Chiz on Heart: ‘We’re just two persons enjoying our time together’
Philippine Daily Inquirer / 09:56 PM December 07, 2013
I had a feeling I was going to be an ‘extra’ in this story,” laughs Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero, looking relaxed in khaki shorts and a tight V-neck T-shirt, the same clothes he wore when he first met Heart, he recalls.
SIM: Heart says the nice thing about your relationship is that she doesn’t feel she has to be someone she’s not just because she’s with you.
Chiz: I’m not a traditional politician. I don’t dress the part. More often than not I’m underdressed, so I guess that makes it more comfortable for her. When we go out I usually drive; we fall in line, nothing different. No titles, no positions whether in showbiz or in politics, just two individuals, two people enjoying our time together.
SIM: Showbiz and politics aren’t really that different, you’re both in public arenas where perception is everything.
Chiz: It’s not a concern but we’re conscious about it, that’s why as best we can, we try to keep our relationship private. If it so happens that we’re asked, we answer; we don’t lie, we don’t hide anything. But neither do we go out in the open and sell ourselves. In the last campaign, she wanted to but I asked her not to campaign, because I wanted to keep our lives separate. However difficult it was for me, she never came out, she never joined me in any of my campaign sorties, she never even said vote for me.
We’re not out there, but neither do we hide it. Kung may magpapa-picture, hindi kami magtatago, magtatakip ng mukha. It’s actually quite normal and liberating. We go to normal places like malls and restaurants without limitations. We’re a normal couple, and I guess that’s how we’ll be.
SIM: How do you find the time, considering both your busy schedules?
Chiz: It’s only when you accept all the unessential invitations, and there are a lot, that you run out of time for the person you want to be with. We both want the same thing, we’re both on the same page. Whatever spare time we have given our schedules, we would want to spend it together.
SIM: Heart says she’s enjoying being an independent woman for the first time, and settling down is not high on her list at the moment.
Chiz: It’s not at the top of the list, but I would like to think and I’m sure it’s on the list. It’s only a question of when. Secondly, it’s always been termed as “newfound” independence, but she always has been. But it’s the first time that she’s actually being given the chance to live the part.
SIM: Part of that freedom is the freedom to take on more daring roles, as in her upcoming movie “My Trophy Wife” where she has some sizzling love scenes. How do you, as a Filipino man, feel about that?
Chiz: We often just joke about it, really. I want to watch it when it comes out, but she refuses to let me see it. It’s become a running joke between us. I wanted to see how it would make me feel, because I don’t know. I guess she’s more experienced in that regard. She gets to decide on her own without being harassed. It’s a question of trust, of being secure, of loving the person for who she is.
SIM: Does the age difference pose any problem as far as worldviews or interests are concerned?
Chiz: I’m 44, she’s 28 turning 29 so roughly 15 years. Actually, the (age) gap was never a consideration or an issue for us. We complement each other in a way, because whatever it is I don’t have given my age, she has. And whatever it is she doesn’t have, given her age, I have. I learn a lot from her and the world she belongs in, and the same is true with me. It’s refreshing.
SIM: Of course, your kids know who she is. (The senator has 6-year-old twins from a previous marriage, a daughter and a son).
Chiz: They’re quite aware (of her). I made it no secret. They often see her on TV. Of course she had to make some adjustments insofar as the fact that I have kids is concerned, but it’s been smooth, it has been quite an experience for her, for me and the kids. In fact she introduced my kids to dogs. We don’t have a pet, and it’s now an ongoing debate between the kids and myself if we should get one. I tell them they can just share Heart’s pets: three dogs and one cat.
SIM: Any final thoughts?
Chiz: To be frank about it, we’re at that stage in our lives where we’re happy and content where we are: Our careers have been good to us, but they’re not as important as what we have, not as important as personal relationships in general. The long and short of it is, we both long for the day when she’s not in showbiz and I’m not in politics, and we could just live completely private lives and be content and happy where we are or will be. That’s where we are at right now. —Eric S. Caruncho