MANILA -- Their characters onscreen and on stage would always end up lovers, but for Christian Bautista and Karylle, this was only almost the case in real life.
With their first team-up dating as far back as 2008, when they were paired for the local staging of the Broadway musical "West Side Story," the two Kapamilya singers have since become best of friends.
But somewhere between then and now, Bautista and Karylle's relationship almost bloomed into romance.
Asked if there was a point she and her frequent leading man almost became a couple, Karylle offered a laugh, followed by, "Yeah, ewan ko, basta."
"I've had my lows [in my life] and he's (Bautista) seen me. I don't even have to tell him, but he'll know. We've gone through a lot together. We've had our little crazy fights, we've had our bati-an moments," Karylle said during a press conference held Wednesday for the upcoming revival of the 1980 pop opera ballet "Rama Hari," where she and Bautista will be paired anew.
At the time she was partnered with the Kapamilya balladeer in "West Side Story," Karylle was still in a relationship with actor Dingdong Dantes. Shortly after the run of the show, however, the two broke up amid rumors linking the actor to his new leading lady at the time, actress Marian Rivera.
Dantes and Karylle were together for three years.
On the other hand, Bautista, only a year earlier in November 2007, had confirmed his separation from then-girlfriend, singer Rachelle Ann Go.
Time was ripe, it seemed, for the two to take their relationship to the next level. But according to Bautista in an earlier interview, Karylle had decided to "take her time" in going into another relationship after her controversial break-up.
"Hindi naman sa hindi in-accept ['yung panliligaw]. But that was the time of my life that people were telling me, 'Date guys, take your time,'" Karylle said in an earlier interview.
"Para lang, for me, what we had was so special, I didn't want to rush into anything," she added.
An entire season of a musical series -- the two were paired onscreen in the award-winning Pan-Asian TV series "The Kitchen Musical" in 2011 -- and a number of concerts together later, Bautista said he only intends to keep his "bond" with Karylle intact.
"So much has happened already. Ang pinaka importante lang, whatever happened in the past, now, ang importante is now, and what you do after. Your friendship, your bond [remains intact]," said Bautista, who is now reportedly in a relationship with "Kitchen" co-star Carla Dunareanu.
"Yes, the bond remains naman kasi," added Karylle, who is reportedly in a relationship with Sponge Cola frontman Yael Yuzon.
Of co-starring anew with the "It's Showtime" host in "Rama Hari," Bautista said: "Karylle and I have done so many things togther. Yes [our tandem] is tested already. We know each other, we support each other in everything that we do. Ang sarap katrabaho ni Karylle especially on the stage, there's no other [place] we're more comfortable [working together]."
Staged by Ballet Philippines, "Rama Hari" will have performances from November 30 to December 9 at the Main Theater of the Cultural Center of the Philippines.