Ellen Adarna had once described herself as the love-them-and-leave-them kind of a girlfriend.
She was a free spirit who wouldn't change herself for a guy, going so far as to announce she wanted to have a baby even before getting married.
"Alam niyo naman na gusto ko lang magkaanak, even my parents know that," said Ellen in an interview with PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) in March 2015.
"I told them na in three years time, I like to have my own baby na, and they said they will support me."
Ellen had been consistent, declaring in a January 2017 interview with PEP.ph, "I want to get pregnant when I'm 30."
And Ellen got what she wanted.
She got pregnant at 29 and was 30 years old when she gave birth to her son with John Lloyd Cruz in June 2018.
No one in showbiz saw it coming—not their fans, not their associates, not their friends.
The romance of Ellen and John Lloyd was totally unexpected, probably surprising them both as well.
Throwing caution to the wind, they left show business, and are now ensconced in a world they've created for themselves alone.
And from all indications during the peak of their romance, they seem to have found a perfect match in each other.
But before Ellen met John Lloyd, what was she like with her ex-boyfriends? Why did her previous relationships exes fail? What was her most devastating breakup?
Here, PEP.ph traces Ellen's dating history—from the guys who broke her heart and the ones she left behind to the man who gave her a son she has always wanted.
ELLEN ADARNA’S FIRST BOYFRIEND
Ellen once told PEP.ph that her relationship with her first boyfriend lasted for three years.
While she didn’t disclose the guy's name, Ellen said that it really broke her heart when they broke up.
"Super-cry talaga ako. Dinamdam ko talaga," she said in a March 2015 interview.
It was from that first heartbreak that she learned to hold her emotions in check when it came to love.
Looking back to the buckets of tears that she shed over a failed relationship, a toughened Ellen said, "Pero time flies by, parang hindi na uso sa akin yun.
"Kapag ayoko na, ayoko na and walang iyak-iyak. Kailangan move on kaagad!"
In an earlier interview with PEP.ph, she candidly admitted falling for the wrong guy all the time.
"Kasi nagka-boyfriend ako dati, ang pa-pangit! Pangit na nga, salbahe pa, wala pang pera," she exclaimed in between laughs.
"Yung iba nang-uutang pa! Hay naku, bobits talaga! Nagpapa-utang! May mga boyfriends na non-showbiz na ganun din yung ganap."
Why did she fall for those guys then?
Still laughing, Ellen remarked, "Tanga-tanga lang! Ewan ko!"
Some of Ellen Adarna's ex-boyfriends were good-looking, but she still found them lacking in other aspects.
"Guwapo naman, pero ganito lang..."
Getting over them was pretty easy, she said, "Talent ko, I have a switch I can turn off and on. So when I'm mad, I can leave like that!"
"'Yun lang nga, I can't, 'Pay me your utang!'"
ELLEN'S BRIEF ROMANCE WITH JC INTAL
Ellen was a showbiz newbie when she and PBA player JC Intal fell into some kind of relationship.
It was short-lived, and JC was a cloud in her memory whom Ellen dismissed as “pinakamalabong boyfriend ever” because of their lack of communication.
“May boyfriend-girlfriend ba na magti-text na three days lang? Ganun lang. It was nothing serious," Ellen was quoted as saying in a 2014 interview with PEP.ph.
It was not clear exactly when they became a couple, but they were together for six months.
JC is now a family man, with wife TV host and vlogger Bianca Gonzales and their two daughters.
ELLEN AND BOYFRIEND FILO CUECO
It was in September 2010 when Ellen and businessman Filo Cueco became a couple.
Ellen then was a mainstay of the GMA-7 gag show Bubble Gang.
Filo, whose family is into publishing and construction, was also a busy man.
Kapuso viewers had witnessed the couple grow closer when they joined Survivor Philippines Celebrity Doubles Showdown in 2011.
A huge fan of the American reality show franchise, Ellen said she really wanted to be part of the Philippine version of Survivor.
