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Freeman Cebu Entertainment

Why Jake isn't brooding over split

- Vanessa Balbuena -

CEBU, Philippines - Like the tight-lipped stance he often employs when probed on the nitty-gritty of his recent romance, Jake Cuenca refuses to detail how a guy like him copes with a break-up. He shares though, that he deals with heartbreak like any ordinary person, only that his celebrity status makes it doubly challenging to quietly nurse whatever wound his heart is carrying. 

The actor, whose almost two-year relationship with fellow ABS-CBN talent Melissa Ricks had just ended, tells The FREEMAN after appearing in a back-to-school event at the Ayala Activity Center: "I’m no different from anyone else. I cope just like any normal guy. It just so happens this is my profession where it’s a bit difficult since I’m in the limelight and my personal life is out in the open. You have to explain your relationships on TV. But being in this business, it's what I signed up for. Even then, I try not to detail my personal life so much.”

While he's not jumping around in glee nor is he planning to get spotted this soon with a new date in tow (yep, we're looking at you Dennis Trillo!), Jake reassures his followers that he's A-okay after a much-publicized split from the girl he was often heard in interviews lavishing superlatives upon. Asked to honestly describe what his heart was feeling at that moment, Jake lingers thoughtfully before forming his response.

“It’s okay. Like I always say, we broke up but we’ll always be friends. Before we even started the relationship, we were friends, so I'm okay. You see, it’s hard to be negative when a lot of blessings are coming in. I have a lot of things to be grateful for. I guess you just redirect your attention to those positive things,” says the 23-year old heartthrob.

It must be in most male DNAs not to broadcast their real emotions, unlike females who find the need to vent — which his lovely ex most certainly did on her Twitter account. It was Melissa's online rants that hinted at a falling out between the pair, including lines such as “I'm currently making some changes in my life. If you don't hear from me anymore, you're probably one of them” and “Real men always have time for their woman, no matter what. Even if he's busy, he'll find a way to make time for her.”

A non-Twitter user, Jake agrees a lot of disagreement and conflict have stemmed from spontaneous web posts. If it were up to him, would he rather Melissa had not pronounced their issues for everyone to read?

"It's her prerogative. We all have the freedom of speech, so it’s her choice. Ako, I don’t tweet, it's not me. I do search for feedback and comments."

Inspired, evolving actor

Girl woes aside, the generous feedback he generated for his atypical role as a weak and insecure would-be politico in the recent Star Cinema movie "In The Name of Love" is what's keeping him upbeat these days. When we had this chat with him, Jake was fresh from a United States trip where he attended international screenings of the big screen drama which starred Aga Muhlach, Angel Locsin and himself. His number one fans abroad? His Fil-Spanish kin who are based overseas.

"My parents went to the premiere night of the international screenings. They were really proud of me. When my grandparents came, it was even more meaningful because they made an effort to make the long drive and watch it. They didn’t know what kind of movie it was. They hadn’t even seen the trailer and just heard of it by word of mouth. Sabi nila nung una, ‘Malaki ba ang role mo diyan? Bida ka ba diyan?’ I told them, ‘Just watch it, after the movie magkita tayo and tell me what you think.’ And they were in awe after watching it."

Among all the accolades he received, Jake considers one person's thumb's up as the best validation for his work.

"Kay Inang, syempre," referring to the film's director Olive Lamasan, whom he fondly calls by the endearing Filipino term for "mother."

"When she tells me that she’s proud of me, when she tells me that I did a good job, na magaling daw ako dito, that’s the biggest compliment I could get because she’s my director. Like what we shared in our press cons, shooting the movie was like going to school. It’s like your teacher telling you that you did her proud because you did a good job. So, you know when you hear that from your teacher, it really melts your heart. Living up to my director’s expectations was the biggest praise for me."

Of course, he adds to also feeling flattered, vindicated even, by the compliments of people who tweeted their approval, as well as random viewers who came up to him to say that he put up a good performance. "It's what inspires me to keep doing my best, to challenge myself to keep coming up with even better portrayals."

We quip that we hope his next assigned characters, whether on TV or film, get a happy ending and aren't killed off for a change, but Jake says he doesn't mind.

"Those were part of what made the stories great. It’s okay because it’s justified. With Dylan in ‘In The Name of Love’, he died because of love. With Edward in ‘Green Rose’, he died for his integrity. Those probably happen in real life to other people, but it isn’t something I think I can do. Not right now, at least. But I get to flesh it out on screen with the full, real emotions of me dying. When I finish a scene, I feel that I really died."

The newly-single star will begin taping for his next TV series by the end of July, where he'll be paired anew with Shaina Magdayao. He can't disclose full details yet, and only goes as far as revealing that this project won't be near anything he has previously done. He says fans will see a lighter, less antagonistic side of the cocky and angry Jake we always see. 

"I always try to challenge myself to be different. It’s time for me to evolve to move forward in my career, so I have to do this offbeat route," he ends. One of the Kapamilya network's most visible leading men, he is also set to topbill Regal Films upcoming flick “My Neighbor’s Wife,” alongside GMA 7-affiliated talents Dennis Trillo, Lovi Poe and Carla Abellana.

With a career in a continuous high gear, it's no wonder Jake is left no time to dwell on the negative — may it be a break-up, malicious intrigue, or whatever curve-ball life throws at him. (FREEMAN)

AGA MUHLACH

ANGEL LOCSIN

AYALA ACTIVITY CENTER

BUT I

DENNIS TRILLO

EVEN

GREEN ROSE

IN THE NAME OF LOVE

JAKE

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