PEP YEARENDER 2017: John Lloyd-Ellen, JoshLia, Barbie-Jak, other celeb hookups

by Rachelle Siazon
Dec 25, 2017
Julia Barretto-Joshua Garcia, Ellen Adarna-John Lloyd Cruz, and Barbie Forteza-Jak Roberto (L-R) are some of the real-life celebrity couples who gave us lots of kilig this 2017.

Predestined romances or unlikely pairings?

Whether they officially put a label on their relationships or not, tinseltown’s newest couples made headlines.

After all, the information was gleaned from ever-reliable sources—first-hand testimonies from close friends, sightings, or sweet-but-private moments shared on social media.

Here, (Philippine Entertainment Portal) rounds up 15 real-life pairs who gave us lots of kilig this year.

1. ELLEN ADARNA AND JOHN LLOYD CRUZ. John Lloyd and Ellen caused a stir in showbiz with the viral videos of their Bantayan Island vacation in September.

Aside from mumblings about their reportedly drunken state at the time, netizens also began picking up clues about the real score between the two Home Sweetie Home co-stars after the two began calling each other “baby” or “baby love.”

Talk of the rumored romance between John Lloyd and Ellen escalated when he took an indefinite leave of absence from showbiz and flew to Europe for a month-long vacation with the 29-year-old sexy star.

This was followed by PEP's November 18 report that Ellen was pregnant and that John Lloyd was the father.

Then, in the first week of December, a video of Ellen, where she's seen wearing an engagement ring, made the rounds online.

Citing an unnamed source, PEP reported that even before their European trip, John Lloyd had already been negotiating with a jeweler for the design of a diamond ring for Ellen. The ring was supposed to be in the six figures.

Veteran showbiz reporter and talent manager Lolit Solis confirmed, in her own Instagram post, that the huge diamond ring that Ellen was wearing in the video is, indeed, the P3-million engagement ring that John Lloyd bought for the actress.


The couple have kept mum about the real score between them, but they continue to post their intimate photos on their respective Instagram accounts.

2. JOSHUA GARCIA AND JULIA BARRETTO. Joshua, 20, went on record about courting Julia, 20, as early as January this year.

They first met and grew close while shooting the 2016 Metro Manila Film Festival entry Vince & Kath & James.

As early as March, the two were reported to be an item, following the video of Joshua and Julia slow-dancing to tje Beauty and The Beast movie theme on her 20th birthday party.

Joshua’s intention of pursuing Julia became more evident when he surprised her with a candlelit dinner by the garden of the actress’ family home.

His gesture seemed even more romantic since Julia had just gotten discharged from the hospital after being sick for days.

She came home to candles lighting up the garden and rose petals strewn on the pathway leading to the spot where they would have dinner.


Joshua, already known for bringing kilig to Julia’s life, tapped a group of teens to serenade the actress with Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect.”

It was his own sweet way of asking her to be his date to the Star Magic Ball of September 29 at the Makati Shangri-La Hotel.

Do these sweet gestures mean they're officially together?

Julia’s dad, Dennis Padilla, thinks so.

But the two young stars are still refusing to confirm that they’re already a couple.

In their joint interview last October 24, all Joshua said was, “Ipinapangako ko na lang kay Tito Dennis na aalagaan ko yung anak niya."

3. BARBIE FORTEZA AND JAK ROBERTO. Barbie found real love with Jak, who was one of her four leading men in the now-defunct Kapuso primetime series Meant To Be.

It was on August 20, while vacationing in the U.S., that Barbie first confirmed her romantic relationship with Jak.


She lighted a flying lantern with a handwritten wish that read: “Monay at Pandesal Sana Magtagal.”

Barbie is teasingly called “monay” because of her chubby cheeks, while Jak is associated with “pandesal” because of his six-pack abs.

When the Kapuso actress turned 21 last July 31, she posted on Instagram a picture of her and a mystery guy holding hands during what appeared to be a coffee date.

While she didn't exactly show who she was with, netizens caught Jak’s photo of Barbie enjoying a cup of coffee similar to what Barbie posted that same day.

Barbie continues to post on Instagram snippets of her cozy moments with the 24-year-old actor, but they remain elusive about the real score between them.

