Just like many of his dramatic portrayals on screen, Joshua Garcia is no stranger to family conflicts in real life.
Joshua was only a baby when his parents Geo Garcia and Marife Espineli separated.
His elder sister, Lorenza Mae, is just one year older than him.
For a time, both Joshua and Lorenza were raised by their mother, who would later tell Joshua herself, there was no way she could financially support two toddlers on her own.
So she decided to leave Joshua and Lorenza under the care of their paternal uncle Jerry Garcia, who was a priest in Bauan, Batangas.
Joshua was only five years old at the time.
In an exclusive interview with PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal), Joshua was very candid when he looked back on the hardships that he went through in the past.
But he emphasized his gratitude to his uncle and grandmother for setting a good example when he was growing up.
"Iyong tito kong pari 'tsaka iyong lola ko, sila iyong naging daan para lumaki ako nang maayos.
"Iyong lola ko, feeling ko mga favorite ko na [alaala ko sa kanila na] nakatulong talaga sa akin—iyong mga saway niya sa akin, iyong panahon na pinapagalitan niya ako.
"Kasi nakilala ko iyong lola ko na matapang, e. Na mapapagalitan ako kapag may mali akong nagawa. Dun pa lang matatakot na akong gumawa ng mali, e.
"Sa tito ko na pari, gusto ko iyong pagiging thoughtful niya. Mabait siya sa mga tao.
"Nakikita ko before kapag may mga pumupuntang tao sa simbahan, talagang tumutulong siya. Iyon iyong isa sa nakita kong nadala ko paglaki ko."
Joshua was in elementary school when his uncle got assigned to a different place because of his service as a Catholic priest.
This time, Joshua's father took him back along with his sister Lorenza.
They stayed in their hometown in Batangas.
From then on, Joshua had the chance to grow closer to his father.
Talking about the values he learned from his father, Joshua said, "Sa tatay ko naman iyong pagmamahal sa pamilya. The way niya kami minahal ng ate ko, na naging tatay at nanay siya sa amin."
At 23, Joshua seems to have accepted that his parents went on to live separate lives and have their own families.
Joshua has three paternal siblings and two maternal siblings.
When asked about his relationship with them, Joshua admitted that he's closer to his siblings on his father's side of the family.
"May kapatid ako sa Papa, tatlo; sa Mama, dalawa.
"Kaya lang iyong mga kapatid ko sa Mama, hindi ko masyado nakikita.
"Sa Papa naman, hindi pa ako nakakauwi [sa Batangas], hindi ko pa nababalitaan kung kumusta na sila."
Joshua gave this interview last December 11, 2020 for PEP Exclusives, a taped on-cam show of PEP.ph.
The Kapamily actor told PEP.ph that he lives with his sister Lorenza and his nephew Sky at the three-storey townhouse that he bought in 2019.
Joshua's father came to visit them for their Christmas celebration based on Lorenza's Instagram post dated December 25, 2020.
JOSHUA'S EDUCATION AND WHY HE dropped out of school
Joshua was born on October 7, 1997 in Balayan, Batangas.
He studied at Bauan East Central School in Bauan, Batangas.
Joshua said that his uncle Jerry would often describe him as "makulit" when he was in his elementary years.
In high school, he admitted that he was "pasaway" because there was a time when he took his education for granted.
Joshua elaborated: "Part kasi ako dati ng folk dance group. Nag-tour na kami sa Italy, sa iba't ibang lugar sa Maynila, sa Pilipinas.
"And then, may one time na hindi ako nakasama sa isang tour sa U.S.
"Dun ako nagsimula magbulakbol."
Thinking about his lack of motivation to study hard, Joshua said, "Hindi ko alam. Parang nag-automatic na nagka-cutting ako."
Warning youngsters who may read about him cutting classes in school, he cautioned, "Masama iyon, mga bata. Huwag tutularan."
Joshua explained that he soon had a wake-up call that education is a privilege that not everyone can afford.
"Hanggang sa nung bumalik ako ng third year high school, nawalan ng trabaho iyong tatay ko.
"Dun ko na-realize na walang-wala talaga kami.
"So inayos ko pag-aaral ko."
He realized how hard it was for his father to make ends meet because of an incident when he asked for his daily allowance.
When told to get money from his father's wallet, Joshua saw that the only cash left in it was a twenty-peso bill.
So the young Joshua opted to go to school with no baon at all.
How did he handle those tough times?
Joshua told PEP.ph: "Siguro dahil kuntento ako sa buhay kung anong meron ako.
"Kahit na wala kaming kaya sa buhay, kung anong meron ako, kuntento na ako.
"Parang that time, ganun iyong thinking ko. Iyon ang hindi ko inaalis sa isip ko."
Then their family went through a financial crisis, and Joshua was forced to drop out of school.
