Angelu de Leon isn't afraid to look back to her days of being a solo parent to two daughters before finding her Mr. Right and tying the knot in 2010.
The actress is a mother to three kids: Nicole, 19 whose father is actor Joko Diaz; Louise, 16, whose dad is businessman Jojo Manlongat; and Rafa, 6, who is the son of Angelu's husband, Lorenzo “Wowie” Rivera.
The 38-year-old actress relates that from the very start, she never hid the truth from her kids, no matter how ugly it was.
“With all my kids, I was honest with their situation. ‘Di ko inisip na naging factor yung age nila nung kinukuwento ko sa kanila yung sitwasyon ko.
“They knew they had different fathers. They knew I was a single mom — they knew everything,” she relates at the press conference when ongoing GMA-7 teleserye The Stepdaughters was launched last February 4.
For Angelu, the truth should not be sugarcoated, particularly in the case of her daughters. She saw it as her way to “protect” her kids.
Angelu recalls, “Alam mo, ang fear ko dati noon, totoo namang maraming tsismosa sa Pilipinas. Ang ayoko, makarinig sila ng isang bagay na, totoo man o hindi, sa ibang tao.
“It always has to come from me para 'pag tini-tease sila or i-bully, ang sagot lang nila, ‘Oh, I know that.’ E, di, tapos ang kwento. [To me] it empowered them.
“The truth empowered them more than it made them, you know, [think or say] ‘I can’t live my life.’”
In retrospect, Angelu says she doesn’t know how she survived that time when she had to be a single parent. “You know, looking back, grabe, it’s by the grace of God [that I managed]. It’s hard to be a single parent.”
She also credits people around her, including her children, for supporting her to get through that difficult period. At 19, when she became a mom the first time, Angelu was growing up herself. But she also needed to be a provider.
“If I’m being honest, I wasn’t the nurturing [type],” she confesses of that time. There was a point that she felt she had to make up for missing her youth.
“When they were growing up naman, parang ako naman ang nagpakabata. I wanted to make habol my teenage years; gimik, ganyan.”
Angelu says she was fortunate that her mom, sister, brother, and sister-in-law were there to help with her daughters. And she is just glad her daughters didn't take that time against her.
“Yung parang hinayaan din nila ko, hanggang sa…even before, I used to smoke in front of them…hanggang sa nawala na, so ngayon they appreciate, ‘Ah, buti na lang si Mommy tumigil na…’yung gano’n. ‘Yung nakita nila rin yung pagbabago ko.”
Angelu credits honest communication as a critical factor why her daughters do not resent her.
Smart Parenting candidly asked Angelu if Nicole and Louise are close to their respective dads.
“Ah, no. wala talagang relationship in a sense…” then she interjected, “But with Joko, with my panganay, at the age kasi of 13, when marunong na siyang mag-phone, I told him [Joko] na silang dalawa na ang mag-usap. So there were times na nagkikita sila.”
Angelu only had a strict rule with Nicole and Joko. “Ang akin lang, bawal ang overnight.”
She proceeds to explain, “Nung bata pa, ha… kasi nagkakaroon ng, ‘Bakit sa bahay ni Daddy, ganito, ganon? ‘Yun yung gusto kong iwasan. Kasi, I have my set of rules in the house, and at the end of the day, this is where you go home.”
ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
Angelu says she has “given up” the father role and bequeathed it to her husband whom she describes as a good provider.
Angelu and Wowie were badminton buddies, whose friendship blossomed into a relationship around 2009 after three years of friendship.
They got engaged in June 2010 and got married three months later with her daughters’ approval, of course.