MANILA -- Before becoming known worldwide as a the woman who is "confidently beautiful with a heart," Pia Wurtzbach had to pull herself out of a low moment where she had no work and resources.
The former Miss Universe recalled her experience in the latest episode of "Between Us Queens," the Spotify podcast she co-hosts with her friends and fellow pageant titleholders Bianca Guidotti and Carla Lizardo.
In the episode titled "Between us Queens, what's your crazy breakup story?", Wurtzbach said hers happened before she joined the world of pageantry, back when she used to be "a very different person."
"Before this whole pageant thing that I did, before Miss Universe, before Binibini, I was a very different person... Under ako sa lalaki," she admitted. "Parang kung anong sasabihin niya, 'yun 'yung masusunod. Hindi ako lalaban, kahit alam kong mali... I didn't really have a voice. So I was that kind of girl, I was very submissive."
She went on to recall how she gave up her career, time spent with friends and family, and even her own place just to be with her then-boyfriend.
"I stopped doing the jobs that I was doing, which also meant that I didn't have an income, so I had nothing. I stopped hanging out with friends, especially friends that he didn't like. 'Yung kapag 'di siya approve sa mga girlfriends mo, sa barkada mo, hindi ka na rin sasama," she said.
Wurtzbach remembered the relationship felt like a "gradual decaying of my soul" as she lost her voice and identity.
She thanked her younger sister, Sarah, for convincing her that "what I was getting myself into was totally wrong." Until one day, she woke up wanting to leave.
"I gave it everything, all of my time, my efforts, my heart, and then napagod ako. One day, I just woke up and then I left," she said.
Realizing what she deserves is one thing, but the actual process of leaving was a totally different story for Wurtzbach, who had to find a way to start over with just P100 in her wallet.
"At that time, I was staying with him. I did have my own place but that was one of the things I gave up. So I had to ask a friend if I could sleep over muna for a few weeks until I find my way kasi wala akong pupuntahan. I just remember packing whatever I could, getting into my friend's car, and just having P100 in my wallet. Wala akong pera, wala akong trabaho, as in wala lahat," she said.
The failed relationship was a "big learning experience" for Wurtzbach as she "had to rebuild myself again from zero."
"We also have to have some respect within ourselves," she stressed. "Respeto sa sarili natin na huwag tayong pumayag na we'd go into a downward spiral of self-destructive behavior where we get into bad habits or maaapektuhan 'yung mental health mo."
"Breakups are hard and sometimes we have different ways of dealing with it, pero alagaan din natin 'yung mga sarili natin. Of course the relationship is gone but you're still there and you have to take care of yourself."
Currently, Wurtzbach is happily in a relationship with Beautiful Destinations founder and CEO Jeremy Jauncey. They celebrated their first anniversary last New Year's Eve.