A viral photo of Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Guidicelli taken during the actor's birthday party last March
MANILA - "She's just amazing."
These were the words of Matteo Guidicelli in describing girlfriend, pop star Sarah Geronimo, who finally confirmed last week that they are in a romantic relationship after months of speculation.
The 25-year-old actor was in the United States when Geronimo made the admission at a thanksgiving party held Thursday for "Maybe This Time," her recently released movie co-starring Coco Martin.
Guidicelli is taking part in a series of activities organized by The Filipino Channel, including a golf event in Staten Island, New York on Monday (Manila time) where ABS-CBN North America News Bureau caught up with him about Geronimo.
"It's not just Sarah," Guidicelli quipped. "It's Sarah, my girlfriend!"
"I'm really proud of her. On a serious note, I'm very, very proud of her," the actor said. "I've told the press before in Manila that I would tell you guys if I could. Now I can, because she said it first. I just want to respect her side, her family, and everything."
Guidicelli added: "I'm very proud of her, that she's standing up for herself. You know, she's 25 years old and she's starting to enjoy life more. I want to show her what life is! I just want her to be happy!"
Although the actor did not reveal when they became a couple, he recalled that he had long been an admirer of Geronimo, even before they co-starred for the first time in "Catch Me, I'm in Love" in 2011.
"I liked her since... You know, Sarah's been my crush since five years ago," he said, laughing. "She's just an amazing person. She's just amazing. Words can't explain how amazing she is. She's very good, she's nice."
'We never hid anything'
Rumors romantically linking the Kapamilya stars first surfaced in 2013 when Guidicelli was reported to be the only showbiz personality seen at Geronimo's private birthday party in July.
In January this year, entertainment magazine YES!, citing sources, reported that the two are indeed a couple, but neither confirmed this when asked in the weeks that followed.
However, the two appeared to be more open with their romance in March, when Geronimo attended Guidicelli's birthday party. The two were spotted holding hands at the gathering, with photos of their apparent sweetness making the rounds online.
During press events for their respective projects -- Guidicelli's "iShine Talent Camp," which he will co-host; and Geronimo's "Maybe This Time" -- both evaded questions about their relationship.
The "Ikot-Ikot" hitmaker had said it would be disrespectful to her director and co-stars to discuss her personal life when they are supposed to promote her movie with Coco Martin.
Asked about the apparent secrecy surrounding their relationship, Guidicelli said: "In the first place, we never hid anything, 'di ba? We just didn't say, we didn't confirm. It's nice, you know, that everybody's happy."
Thankful to supporters
Guidicelli is also aware of reactions to Geronimo's admission of the relationship -- her first that she made public -- with fans of the pop star taking to social media to show support for the new couple.
"Maraming salamat sa kanilang lahat for supporting us, for supporting Sarah, because she's a lovely person. She deserves all the best, she deserves all the happiness in life," Guidicelli said.
Not everyone, however, had good words following the confirmation of the relationship. Some pointed out Guidicelli and Geronimo's personal history with fellow Kapamilya stars Gerald Anderson and Maja Salvador.
Salvador and Guidicelli broke up in 2012 after a one-year relationship. Anderson, on the other hand, famously courted Geronimo in the same year. The two never became a couple amid rumors of Geronimo's parents disapproving of any romantic relationship at the time.
"I just appreciate everybody who has good comments for us, you know," Guidicelli said. "We can't please everybody, but for the people who make us happy, they are our inspiration. Maraming, maraming salamat po sa kanila."