Sharon Cuneta has been a celebrity since she was 12, so she literally grew up in the public eye.
She became the teen-flick princess at the height of her tandem with ex-husband Gabby Concepcion. She turned into a darling of the masses when she began portraying rags-to-riches characters.
After 31 years in the business, more than 50 movies, about 40 recording albums, and numerous awards—the Megastar has probably played all kinds of roles any star could ever dream of portraying.
But her favorite is her real-life role as a mom to her three daughters—Maria Kristina Cassandra, 24; Simone Francesca Emmanuelle, 8, and Mariel Daniella Sophia, 5. In fact, when the three young ladies came into her life, showbiz instantly took the back seat.
She was a single mom when she had KC, but even then, she'd make it a point to spend quality time with her. And with her two younger daughters, she's been grateful that she has reached that point in her career when she can choose her projects, enabling her to spend bonding time with them.
The Megastar related, "Nakikita namin yung nagpi-pay off talaga yung times namin together, nakikita mo sa the way na makipag-communicate yung mga anak ninyo sa inyo. Lumalabas talaga at nagba-bond kayo lalo."
Sharon will never be busy when it comes to her daughters. She asserted, "Make time for your kids. It's strengthening our bond as a family. To strengthen each child's confidence, faith in themselves, and parang knowing that they have a loving unit to come home to, back them up wherever they may end up paglaki nila, that I think is what's most important."
Her eldest is now busy with her first TV series, Lovers in Paris, which currently airs on ABS-CBN. The 43-year-old mom seldom sees KC of late, and she constantly reminds her daughter not to take her health for granted.
Shawie (her nickname) said, "I always tell her, 'Anak, basta you've given your best, I know hirap na hirap ka at pagod na pagod ka, pero enjoy-enjoy ka sa pagte-tape ng teleseryeng 'to, and ang rami niyo nang napuntahang lugar mula Paris hanggang dito. Hindi ka na nakakatulog, anak, pumapayat ka. Hindi ka rin nakakakain nang tama, gulay na lang ang kinakain mo, hindi pa yata karamihan. So please, don't forget to take care of yourself.'"
She also assured KC of her full support, and advised her to "relax" a bit.
"'More than anything—lalung-lalo na kami siyempreng pamilya mo at higit sa lahat, ako—mas gusto kong healthy ka at happy ka, hindi lamang sa trabaho kundi sa lahat ng iba pang gusto mong gawin at makamit.
"'And you know I'll be behind you all the way, I'm gonna love you unconditionally, just relax, anak. Have faith in God, have faith in the people that love you. Give much love to your craft, your work, I promise you, it will return the love you give. I love you, KC,'" she said lovingly.
THE MEGASTAR IS A FAN. One of her unforgettable roles is that of Dorina Pineda—a fan of singer Lavinia Arguelles who was discovered and became more famous than her idol—in Bituing Walang Ningning.
And in real life, despite her stature, she unabashedly admits that she's also a fan. And one of the stars she'd want to work with is Vilma Santos, whom she described as "karapat-dapat hangaan, idolohin."
She added, "Sa dami ng dinaanan ni Ate Vi sa buhay niya, lalo no'ng wala pa 'yong pamilya niya, parang she deserves all these—success, happiness, and most of all, you know, peace of mind talaga. 'Yong kanyang dinadaanan ngayon. Magkaiba lang kami talaga, kahit idol ko siya, hindi ko magaya, e, 'yong maging politician din. So, 'yon pa ang isang hinahangaan ko, gumaganda ang tingin ko sa mga artista ng karamihan, ng buong country, di ba, dahil sa maganda at kahanga-hangang pagtratrabaho ni Ate Vi sa pulitika."
The Megastar's next film, Mano Po 6, will be with Kris Aquino. The two have been working with the same network for several years now, but have not gotten the chance to be close.
She related, "Kaibigan ko siya, pero hindi naman kami close. Pero maybe, you know, there's always some time kahit adults na kayo, or super busy, you can make time naman siguro, kahit papa'no. I'm looking forward to getting to know her, and most of all, actually getting to know the family more.
"Kasi hindi ko nakilala si Tita Cory...Siguro 'yong wish ko ngayon, kung ga'no ko siya gusto sanang nakilala no'ng puwede pa. So, parang mas lalo ko siyang in-admire when I came to know more about her.
"Kaya nga lang, sa kasawiang palad, nag-pass away na siya. So, I look forward to knowing more about that. Na-meet ko rin 'yong mga kapatid nila sa wake ng mama nila, so it was very heartwarming."
