In both life and love, what Jennylyn Mercado had to go through had not been a walk in the park.
From experiencing trauma as a child to becoming a breadwinner at a young age, she rises above her hardships triumphantly.
And before she began enjoying her stature as one of GMA-7's most reliable female leads, did you know that Jennylyn first appeared in a minor role in an ABS-CBN soap opera?
From starlet to leading actress, Jennylyn has surely come a long way.
Born on May 15, 1987, in Parañaque, Metro Manila, Jennylyn Anne Pineda Mercado had a rough childhood.
She hit the headlines in 1991.
A three-year-old Jennylyn was "bugbog sarado" by her stepfather while her mother worked overseas. Her aunt Lydia took her in and raised her as a daughter.
Her love for music drew her into the limelight.
In one of the PEP.PH Headliner shoots, Jennylyn recalled being a jazz bar singer, which, she referred to as "pinakamabigat na challenge ko before joining showbiz... kasi breadwinner ako."
Why? She had to quit her senior year in high school.
In the TV industry, Jennylyn has a few relatives: ABS-CBN News reporter Abner Mercado, CNN Philippines news anchor Cherie Mercado, actresses Charee and Eliza Pineda.
Jennylyn started her entertainment career as a singer.
She signed with Alpha Records in 1999 and was supposed to be part of a singing group called G4, which did not materialize because some members dropped out.
Jennylyn then moved on to commercial modeling for a couple of popular brands.
In 2002, Jennlyn got into acting through a small role in the ABS-CBN series Kay Tagal Kang Hinintay, starring John Lloyd Cruz and Bea Alonzo.
The following year, 2003, Jennylyn competed and won the reality TV show StarStruck.
She and the male winner, Mark Herras, received PHP1 million each and scored exclusive contracts with GMA Network.
Jennylyn's acting career snowballed from there.
She appeared in multiple television series and films, garnered solid support from fans nationwide, and received many accolades and awards, including the Best Actress trophy at the Metro Manila Film Festival in 2014 and 2015.
PREGNANCY, CONTROVERSY WITH PATRICK GARCIA
Jennylyn's personal life, however, was not all bliss.
Her relationship with Patrick Garcia, the dad of her firstborn Alex Jazz, was initially tumultuous.
In 2008, right after the news about her pregnancy erupted, Jennylyn announced in February of the same year their breakup, citing Patrick's absence and coldness towards her.
Patrick denied Jennylyn's allegations.
It was also rumored that Patrick's family had asked for a paternity test, which did not sit well with Jennylyn, who then decided not to let Patrick to see their child.
Two years later, in 2010, Jennylyn finally let her son reunite with allowed Patrick.
It happened during the birthday party of his niece (Cheska Garcia's daughter) when, for the first time, Patrick was able to hug Jazz.
In an interview, Patrick expressed his happiness, "It's the first time I saw my kid and...I'm happy that...na nakita ko na rin siya finally."
When asked if things had gotten better between him and Jennylyn, he answered, "Well, yeah, okay naman kami ni Jen. So far, so good...."
And with a smile, he shared the good news: "I've been granted nga to ano...to be able to visit my kid! So yun, okay na."
PREGNANCY, ENGAGEMENT to DENNIS TRILLO
Jennylyn Mercado and Dennis Trillo first became a couple in 2010, but they parted ways after a year of dating.
Four years later, they reconciled, and their relationship grew deeper and stronger.
Their fans are thrilled and have been tagging their love team, DenJen, as "couple goals."
Each with a child from a previous partner (Dennis has a son named Calix with Carlene Aguilar), the DenJen couple shared some love advice: "Huwag masyado palakihin yung mga petty na bagay."
Dennis shared, "Siguro ano, pinakamatinding lesson diyan sa lahat ng partners, or lahat ng nasa relasyon, kailangan isipin mo palagi kung gaano mo kamahal ang isang tao.
"Dapat laging mananaig yung feeling na yun kaysa sa mga negative na superficial...
"Dami na rin naming pinagdaanan, ilang years na rin relationship namin.
"So, siguro dun sa mga panahon na yun napatibay na namin siya nang husto. Talagang solid na siya."
On October 29, 2021, DenJen fans received the most wonderful news from their favorite couple.
Jennylyn Mercado and Dennis Trillo announced their engagement and pregnancy in an exclusive interview in GMA7's 24 Oras.
It looks like the future continues to look bright for the actress. Indeed, for the soon-to-be mommy of two, the best is yet to come.