Chynna Ortaleza revealed that she did not feel bad when GMA-7 decided to break her love team with Richard Gutierrez in 2004.
During that time, Richard was launched as the lead actor in Mulawin, where he was paired with Angel Locsin.
Chynna admitted to PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) during the May 15 presscon of Mulawin vs. Ravena that this career move allowed her to grow as an actress.
Chynna explained, "Well, kasi parang before, when I started talaga kumbaga getting those breaks and everything, I was also very vocal to my management na… I mean, I really appreciate the leading lady breaks and I was really appreciative of that.
"But the thing is, when I observe myself, noong mga quiet times ko noon, kahit sobrang hectic noong schedule, I was always like...ang dream ko talaga is to do characters.
"Kaya nga I was already telling them, 'Maybe you guys can try to give me meatier roles or maybe like kontrabida.' I was already telling them that."
At first, management was shocked when she proposed this move.
She admitted, "They were laughing at me because they couldn't imagine Mimi all of a sudden doing like a 360 na medyo [baliktad]. So yun yung sinasabi ko sa kanila na I really want sana."
The "Mimi" Chynna was referring to was the character she portrayed in the youth-oriented show Click.
In the show where she was first paired with Richard (who played Enzo), Chynna played a bubbly, optimistic character.
This was also the time when chemistry was seen between Chynna and Richard.
Chynna and Richard's love team gained a fanbase and they became the topbillers of Click during its second season.
Aside from Click, their love team also became the second leads in primetime shows such as Ikaw Lang Ang Mamahalin (2001) and Habang Kapiling Ka (2002).
The two also topbilled the first two seasons of GMA-7's Sunday afternoon rom-com Love To Love in 2003.
However, in 2004, when the Kapuso network decided to launch Richard in Mulawin, he was paired with Angel, who played as his twin sister in Click.
According to Chynna, she already expected that this would happen.
She recalled, "I was also telling them, kasi we were already working with other actors, e.
"Like in Love to Love, Anne [Curtis], then Cogie [Domingo]. So kumabaga ako, one of these days, it was really gonna happen.
"Okay, Chard will be launched with another leading lady, and I'll go my own way."
Even though Richard was already paired with Angel on television, Chynna was offered to play Richard's partner for the horror movie Sigaw.
Chynna recalled, "They told me na 'Oh, Chard is gonna be paired na with Angel, then you're gonna do a movie with him. For Regal, Sigaw.'
"Kasi during that time, so okay, ibe-break na rin naman yung love team, tapos I'm gonna do a parang love team thing in Sigaw.
It then came to a point when Chynna had to decide if she would accept the project or not.
She continued, "I told my parents and my management na sabi ko, honestly, if we're gonna break the loveteam na rin naman, and yung character kasi, I feel like, it's not something that will propel me as an actor.
"She's the girlfriend of Richard, still. I'd rather drop out of the project."
In the end, the role of Richard's girlfriend in Sigaw went to Angel Locsin.
At that time, Chynna knew that it was a big risk to take.
"It was such a big risk. Kasi people had so much clamor for the Mimi-Enzo [tandem]. We had fans rooting for us.
"But sabi ko nga, I really need to do this for myself as an actor or else, I'll forever be connected with my love team and it's not healthy for the both of us din, kasi if Richard has to grow as an actor, I have to grow as an actress.
"So that's what happened pero wala naman like, malaking tampo or whatever.
"When they told me they were gonna do a soap, ah okay, sige. If that's the decision of the network, alright. Now it’s the time for me to carve my own path."
Chynna also knew that the new path she had to take was not easy for her, especially when people call her "laos."
She narrated, "It wasn't an easy path. Kumbaga, I really had to prove myself. People were not used to see me doing weird roles.
"Parang I always got feedback na parang, 'O, see, kasi hindi ka na leading lady, nagdegrade ka na.
"Which parang sabi ko, 'Really?'
"For me, if you're an actor kasi, parang you need to be versatile. Or maybe that was just my calling na parang I just really wanted to do characters. I was aiming more for longevity."
CHARDGEL REUNION. Eventually, Angel transferred to ABS-CBN in 2008 while Richard left GMA in 2013.
Twelve years later, the Kapuso network decided to do a sequel of Mulawin, which is now titled Mulawin vs. Ravena, and will start airing on May 22.
Ironically, Chynna is now part of the sequel of the show that broke up her tandem with Richard.
However, even though Richard and Angel are not part of the sequel anymore, Chynna is happy that the two will be reuniting for a movie.
She told PEP, "I'm actually very happy that Chard and Angel are doing a movie. So it’s nice. It's nice to see them work together.
"I haven’t seen din Richard act again after Panday (2016). E, mahilig din siya sa movie, it's a good thing.
"And now, I'm here [in Mulawin]! Iba naman!"
Chynna also thinks that Richard and Angel are happy that the 2004 series, which catapulted them to become household names on TV, will be airing a sequel.
She said, "I think naman they're happy naman na may sequel, kasi it's also the same people that handled the first one.
"I'm sure they trust Direk Dom [Zapata] and Don Michael [Perez]."