It came to a point that she issued an ultimatum just to convince Filo to be her partner for the celebrity doubles edition.
“Sabi ko, 'Pag hindi ka sasali, maghahanap ako ng proxy boyfriend! Humanda ka! Maghahanap talaga ako ng proxy boyfriend!'” Ellen recounted in an November 2011 interview with PEP.ph.
Ellen recalled her stint in the beautiful island of San Vicente, Palawan, as a castaway.
She said, "Yung mga tulog. Ang tagal, parang feeling mo, mga three days! Kasi walang time. 'Tapos ang lamig! Ang kati! Sobrang hirap nung gabi."
Filo, on the other hand, said, “The nights, napakasaya. Kasi I was only sleeping mga one hour, the rest of the night I was awake. It was fun, yung mga challenges were fun.”
But the couple ended up quitting the reality show.
This was Ellen’s explanation during an episode of Survivor Philippines:
“My decision is to quit. Because in the first place, I forced Filo join this. His heart isn't in it. And now, he wants to quit.
“And I said before, anything that would try to break us apart, which is kind of happening now, I don’t want that to happen.”
The couple were still together after quitting the Kapuso reality show but the cracks in their relationship were beginning to show.
In their joint interview with PEP.ph back in November 2011, Filo said he had no problem with Ellen having male admirers.
After all, she was a mainstay of FHM's 100 Sexiest Women and Filo understood that.
But then, his next statement sounded like a warning, "I know naman the type of man that I am, e. I know I’m a good guy, so if she cheats, her loss talaga."
At the time of the interview, Ellen and Filo were a couple for one year and one month.
It was not clear, however, why they eventually called it quits and when exactly.
ELLEN'S LIVE-IN PARTNER RAOUL OLBES
Ellen openly admitted living with her non-showbiz boyfriend Raoul Olbes, who was her friend years before they became a couple.
They were together from August 2013 to September 2014.
Ellen hinted that she was the one who initiated their breakup.
"Kasi, if you think hindi na puwede, that's the time you have to decide.
"And siguro, dumating ako dun sa point na I have to decide and yun nga yung decision. Wala na, break na.
"And may mga issues din kami na hindi na talaga naayos and mahirap na ayusin din.”
The actress also made it clear that there was no third party involved in her breakup with Raul.
"Alam naman niya kung ano yung reason.”
ELLEN'S SHORT-LIVED ROMANCE WITH RAYMUND ROMUALDEZ
After a few months, word got out that Ellen was dating Raymund Romualdez, son of former Tacloban Mayor Alfred Romualdez.
In March 2015, Ellen posted on Instagram a photo of what seemed to be a sweet moment between her and Raymund while they were sitting by the beach.
She was leaning on Raymund's shoulder and playfully pulling his shirt just as they were laughing at some private joke.
Ellen didn't write any caption, but her good friend Beauty Gonzalez left several lovestruck emoji's in the comments' section of the post.
After more than two months, Ellen confirmed that she and Raymund were a couple, but that it didn't really last long.
"Let’s just say na malabo yung relationship and we’re better off as friends," said Ellen in an interview with PEP.ph.
Raymund happened to be the ex-boyfriend of Ellen's friend Gwen Zamora.
Gwen and Raymund broke up around the same time Ellen and her boyfriend Raoul called it quits.
There was talk that Gwen and Ellen had a falling out because of all that.
But both women denied the rumors in their separate interviews with PEP.ph in March 2015.
ELLEN ON DATING EJAY FALCON
Ellen and Ejay Falcon were a love team in the 2015 ABS-CBN early prime-time series Pasion De Amor.
They were also known as “Team Ibon” because of their surnames Falcon and Adarna.
During the nine-month run of the show, Ellen and Ejay did a lot of intense love scenes and their constant togetherness at work eventually brought them closer in real life.
Ellen admitted to dating Ejay, but she later asked him to stop courting her.
