Claudine Barretto

Claudine Barretto is Lena, the feisty but characteristically frail, deeply loving, self-critical and provincial lass crippled by a responsibility to her family.

13 years later, our heroine is whisked away to the sweeping hills and grasslands of Tagaytay where she curiously finds herself sitting in front of a dresser, her reflection staring back at her perhaps more intently than ever before.

Beautiful and almost angelic even with a bareface, there was an air of serenity about her, one that easily matched the day’s weather outside gratifyingly sunny punctuated by gusts of wind. Not lost of course was that sensual and coquettish glint in her eye that hinted at the sparky and spirited Claudine Barretto we have come to know and love. The Claudine Barretto today is a lot stronger, braver and siyempre, a more matured person than the last time you saw her, she says, eyes fired up. The permeating subtext was clear she is back (and boy do we love saying that).

My life is hard. It’s hard being who I’m ang daming pinagdaanan and pinaghirapan, she tells us, immediately welcoming us into the years lost from her storied time away from the blinding lights of show business.

“YES, IT WAS A CONSCIOUS AND VERY, VERY PAINFUL DECISION”

I guess everybody knows na grabe talaga yung pinagdaanan ko these past few years. I had to give up my career, I had to become a mother and focus on my children. I had to get out and step out of the limelight, which was really very hard for me because acting is really my passion, she further reveals. Save for her voice sporadically breaking as she began to recount the last few years, there is no hint of worry (of perhaps saying too much) or regret. Things were meant to happen, she assures.

However, as our gossip-hungry industry would have it, the past five years wasn’t a complete absence for Claudine. Despite desperately trying to shelter her children from the collateral damage caused by intrigues, bashing and even betrayals, she had to bite the bullet and take herself out of the mess it has become. You really have to choose, she says, Are you going to be a mother or are you going to be a star?

The mother in her prevailed and for the next few years, she isolated herself from a life she loved. Yes, it was a conscious and very, very painful decision, she says as if answering the bubbling curiosity in our head. There lies the downside of an industry that so many want to hopelessly be part of. As glitzy and gleaming as it may be on the surface, there is a strong gravitational force from within that challenges even its brightest stars and shakes them to their core.

But she knew she had a responsibility that was beyond herself. [Family], that’s my number one priority. It is on top of the list talaga. Especially if you are a mom, you have to know that when they [children] come into your life, it is not you anymore that you think of. Everything that you do will impact the lives of your children, she explains.

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Claudine Barretto

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