Coming out in the open has its price. In the case of Regine Velasquez, gaining weight is only one of the drawbacks.
"Nagpapayat na ako!" quipped Regine to The Buzz host Boy Abunda in an exclusive interview aired yesterday, February 10.
The Asia's Songbird explained, "When we [with Ogie Alcasid] finally came out, that was the time we were able to go out, have dinner. ‘Yong date talaga which we never experienced... tumaba talaga ako," she laughed.
Last year, when Ogie bravely announced to YES! that he and Regine were indeed more than just good friends, the couple braced themselves for the inevitable backlash. Ogie, after all, was a married guy and most people hastily pointed to Regine as the catalyst in the failure of the once touted fairy-tale marriage of Ogie and Michelle Van Eimeren.
Several months after the uproar subsided, Regine once more looked back at the tension she and Ogie felt in the wake of the revelation. Behind the brave faces displayed in public were two nervous individuals held together only by their love for each other.
"At first, we were both very scared of how they would react to us going out since alam na nga nila. Pero alam mo maganda 'yong reaction nila sa amin. Nakakatuwa nga because yung iba, ‘Uy, finally umamin na kayo, buti naman, congratulations.' Natutuwa naman kami kasi naiintindihan ng tao kung ano'ng nangyari sa amin," she recalled.
MEETING MICHELLE. Before 2007 ended, Regine embarked on a journey that was as emotional as it was therapeutic.
She gave a vivid account of her visit to Ogie's first wife Michelle Van Eimeren in Australia during the holiday season.
"It was so nerve wracking," said Regine. "When I got out of the car, I saw her with open arms, gave me a big hug and I just cried my heart out. Wala, there were no words. We were just both crying and Ogie here on the side was also crying."
Throughout the course of her visit, Regine stayed with the Eimerens. One day, Regine and Michelle found themselves together—just the two of them—in one place. Suddenly, all the repressed emotions started bursting through and the two important women in Ogie's life poured out their pain and past hurts uncontrollably.
"We had a date, kaming dalawa lang ni Michelle. Nag-iyakan na naman kami, nagsabihan kami ng mga pains na kailangan naming ilabas na galing sa puso namin," revealed Regine.
Between the two women, Regine admitted that she was the one who badly needed the moment to enable her to exorcise all the pent up emotions that were steadily nagging her.
"Kasi siya [Michelle], parang ano na siya, may closure na siya. Ako 'yong wala, e, as far as that was concerned. Ako ‘yong may issue, ako ‘yong may mabigat na dinadala, e."
To Regine and Ogie's relief, the visit turned out to be fine, with all parties resolving unspoken issues they had been harboring.
"Pero it was one of the most touching, nerve wracking and unforgettable moments in my life," Regine looked back. "Kasi hindi ko kasi ini-expect that I would be welcomed this way. Hindi talaga kilala ng tao si Michelle, she's such a forgiving person. Also very giving, very caring. Every time I go there [Australia], she treats me like one of her girls. That's how she treats me. She takes care of me."
SETTLING DOWN. Now that everything's fine with regards to Ogie's past, the possibility of settling down has never been clearer for the controversial couple.
Given all the hardships they went through from the start, Regine revealed that she's not thinking of a grand wedding celebration to cap their inspiring love story.
"Gusto ko simple lang," she said tenderly. "Tahimik lang. I want a really solemn wedding, close friends lang. Baka musical ‘yong wedding. 'Tsaka nakakatuwa, baka nag-iiyakan kami pareho. Iyakin si Ogie, e."
In another moment of vulnerability, she revealed how aimless her life felt before Ogie—this despite all the accolades and success she was reaping left and right. Being on top, alone, can be lonely.
"Merong mga time na, I must admit na parang nagsasawa na ako sa career ko," confessed Regine. "Napapagod na ako kasi I figured I didn't have anybody to share it with. Iba 'yong merong, ‘yong bang mangyayakap, may tatawag sa iyo when you wake up, before you go to sleep ‘yon ang kausap mo. Iba ‘yon, e, so I have never been this happy before in my life."
Gaining love and inspiration from Ogie was not easy, of course, what with him being married. The consequences were so great, insurmountable even, that a major sacrifice was very much needed to make their dream a reality.
Especially for Ogie,—with his career, family, and reputation on the line—he stood to lose more if he chose to follow his heart. And he did.
"'Yong mga pinagdaanan namin when Ogie and I started was really difficult," Regine told Boy Abunda.
"Not a lot of people know that he has to give up his children, his family for me. And that's not an easy thing to do. It was a very difficult decision. He needed to do it so that we can be together. Walang time in my life siguro that I will ever forget to thank him for doing that...for letting us to be together and be happy."