“Actually, nung time na yun, kaka-break ko pa lang sa boyfriend ko and then I was open to date different guys,” she said in an interview with PEP.ph on January 30, 2016.
“That’s why I dated Ejay, to be fair with others. I realized na hindi pa talaga ako ready kaya I cut him.”
Ellen went on to explain she made it clear to Ejay from the start that "okay lang sa akin na manligaw ka, pero I’m gonna do what I want. I’m not gonna change for you.”
Things seemed to be going great between them, especially when Ellen agreed to be Ejay’s date at the annual Star Magic Ball, held at Makati Shangri-La Hotel on September 12, 2015.
But the pair made headlines when Ellen reportedly got drunk and left the ball with Paulo Avelino instead of Ejay.
Ejay, for his part, posted a statement on Instagram defending Ellen from critics.
“Pls dont judge her. She's an amazing date. Nag-enjoy ako kasama siya," Ejay wrote.
“Wala rin namang problema na makipagusap siya sa mga malapit nya rin na kaibigan. Party naman 'yun so natural lang na mag-interact sa ibat ibang tao.”
In the continuation of Ellen’s interview with PEP.ph, she admitted there was a slight misunderstanding between her and Ejay after the Star Magic Ball.
But she insisted that they didn’t fight about the alleged incident involving Paulo.
Ellen also made it clear that she and Ejay patched things up by September or October of 2015.
ELLEN AND PAULO AVELINO AT THE STAR MAGIC BALL
Ellen and Paulo Avelino were rumored to be an item following a controversial incident that allegedly happened during the night of the annual Star Magic Ball in 2015.
While Ellen walked the red carpet with Ejay as her escort, she reportedly ditched him and spent the rest of the night with Paulo by her side.
The same report from TV Patrol also said that Ellen was spotted holding hands with Paulo.
There were also talks that the two had a “quickie” that night.
Ellen, however, cried foul over what she claimed was malicious speculation.
She insisted that it was her Pasion De Amor co-star Coleen Garcia and the latter’s boyfriend Billy Crawford who walked her back to her hotel room at Shangri-La Makati that night.
Speaking to PEP.ph and other entertainment reporters, Ellen clarified, “And then my yaya was there and then my manager was there. We slept in one room.”
Ellen also said that the only thing she did with Paulo was "smoke cigarettes" by the "smoking area."
The ever straight-forward Ellen elaborated, “It was like... if ever may nangyari man talaga, if ever nag-quickie daw kami, well, so... paki niyo?
"Ay, may naganap palang ganyan? A, baka smoking is the new sex!"
Describing Paulo as a longtime friend, Ellen added, “If ginusto namin… if ginusto naming dalawa, e, di matagal na din sanang naging kami.”
ELLEN'S FOREIGNER BOYFRIEND
In February 2016, Ellen posted on her Instagram account @maria.elena.adarna several photos showing her going out on group dates with a foreigner.
The following month, she admitted being in a relationship with the foreigner she was constantly dating.
"I think mga Afam di naman sila ata nanliligaw, when you’re dating it’s clear na ‘tayo na’. Wala na ‘yung ligaw-ligaw na part," Ellen said in part in a March 2016 interview with Push.com.ph.
He seemed to be the guy that she wanted to be her "baby daddy" if at 30 she would not have found a steady boyfriend yet.
"Yeah, I'm really going to get pregnant when I'm 30," said Ellen in an interview with PEP.ph on January 31, 2017, during which time she was in between relationships.
"Meron akong ka-deal na magiging daddy. AFAM. He was my ex-boyfriend. Sabi ko, okey."
ELLEN AND BASTE DUTERTE'S SECRET ROMANCE
After dating a foreigner, Ellen got into a controversial romance with Sebastian "Baste" Duterte.
Baste is the youngest son of President Rodrigo Duterte with his ex-wife Elizabeth Zimmerman.
