How Sen. Ralph wooed Vilma Santos
MANILA, Philippines – She may be the "Star for All Seasons" to her thousands of followers, but to her husband Senator Ralph Recto, Vilma Santos is his "wife for all reasons."
In an interview with "Showbiz Inside Report" that aired Saturday, Recto revealed how a chance meeting at a bar would lead them to becoming a couple.
Recto is currently a senator while Santos holds the gubernatorial post in the province of Batangas.
But it was before his ascent in Philippine politics when Recto first met Santos in 1985.
"We met in a bar, believe it or not, in Quezon City. It so happened that when I went to the opening, Vilma was there as well, and I remember, she was dressed up like Madonna," Recto recalled.
Santos' apparent Madonna-inspired visage did not daunt the young political aspirant then.
"I went up to her and I asked her to dance," Recto said.
He was 21, a graduating student at the De La Salle University; she was 32, a royalty in local show business.
Age is just a number
Their first meeting -- and first dance -- would lead to much more time spent together, until Recto one day asked for her hand in marriage.
"I was prepared to settle down and I wanted to have a kid as well, so I asked her. I was a congressman then, and I asked her already, if she wanted to get married," he said.
It wasn't an enthused "yes" he had gotten from Santos then, Recto recalled. Even her colleagues from the industry had some reservations about their union.
"Medyo nagdalawang isip din siya," Recto said, referring to Santos. "I think in the beginning, many of her friends and colleagues didn't want us to get married."
"Of course they would think that I'm 10 years younger, I suppose," Recto said. "Hindi naman kasi conventional 'yung ganoong laki ng deperensya sa edad, 'di ba?"
Looking past their age difference, Recto and Santos would eventually exchange vows in December 1992.
10 times around
Now 20 years into their marriage, Recto feels that any hurdle they had to go through to become husband and wife had all been worth it.
"She's a wife for all reasons, and wife for all seasons," Recto said. "So even if I ought to do it all over again, 10 times, I'd marry her 10 times around."
Recto, who now has a son with Santos, admitted that as with any relationship, theirs may not be perfect -- but the senator would not have it any other way.
"Everything is the best thing about her. There's nothing I would like to replace anyway.
"We're not a perfect couple; there is no perfect couple. But because of our differences and our similarities, that's what makes us whole," he said.