Former couple Kim Chiu and Gerald Anderson in a promotional image for the 2010 film 'Till My Heartaches End.' Star Cinema
MANILA - "Ang hirap labanan, eh."
These were Gerald Anderson's words in recalling his relationship with Kim Chiu during their time as a "love team," which ended in 2010 amid the controversy surrounding their breakup.
Speaking with Mario Dumaual in the latest episode of Jeepney TV's "Biyaheng Retro," the 24-year-old actor said his on-screen tandem with Chiu, unlike most on television at the time, was "different" because of how it was formed.
"Well, 'Pinoy Big Brother' palang e. Doon kami nag-start talaga," he said, referring to the reality TV show where they rose to fame in 2006. "Pero kasi 'PBB' is a reality show, so hindi siya 'yung pinartner kami o 'yung kumuha sila [ng mga aktor] para [ipares]."
"That's why naging phenomenal din po 'yung 'Kimerald,' it's because it's natural. Parang nangyari lang sa loob ng isang bahay," he said.
Not long after they exited the famous yellow house -- Chiu was the edition's grand winner, while Anderson finished 3rd -- the two were tapped to topbill the drama series "Sana Maulit Muli" the following year.
"Noong lumabas kami, doon ako nahirapan kasi kailangan na naming umarte! Parang mas gusto ko 'yung totoong buhay na lang," Anderson said, laughing.
"Mahirap [kasi] hindi ako sure kung ito 'yung gusto ko," he added. "But because of the love team, kung ano 'yung meron kami personally is what really kept me going din, e. Sobra kaming nag-jibe, sobrang saya namin. So parang patas lang. Pantay 'yung hirap at 'yung saya."
Due to the success of their first TV series together, "Kimerald," as they were referred to by their fans, were cast opposite each other in several other soaps -- "My Girl" in 2008, "Tayong Dalawa" in 2009, and "Kung Tayo'y Magkakalayo" in 2010.
Their "love team" was also tested on the big screen via "I've Fallen For You" in 2007, and "Paano Na Kaya" and "Till My Heartaches End," both released in 2010.
Anderson credited the popularity of his tandem with Chiu to their chemistry. "It's both sides talaga, e. I think it's the chemistry naming dalawa. Siyempre, hindi po mag-si-survive ang isa kung wala 'yung isa kasi we had great chemistry," he said.
Asked whether having real affection for his on-screen partner helped in developing this chemistry, Anderson laughed and was initially at a loss for words.
"Opo, eh. Kaya siguro po... (Laughs) Kaya siguro po nagkaroon din ako ng feelings agad sa mga... (Laughs) Nahiya ako bigla! Hindi, parang... You're very vulnerable kasi pag nasa eksena ka.
"You have to think na kami, lagi kami nag-e-eksena, lagi kaming nag-a-'I love you' sa isa't isa. So parang mahirap labanan 'yung fact na 'yon tapos sobrang charming pa 'yung leading lady mo, sobrang ganda, sobrang mabait. So anghirap labanan, e," he said.
When the controversy surrounding Chiu and Anderson's breakup erupted in 2010, the actor admitted he had difficulty with their fans' strong reactions, some of which he referred as "sobra" (excessive).
During a press conference for "Till My Heartaches End" that year, an emotional Anderson confessed that he had been getting threatening messages from their fans over the breakup. He said even his family was getting affected by the controversy.
"At the end of the day, kahit hindi tama... Siyempre hindi siya tama dahil kumbaga sumobra," Anderson told "Biyaheng Retro." "Pero naiintindihan ko, kasi grabe po, sobra-sobra po 'yung support na binigay nila."
"They fell in love with the concept na ito na 'yon, 'yung happy ending, na for sure magkakaroon ng happy ending. So maiintindihan ko, siyempre. Kung kami nga na-hurt, paano pa 'yung mga supporters, 'yung mga nagmahal sa amin for the longest time?"
Anderson and Chiu eventually reunited on-screen via the romance anthology "24/7 In Love" in late 2012, two months before the actor and actress Maja Salvador were romantically linked in January the following year.
The two have since confirmed being a couple -- a move that has reportedly estranged Chiu from both Anderson and Salvador, who was known to be a close friend.
Catch the latest episode of "Biyaheng Retro" on Jeepney TV (SkyCable channel 9) on Friday at 10:30 a.m., and on Saturday at 5 a.m. and 3 p.m.