As early as May 2016, speculation was rife that Ellen and Baste were dating after their vacation photo in Siargao made the rounds online.
Ellen, for her part, categorically said that she and Baste were just friends.
She even pointed out that he was in a relationship with someone else.
From October to November 2016, the sexy star continued to post on Instagram several wacky photos of her and Baste.
In one of her posts, she described the presidential son as "pinaka hindi maarte na tao."
Just the same, both Ellen and Baste kept downplaying their closeness whenever they answered comments from netizens who were curious about the real deal between them.
Then by November 15, 2016, a photo of them kissing on the lips got leaked on social media.
When reached for comment, Baste's talent manager Betchay Vidanes told PEP.ph that she has always kept herself off her ward's personal affairs.
She did, however, describe Baste as "not married" and one who "doesn't label his relationships."
The following month, on December 8, Baste shut up netizens calling Ellen a "homewrecker" for allegedly coming between him and his longtime girlfriend Kate Necesario.
Baste and Kate have a son, but it was not clear if the two were separated at the time the presidential son was being romantically linked to Ellen.
It was only in January 2017 that Ellen admitted to being in a relationship with Baste for roughly seven months, but that he broke up with her via text message.
Speaking to PEP.ph and other entertainment reporters, the sexy star candidly recounted how Baste randomly texted her one morning saying "Ano kaya kung maghiwalay tayo?"
"And then, ayun, hindi na kami nag-usap," she added.
The following month, Baste gave a tell-all interview on TV5's public affairs program Reaksyon, hosted by the network's news chief Luchi Cruz-Valdez.
This was when he admitted that he had overlapping relationships with Ellen and Kate.
Baste was quoted as saying, "Alam nilang dalawa and pumayag naman sila. Anong magagawa ko?"
His interview came on the heels of Ellen and Kate taking swipes at each other on Facebook.
PEP.ph reported on February 3, 2017 that Kate reposted screenshots of Ellen allegedly calling her "losyang" in the sexy star's exchange of Facebook comments with a fan.
The Facebook thread in question also showed Ellen telling her fan that she had moved on from her breakup with Baste.
Kate, for her part, wrote in the caption of her own Facebook post: "HAHAHAHAHHA LOSHANG MY ASS. #BILOGANGMUNDO #NHEDCHIN”
JOHN LLOYD CRUZ, THE FATHER OF ELLEN'S BABY
Of all Ellen's boyfriends, her relationship with John Lloyd Cruz has been the most talked about.
They've known each other for quite a while; Ellen even joined the ABS-CBN sitcom Home Sweetie Home, top-billed by John Lloyd and Toni Gonzaga.
In October 2016, everyone was caught off guard when Ellen posted on Instagram a photo of her and John Lloyd hanging out at a restaurant.
It started the buzz that the two were becoming a couple.
John Lloyd and Ellen were both firm in saying they were just friends.
And yet, in the following months, there were a number of occasions the two were seen in each other's company.
They were first spotted at a hotel lobby in February and then in an Ilocos getaway with friends in March.
In the same month they also stood as godparents at the christening of Beauty Gonzalez's daughter Olivia, Ellen being a close friend of Beauty.
In September 2016, the romance rumors between John Lloyd and Ellen escalated when they vacationed together on Bantayan Island in Santa Fe, Cebu.
While they were accompanied by Ellen's non-showbiz friends, the sexy star and John Lloyd were photographed cozying up to each other and holding hands by the beach.
Videos of John Lloyd's drunken behavior while he was helping Ellen cook food also went viral at the time.
Since then, the public and media alike closely followed how the two became more open about going on vacations together.
On October 6, 2016, John Lloyd announced through Star Magic, ABS-CBN's talent management arm, his "indefinite leave" from showbiz.
He and Ellen also left the sitcom Home Sweetie Home.
A few days later, the rumored couple flew to Morocco, the first leg of their European tour.
Then they went to Paris to attend the wedding of John Lloyd's longtime stylist Rex Atienza and the latter's longtime boyfriend Jay Sarmiento.