POLITICIAN'S WIFE. Early this year, the Megastar became vocal about her husband's plan to run for vice president in the 2010 elections. But that was shelved after Sen. Noynoy Aquino, the brother of Kris, decided to seek the presidential post with Sen. Mar Roxas as his running mate.
When she was asked about this political move, the usually straightforward Sharon declined to make any comment.
But she said, "I am very, very wary of commenting na on stuff like that kasi ang lagi kong sinasabi, hindi naman ako 'yong politician. I am just reacting to what the Aquino family said. I'm just being...we're not rude, in the first place, so nagpapasalamat ako kay Kris, sa buong pamilya nila, lalo kay Senator Noy, pero I think ang problema ng senador dapat, or problema o ano mang issue na kailangan, senador ang nagha-handle. Sana sila-sila ring senador ang nag-uusap."
But she believes that things happen for a reason.
"Kasi si Senator Noy, he carries the torch, the legacy, and I think he would want kung ano man 'yong dreams ng mama niya, lahat ng sacrifices na galing sa kanilang pamilya, na nafi-feel pa lahat sa kanila hanggang apo, ano. Bigyan siyempre ng napakalalim na ibig sabihin. Napakalalim na dahilan at napakalalim na rason kung ba't nangyari sana lahat 'yon, dapat ayaw niya siyempreng itapon 'yong pagkakataon. And I think you'll see his heart. And so whatever is good for the country, is what we will be for," Sharon reflected seriously.
What was her reaction when Sen. Francis Pangilinan backed out of the VP race?
"Alam ng Panginoong Diyos 'to. From the very beginning, sinasabi ni Kiko, parang hindi 'yong ambisyon 'yong inuuna ng asawa ko. Ang laging ginagawa niya, kung ano ang tingin niyang makakabuti sa mas nakakarami. So, kung ito 'yon, walang-walang issue sa kanya.
"Alam mo, mahaba pa ang daan, bago silang lahat. Kiko is supporting what's the best, who would be best for the whole country. Kaya nga siya nag-independent, 'yan ang sinasabi niya, di ba. Ako nagko-comment lang tungkol sa asawa ko, na alam ko, kasi katabi ko 'yan, siyempre. So, I prefer to focus on the positive," Shawie explained.
But she clarified that the decision of her husband was not as simple as changing his mind. She stressed that "to give way" is not Kiko's "hobby."
She elaborated, "Kaya siya tumakbo...it's about principles at kung sa tingin niya ang makakasama niyang makatayo sa tabi ng kanyang prinsipyo ay, let's say, isang kandidato na katulad ni Sen. Noy, hindi ibig sabihin na mali ang ibang senador o mali ang ibang kandidato. Nagkakasundo lang ang kanilang ano...
"So, ang kanya, hindi niya hobby ang magparaya, ang hobby niya, gawin ang kaya niya kahit ba isang tao lang siya o makapaghikayat ng ibang kasamahan, kababayan na magkaroon ng alternatibong posibilidad para sa country na 'to. So kung maganda ang bayan, mas madali para sa lahat pang darating panahon, di ba, para sa ating lahat, at sa iba na ring kandidato."
And with the unexpected twists, she and Kiko neither have regrets nor felt any inconvenience. Sharon wants things to happen in God's time.
She said lengthily, "Walang panghihinayang. Walang sakripisyo. Kasi, wala naman akong ambisyon. Hindi rin naman ambisyoso asawa ko. Kung nag-ambisyon siyang tumakbo for VP, para lang sa tingin niyang kaya niyang gawin, kaya niyang i-offer lang bilang pang-sariling, kumbaga, abuloy sa kung anong kailangan ng bansa natin.
"And alam naman ng pulitiko, ang laking hypocrisy naman kung walang aamin na you're not necessarily running now for this office para makarating ka ng higher office, pero lahat dini-dream 'yon. Meron lang iba na siguro mas excited, merong iba na okay lang. Kami, wala. Kung saan kami dalhin ng Panginoon, at kung saan feeling naming magiging effective, in our own little way, 'yon 'yong gagawin namin."
She said many times that politics is not her cup of tea. But it has to be in the scheme of things since she's married to a Senator, except when she's at home. At home, she's not a Megastar or a senator's wife.
"When we're home, that's when we let everything down. It's home-based, it's reality- based. You know, we live in a different world—he's in politics, I'm in showbiz. And together, it can be very explosive if you're not careful, not because of us, but because of what people may do to us.
"So when we're home, we just focus on the basics which happen to be the most important in our life. So, that really strengthens us. That keeps us grounded."