MANILA — After interviewing Gerald Anderson, which led to the actor’s confirmation of his relationship with Julia Barretto, will Boy Abunda next sit-down be with the actress for her own tell-all?
While Abunda, dubbed local showbiz’s “King of Talk,” did not have a definite answer as to that possibility, he shared what he would first ask Barretto, if they are given the chance to come face to face.
Over the years since her showbiz breakthrough in 2014, Barretto has been interviewed numerous times by Abunda in his talk shows, from his “Bandila” segment to “Tonight with Boy Abunda.”
Abunda last interviewed Barretto in May 2019, a month before her breakup with Joshua Garcia, and two months before she was tagged in the controversial split of Anderson from Bea Alonzo.
“Not considering the body language, her state of mind, her mood, theoretically, if I were to ask a provocative question… I’d like to start by provoking, so that we can have a conversation,” Abunda said.
“I would probably ask her: ‘Julia, if given the chance to have a face-to-face conversation with Bea Alonzo, what would you tell her?’ ”
Barretto’s last statement pertaining to Alonzo was in August 2019, when she accused her of “bullying” over supposedly insinuating, through her visible social media activities, that Barretto was involved in her breakup with Anderson.
Barretto and Anderson would separately deny being romantically involved at the time.
Anderson’s interview with Abunda in March 2021 was the first direct confirmation of his relationship with Barretto, after a year of speculation.
Abunda was asked about the couple during a virtual media conference for the upcoming second season of “The Best Talk,” his Kumu program which is scheduled to return on March 20.
Abunda was also asked to assess whether he sees Anderson’s admission as detrimental or beneficial to his career.
He answered: “I wouldn’t be able to speak about that interview in the context of his career, but if I have anything to say about it… With that interview, Gerald, whether deliberately or unconsciously, set himself free.”
Abunda, whose storied career as a TV host spans nearly three decades, acknowledged in the same press huddle that he has frequently had to observe a “balancing act,” whenever his interviewee also happens to be a close friend or a prized talent of his home network.
“We’re very personal, we’re very emotional, we are relationship-driven,” he first pointed out. “Dito sa atin, adversarial, contrarian interviews have no place in Philippine culture.”
“Hindi iyan tanggap ng ating kultura. Hindi tayo puwede mambastos, hindi tayo puwede mag-overly disagree. Kasi, pag nangumbida ka ng bisita, you are expected to be courteous. You are not expected to be hostile.”
While that is the case for most of his interviews, Abunda noted that there have been instances where he “meant to be hostile, to be controversial, to go against everything the guest says.”
Known for his personal and hard-hitting interviewing style, with colleagues attesting to his thorough research ahead of a sit-down, Abunda revealed that, more important considerations than his prepared questions, are his subject’s body language and mood on the day.
“Sometimes you don’t know what to do until you’re there,” he said.
The same is true, he said, when he interviews close friends who are facing intrigues, likening the task to “walking on a tight rope.”
But with his decades of experience, Abunda has come to learn, in his words, that “no interview is more important than a relationship.”
“Kaya, kung ako magbabalato ako, para hindi lang ako makasakit, hindi na ako magtatanong,” he said. “Hihingi na lang ako ng tawad sa audience ko. It’s a choice between inflicting pain and doing your job. Ako, isang interview lang naman ‘yun, parati kong sinasabi. I look forward to the next interview.”
“When a friend feels that you exercised utmost prudence and respect, when the time comes that there is an important story, top of mind ka noong taong ‘yun. Kasi alam niyang iginalang mo siya.”