Celebrity love teams are very big in the Philippines. For a number of stars, being the other half of a popular tandem became their claim to fame. A big chunk of today’s television shows and movies also feature love teams very prominently. Each decade or generation has been dominated by successful tandems and something tells me this love team phenomenon is here to stay for quite some time. You can’t deny that love teams hold a certain power in the industry and this is evident in all the blockbusters and amount of following that they generated.
I guess love teams symbolize our fantasies and ideals about romance and relationships. Something magical happens when you watch love teams do their work onscreen and more so when you start getting attached to them. It’s such a wonderful feeling to allow yourself to give in to whatever the love team is offering - experience of kilig, nervousness, heartbreak, loss and love. At first, you’re just appreciating the love story or the material then you slowly realize that the love team is a big part of why the show or movie works. You start to appreciate the chemistry and the dynamics of the actor and actress. Next thing you know, you’re rooting for them so hard it affects you greatly when things go awry for them.
FROM REEL TO REAL
Things don’t end at getting hooked in the whirlwind reel love though. Fans like me dig deeper, we yearn for something beyond the confines of make-believe fairy tales that the entertainment industry provide us. That’s where things get exciting and dangerous at the same time. When you’re part of a love team (especially a bankable one), it’s inevitable that you’ll be linked together and that people will try to guess if you’re dating each other. Sometimes, love teams really do transcend fictional love and pursue a relationship off-screen. Great news for their avid supporters when that happens.
However, there are times when a love team is just that - a love team, just an actor and an actress doing their jobs. This is a big disappointment for their die-hard fans, of course. Some fans take things well and don’t mind if their fave pair is not dating for real but some fans don’t handle their frustrations right. Absence of a real-life romance is just one of the many causes of fan frustration. It could also stem from love teams breaking up whether for reel or for real and perhaps being romantically linked to other people, people you don’t ship them with. Fans get too involved sometimes and while I believe that involvement is necessary for the love team to thrive, it can be alarming at some point. I’ve had my own share of personal heartbreaks when it comes to reel-and-real tandems so I know how it feels. When your favorite couple drifts apart or separates, it feels like you were part of the break-up too. It hurts because you did not only invest time and effort but a great deal of emotion as well; you gave a part of yourself. You wish that everything is just a bad dream and hope that they’d get back together until you just get tired.
Once upon a time, I shipped Sam Milby-Toni Gonzaga. When I found out Toni got a boyfriend (that’s not Sam obviously), I got so mad. I didn’t handle it well; I was so immature that time. I jump shipped to Sam Milby-Anne Curtis and fell in love with the tandem. Even though SamAnne was basically a rebound love team for me, I have no regrets because I found new happiness in this team-up. One of my biggest love team heartaches was when SamAnne broke up. They were just so perfect together. I honestly believed that they were going to end up marrying each other and have beautiful kids. It wasn’t the first time they broke up so I really thought that it was just another temporary setback and that they’re gonna reconcile again soon. But, they didn’t and realizing this was very painful on my part. Thankfully, I knew better this time and I guess you can say I was more prepared to deal with stuff like this.
Moving on is always difficult especially when you’re not really ready to let go yet. But, seeing Anne very happy with her new beau, Erwan Heussaff definitely made things easier for me. I can’t really say I’m a fan of the Erwan or their tandem but I can safely say that I am genuinely happy for Anne. I appreciate Erwan because he makes Anne happy, he makes her smile and he influences her in a good way. I have also come to accept that Sam will continue to pursue other women in the future and he did. I only wish the best for Anne and Sam in terms of their personal love life. SamAnne will always have a special place in my heart and until now, I still love this pair very dearly. Sometimes, I still wonder "What if they didn’t break up?" and I guess a part of me still wishes they would get back together someday. I don’t mean to say I’m secretly hoping Anne would break up with her boyfriend. I sincerely hope that won’t happen because I know that they are in love and Anne would be very hurt in that scenario. I’m also not wishing that Sam will not find another woman to love. It’s kinda complicated really. For me, it’s just a fantasy; something to ponder on and not really take seriously. I’m just really relieved and glad that Sam and Anne continued to be good friends and are doing well in their careers and personal life. They might not be as close as before but at least they are in good terms and are even going to star in a reunion movie soon.
FROM KIMERALD TO KIMXI
I guess you can compare my SamAnne story to my journey from being a Kimerald fan to a KimXi fan. When the PBBTE1 housemates were revealed and I saw Gerald Anderson, I knew it was love at first sight. He was my favorite and I only started liking Kim Chiu when the whole Kimerald thing was being developed. When they got out of the house and went on to pursue showbiz as a love team, I kinda felt that I was becoming more and more of a Kim fan than a Gerald fan although I loved them both individually and as a tandem. I supported Kimerald through the years in many ways that a fan could. I watched their shows and movies, supported them online, followed their escapades on and off screen, made fan arts, etc. Although they didn’t directly admit their relationship that time, it was sort of implied that they were together and that they were happy. They were the cutest couple for me at that time.
When news of their break-up exploded, I was so devastated. I felt like I was in some kind of nightmare. I thought they were in it for the long haul, till the very end. It’s like SamAnne all over again, except much worse and much more controversial too. At this time, it was already established that the Kim fan in me was more dominant, even more dominant than my love team fan gene. But, it still hurt a lot. I tried my best to convince myself that it was all going to be okay. They were together for 4 years so they can’t just throw that away right? I didn’t know how to feel. I was kinda mad at Gerald but I didn’t want to completely hate him. I chose to sympathize with Kim without totally bashing Gerald. It was a difficult time for the Kimerald fans, especially those who have loved them since PBB. A lot of drama ensued - withdrawal of support by some fans, heated discussions, blame games, hate messages for Gerald and his rumored new girlfriend, etc. The parallels between the issue and their movie, Till My Heartaches End (TMHE), also made things more interesting and more dramatic.
