure from the Ongpaucos to cut their ties, with Cecile turning emotional over Rey's supposed worsening condition, Evangelista and Escudero decided to stay together.
The rift led to the actress leaving her shared home with her parents, admittedly to the point of estrangement from her family. Evangelista, however, has since mended ties with her father.
Referring to this tumultuous chapter of her relationship with Escudero, the actress said, "It's good kasi you get to experience and test each other earlier. You go through hard stuff, you learn about each other na."