Sophie Albert, Max Eigenmann share their honest thoughts on love and marriage

DIRECT LINE CONVERSATIONS - Boy Abunda - The Philippine Star
Sophie Albert, Max Eigenmann share their honest thoughts on love and marriage
The author with the actresses after their Fast Talk interview.
Photos courtesy of show’s Facebook page

Sophie Albert and Max Eigenmann both come from families whose surnames are famous in and out of Philippine showbiz.

Sophie is the niece of my dear friend Kris Aquino while Max is the daughter of the late great actor Mark Gil with former beauty queen-turned-actress Bing Pimentel. She is sister to equally brilliant actor Sid Lucero, half-sister to Andi and Gabby Eigenmann, and niece to the late award-winning actress Cherie Gil and equally great actor Michael de Mesa.

Max is probably the most low-profile of the Eigenmann entertainment royalty yet her acting credentials speak volumes of her sterling qualities as an actress.

It’s neither easy nor hard for Max to be an Eigenmann “because my family makes sure each (member) feels that we are our own person in terms of career, and actually — this is kind of funny — whenever we’re together, we never really talk about work,” she reasoned.

No one from the Eigenmanns made her feel the pressure of having to prove her acting worth every time she is in front of the cameras. Unfortunately, Max admitted there were people who commented that she’s expected to excel given her acting bloodline.

“I think I dealt with that kind of pressure a little more difficult when I was younger because I really felt there’s a big shoe to fill but nobody in my family made me feel that I have to do that. They allowed me to be my own person.

“Now that I am older, I realized that that pressure does not affect me as much anymore,” she said.

Sophie has a different story. When she entered showbiz, it was said that she didn’t like the idea of using Cojuangco as part of her screen name. Her real name is Bianca Regina Lyttle Reyes. Her paternal grandmother Josephine Cojuangco-Reyes was the sister of former President Corazon Cojuangco Aquino and former congressman Jose “Peping” Cojuangco Jr.

Sophie’s lola Josephine was an educator. She was the seventh president of the Far Eastern University (FEU).

Going back to the rumor of her not wanting to use the surname Cojuangco, Sophie explained, “I don’t wanna say, ‘ayaw’ but I grew up being a Reyes and in showbiz, ang dami ng Reyes so they asked me, ‘Maybe you wanna change it to Cojuangco?’ and I felt like it’s such a big responsibility to make it Cojuangco, and I grew up not having that in my name.

Sophie on marriage: ‘Married life is the best life. (Husband Vin Abrenica) is the best.’

“So, I chose to use my mom’s middle name instead. But it’s not naman ayoko (gamitin ang Cojuangco).”

Even before she joined show business, Sophie would see me in a lot of family gatherings since Kris is one of my closest friends. She recalled how she would watch me and Kris on television. “I used to watch you guys every Sunday with my mom and I never missed an episode of you. So, when I met you face to face, I got really starstruck because I’ve been a fan ever since,” she excitedly shared.

Now happily married to Vin Abrenica, Sophie can also be referred to as Mrs. Abrenica on- and off-cam. They have a two-year-old daughter named Avianna Celeste.

I asked Sophie and Max what they know about love and marriage.

“Married life is the best life. He’s (Vin) the best,” the Kapuso actress said about being the better half of Vin. “I don’t think I can think of anything else I would want in a partner (because) he’s so understanding, he’s so sweet, he’s so affectionate, he’s a good provider, he takes care of me and my daughter. So, hands down, he’s a good man,” she added.

Max, on the other hand, has never been married but she knows what it’s like to love and be loved.

“What I’ve learned about partnership and love is that it takes a lot of work to make it last because not every day is gonna be a honeymoon stage so you really have to put in the work and you have to make that conscious choice every day. You decide (if willing) to go through rough patches, meron kasi talagang hindi maiiwasan,” the actress said.

Love is certainly a choice and a decision because when you are in a relationship, your actions determine if it lives on or ends. In other words, you’re in the driver’s seat regarding your relationship’s path.

Having been together as boyfriend-girlfriend for 10 years and being married just in January, Sophie shared she and Vin have experienced conflict and challenges of a relationship.

“Napagdaanan na namin ‘yung mga times na super lovey dovey na parang honeymoon every day. Napagdaanan na rin namin ‘yung times na ‘pag nakikita namin ‘yung isa’t-isa, nakakairita but at the end of the day, gusto namin buo ‘yung pamilya namin at ‘yun ang nagpapasaya sa amin.”

Max on love: ‘It takes a lot of work to make it last because not every day is gonna be a honeymoon stage.’

Sophie added there are times when they would agree to not talk to each other. “Actually, in terms of being vocal about my need for space actually work,” shared the 33-year-old who obviously is choosing love.

For Max, it is better for a couple to discuss whatever conflict or argument they have so they can resolve it right away.

But is love enough for one to stay in a marriage?

“I think not but I also think that the true meaning of love is being able to choose the same person regardless of how many rough patches you’ve been through,” Max replied. “If it’s just about the feeling of being sweet all the time, concentrating on all the positives or how this person makes you feel as a person, I don’t think that’s enough because in the long run, you will really have moments when you can’t stand each other and you have to make a conscious choice to go through that.”

Sophie believes that love is the most important part of marriage. “You can’t disrespect somebody that you say you love. Feeling ko it’s a big factor but like what Max said, there are so many meanings of love na kasi so parang if it’s the lovey-dovey, honeymoon-ey feeling, of course, it’s not gonna be there forever so it needs the cooperation of both for love to work.”

The actress is confident that nothing can make her walk away from marriage — not even cheating or betrayal.

“I don’t think Vin and I will get married if there’s a chance that he would do it (cheating or betrayal). Well, you never know, but I’m pretty sure we’re gonna be okay,” Sophie said with much certainty in her voice.

While Max stressed on the importance of making a better choice in order for a relationship to last, it won’t be hard for her to decide whether to stick with it or call it quits if there is cheating involved. Cheating or betrayal is her non-negotiable.

“When I lose the feeling of wanting to choose the person, (for) betrayal, cheating. In the past, I’ve given up a relationship for that type of reason.”

No matter what conflict or challenge would arise in a relationship, Sophie and Max do believe in second chances and accepting forgiveness.

“I make mistakes every day so I would want to be given a second chance and you also learn from getting a second chance. So, every time you can, always forgive,” Sophie remarked.

Max couldn’t agree more and added, “I think if there’s no forgiveness, there’s no peace.”

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