Twice sa career ni Sheryl Cruz, nagkaroon siya ng character na ang pangalan ay Valeria. Although both character roles, magkaibang-magkaiba naman daw ang personalidad ng dalawa.
"I'm very fortunate to be given the opportunity to play Valeria twice, pero, this is another phase naman and character. Iba naman yung Valeria na ginawa ko sa Bakekang at ngayon sa Rosalinda," nakangiti niyang sabi.
"At the same time, ibang lahi naman itong gagawin ko. But I want to do it the Filipina way."
Ito na ba ang isa sa pinakamasamang character na gagawin niya dahil sa original version ng Rosalinda, talagang kinainisan nang husto ang character ni Valeria?
"Kayo naman, talagang gusto n'yo kong kainisan!" natatawa niyang sabi. "But I'm going to defend my character. I'm not defending myself kasi alam ko that's not me. I'm just portraying a character, e. But the thing is, kung kayo, pinatay sa inyo ang pinakamahal n'yong tao, of course, you'll have all the right to get angry and to get even.
"Kasi, ang bata pa ng anak namin, with the bright future ahead of him, tapos, yung tatay niya, isa sa pinakamagagaling na abogado sa buong lipunan, biglang na-cut ang life. Then, kinabukasan na namatay ang asawa ko, birthday ng anak ko, di ba very tragic? So, ang justification ng role ni Valeria Altamirano, buong buhay nagluksa! All the time, she's been wearing black," pagtatanggol ni Sheryl sa kanyang role.
SET VILLAIN AND ACTRESS APART. Ang pagiging kontrabida na kaya ang niche niya sa showbiz ngayon?
"You know what, I wouldn't say, nagkakataon lang, di ba? Before, I was quite hesitant to attend yung mga press conferences kasi I don't want to be tagged as a kontrabida per se. Kasi, unang-una sa lahat, it's because you enjoy doing your role, it doesn't mean na ganoon ka na, di ba?
"Paano mo mabibigyan ng justification ang character mo kung hindi mo naman talaga pagbubutihin, di ba? But it doesn't mean tina-tag ka nila as kontrabida means doon ka na lang. Kasi, in fairness, when I did Ganti, hindi naman ako kontrabida dun. So I cannot say na tina-tag nila ako for being a kontrabida. Kaya lang siguro, they can never find somebody right now who can do it as good as me. I don't know... or who is willing to do it, kasi, di ba, tanggalin na natin ang lahat ng pakiyeme.
"I am an actor. I am a professional. I came from a professional family of actors. So, ako, kahit paano naman, nirerespeto ko naman ang pamilyang pinanggalingan ko and I want my daughter as long as she is, to be proud of the work that I do."
Dugtong pa niya, "Ayoko ng pipintasan siya na hindi naman magaling yung mom mo or OA naman. Natutuwa ako kasi, sabi ng daughter ko, Mommy, are you playing the role of a bad person again? Sabi ko, anak, it's work plus I'm doing the best I can para hindi naman ako mapahiya sa mga kaibigan mo. Na wala sila maipipintas sa 'yo. Which is, natutuwa naman ako, kasi nagugustuhan naman nila ang pino-portray ko na role."
KAPUSO AT HEART. Sabi ni Sheryl, hindi niya napanood ang Mexican version ng Rosalinda, pero parang napanood na rin niya ito dahil sa pagkukuwento ng kanyang Nanay Doray na big fan ni Thalia.
"She's a very big fan of Thalia. She watched Marimar and Rosalinda. Not only that, she watched the show in Araneta Coliseum noong wala ako rito. Tapos, siya rin ang nagsabi sa akin na hindi naman daw magkakagusto si Valeria sa anak niya, kay Fernando Jose. Magkaka-boyfriend daw na related rin kay Rosalinda."
Would she say she's a Kapuso at heart dahil after lumipat pansamantala at gumawa ng show sa Kapamilya, heto't balik-Kapuso na talaga siya?
"I guess so... kasi hindi naman ako two-face na talent. Alam ko namang magbigay ng loyalty ko. Ang sa akin lang kasi, I do not burn bridges with anyone especially kapag nagkaroon na ako ng klaseng friendship na ganoon, na matagal na, hindi mo na puwedeng sirain yun, e.
