Despite marital woes, Aljur Abrenica, who recently separated from his wife, Kylie Padilla, still opts to be happy.
"When it comes to my personal life, it has always a been a choice to be … happy or not," he said in a group interview on Zoom to promote his latest movie "Nerisa," which will be available for streaming on Viva Entertainment's streaming platform, Vivamax, on July 30.
In early July, Kylie confirmed that she and Aljur have, indeed, parted ways. She issued a statement saying that "every family goes through challenges," and theirs have gone through "the process of recovering, healing and moving on" in "the past months."
While Aljur didn't go into detail about what caused the breakup, he said that his family will always be his priority and focus.
"So, for everyone's sake—my kids, myself—I will always choose to be happy, because if I'm not OK, everything else won't be," said Aljur, who has been married to Kylie for two years now, and with whom he has two sons: Alas Joaquin and Axl Romeo.
In "Nerisa," Aljur plays Obet, a fisherman who rescues the title character (Cindy Miranda), who eventually gets blamed for the subsequent misfortunes that happen in their home island.
"Obet was abandoned and then adopted. He marries Nerisa and becomes possessive of her. All these stems from his inferiority complex and insecurities. He treated Nerisa like a possession and he's bent on protecting her because he feels she's the only thing he has," Aljur related.
Directed by Law Fajardo, the movie required Aljur to undergo diving lessons. "There were many underwater scenes, some of which had us staying down the sea for 40 seconds," related the 31-year-old actor, who credited the director for his dedication to the story.
"Direk Law is so passionate about the story and made some changes to improve it further. So, as the taping days passed, I became more in love with my character. And that really helped me visualize my portrayal. He helped me and believed in me. I knew I was in good hands," he said.
Aljur described the sexy drama as his "most daring"—not necessarily because he and Cindy showed some skin in their intimate scenes, but because of the depth of the characters. "It revolves around love, revenge and obsession," he said.
He found Cindy a "very professional actress." "She doesn't let go of the character even if the camera's not rolling… She's a good actress and she inspired me to do my best," he said.
While Cindy had inhibitions at first, Aljur said he tried his best to make her feel comfortable. "We discussed how far we should go in the scenes. Direk Law usually demonstrates what we have to do. But for the love scenes, we have to do it on our own… We talked. And I'm happy because she told me she felt safe and respected working with me," he said.
Aljur had no qualms showing off his body, as long as it made sense in the story. "It's all about maintaining a healthy lifestyle, eating right, and sleeping right. If fans find me attractive, then I'm flattered. But that's not what I really aim for," he said.
Now, Aljur is more concerned about improving his craft and disproving past criticisms about his "wooden acting." "It did have some truth to it when I was just starting, because I didn't know any better back then. I always tried to do my best, but maybe I didn't fully understand acting yet," he recalled.
"But now I'm grateful because I have a better understanding of the craft and that has fueled me to better myself," Aljur added.
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