MANILA — Paolo Contis and Yen Santos are in a relationship.
This was the actor’s confirmation in a televised interview on Monday, more than a year after the controversy surrounding his ties with his leading lady in the 2021 film “A Faraway Land.”
Contis answered in the affirmative when asked by TV host Boy Abunda whether Santos is his girlfriend, as seen in the January 30 episode of “Fast Talk.”
“Si Yen Santos ba ay girlfriend mo na? Oo, hindi?” Abunda asked.
“As a friend?” Contis quipped, referring to his past remark about accompanying Santos which generated a meme on social media.
Abunda, however, insisted on a serious answer. “Is she your girlfriend?” the host asked again.
“Yes,” Contis said.
The actor continued: “Ang sa amin kasi, what you see is what you get naman. Hindi namin puwede ipilit ‘yung tao to be happy for us. Hindi namin puwede ipilit ‘yung mga tao na paniwalaan ‘yung gusto nilang paniwalaan. Sana lang isipin nila na kung ano lang ‘yung nakikita nilang naka-post, iyon lang ‘yung truth na alam nila.”
Abunda’s question followed Contis’ explanation of the timeline of his past relationship with actress LJ Reyes, to clear Santos as the reason for the separation.
He emphasized that he and Santos were only friends when he accompanied her in Baguio City in September 2021. Reyes’ interview with Abunda confirming the breakup came out around the same time.
“Noong nag-Baguio kami ni Yen, na sa States na sila LJ noon. Nagmukhang baliktad because your interview with LJ came out, pero wala na kami sa Baguio noon,” Contis told Abunda.
“So feeling ng tao, habang ini-interview si LJ, na sa Baguio ako. Pero when you were interviewing LJ, at least 10 days na silang na sa States. I left for Baguio na sa States na sila. Hindi na kami noon,” he explained.
Contis and Reyes have one daughter together. Reyes and her two children — including a son from a past relationship with actor Paulo Avelino — are currently based in the US.
In his interview with Abunda, Contis also recalled the events leading up to his separation from Reyes. He admitted to “kalokohan” or indiscretions, as well as the “biggest mistake” of neglecting Reyes’ mental health during the pandemic lockdown.
“Medyo matagal na kaming hindi okay ni LJ. Pero we were together of course. Napapadalas ‘yung away. I think it’s, kumbaga, combination na ng stress sa pandemic and everything. One of my biggest mistakes was hindi ko inalala ‘yung mental health ni LJ. Isa ‘yun sa feeling ko naging simula ng downfall namin, na hindi ko inisip ‘yun. Kapag nahihirapan siya during pandemic, ang utak ko, ‘Four times a day tayo kumain, chill ka diyan’ — which was one of my biggest mistakes.
“Again, ‘yung pagdidiskarte ko ng sarili ko, na hindi ko na ini-inform sa kaniya ang mga bagay-bagay… which led to bigger problems. I won’t divulge na doon sa isyu na ‘yun. Pero eventually, it piled up. Again, hindi kami nag-uusap nang maayos. Plus, everytime ako nakakalabas ng bahay dahil pandemic, may work, kung anu-anong… May mga kalokohan din akong ginagawa,” he said.
Contis, 38, and Reyes, 35, were together six years.
Contis did not mention when he and Santos, 30, became officially a couple.
Santos has mostly kept mum on her relationship with Contis, and has notably stayed away from the limelight since the 2021 controversy.