"So, kahit saan man silang station, they are still part of my family. People that I consider my friends, but of course, with the courtesy to my profession, I have to respect kung saan ako nagtatrabaho at kung sino ang nagbibigay sa akin ng trabaho. I don't think naman they will take it against me because that's being professional.
"At saka, alam ko rin naman na kapag nakakakita ako ng mga kaibigan ko from another network, I still give my respect to them, pero yun na muna, that's all I can do."
GETTING DIVORCED. On a personal note, kamusta na nga ba siya?
"Well, the divorce case is still ongoing. Sorry, but I really can't talk about it now. The paper just arrived March of this year, second week of March. There's a time limit to response, so, napadala ko na.
"Ang sa akin naman, I'm just thinking the best interest for my daughter. Yun lang naman ang talagang iniisip ko. But I cannot really go to legalities. Baka mam'ya, meron lang akong masabi, palakihin na nila, so right now, I'm respecting the process of the divorce. Kung anuman ang maganap, I have my lawyers with me and I'm respecting the rules of law.
"Basta ang sa akin, I'll concentrate on my work first at kapag bumaba na ang divorce case and I'm allowed to speak, then I will share with you kung anuman."
Feeling naman ni Sheryl, maaaring nahihirapan din ang asawang si Norman Bustos, in his own way, sa pinagdadaanang divorce proceedings nila. Katulad niya rin.
"In the early stages, probably six months ago, I wasn't really doing that well. You know, I was looking for answers. I was looking for closure, but sometimes, you are looking for the answer na ibigay sa 'yo pero minsan, hindi naman talaga naibibigay sa 'yo."
HAS SHE MOVED ON? "Well, I can tell you that right now, I'm in love with my work and I'm in love with my kid. I'm happy that she's well. She got sick at na-confined nga siya sa hospital last May, before her birthday, so it gave us a scare. I thought, she'll gonna be operated na kasi, she has gastroenterisis, para rin siyang appendicitis at talagang masakit.
"Ako, dalaga ako, naho-hospital ako because of that, pero siya, what, she's only turning eight? And I guess, because of all this stress that is happening within our lives."
May communication pa rin ba sila ng estranged husband niya?
"You know what, right now, in reality, I respect Norman as the father of my child because he's always gonna be in our lives forever. Hindi mo na 'yan maiaalis. Same with him, he knows that I will always be the mother of his child and we cannot take that away.
"Sometimes lang, when you love somebody so much and you got too hurt and there's so much pain that eventually kicked in after all the trust and everything, siguro we've let each other down several times, but you know, yung magnitude lang kasi ng feelings na napi-feel ko ngayon because I am not really able to express what I felt or asked the question I wanted to ask, 'no, hindi ako nabigyan ng answer na gusto ko. Siyempre, kahit papaano, I'm in the state that I'm quite hurt and a little bit. Right now, I'm civil but he's not my favorite person. Kahit papaano, di ba, parang you got hurt..."
Dugtong pa rin niya, "But still, it doesn't mean that the love got lost. There's still love that's why, sometimes, yung love na yun turns into a little bit of resentment, yung ganoon."
HOW'S ASHLEY? Sa palagay ba niya, at Ashley's age right now, accepted na ng anak niya ang mga nangyayari sa buhay nila?
"You know what, it's hard to say, kasi, di ba, yung mga bata, ano pa yan, e, developing year pa yan. Kumbaga, she needs her dad, she needs her mom, she needs a family because there are times that when she goes out with me like party and stuff, nakikita niya yung mga affairs na hindi kami magkasama, hindi kami buo. Siyempre, nakikita ko rin yung parang feeling niya, kawawa siya.
"But I always reassure her that we love her."
Araw-araw naman daw halos, nagkakausap ang anak niya at ang daddy nito. Pero nakiusap daw siya kay Norman na ayusin muna nila ang divorce bago ayusin ang custody ng anak nila.
Does she entertain suitors?
"No, I don't think I can do that right now because I would be lying to myself. After being in a relationship with just one person for almost 13 years, I don't think, as a Filipina by heart, the family I came from at sa atin din, yung customs natin dito, once we get married, walang divorce-divorce. So, ang akin, it still shattered dreams.
"But I guess, you cannot keep a person forever if that person is not really fated to be with you forever. Di ba, sabi nga nila, if you love somebody, you set them free. Pero, it's just painful to think that the person who is supposed to be there for you forever is not really on the same side with you."