4. LOISA ANDALIO AND RONNIE ALONTE. In spite of their evident sweetness towards each other, Loisa and Ronnie insist that they’re “just friends.”

But a quick scan of their respective Instagram accounts shows snapshots of their cozy moments captioned with excerpts from lyrics of their favorite love songs.

Then on Magandang Buhay’s September 20 episode, Loisa was asked about being constantly sighted in Ronnie’s hometown in Biñan, Laguna.

Loisa, 18, finally admitted that she and Ronnie, 21, are indeed going out.

She added, “Pero yung labas naman po namin ay kapag may okasyon po. Kapag wala kaming ginagawa, nagba-bike kami o nagbo-boxing kami, ganun po.”

5. SUE RAMIREZ AND JOAO CONSTANCIA. It was in’s September 14 report that Sue first admitted she was going out with Joao.

Sue, 21, described Joao, 21, as “mabait, caring, and very pursigido” about making her feel special.

According to the Hanggang Saan actress, they met each other’s families when Joao’s Macau-based family came to Manila for vacation earlier this year.

Sue revealed, “Siya lang po yung po yung naglakas ng loob na humarap sa family ko.”


But for now, Sue claims that she and Joao still prioritize their individual careers over their blooming romance.

“Opo, we’re seeing each other, lumalabas po kami," she said. "Pero no pressure, kalma lang, alam naman namin yung priorities namin pareho.”

6. MARIS RACAL AND INIGO PASCUAL. Inigo, 20, and Maris, 20, hit it off after they collaborated in several singing engagements since July.

They started out as good friends who share the same passion for music until their closeness turned into something “very special.”

When asked about the real score between them, Inigo said that he and Maris are exclusively seeing each other.

According to his November 21 interview with, Inigo said, “So, para sa amin, I told her, ‘I’m talking to you, I’m not seeing anybody else.’”

Maris, for her part, described her relationship with Inigo as “unofficially yours.”

She also confirmed that they have a “mutual understanding,” but would like to take things slow before making a commitment.

7. MIHO NISHIDA AND YOUNG JV. Miho, 25, and Young JV, 27, both said “yes” when asked if they were in love with each other

Even Young JV seemed surprised about their unexpected confession on Tonight With Boy Abunda’s December 15 episode.

He exclaimed, smiling, “Dito pa talaga sinabi!”

The two have been getting to know each other since August.

In an interview with last October 23, Miho admitted that Young JV is courting her.

The former Pinoy Big Brother 737 Big Winner went on to say that Young JV makes her happy, but that they’re not rushing into a relationship.

Miho’s relationship with fellow housemate Tommy Esguerra ended in separation April this year.


8. DANIEL MATSUNAGA AND KAROLINA PISAREK. Nine months after his controversial breakup with Erich Gonzales, Daniel announced to the world that he was in love again.

Daniel first made it known by posting pictures of his foreigner girlfriend via Instagram.

The couple even went to Palawan with his family to celebrate Daniel’s birthday.

Then, in an October 12 interview with, the 29-year-old Brazilian-Japanese actor confirmed that he was in a relationship with 19-year-old model Karolina.

But he refused to give details about his girlfriend’s identity and how they met.

When asked if Karolina works as an actress in Poland, Daniel became defensive, saying, “Hindi siya kailangang mag-artista. Basta, ako na lang. Ako na lang ang mag-provide lahat.”

Daniel added that he has no problem being in a long-distance relationship.

9. ARCI MUÑOZ AND ANTHONY NG. It took half a year before Arci proclaimed that she had moved on from her failed romance with boyfriend of four years Badi del Rosario.

In her July 16 interview with, the 28-year-old sexy actress confirmed that she was dating Chinese businessman Anthony Ng.

Arci elaborated, “Exemption siya, e.

"Ayoko na nga munang magpaligaw, kaya lang, exempted siya.

“Sobrang okay na tao, okay yung family… grabe, parang di na ako makakahanap ng ganun.

“Ewan ko, ha, pero parang sa pananaw ng isang babae, iba, e…

“Wala akong nakikitang guy na ganung klase, sobrang bait talaga.”

Anthony was the same guy who was in a four-year relationship with Erich Gonzales until they broke up in 2015.

10. ZANJOE MARUDO AND BELA PADILLA. For the last six months, former My Dear Heart co-stars Bela and Zanjoe kept fans guessing about the real score between them.

