It was his mother, Rosario Reyes Faulkerson, who had always wanted Alden Richards to pursue a career in showbiz.
Watch the VIDEO Here: INQUIRER Interview: Alden Richards is living his mother’s dream
She religiously watched teleseryes and hoped to see her son in one. She was a “super fan” of movie stars, and pushed her son to be one.
“She was a pusher!” Alden quipped, chuckling.
Becoming an actor wasn’t really Alden’s dream—he aspired of one day becoming a pilot.
But in 2008, Rosario passed away after bouts with chronic pneumonia. In that trying moment, it dawned on him that there was no better way to honor his mother than fulfilling the one thing she desired most.
So, at 16, Alden set off and tried his luck in Tinseltown.
Alden joined pageants in Laguna, where he was born and raised. He won some, lost some. He auditioned for the reality talent searches, “StarStruck” and “Pinoy Big Brother.” He did not make it far in either.
Close to giving up, he gave the entertainment industry one more shot, and tried out for GMA 7’s 2011 series, “Alakdana.”
He thought it was going to be his last audition. He was wrong. He landed a role, and, before long, was getting one offer after another. For the next four years or so, he starred in dramas and movies, performed in variety shows, even hosted talent contests.
When she was still alive, Rosario envisioned her son portraying Sergio in a local adaptation of “MariMar,” her favorite Mexican telenovela. And while that did not—or has yet to—happen, something significantly bigger did.
In 2015, a seemingly innocent wave in the noontime show, “Eat Bulaga!,” sparked a show biz craze—the “AlDub” fever.
With the help of his screen partnership with internet sensation Maine Mendoza, Alden became arguably the hottest male actor at the time. And although the immense hype surrounding the tandem has somehow waned, the 25-year-old Kapuso talent still enjoys the phenomenon’s after-effect.
Now, Alden headlines “Destined to Be Yours” with Maine. The show is their first prime-time soap together. They are also set to topbill a coming film.
On May 27, he will hold his first major solo concert, “Upsurge,” at the Kia Theatre. And all these he dedicates to his mother.
“It’s sad that she was not able to see me live her dream. She is the inspiration for whatever I have now. I draw strength from her,” related Alden, who described his mother as his “guardian angel.” “I hope I have made her proud.”
Excerpts from the Entertainment staff’s interview with Alden:
If your mother were alive today, how do you think would she react to your success? I’m quite sure she would’ve been a stage mother. I’m not sure whether that’s good or bad, though (laughs).
But wherever she is right now, I’m sure she is happy, watching us. Everything I do right now, I do it in her honor, and in God’s.
How did your mother’s death affect you? Losing my mom very early has made me stronger. It made me mature more quickly.
And it does seem like you have a soft spot for mothers. You recently visited a fan, Lola Nana, who is sick. Our inbox was flooded with messages about her. And it so happened that she was staying near GMA 7 and I had some free time. (Alden Richards visits elderly fan in hospital on her 97th birthday)
It was her 97th birthday, and she is a super fan of AlDub. She always watches our shows. She was so shocked that she stood up! I was told she has had a number of strokes, but she is recovering.
But it wasn’t your first time to visit or help out your fans. I’ve been visiting patients secretly. This one became public only because it started with an open letter on Facebook. Perhaps it was divine intervention that I was free that day.
What do you get out of connecting with your fans in this way? It gives me purpose. Other than what I do onscreen, this is what my job is about—bringing happiness to people. Doing things like this is very fulfilling for me.
Did you ever imagine enjoying this kind of success? Not at all. I was just having lunch one day and waved for the camera—and that was it! We didn’t know it would change my life forever.
It was magical—and it wasn’t planned. But everything happened smoothly and seamlessly. I do not think anyone can explain what really happened.
What are the things you miss doing and cannot do now because of AlDub’s popularity? Malling and not being able to go to public places. Now, when I want to unwind, I get a massage or go to Tagaytay with my family, friends or, sometimes, by myself. That’s my idea of an escape. Or if there’s work abroad, I extend my stay for a few days.
How do you deal with bashers? I have grown tired of them. You get affected in the beginning. There were people telling me that my family was into drugs—that really bothered me.
But now—dedma. I have become numb to all the bashing. I refuse to engage them because that’d only empower them. I discourage answering them. Do not reply to people who hide behind anonymity, behind masks. It’s like to talking to a wall. They bring out the worst in you.
Do you sometimes sit back and think, “What have I done to deserve this success?” I tell myself that I must have done something right, for me to have all these things … I believe you get what you deserve. When you do good things, you get good things in return. I believe in doing a good deed every day without expecting something in return.
Aren’t you afraid that all these could be taken away from you just as quickly? You cannot avoid experiencing things you don’t want. But I am ready. If you know you didn’t step on anyone’s toes to get to where you are, I believe nothing bad will happen to you.