Even though Kim tried to appear strong on-cam, I still felt her pain. Of course, she was hurt and she had the right to. When she broke down and cried during the press conference of TMHE, gosh I wanted to give her a big hug. I wanted to tell her everything’s gonna be okay. Deep inside, I think I also needed to hear that myself. Like Kim, I was also in that state where I needed to understand that things happen for a reason. I’m just grateful that I wasn’t alone in that struggle and I had my fellow fans whom I knew are going through the same thing. In the same way, it was a comfort knowing Kim had her family, friends and God to strengthen and encourage her.
I’ll never forget that Kimerald played a big part in my fandom life but I had to move on and face reality. I began to slowly stop being a Gerald fan and focused on supporting Kim. I don’t know; I guess I just lost interest and lost that loving feeling. A number of fans also went the same direction. We were on the lookout for possible new onscreen partners for Kim. I couldn’t think of anyone else apart from Enchong Dee whom I also fangirled over. Kim starred in a series of Your Song episodes where she was paired with different leading men. She was able to mix well with her partners and I enjoyed watching the show. But, somehow it’s just lacking something. It’s not kilig enough.
Things changed when My Binondo Girl came along. Among Kim’s three leading men, I found Xian Lim the most attractive. I was familiar with Xian but I wasn’t really that interested with him that time. I was rooting for his character, Andy, for Jade (Kim’s character) though because he had the strongest chemistry with her physically. As the show progressed, I was rooting for them more and more intensely. When the JanDy angle took centerstage, I started gaining interest in the tandem and in Xian. I would make fan arts, join discussions online about them, etc. That’s how I started as a KimXi fan.
At first, it was really just all about JanDy for me. But then, I slowly began appreciating KimXi too and basically fell in love with Xian. I officially joined the KimXi fandom, met new friends and even strengthened my bond with other Kim fans. It felt great being in the love team fandom again. I joined without any big expectations. I was not pushing them to be real cause I didn’t want to get disappointed. For me, it was just a mere decision to be part of their journey as a love team. Wherever this KimXi thing might lead to, I’ll just go with the flow and enjoy the ride.
Then things happened like the giant teddy bear which made me think, "Hey, maybe we got something here". More and more fans started to notice that there is something going on, something more than love team action. It was a flourishing friendship and as time went by, it became more probable that this friendship can blossom to something more. KimXi’s fan base grew as they got closer to each other. The media also began hinting on a possible romance. I welcomed this idea with open arms although I was not completely sold out yet. I can’t help but wonder if this was all a publicity stunt because they had a show and the management found unexpected success in their team-up. Other peolple also had doubts, even accusing Xian of using Kim to rise from the ranks. I’m guilty of entertaining this thought too at some point. I didn’t want to get my hopes up and invest in something that would only fail me again. I continued supporting them but with a considerable distance.
But, Xian has proven himself time and again of his intentions. My doubts and walls have been slowly shattered as I witnessed Kim and Xian’s budding relationship. I think you can tell if someone is pretending or not eventually. Xian is very consistent in his statements and actions, that he only wants the best for Kim, that he’ll always just be there for her and that he wants to show how much he appreciates her, he wants to make her happy. He made effort to be close to her family because he knows how much Kim values her family. He helps her become a better person. He encouraged her to be active in social media and to play guitar again. He would constantly show Kim how much he cares like that time he flew to Cebu to be there when Kim’s mom died. I can cite a million examples and anecdotes but it would take some time to mention everything. Point is, he tried to break the walls that Kim had without being too pushy or aggressive. He did it gently and with the purest intentions. Most importantly, he made her smile again. I missed seeing her smile like this. :) It took a while to see her eyes glow too.
More than anything, that’s what really convinced me to root for Xian and ship KimXi this much. I see how happy Kim is and every day, Xian convinces me that he is Mr. Prince Charming and it was not a mistake to trust him. I choose to see this truth because, well that’s the truth for me and denying it won’t change anything. I understand that this might be challenging for some fans who still believe in Kimerald or those who don’t like Xian for Kim. It’s ok really, you don’t have to force yourself to like KimXi. You can always choose to ship whoever you want. I also don’t think there’s anything wrong with reminiscing and posting all these throwback photos as long as you’re aware and you fully acknowledge that those are something from the past. I do it with SamAnne sometimes but I know that things are different now. It’s ok to entertain this fantasy for a while of going back in time where everything was perfect in your perspective but you can’t totally discount the present reality. You don’t have to embrace it, maybe just accept it.
Sometimes, we don’t see the truth because we are blinded by our own agenda and biases. It’s all a matter of the heart. Ask yourself this: Are you really looking after Kim’s welfare and happiness or are you just pushing your own happiness and your own fantasy? I don’t know about you but when I sincerely love someone, I would want only the best for them and I’d pray for their true happiness. My personal preferences are out of the picture. It’s not about me or my own fantasies. We can’t let our fangirling nature get the better of us. I’d love for Anne to get back with Sam but if she’s truly happy with Erwan then I have to respect that and hope for the best, for Anne’s sake. We might feel that we’re entitled to meddle with their lives because they’re celebrities but we don’t have the right. They are also just humans (only prettier and richer than us) who like to freely do things normal people do. We have to know our boundaries and where we stand. We are just their fans. We can’t be too protective or too possessive of them because we don’t own them. Ultimately, everything is still up to us.
As for me, I choose to believe this. ;)
Photos not mine unless tagged. Credit to their owners.