In a video published on last June 13, Zanjoe hinted that there had been a “taguan ng feelings” going on between him and Bela.


The 26-year-old actress responded, “Ngayon alam ko na may itinatago pala siyang feelings."

More clues about the real score between them came out when Vice Ganda revealed, via Gandang Gabi Vice’s July 30 episode, that Bela and Zanjoe are already a couple.

But while Bela also hinted at being attracted to Zanjoe, she insisted that they were not officially together yet.

The rumored couple brought kilig to their Instagram followers when Bela jokingly told Zanjoe to stop showing off his topless photos on Instagram.

The 35-year-old actor quipped back, “@belapadilla kelangan ko pa maghubad para mag comment ka.”

11. PAULO AVELINO AND JODIE ELIZABETH TARASEK. Paulo was spotted with his new lady love since May 2017.

But it was only in his exclusive interview with back in July when he finally confirmed being in a relationship with Jodie, who’s a 22-year-old Fil-Australian model.

Then, for the first time, the 29-year-old Kapamilya actor went public: he brought Jodie as his date to the Star Magic Ball last September 29.

Known for his private, serious, and brooding image—which sometimes comes dangerously close to cold, aloof, and self-centered—Paulo thought it was “proper timing” for him to introduce to friends and colleagues the girl who won his heart.

As for Jodie, she described Paulo as the “most selfless person that I know.”

In’s latest interview with Paulo, he expressed his wish to spend his first Christmas with Jodie in Manila.

12. PAOLO BALLESTEROS AND ROLAND OCHOA ANOG. Speculations about Paolo’s love life arose following his Instagram post of an unidentified couple’s intertwined hands with a superimposed text that read, “I love you. 2nd.”

The mystery couple were also wearing matching rings.

Netizens correctly put two and two together when they saw Paolo and G-Force dancer Roland wearing matching rings similar to what the Eat Bulaga! Dabarkads had posted on Instagram.


Their identical tattoos also hinted at the day they became a couple.

Although Paolo never verbally acknowledged being in a relationship with Roland, it didn’t take long before the 35-year-old Kapuso TV host/actor was posting photos of them together.

There was one taken with Paolo’s mom, plus two other photos of Paolo and Roland from a trip to Mindoro last May.

But what seemed to be a blooming romance got cut short sometime between the latter part of May and mid-June this year.

13. KRIS BERNAL AND NON-SHOWBIZ BOYFRIEND. Kris Bernal admitted to dating a non-showbiz guy since March this year.

The 28-year-old Impostora star refused to name the guy, but she did say that he was a 33-year-old businessman.

In her interview with PEP last November 4, Kris admitted that he was actually the meat supplier for her burger business.

They will also become business partners for a Korean restaurant that she’s planning to put up in 2018.

14. JAKE ZYRUS AND SHYRE AQUINO. Amid his journey as a self-confessed transman, Jake Zyrus admitted that he found a new love in a non-showbiz girl, Shyre.

Jake—formerly known as Charice Pempengco—posted some of their cozy moments together via Instagram.

His August 13 post carried a caption that spoke of his deep feelings for Shyre.

The 25-year-old Jake wrote, "To all of you, this woman makes me feel good about myself.

"She's the reason I stopped hating myself because of what other people think/say about me.

"Other than her outer beauty, her inner beauty is one of the many reasons why I adore her."


15. ARJO ATAYDE AND SAMMIE RIMANDO. As early as November 2016, Arjo already admitted to dating an unnamed member of the all-female group, GirlTrends, appearing on It's Showtime.

Then, in June this year, a short video of the 27-year-old actor's beach getaway with the 20-year-old Sammie was leaked on social media.

The following month, the rumored couple was seen touring Hong Kong Disneyland with other companions.

In an interview with PEP last November 16, Arjo maintained that he'd rather keep his relationship with Sammie private.

But he did say that his mom Sylvia Sanchez respects his choice of girlfriend and doesn't meddle with his love life.

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Julia Barretto-Joshua Garcia, Ellen Adarna-John Lloyd Cruz, and Barbie Forteza-Jak Roberto (L-R) are some of the real-life celebrity couples who gave us lots of kilig this 2017.
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