Between Joshua and his elder sister Lorenza, only one could continue their studies because their father had no means to support both of their school expenses and daily allowances.
Joshua candidly recalled: "First grading, okay iyong grades ko. Second grading, nag-stop na ako sa school ko.
"Kasi iyong ate ko kailangan magtapos ng college. Isa lang muna kayang pag-aralin ng tatay ko.
"Hanggang sa nabalitaan namin na nabuntis na si Ate."
That his sister blew her chance to finish her studies at a very crucial point in their lives was something that Joshua prefers not to dwell on.
He simply remarked, "Pero matagal na naman na."
JOSHUA JOINS PBB AND GETS A VISIT FROM HIS MOM
The opportunity for Joshua to become a star came knocking on his door just when he thought his future looked bleak.
As it turned out, seeing his family in dire straits motivated him to join ABS-CBN's reality franchise show Pinoy Big Brother: All In.
It was in 2014 when he saw on TV an audition call for aspiring housemates for PBB.
As it happens, the show often attracts auditionees who either see it as a ticket to instant stardom or a chance to win big prizes.
"'Tapos, pagkatapos mabuntis si Ate, nag-PBB na ako," Joshua recalled.
Joshua remembered lining up for auditions and going through several callbacks before he finally got in.
In the show, then 16-year-old Joshua was dubbed as the "Tatay's Boy from Batangas."
To PEP.ph, Joshua explained that it was because he admitted in his audition interviews that he is closer to his father, who raised him, than to his mother, who left him at a young age.
His story about coming from a broken family was partly shown in PBB, where the housemates conduct regular conversations with Big Brother inside the confession room.
During one of his private talks with Big Brother, Joshua opened up about his longing to have a heart-to-heart talk with his mom Marife.
He said that he never really got to ask her why she left him when he was young.
PBB then arranged for Joshua and his mom to have a private reunion inside the Big Brother House.
Over dinner, Joshua and Marife spoke about past hurts that they are hoping to heal over time.
In between tears, Joshua mustered the courage to ask his mom: "Bakit mo ako iniwan sa tito ko na pari, kay Father Gerry?"
Marife also broke down in tears as she explained that she had no means to financially support Joshua and his elder sister Lorenza.
She told Joshua: "Bunso kita, hindi kita kayang iwan basta-basta. Kaso lang, nung panahon na iyon talagang batang-bata pa din ako, anak.
"Hirap din noon ang tatay mo na magtrabaho kasi pareho kaming walang tinapos.
"Wala siyang pansuporta sa atin kahit siguro gustuhin niya. Kaya dun lang ako nakahingi ng tulong kay Padre."
Marife then said that Joshua's uncle only agreed to take in her two kids if she would leave them under his care for good.
She said there was no "excuse" for what she did, but she had no other choice at the time.
Marife added, "Mahirap na decision iyon anak, pero kailangan kong gawin."
JOSHUA garcia RISE TO STARDOM
During his stint in PBB: All In, Joshua didn't make it to the Big Four, or the final four housemates who get to battle it out for the big win.
But his exposure in the reality show paved the way for his entry to show business.
When he came out the Big Brother House, he was given the chance to join the roster of talents of Star Magic, the talent management arm of ABS-CBN.
As part of Star Magic's training, Joshua went through acting workshops to prepare him for his launch as ABS-CBN's newest talent.
The following year, in 2015, Joshua became part of the Kapamilya afternoon drama series Nasaan Ka Nang Kailangan Kita.
He was paired with fellow PBB: All In housemate Loisa Andalio. Their love team was part of the sub-plot about two best friends who unexpectedly fell for each other.
Back then, Joshua already showed potential as a leading man.
Joshua told PEP.ph, "I remember dapat may gagawin akong project. Born For You iyong project, 'tapos natanggal ako sa project.
"Nalungkot ako nun. Hindi nila sinasabi iyong reason kung bakit nila ako tinanggal."
Joshua was talking about his supposed first lead role on TV via Born For You, which starred Janella Salvador and Elmo Magalona in 2016.
But just when he least expected it, Joshua fielded three projects that same year.
The roles that he got instead helped established him as an actor who can go solo in a family drama or work as part of a love team.
He first landed a supporting role in the movie Barcelona: A Love Untold, which headlined Daniel Padilla and Kathryn Bernardo.
Olivia Lamasan, who's also known as Olive or Inang, was the director of the project.
While his character seemed funny and happy-go-lucky for the most part of the movie, Joshua was given his moment to shine during a dramatic confrontation with Aiko Melendez, who played his mom in the story.
Apparently, Lamasan handpicked Joshua to be part of the Kathryn-Daniel starrer because she really wanted to see if he can deliver well.
She felt that he has the "IT" factor when she first spotted him in PBB: All In in 2014.
