No one will probably disagree with us when we say that Ogie Alcasid and his former wife Michelle Van Eimeren are the ones to emulate when it comes to co-parenting. And if we had to guess how the former couple will respond to that, they will say they couldn't do it without the help of their respective spouses, Regine Velasquez, whom Ogie married in 2010, and Mark Morrow, who tied the knot with Michelle in 2009.
The two couples have not only made the conscious decision to put their past behind them, but they have also chosen to build a strong friendship for the sake of their children: Leila, 19, Sarah, 17, and Nate, 5.
Becoming a blended family did not come easy. During a recent interview promoting Mulawin, Regine admitted it was "very difficult in the beginning...Syempre may issue na sila to begin with… na ‘iniwan kami,’ merong ganon."
But Regine said aside from a lot of prayers, Ogie worked hard to make sure Regine form a bond with Michelle and the girls
“You know how they see it?" Regine asks, referring to her stepdaughters. "They have two sets of parents: ‘I have two moms, I have two dads.’”
Regine says she is a big fan of Michelle's husband, Mark. “The stepfather is the ‘father.’ Kasi lumaki na sila 'don. Ang galing din ni Mark.”
Regine added, “That’s what I’m trying to emulate, idol ko si Mark.”
Many people readily assumed Leila came to live in the Philippines because she was entering showbiz. But Regine said the family was the primary reason why she's here. She wanted to be with her father and bond with her brother and stepmother. "Daddy first, but she is so in love with Nate."
Last February, Regine and Leila got involved in a controversy. During Leila’s first pictorial, she posted on her Instagram a photo of her with Regine on the background and referred to her as her PA or personal assistant. It enraged Regine’s fans who bashed Leila.
It was Leila’s baptism of fire to the harsh world of showbiz. But who was first to defend Leila? Her stepmother, of course, who posted on social media to explain that it was a running joke between her and Leila.
"I wanted to be there it was her first pictorial," Regine recalled. "Tapos pinapadala ko kay Michelle para nakikita niya kasi for sure she would’ve wanted to experience that. So I wanted to experience it for her. Tapos they made issue agad."
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Regine related, “I got very, very upset with that. E, nanay ako, pakialam n’yo. You do that for your child. You’re a driver, you’re a cook, you’re a nurse, you’re a doctor, you’re a psychiatrist, lahat. Kapag mahal mo ang isang tao, kahit maglupa ka d’yan, wala kang pakialam.
“It was her first, kasi joke ko lagi yon. It came from me she doesn’t even know what a PA means.”
Regine was thankful that Leila was not disheartened by the experience and continues to try her luck at showbiz. She knew the industry was going to be harder for her stepdaughter to enter because everyone would expect her to live up to her father's name.
“Na-hurt ako for her, so parang naiyak din ako for her. Umiiyak ako, galit na galit ang asawa ko. The thing is hindi siya [Leila] na-discourage. Parang, ‘I’m not gonna let that affect me.’”
For her part, Regine understands that while Leila is here, she will be the teenager’s mom, just like what she promised Michelle.
“Binilin sa akin ng nanay niya, ‘Reg, you know, I know she keeps saying that I’m ready for whatever for bashing, whatever, but I know her. She needs you just listen to her.’ So that’s what I do,” said the singer-actress. And that’s a role that Regine is more than glad to assume for Leila.