During the wedding reception, John Lloyd was spotted giving Ellen a sweet kiss on her forehead, another sign that things were getting serious between them.
They also went skiing in Switzerland, which was the final stop of their tour before they flew back home.
The following month, on November 18, 2017, PEP.ph broke the news that "Ellen Adarna is pregnant and John Lloyd is the father."
The two Kapamilya stars refrained from issuing an official statement, but clues about Ellen's pregnany soon became evident.
For one thing, her baby bump showed in stolen shots of her taken by netizens who spotted Ellen in public places.
On May 17, 2018, a source sent PEP.ph a picture of an obviously pregnant Ellen vacationing with John Lloyd at Amanpulo Resort in Palawan.
She reportedly gave birth to their son Elias Modesto Cruz on June 27, 2018.
Prior to Ellen giving birth to a baby boy, speculation was rife that she and John Lloyd had plans of getting married in secret.
She was even seen wearing what appeared to be an engagement ring in one of her Instagram posts in December 2017.
John Lloyd and Ellen didn't issue an official statement about it.
In January 2018, the only thing Ellen confirmed was that she and John Lloyd are officially a couple.
The next month, both of them hinted at their plans to build their future home in an unidentified residential area.
They showed in their respective Instagram posts a photo of what was then a vacant lot with a bird's eye view of blue skies and mountains.
Then on June 27, 2018, Ellen gave birth to her and John Lloyd's son Elias.
For a time, John Lloyd and Ellen were alternately spending their time in Manila and Cebu, the hometown of the sexy star.
But what appeared to be a happy romance away from the limelight turned sour a year after Ellen have birth.
They were last seen together during the celebration of Elias's first birthday.
But in August 2019, PEP.ph cited a source saying that the couple broke up and is now "co-parenting" their son.
Ellen remained tight-lipped about it for eight months until she finally confirmed her co-parenting status with John Lloyd in April 2020.
Then in January 2021, she told Preview.ph that her breakup with John Lloyd may have been caused by unresolved personal issues that she projected on him.
The sexy star went on to say that she got her act together after going through a two-week retreat in Bali where she was forced to face her inner struggles and learn how to cope with them.
DATING A GUY FROM SPAIN
Between January to May 2020, Ellen was romantically linked to a Spanish guy who named Carlos Lemus.
He was seen in her company when she was vacationing in Spain back in January 2020.
Ellen even hinted about her supposed scheduled trip to Spain sometime in May 2020, but it got cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Then in, in April 2020, she revealed in a radio show that she is dating a foreigner.
But since then, Ellen hasn't mentioned the guy again.
This January 2021, Ellen has officially returned to showbiz after three years of hiatus.
She's back to work via John en Ellen, a TV5 sitcom which she she co-headlines with John Estrada.
Ellen and John were at a meeting with the production staff of John en Ellen when Derek chanced upon them at a restaurant.
That chance meeting paved the way for Derek to learn that he and Ellen are neighbors at Ayala Alabang, so he agreed to host an intimate dinner party for their group.
The party happened on January 11, and it was when Derek and Ellen were photographed looking like they were both engrossed in their conversation.
It seemed like their common friends were pairing them up, based on the videos and photos that were posted on social media by those who were present during the occasion.
This piqued the curiousity of netizens who are well aware of Derek and Ellen's dating history.
Netizens ask: Are they in the brink of becoming an item or are they really just neighbors hanging out with common friends?
True enough, Derek and Ellen officially became a couple on February 4, 2020.
They first revealed their relationship status in an exclusive interview with PEP.ph on February 26.
To everyone's surprise, after barely two months of being a couple, Derek proposed marriage to Ellen. They got engaged on March 30, 2021.
Derek and Ellen tied the knot in a posh mountain resort in Bataan on November 11, 2021.
This article was originally published in May 2019, and had been updated in January 2021 and December 2021.