How does this experience with your soap, “Destined to Be Yours,” differ from doing the kalyeserye? The kalyeserye was more spontaneous, like a “one time, big time” [process]—you couldn’t have two or three takes.
What do your fans think of the story angle involving Thea Tolentino’s character (the ex-girlfriend of Alden’s character Benjie) in the series? Majority of them are supportive, but some of them are asking why her role had to be included in the story. But that’s just how soaps are. We need characters that’d create conflict and make the story more interesting. Overall, I don’t think we need to explain to the fans—we just let the story speak for itself.
Will there be kissing scenes to look forward to? Well, we already had one, but it was kind of accidental. Pero, surprise na lang … Meron ’yan, for sure … someday!
What is the status of your relationship with Maine? This is something we’ve been asked about for two years. I’d say that we have come to an understanding already. We do not really need to explain what we have.
What we want people to see is that we are happy to be together. That’s it. It’s up to them [to judge]. I do not want to put a label on it.
Do you feel pressured about people expecting you to be in a relationship in real life? Pressure/clamor … that’s what ruins a relationship. We don’t [allow ourselves to] feel the pressure. We’ll just have to see where it takes us.
What are some of the things that people would be surprised to know about Maine? Does she have any pet peeves? She hates dirty feet! And she does not go to sleep without taking a bath first. So, when she’s tired and cannot take a bath, she puts on a shower cap and a long-sleeved shirt. Then, she lies down only on her bed’s outermost sheet—that way, she won’t get the bed dirty.
She is very OC (obsessive-compulsive). Well, I’m OC, too, but I can sleep [even if I’m] dirty (laughs)!
What are your pet peeves? The same things! I can’t stand long, dirty fingernails. I’m also very meticulous about how my collection of action figures is arranged—maiba lang ng paling ng ulo, huli ko kaagad ’yan.
What was your first impression of Maine? That she is funny and goofy, always joking around. As we got to know each other better, I learned that she’s also caring. She’s very passionate about the things she does. She is a hard worker and a perfectionist.
How does she show her caring side? What she has she shares with everyone. She extends help to people and does charitable work. When she has food on set, she makes sure everyone gets to have some!
You attended the Coldplay concert together. How was that? That was fun! It was my first time to watch a major concert. I was happy Maine asked me to go with her—and of course I said I’d love to go! I wanted to see what made her idolize Coldplay, and now I understand why. The band’s music is really good—the message, the melody, the “feels.”
How did the people around you react? She was pictured piggybacking on you. It was great because the fans respected our privacy. We were allowed to be ourselves. We were at the back, and there were tall guys blocking our view. So she told me, jokingly, “Alden, kailangan buhatin mo ako.” Eh, ako pa naman kapag binibiro, ginagawa ko!
It happened during one of her favorite songs, “Yellow.” I wanted her to enjoy it, so I had her sit on my shoulders.
Where do you see the partnership going? We are in it for the long haul. We have so much to do, still. We have a new movie coming up, for instance. We have done kilig movies and a soap. It’s about time we tackle more mature roles—I think that’s where we’re going. I’m excited about that.
What is the usual cause of tampuhan? Sometimes, when there’s a three- or five-minute awkward silence, we automatically think that there’s something wrong. She thinks I am nagtatampo and vice versa. So, we end up not talking to each other at all!
But once she initiates a conversation—it’s usually she who does this—I feel relieved! It has to do with me being a bit of an overthinker. I’ve always been very sensitive, too. So, when I am unsure of my feelings, I keep my distance and stay silent, which could be misinterpreted as me being upset.
But we’ve not had misunderstandings we weren’t able to fix.
What is the key to maintaining a love team? The basic principle is trust. If you have that, everything else will follow. We trust each other, so we do not have a hard time—personally or professionally. I may have been in show biz longer, but I cannot do this alone without Maine. We have to have each other’s back.
What do you feel when you get compared with other love teams? That’s just how it is. Fans debate about love teams. But we don’t treat it as a competition, or think, “O, kung gaano ka-sweet ang ibang love team, dapat tayo ganun din.” That’s not us. There’s no joy in that. Chill lang.
What have you learned from Maine? To just enjoy life.
You must be earning pretty well. Where do you invest your money? Businesses. Concha’s Garden, the restaurant I partly own, already has three branches—in Quezon City, Tagaytay and Silang, Cavite.
You are already thinking about your future. I always say this: The best time to invest is now—not tomorrow or not when you have extra money. Invest, even in the smallest of things.
Is this in preparation for the time when you finally leave show biz? Yes. I want to make sure that once I decide to lie low from show biz, I’d have enough for my family and myself. I want to secure my future. But acting is a big part of my life. So, I cannot see myself turning my back on it completely.
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