In a 2020 interview, Lamasan told a group of select reporters, including PEP.ph: "Whenever I’d watch that particular season of PBB, my eyes would always focus on Joshua.
"He had kept saying he wanted to become an actor, but while inside the House parang tamad-tamaran lang siya.
"I would ask myself, 'Joshua is so lazy, but why is it that I see something in this boy?'"
So Lamasan wanted to test if she still has an eye for discovering potential stars by giving Joshua a supporting role in Barcelona: A Love Untold.
"True enough. It’s still there," said Lamasan.
She pointed out that Joshua turned out to be a real gem.
"And Joshua isn’t lazy after all," she added.
During his interview for PEP Exclusives, PEP.ph told Joshua about what Lamasan thought of him.
Thinking about his past conversations with Lamasan, Joshua pondered for a bit, saying, "Sinabi ba niya sa akin iyon?"
He was flattered to hear good words from the respected film director and managing director of ABS-CBN Films.
Joshua added, "Hindi niya sinabi sa akin, pero pinaramdam niya na importante ako.
"Malaki ang pasasalamat ko kay Inang, kaya hindi ko magawang iwan si Inang."
After Barcelona: A Love Untold, Joshua became part of the ensemble cast for the afternoon drama series The Greatest Love, which aired from September 2016 to April 2017.
It was a heavy drama where the family matriarch (Sylvia Sanchez) holds a long-buried dark secret and later gets diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.
Joshua was cast as the sole grandchild who happens to have a difficult relationship with his own mom (Dimples Romana).
He wowed viewers with his dramatic performance whenever he would have confrontation scenes with Dimples or crying scenes with Sylvia.
Some even dubbed him as the "next John Lloyd Cruz" because he easily connects with the audience when he breaks down in tears and makes them feel the pain of what his character is going through.
Industry people also took note that Joshua has the makings of a matinee idol when he headlined the 2016 Metro Manila Film Fest (MMFF) entry Vince & Kath & James.
A month before the movie hit theaters, Joshua was already getting good feedback from some members of the 2016 MMFF Selection Committee, who were in charge of choosing the eight official entries for the festival.
Among them was Dr. Nicanor Tiongson, the head of the committee as well as a respected film critic and member of the academe.
Dr. Tiongson said of Joshua: "This particular boy is really amazing.
"Napaka-intelligent ng approach niya sa acting—iyong internalization niya, iyong shift niya of emotion—amazing for somebody so young."
Another member Mae Paner noted that Joshua can be the next movie heartthrob like Piolo Pascual, aka Papa P.
Recalling what they discussed during the Selection Committee's deliberations, Mae said, "Sabi namin, 'Ano ang pangalan ng batang iyan? Grabe!'
"Sabi namin, 'Future Papa P iyan.'
"To the very end, hindi namin siya kilala pero we all fell in love with him."
Vince & Kath & James was a romantic-comedy film that tackled the love triangle between the characters played by Joshua, Julia Barretto, and Ronnie Alonte.
The hit movie gave birth to Joshua's love team with Julia, also known by the uniname JoshLia.
JOSHUA'S PERFORMANCE IN THE GOOD SON
Joshua went on to prove his mettle as a solo actor when he starred in the ABS-CBN prime-time series The Good Son. It aired from September 2017 to April 2018.
Joshua played the illegitimate son who unexpectedly gets equal shares from the inheritance left by his father (Albert Martinez), who was murdered by an unknown assailant.
Throughout the series, Joshua struggled with his fight for justice for his father's death and his love for his mother (Mylene Dizon), who was constantly attacked by his father's legal wife (Eula Valdez).
Joshua had a lot of memorable dramatic scenes with Mylene, Albert, and Eula.
In one scene, he was livid with anger when Albert persisted in wanting to get to know Joshua as his son.
A furious Joshua told Albert: "Saang kamay ng Diyos ka kumuha ng kakapalan ng mukha para sabihin sa akin iyan?! Kahit kailan hindi kita matatanggap na tatay ko!"
Joshua punched Albert and even threatened to kill him if the latter dared to appear before him again.
This established one of the initial conflicts in the series as Joshua became a suspect in Albert's murder.
Another heartbreaking scene in The Good Son was when Joshua blamed himself for the accidental death of his mother.
Tears were streaming down Joshua's face as he attempted to shoot himself in front of the authorities and his grandfather (Ronnie Lazaro), who desperately made him see reason.
Once again, Joshua drew praises from avid viewers who kept saying that they were moved to tears by his acting.
PEP.ph asked Joshua if his own life story helps him internalize for his breakdown scenes on screen.
But Joshua said he'd rather get motivation from his character's struggles than the difficulties he experienced before he entered show business.
