In August, the country's most sought-after on-screen love team KathNiel (made up of Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla) finally revealed that they've been in a relationship for more than five years. This might have surprised some, but long-time fans already spotted signs from the couple way before.
Let's take a trip down memory lane as we trace back the kilig moments KathNiel shared.
How KathNiel Started
In 2011, Kathryn just came from her successful teleserye Mara Clara with Julia Montes and former leading man, Albie Casino. Daniel was then a newbie in the industry. When the management had an experiment to test different partners for Kathryn, she was paired with Daniel for an upcoming afternoon youth-oriented show, Growing Up. Kathryn played the role of Ella, a teenage volleyball player who fell in love with her friend and teammate, Patrick, portrayed by Daniel.
The following year, the two were again paired up for their first teleserye together—Princess and I. This time, they were with actors Enrique Gil and Khalil Ramos. Mikay (Kathryn), who was a long-lost princess of a fictional country Yangdon, was torn between her three suitors: Kiko (Khalil) her best friend, Gino (Daniel) a bully, or Prince Jao (Enrique) of Yangdon who fell in love with her instantly. Spoiler alert: Mikay ended up choosing Gino. The show topped the evening ratings and created a massive fan base, giving birth to the KathNiel love team.
2013 marked the career of KathNiel as they were given their very first lead roles for Must Be… Love, a rom-com movie by Star Cinema with then-rising star Liza Soberano as their third party.
Box Office King And Queen
Directed Cathy Garcia Molina, KathNiel headlined the movie She's Dating The Gangster, an adaptation of a web-turned-Wattpad story by Bianca Bernardino in 2014. The movie was a success and earned a total gross of P296 million.
From then on, the two headlined a series of movies together, all of which were all box office hits: Crazy Beautiful You (2015), Barcelona: A Love Untold (2016), Can't Help Falling In Love (2017), and most recently Hows Of Us (2018) which earned P36 million on its first day of showing.
Loyal KathNiel fans know that the two have an adorable pet name for each other, "Bal." In 2016, Daniel's mother Karla Estrada posted a photo during Kath's 20th birthday in Balesin. It showed Daniel posing by the words "Happy Birthday Bal" written on the sand.
Apparently, this pet name was just the first to be publicized. Prior to Bal, the two had different pet names to each other: "Pottie," "Baba," and "Bali."
After five years of being a love team, fans wanted a real kissing scene from them. KathNiel had kissing scenes in their previous projects but camera angles were used to obscure their faces, leaving room for fans to imagine whether the artists kissed in real life or not. The two had their first kissing scene in the movie Barcelona A Love Untold in 2016.
In July, netizens were thrilled when an Instagram video was posted by a fan who caught the two actors sharing what seemed to be a candid kiss while filming their movie The Hows Of Us in Amsterdam.
DJ was quick to deny that he kissed Kathryn in an episode of Gandang Gabi Vice which aired in August. Daniel said, "May mga faney dito. Ba't ko siya iki-kiss. Nakakatawa dito, inaamoy ko yung ilong niya."
Following that, Kath had an interview with Boy Abunda on Tonight With Boy Abunda. Kathryn talked about her "firsts" with DJ and when the topic of the first kiss was brought up, she answered, "First kiss [was] super quick. No'ng tumalikod si Mommy, [nasa] Kamuning pa kami. Sabi ko, ''Yon na yong first? Hindi 'yon yong in-imagine ko!' Pero 'yan. Super quick. Si Mama nando'n. 'Tapos parang tumalikod lang po siya, may kinuha siya or something."
A Real Relationship
After seven years of speculation, they finally broke their silence and confirmed the rumors of their real-life relationship. During an interview for their movie The Hows Of Us, DJ opened up about being in a relationship with Kath for five years. He also referred to himself as Kathryn's "boyfriend" several times in front of the media.
In November, Kath came out with a new movie together Sharon Cuneta and Richard Gomez, entitled Three Words To Forever. For this film, Kath was partnered with Tommy Esguerra.
When Daniel was asked about his take on Kath's movie, he said that he is excited about it and it will help Kathryn to grow as an actress. "It doesn't mean na magkahiwalay kami ng projects, may partner agad na iba," Daniel said.