Kris Aquino admits she went through a period of depression when all doors began closing on her much-heralded TV comeback.
Speaking to PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal), the 46-year-old Kris describes in detail the harsh reality she had to face and how the point came when she began entertaining doubts about herself these past few months.
“Tinatanong ko talaga sa sarili ko, ‘Hindi na ba ako magaling? Ano ba talaga yung nangyari?'
“Yun talaga, itatanong mo talaga, ‘What's wrong? Or is it really just because I’m being punished kasi last name ko ‘to?
“'Hindi talaga ako puwedeng mabigyan ng one hour kahit once a week?’
"May ganung feeling talaga."
It has been one year and six months since Kris's last regular hosting stint on ABS-CBN’s defunct morning talk show, Kris TV, which aired from June 27, 2011 to April 15, 2016.
In September 2016, when she bade farewell to ABS-CBN, her home network of 20 years, there was persistent talk that the TV host and movie actress was transferring to another TV network.
But between the time she was last seen on TV doing regular hosting jobs to the day this PEP interview is being held, there is as yet no final word on her TV comeback.
Kris says quite frankly that going through the prolonged professional crisis alone was a blow to her self-esteem.
She elaborates, “Alam mo kasi, yung self-esteem mo naman talaga, especially kung ito yung line of work mo—ito yung truth, ha—I was explaining it to my sisters.
“Sabi ko sa kanila, when they go through problems, may nakakausap sila sa gabi, they have husbands.
“Ako, kawawa si Bimb, kasi he’s forced to be an adult, kasi kinakausap ko siya about it.
“My sisters said, ‘Stop, he's a kid.’ So, wala kang kakausapin.
“So, parang you can’t help it na meron kang self-esteem issues na pagdadaanan.
“And I think it's really worse for women. Iba yung demand sa atin and all.”
Bimb is Bimby Aquino Yap, Kris's 10-year-old son with ex-husband James Yap.
PEP's interview with Kris followed the video shoot of her newest endorsement deal with Claritin at her Quezon City home, earlier today, October 20.
Kris goes on to describe how she has had to face all sorts of personal issues stemming from not being able to do what she does best—TV hosting.
“Dati kasi, yung self-esteem mo comes from watching yourself,” Kris says outright.
She explains, “I’m sorry. It sounds really shallow, but it’s true. Malaking nabawas talaga.
“Kasi dati, my mom talaga was a major factor.
"Kapag maganda yung trabaho, I’d always get a text. Or kapag tumataba ako, may reminder.
"My ate took on that role naman."
Kris is, as the country knows, the youngest daughter of the late President Corazon "Cory" Cojuangco Aquino and the assassinated Senator Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino. Her sisters include "Ate" Ballsy Cruz, Pinky Abeleda, and Viel Dee.
The youngest Aquino sibling says, “But, sabi ko nga, it’s life-changing pala na if you were doing something straight for 20 years, and then you stop doing it, you question so many things.
“And then, nasanay ang katawan mo, biglang I have to reinvent.
“I’m now in my forties, and I’m now reinventing.
"It would have been different to reinvent in my thirties.
“So, it’s hard.”
CONCERN FOR BROTHER NOY. More telling, Kris alludes to how “political winds” have all of a sudden made it tougher to carry the Aquino family name.
“What affects me most is kapag family issues... issues that are beyond my control. Kasi, if it’s just me, alam kong mako-control ko ang sarili ko, e.
“But if there are external issues that affect my siblings... I’ll be particular, about my brother, affected talaga ako.”
Kris is referring to her brother, the republic's immediate past president, Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, who is facing charges for usurpation of authority and graft before the Office of the Ombudsman.
(PNoy is being accused of culpability in the 2015 Mamasapano massacre. This is in relation to the botched Oplan Exodus—set up to neutralize Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan, and Filipino bomb maker Abdul Basit Usman—which killed 44 memebers of the Special Action Forces (SAF) in a clash with rebels in Mamasapano, Mindanao.)
Talking about her brother’s own struggles, Kris continues, “Because he never expresses it, e.
“You can’t help it, e. Napalaki kami, na we are one.
"So, mapi-feel mo yun and maaawa ka, kasi sabi ko, in a way, alam kong he's like me.
“He has nobody to share it with, and he really keeps it to himself.
"And all we can do is really pray."
According to Kris, these trials have not been easy to process, particularly because she was raised by her parents to “never show your weakness, never show na natumba ka.”
But she also says that thanks to her older sisters, she has been “blessed” with the kind of support system she needs to cope with her doubts and fears.
“And then my sisters talked to me about it.
"Sinabi nila na, 'Krissy, being an Aquino, when the times are good naman, nag-thank you ka. So, ngayon na being an Aquino is not so great, don’t hate it.'
“So, nilagay in that context."
STILL EARNING BIG BUCKS. She may no longer be a regular fixture on free TV—from a high of being on the tube every day of the week—but Kris says she has found comfort in new blessings coming her way.
“But I have to be super honest—bumangon yung self-esteem nung nag-renew yung malalaking kumpanya...
"Napirmahan na yung mga kontrata—the big ones talaga are there,” says Kris, referring to closed deals for new and renewed endorsements.
In her Instagram post Thursday night, October 19, Kris wrote about how she is starting to rise above her recent bout with depression.
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Kris continues, “So, I’m sorry that the self-esteem came because of contracts, but it really mattered, kasi they are big business.
“And if big business is behind you then that means, whatever the political winds are, it’s still big business.
“And the fact that they are staking millions on you, ang laking thank you, Lord.”
Turning to digital media as her new platform for entertaining viewers is what keeps Kris on her toes these days.
At this time, Kris admits to asking why she should even “torture” herself with reinventing herself and upping her game in the world of show business.
Revealing more of her personal reflections, Kris says, “Okay na yung mga kids, may mga negosyo na ako.
"Bakit ko gagawin ‘to sa sarili ko, na ipapa-feel ko na niri-reject ako?
“And I said, kasi gusto ko, e. Kasi hinahanap pa ng katawan ko.
“So, sabi ko, okay, isinara nila itong mga doors na ‘to, I’m gonna create new ones. I’m going to create a new avenue.”
She adds, “Na-acknowledge ko yun, na there are moments na I was really down because nakatayo na ako ulit, and I just wanted to show everybody na we all go through trials.”
STAYING STRONG. At the end of the day, Kris says keeping faith is what helps her overcome the tough times.
"Pero yung sa akin kasi, one, I really have a good support system.
"That's the one thing [I am thankful for]. Hindi talaga kami nag-aaway. It's a rarity.
"Nagugulat kaming magkakapatid kasi we always read about families that are feuding.
"Sabi namin, 'Ang suwerte natin, 'no?' It's a big deal that we are not fighting.
"Second, napalaki talaga kami na, 'When everything seems to be crumbling, keep praying.' And it's really true.
"I think, when you have that faith, hindi naman sa mare-reward ka, pero babangon at babangon ka because nagdadasal ka."