Sharon Cuneta shields family from solid Sharon-Gabby fans

Leah C. Salterio

Posted at Sep 19 2023 06:42 AM

Megastar Sharon Cuneta opted not to let her husband, Francis Pangilinan, as well as their children – Frankie, Miel and Miguel – watch her forthcoming concert, “Dear Heart,” with her former husband Gabby Concepcion on October 27 at the Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena.

“Pinag-usapan na namin ni Kiko,” Cuneta told ABS-CBN News. “I want to shield them away from anything that people might say. There are solid Sharon-Gabby fans up to this day.

“[But] My husband is the coolest He’s very supportive. When this ‘Dear Heart’ concert was first announced, he simply said, ‘Sana naman matuloy na ‘yan.’ Maybe because he knows I love him very much and I never fail to show him that.”

After Cuneta and Concepcion did a spur-of-the-moment duet in Gabay Guro in 2019 also at the MOA Arena, the erstwhile couple never saw each other again. Neither did they get in touch with each other.

“Naninibago nga ako,” Cuneta admitted. “The concert is a brand-new experience after so many decades na may gagawin kaming dalawa and we’re working together again. Excited ako at masaya.”

Cuneta also surprised everybody when she showed up at the Okada press conference of the “Dear Heart” concert looking trimmed and gorgeous.

“Seven years po ‘yan, it’s not overnight,” the Megastar stressed. “Of course, with the help of Dr. Ivy [Aguilar-Teo].

“I want to go back to my figure in ‘Maging Sino Ka Man’ [1991]. I was 118 pounds at that time. But my thinnest was when I did ‘Pasan Ko ang Daigdig’ [1987].

“That was the time Gabby and I separated. Then I was shooting in Smokey Mountain. I was 109 with a 23-inch waistline. Then I am 5’6”. So I just want to go back to 120 or 125 max. Konti na lang.

“The first reason I tried to lose weight was because of my health. I was 240 before. Now, I don’t want to weigh anymore.

“I don’t want to hide it. Remember, I had breast reduction two years ago? It was all skin. Because I lost so much weight, more than 100 pounds na. So naturally sagging na ang akin. Just to tighten, because they had to remove the skin.

“Then I had arm surgery. Nagtanggal na lang ako ng taba. Ang pangit. Pinatanggal ko lang ang extra akin. That’s all. Hindi ko na kailangan sa legs because hindi naman ako sasali ng Binibining Pilipinas. Malaki na kinita niya.”

Cuneta wants to look presentable, especially for her loyal Sharonians. “This is a business based on looks,” she admitted. “We like to be aspirational. There are ways we have to keep looking like artista. 

“I just regret that I didn’t stop dieting sooner. I have nothing against plastic surgery. I want to age gracefully. I am not encouraging people. That’s totally okay. Magpapa-face lift na rin ako kapag kailangan na.”

Cuneta, who has been acting on TV and the big screen for 42 years – after she and Concepcion did “Dear Heart” (1981) – admitted she would rather not get married too early if she has to go back to one area in her life.

“I would have properly given it a little more time so we would be more mature and ready,” Cuneta said. “I probably would have gotten married later.

“But I will always be thankful for Gabby that he’s the father of my eldest daughter [Kristina Cassandra]. I will always respect the good times that we shared. I will always remember him fondly.”

When details for the “Dear Heart” concert were finalized, Cuneta watched the film once again on YouTube.

“I wanted to see the purity and innocence where we started,” she granted. “In the end, I said, ‘Oh my God. That was the boy I fell in love with.’ That version. That moment in time, who Gabby was, what he was during that time.”

The hesitation to do a concert was with Concepcion and never on Cuneta’s part. “It was always Gabby’s call,” she stressed. “In fact, we had several meetings before with Star Cinema for a film together. I was always ready.

“If you are going to ask if we are going to do a movie after the concert, I think it will all depend on the dynamics that we exhibited while performing together, while doing the concerts, kung magiging okay lahat ng flow.

“Kung magkakasundo kami, walang problema, walang issues, walang hassle, walang stress. Then, there’s no reason for us not to do a movie.”

In 2009, Concepcion had a special appearance in the ending of Wenn Deramas’ comedy flick, “BFF: Best Friends Forever,” with Cuneta and Ai-Ai de las Alas.

People thought that was a teaser to something forthcoming for Cuneta and Concepcion. However, fans waited for naught.

Cuneta believes the Sharon-Gabby chemistry before is something they cannot instantly act out at present. 

“It has been so long that our followers have missed us together,” she said. “Kahit tumayo lang kami, may effect na. If you think about it, when we sing the songs from our movies that our followers are familiar up with and songs that we all grew up with, it will mean something.

“Chemistry is something that cannot be created. It’s either there or not. Gabby and I always have that, no matter what.”

When they were still starting out as a love team, Cuneta remembers Concepcion as someone who was really “malambing.” That was what they had in common.

“He was sweet, he was sincere,” Cuneta said. “I felt loved in the early years. Ang kilala kong Gabby ‘yung minahal ko noon. Hindi ko alam kung iba na siya. KKB [kanya-kanyang buhay] na kami ngayon.

“Gabby is still good-looking. He doesn’t look his age. Neither do I. [Laughed] Apparently, our daughter got good genes.

“But I’ve been married happily for 27 years now. I cannot imagine growing old with anyone but Kiko.”

The songs in the “Dear Heart” concert repertoire are the those that the fans grew up with. “All our followers before are now parents also,” Cuneta maintained. “It’s a trip down memory lane. It’s our story. It will have a thread through it.

“The concert will have memorable moments. If you know us very well, you will recall your teenage years. The movies that we made and made you love us. This is an honest-to-goodness concert.

“Gabby can expect me to have his back. I will work with him and concert flow will be great. Walang sapawan. Aalalay ako kung kailangan. Comfort zone ko ang stage. I know Gabby is not used to a big venue like the MOA Arena, much less a full concert.

“I will be there for him. I’ll make alalay. Ang request ko lang, he sings the songs in full. He takes the concert seriously. I remember when we recorded ‘Come What May’ before, ang vocal coach niya ako. Boyfriend ko siya noon.”

Paolo Valenciano will be stage director. Louie Ocampo will be the musical director.

The “Dear Heart” concert will release merchandise that will be available earlier and also during the concert. “We will announce it on social media where they can buy the items, including my Megastar light stick that changes lights in every color,” Cuneta beamed.

“There will also be T-shirts, hoodies and other things. There are so much coming. Those merchandise will be remembrance of the concert that fans waited for such a long time.”

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