"As an actor, humuhugot lang ako sa personal na buhay ko kapag nahihirapan ako sa eksena, kapag hindi ako makaiyak.
"Pero hindi ko kasi hinahayaan na makahugot ako sa personal.
"Hangga't maaari, mas kinikilala ko iyong character, mas niraramdam ko iyong sakit na nararamdaman niya.
"Kasi lahat naman kasi ng tao magkakaiba ng pinagdadaanan. Ang hirap na iiyak ka sa eksena na ito na iba naman sa pinagdaanan mo sa totoong buhay."
A solid Kapamilya, he thanks ABS-CBN for entrusting him with roles that bring out his full potential.
"Actually, nagtitiwala lang talaga ako sa ABS-CBN, sa ibibigay nilang project sa akin.
"Kasi from the start na nagsimula ako sa kanila, hindi sila pumalya sa pagbigay ng project na maganda para sa akin.
"Iyong plano nila sa akin para sa 2021, masasabi kong malayo sa mga ginagawa ko before, so ang galing lang."
What is his wish for his next projects?
He answered: "Sana mas makagawa pa ako ng mas challenging na roles na mas tatatak sa tao, mas kikirot sa mga puso.
"Sana magkaroon ako ng chance na makatrabaho iyong ibang beterano na artista."
Flashing a smile, he added, "Maisasama ko iyon sa portfolio."
ON WANTING TO FINISH HIS STUDIES
In October 2020, Joshua decided to go back to school.
He is currently in first year college taking up entrepreneurship at Southville International School Affiliated with Foreign Universities (SISFU) in Las Piñas.
Grinning, Joshua told PEP.ph, "Dyusko! Napakahirap! Kakapasok ko pa lang."
Talking about why he picked entrepreneurship, Joshua said, "In-explain kasi siya kasi maraming nasakop na subjects.
"May accounting, may HR, ang daming subjects na sinakop.
"E, gusto ko matuto paano i-handle nang maayos iyong pera ko."
He is determined to finish his studies, given what he went through when he was younger.
He also wants to expand his knowledge and make the most of his free time amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Ang ganda ng timing, pandemic, wala masyado work, wala masyado ginagawa.
"Etong time na ito, gamitin natin itong time na ito para mag-grow, para dumami mas nalalaman ko.
"Para pag okay na lahat, pagbalik mo sa mundo, e, okay ka.
"Sayang iyong oras na ito na tumunganga lang."
JOSHUA'S LOVE LIFE
When Joshua was still in PBB: All In, he got romantically linked to his fellow housemates Loisa Andalio and Jane Oineza.
During a casual chat with the housemates, he picked Loisa as his "crush" and Jane as the girl he wants to "marry."
At some point, Loisa felt hurt when Joshua started to grow distant towards her after a month of being "best friends."
Joshua then grew close with Jane, but their friendship in PBB never blossomed into romance.
It took several years before Joshua got into a romantic relationship.
In January 2017, or around a month after Vince & Kath & James was shown in theaters, Joshua started courting Julia Barretto.
They officially became a couple in April 2017.
But Joshua and Julia refused to put a label to their budding romance as they continued to work together as a love team in three other movies and one prime-time series.
The couple went public about their relationship when they celebrated their second anniversary on April 3, 2019.
Then they broke up later that month, which was around the same time they were shooting their last movie together, Block Z.
To date, Joshua hasn't been seeing anyone new.
Optimistic about finding love again, Joshua told PEP.ph: "Siguro sa 2021, malay natin.
"Hindi naman natin masasabi iyong mga nangyari.
"Hindi ko naman sinasara ang puso ko sa pagmamahal."
- Pinoy Big Brother: All In as himself (2014)
- Nasaan Ka Nang Kailangan Kita as Joel Galvez (2015)
- Maalaala Mo Kaya: Itlog (2016)
- Maalaala Mo Kaya: Puno (2016)
- Ipaglaban Mo (2016)
- The Greatest Love as Zosimo "Z" Cruz (2016-2017
- Maalaala Mo Kaya: Bituin (2017)
- The Good Son as Joseph Buenavidez / Joseph Reyes (2017-2018)
- Ngayon at Kailanman as Innocencio "Inno" Cortes (2018-2019)
- Maalaala Mo Kaya: Medalya (2019)
- The Killer Bride as Elias Sanchez / Elias Gonzales (2019-2020)
- Maalaala Mo Kaya: Tren (2020)
- Maalaala Mo Kaya: Notebook (2020)
- You're Still The One (2017)
- Barcelona: A Love Untold (2016)
- Vince & Kath & James (2016)
- Love You To The Stars And Back (2017)
- Unexpectedly Yours (2017)
- I Love You, Hater (2018)
- Block Z (2020)
- Ang Mga Kaibigan ni Mama Susan (TBA)