MANILA - "There is nothing to hide."
These were LJ Reyes' words in explaining why she finally spoke at length, for the first time, about her relationship with the father of her child, Paulo Avelino, and his rumored girlfriend, KC Concepcion.
The 26-year-old actress was asked about the issue Thursday at the sidelines of a press conference for the Michael Tuviera film "The Janitor," where she will co-star with Dennis Trillo.
An entry to this year's Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival, the movie will premiere on August 1 at select cinemas in Metro Manila.
"Happy ako na happy sila," Reyes said of Avelino and Concepcion. "Maganda kasi pag isang tao, masaya. 'Yung outlook mo sa buhay, maganda rin. Pag masaya ang isang tao, 'yung nurturing mo... Mas maganda rin 'yung nabibigay mong pagmamahal sa... Like, sa anak namin, sa ibang tao."
Reyes and Avelino, both former finalists of the reality talent search "Starstruck," were a couple for four years. They were rumored to have broken up as early as May 2013, but Reyes only confirmed the separation in October.
They have a son named Ethan Akio, who will turn 4 on July 24.
Avelino admitted courting Concepcion in November 2013. They have since become open about their relationship, with Concepcion revealing in April that she loves the actor. However, neither has confirmed that they are officially a couple.
Asked if she is open to working with Concepcion, the daughter of screen veterans Sharon Cuneta and Gabby Concepcion, Reyes said: "Oo naman, marami pa akong gusto makatrabaho. At siyempre, isa naman ang isang KC Concepcion sa listahan ko. Why not? Kung meron kaming project na pagsasamahan, hindi naman po ako tatanggi."
'Everything clear now'
Despite Avelino being linked romantically with another woman, Reyes credited her former partner for fulfilling his responsibilities to their son. Noting Avelino's busy schedule -- he currently stars in the primetime series "Sana Bukas Pa Ang Kahapon" -- Reyes said she understands that he hasn't been able to spend time with Aki lately.
"Never naman siya nagkulang sa bata. It's just that ngayon, mas maayos. Mas maayos lang talgaga siya... So far, ngayon, medyo busy talaga siya, so hindi masyado [nagkikita]," she said.
Her current setup with Avelino, Reyes shared, is the most agreeable they've had so far. She explained that they are now civil and have managed to iron out any misunderstandings.
"Honestly, I can say na mas civil kami ngayon," she said. "Sa custody, sa pag-aalaga ng bata, more of na sa akin talaga kasi 'yung bata. Ako talaga 'yung everyday na nag-aalaga sa kanya. Ang nanay, gano'n naman talaga, 'diba?"
Reyes also cited this as the reason she has become more open about Avelino and their son. In the months following their separation, both Reyes and Avelino had been evasive in discussing their failed relationship.
"Siguro dahil din mas clear na ang lahat, mas maayos, mas... Siyempre, gano'n naman 'yon, eh. Siguro dahil may mga personal na bagay pa kaming dapat pag-usapan at ayusin [noong panahon na iyon]. Kaya ang hirap din sumagot ng mga tanong, actually, kaya hindi rin namin masagot ang mga tanong ninyo.
"But since everything is clear right now, mas madaling sagutin. Hindi dahil ayaw namin mag-share or sumagot ng tanong. Mas maganda kasi na pag nagtanong kayo, may maisasagot po kami na maganda at maayos," she said.
When asked if Aki understands their situation, Reyes said she has already explained to her son why his father no longer lives with them. While this is the case, Reyes added that there are some things Aki cannot fully understand at his age.
"I think naiintindihan naman niya, kasi ever since naman, noong naghiwalay kami, in-explain ko talaga kay Aki kung ano ang nangyari, like we're not going to live in the same house anymore," she said.
Reyes added: "Unti-unti kong in-explain sa kanya, tapos may mga very childish questions na, 'Why?' 'Diba, siyempre, pag bata, 'Why? Why?' Ta's ie-explain mo kahit hindi niya naiintindihan. Tapos pag 'Why' pa rin siya nang 'Why,' 'I'll explain to you when you get older para mas maintindihan mo.'"
Source of 'kilig'
As for finding a new partner, the actress mentioned her family and close friends as her current source of "kilig." She is, however, open to a romantic relationship.
Her preference, Reyes said, would be to get to know a potential partner as a friend, rather than through courtship. Noting that she wants her next relationship to be her last, Reyes said it is important that she gets to know a would-be boyfriend without any posturing.
"Ang lagi ko nga pong sinasabi, ayoko po ng nililigawan ako. Gusto ko, kinakaibigan ako," she said. "Ang pagkakaiba po kasi ng pagiging kaibigan at manliligaw, pag manliligaw kasi, 'diba best foot forward? Gusto ko kasi... Sige, liligawan mo 'ko, pero gusto ko makilala 'yung totoong ikaw."
"Kasi siyempre ngayon hindi naman po puwede tayong magkamali, 'diba? Sana, hindi magkamali. Sana kung meron mang dumating na tao na mag-ko-commit ako, gusto ko naman po talaga, siya na rin po talaga," Reyes said.