MANILA — Former couple Julia Barretto and Joshua Garcia maintained on Wednesday that they are on good terms, amid the circulation of a video that shows them apparently not interacting during a recent promotional tour for their zombie flick “Block Z.”
The video, titled “Joshua Garcia at Julia Barretto dedma sa isat-isa sa backstage ng Chinese New Year celebration,” was taken last Friday as the “Block Z” cast joined the Lunar New Year festivities in Binondo, Manila.
Garcia and Barretto, who appeared to be waiting for their turn on stage when they were recorded, were not seen talking to each other in the uploaded video that has since garnered a million views.
On Wednesday, the two were asked for their reaction to speculation about their ties, during a bloggers conference for “Block Z.”
“Paikliin ko na lang ‘yung story,” Garcia said. “That night, okay kami. Ang pangit lang… Lahat na lang ng galaw naming dalawa, may isyu, may meaning. Binibigyan nila ng meaning. Pero okay kami. Ako, personally, okay ako sa kaniya.”
Their co-star Ina Raymundo, who was also seen in the video, came to the defense of Garcia and Barretto, narrating that prior to that recorded moment, they had all been together inside one tent and had earlier interactions.
“It’s not the whole story,” she said. “Iyong nakita niyo na ‘yun, magkakasama na kami nang almost one hour. Hindi naman kami nagkikuwentuhan the whole time na nandoon kami sa isang lugar.”
Referring to the entire cast, including the former couple, Raymundo continued: “Walang awkwardness sa aming lahat… Minsan talaga may mga moments na tahimik ka lang, nakatulala ka lang. So kung may nag-video ba noong panahon na ‘yon, iisipin ba, ‘Ay, hindi sila close?’ Pero that’s just a few seconds of our time being together, kasi hours kami magkakasama, usually.”
‘CRUCIFIED WHATEVER I DO’
Agreeing with Raymundo, Barretto went on to lament how she has become the constant target of mudslinging, following the string of controversies she figured in in 2019.
“I don’t need to explain that video. I think I’ve accepted that part of being who I am. Every single thing I do, someone will always have something to say. I do something good, they’ll twist it and turn it into a bad intention. If I do something not every body agrees with, they’ll punish me, they’ll crucify me for it. Whatever choice I make, I will be crucified for it. So I might as well live my life according to the things that truly make me happy. Iyon na lang,” she said.
Barretto and Garcia, both age 22, once formed the popular “JoshLia” tandem. Since their “love team” had its breakthrough via the 2016 blockbuster “Vince and Kath and James,” the following years saw their onscreen romance translating into real life.
They, however, confirmed in June 2019 that they had parted ways romantically and returned to being “best friends.” The following months proved more controversial for Barretto, as she became the target of accusations in relation to the breakup of her fellow Star Magic artists Bea Alonzo and Gerald Anderson — rumors she and Anderson have since denied.
“‘Yung isa sa nakakalungkot talaga is… Naging maganda ‘yung samahan namin ni Josh when we ended. It was smooth, it was nice, and we remained friends. There were many things that unfortunately happened last year na nadamay lang ‘yung friendship namin,” Barretto said.
“However, people are painting our friendship, hindi ganoon, e. We’ve always been okay, and he’s always been there for me last year, during all the things that happened. And we have remained the same until this day,” she explained.
‘BAKIT MO AKO IN-UNFOLLOW?’
Barretto then surmised that the fresh speculation about their ties partly stems from her move to unfollow the Instagram accounts of Garcia, as well as his current onscreen partner Janella Salvador, early this month.
Addressing the blogger who brought up the viral video, Barretto said, “I think you’re coming from that time that I unfollowed Joshua.”
Even that, she said, was a light topic for her and Garcia.
“Binibiro pa nga ako ni Joshua, ‘Bakit mo ako in-unfollow?’” she recalled.
At that point, Garcia joined Barretto’s narration of that conversation. He recalled they had just boarded a flight going to Cebu, also for a promotional tour of “Block Z,” when he brought up the topic first thing when he saw Barretto.
Recalling her answer to Garcia, Barretto quipped, “Mamayang gabi, ipa-follow back na kita!”
“So, ‘di ba, stop making a big fuss out of so many things,” the actress said. “And once and for all, stop making Joshua and I fight. We’re not fighting. We’re okay, and we’re in good places in our lives. There’s no reason for us to fight. We ended nicely, our friendship is nice, so just respect that.”