“Are you in love?”
On February 11, Nadine Lustre asked James Reid this question, and as if lifting a page from their onscreen characters Clark and Leah’s kilig moments, James took the plunge and admitted, “Yes, I am.”
Still high from the emotional spectacle of On The Wings of Love live finale last February 26, ABS-CBN gave fans one more taste of Clark and Leah as James and Nadine a.k.a JaDine to relive their epic journey on the series and how the experience sparked their real-life romance.
JaDine held hands as fellow real-life couple and self-confesses OTWOListas Robi Domingo and Gretchen Ho sat down with them for an exclusive tell-all interview.
James had been clear with his intent on announcing to the public about the real deal between him and Nadine.
Before the fateful night of February 11, James wanted to save the surprise until their concert at Smart-Araneta Coliseum on February 20.
It was a plan that only he knew.
He said, “My best friend didn’t know, my handler didn’t know, my management didn’t know.
“ABS bosses didn’t know, even the director-director of the concert, Direk Paul [Basinillo], didn’t know.
“During the rehearsal, and we were backstage getting ready for the actual concert, Direk Paul came in and I said, ‘Can you give me ten seconds before you lower the elevator?’
“And he was hesitant, and he was like, ‘Why?’
“ ‘Just turn off the music for ten seconds.’ And then he said, ‘Okay, what’s my visual cue?’
“‘When we hug, that’s the visual cue. So even he didn’t know what I was gonna say.
“It was a complete surprise for everyone.”
This surprise marked the beginning of a special kind of friendship between JaDine.
GOING PUBLIC. When asked how it felt to have everyone know the real deal between them, James described as it as “so liberating.”
He said, “And I felt so free. I mean, before in the past, when I dated girls I always had to keep it a secret. It is so difficult.”
That was why his public confession made sense.
“I didn’t want to deny it anymore,” James explained.
“I mean, like, maybe it is okay with her, but for me, if someone kept denying on TV over and over again, 'Oh, no, we are just friends. We don’t mean anything to each other.’
“If I hadn’t said it then, I can imagine until now, until whatever day that I do say it, the people will be constantly asking us what’s it gonna be.”
Nadine, on the other hand, was hesitant to go public at first because of the difficulty of maintaining a relationship under public scrutiny.
She said, “Kasi before ayoko talaga.
“Ang daming nagtatanong, like, there are tweets na when we got back from the States na parang sila na and all that.
“I got really worried kasi ayoko. Kasi parang I want us to be private as possible.
“Para tahimik, walang gulo.”
But she began to see things the way James did.
She admitted, “Parang na-realize ko, oo nga, ‘no. Parang gusto ko nga yung feeling. Kasi we don’t have to lie, ganun.”
FIRST TO FALL. At the start of the interview, Robi quickly called out Nadine for once saying that she would never fall for James.
Nadine didn’t deny the incident.
She recalled, “Kasi before, nagkasama kami ni Robi sa isang [awards night] and then nagkakuwentuhan kami.
“Nagtanong siya, 'Wala ka bang gusto kay James?’ Ganyan, ganyan, mga ganung questions.
“Sinasabi ko, 'Wala, wala.’
“‘So never mo siya magugustuhan kahit kailan?’
“‘Siguro,’ ganun. Ang dami kong sinabi puro ganun, puro hindi, hindi, hindi.”
But it was James who first saw Nadine in a different light.
He reminisces, “I went through a lot of stuff last year… and it helped me realize what I really want and what I need.
“And it turns out she’s what I needed and she was always there.
“With Nadine, because I never liked her before, and I never imagined us getting together ever in the future.
“I was completely weird with her, silly, and I pick my nose in front of her like I would with a best friend, like anyone with a best friend, no one else.
“And I realized, 'Wow, I’m completely myself when I am with her, and I don’t have to try to be anyone else!'
“It made falling in love with her so easy.”
As James found comfort in Nadine’s presence, Nadine began to realize how James gave her comfort.
She said, “He always make me laugh, tapos palaging magaan pakiramdam ko pag kasama ko siya.”
Nadine, describing her past relationship, “Before, ako kasi, para akong yaya. Lahat ginagawa ko para sa kanya. Alam mo yun?
“Ako, nabibigay ko sa kanya, so wala natitira for me.
“So, gusto ko, parang nagbibigay din sa 'kin, kasi nga ubos na ubos, e.
“Tapos, gusto ko rin someone… yung, yun nga, laging nagpapatawa sa 'kin, who will make me smile.”
JADINE READY FOR FOREVER? If there was one thing James and Nadine were certain about themselves, they knew how different they are from the other couples.
James said, “In a normal relationship… I met her and you don’t know each other.
“You get to know each other better, you go on dates, things like that.
“I think it was different.
“She became my friend first before we fell in love.”
It helped that friendship got established first which is something James sees as a strength.
“I know people, when they enter a relationship, they feel that comfortable stage that you are comfortable with each other.
“It feels like that spark is not as strong anymore and the flame isn’t that strong.
“But we are already comfortable with each other and I can already see her every day and not get tired of her.
“Because she is still my best friend and she still acts like my buddy.”
When asked if “forever” can become real as well for the two of them, Nadine chose to give herself time to let everything around her settle down.
She says, “With everything that is going on, nandun pa ako sa taas, e. Like di pa bumababa.
“Parang feeling ko nasa cloud nine pa.”
James simply replied, “I see her in my life for a long time.”