Contrary to what has been reported, LJ Reyes says breaking up with Paolo Contis was not a mutual decision.
The actress shared her side of the story in an hour-long interview with Boy Abunda, which was published on the host’s YouTube channel. Although LJ kept mum about the real reason for the breakup, she said that she chose to speak up for the sake of her kids.
In the interview, LJ revealed that she is currently in the United States, with her children, Aki, 11, and Summer, 2. She flew to New York a few days before August 2021 ended to be with her family.
"We left because I felt like I really needed to get myself and my kids out of the situation physically, para kahit papaano matulungan rin kami emotionally and mentally to recover and rebuild as a family," the actress said.
When it started
LJ shared that their problems started “late last year," when Paolo started to feel distant. "Parang nasa ibang mundo na po siya, at parang pakiramdam ko e iniintay niya lang na manggaling sa akin," LJ says, adding that Paolo would be out of the house most of the time, even if he was not working.
LJ noted that this surprised her since Paolo is a homebody. "Kung pwedeng hindi umalis ng bahay, hindi naman siya aalis ng bahay," she says.
She adds that she tried to talk to Paolo about his sudden change in behavior. She would ask, "Are we okay? Parang iba ka. Hindi ko na na-fe-feel yung dating ikaw, or yung treatment mo sa amin. Nagtatanong po ako regularly," she adds.
She describes Paolo as dismissive and he would reply, "Akala mo lang 'yon. Ganun pa rin naman."
Tito Boy asked several times whether the breakup was caused by a third party, but LJ declined to give a definitive answer. Instead, she shared that concerned people would message her about "events or sightings," but Paolo would never confirm them.
LJ shared that he would reason out that it would be hard to recognize people at this time. "Pandemic…paano siya makikilala, naka-mask, naka-shield. Sasabihin niya sa'kin, 'alam mo naman kung nasaan ako,'" she shared.
LJ added that it came to a point that close friends would message her about the situation. She also said that she already had a gut feeling that something was wrong.
"Kapag babae ka parang alam mo ata talaga…kapag nagmamahal ka, alam mo, at kapag kilala mo ang tao, alam mo," she says.
Asked if she could be wrong about the "revelations" and the information she discovered about Paolo, LJ said she is sure that all of it is true. "Andami ko na pong nakausap na nagpakita sa akin ng katotohonan, kung paano siya kapag nakatalikod ako," the mom says.
Holding on for the kids
During the course of the interview, an emotional LJ would tear up whenever she would recall what happened to her and Paolo. She told Tito Boy that she chose to keep silent for "several months," and there was even a time when "nakakalbo yung kilay ko," perhaps because of the stress and pain she was going through.
The mom of two felt like she was running on "autopilot,"—she needed to continue functioning through the pain because she had kids to take care of. "Yung pain ko naisantabi kasi mas nasasaktan ako para sa mga bata," LJ says.
LJ admits that she tried to save the relationship and to hold on as long as she could for her kids. After all, they had been together for six years. Even when she and Paolo had already parted ways, she asked him for one last chance.
"Nagbaba po ako ng pride kahit alam kong ako po yung nasasaktan. Titiisin ko po 'yon para sa mga bata kasi iniisip ko, baka kailangan nila ng complete family," she shares.
"Tinanong ko siya if he wants to take us back. Pero hindi na daw," she adds, saying this was one of the last conversations that she and Paolo had.
"I wanted a complete family"
When news broke about Paolo unfollowing everyone, including LJ, on Instagram and deleting all their pictures together, the mom kept silent. But in the interview, she says she felt disrespected not just for herself but also for their kids because she had already told him that they would be leaving for the US.
"'Yon lang ang hinihingi ko, na makaalis kami ng mga bata peacefully. Na kung gusto man niya sabihin in public, okay lang, pero sana yung wala na kami dito," LJ says.
LJ says she was particularly worried because her son, Aki, is old enough to discover things on the Internet. He had also started to ask for the real reason why she and Paolo broke up and she wanted the truth to come from her.
The mom says that she had a serious talk with her son and apologized for what happened. "Isa sa mga sinabi ko sa kanya ay, 'I'm sorry for everything, I wanted a complete family for you and Summer," she shares.
Aki replied, "You complete us, mom."
LJ did not disregard the fact that Paolo was a good father to their kids. She says that Aki, who is LJ's son with actor Paulo Avelino, treated Paolo like his own father.
"They were very close," she acknowledged. She also clarified that Paolo would never hurt their children physically.
LJ shared that as much as she wanted a complete family, she doesn't think their relationship can still be fixed. "Yung mga nangyari, hindi ko po kakayanin na malapit siya sa mga anak ko. Ganun po kasakit yung nangyari," she shares.
"Hindi po kakayanin ng pusong nanay ko na ibalik siya sa mga buhay ng mga bata," she adds. "Priority ko po ang welfare ng mga bata," she says in another part of the interview.
Before the interview ended, Tito Boy again asked if their breakup was because of a third party. LJ replied, "I think po maraming makakasagot niyan kahit hindi ako sumagot."
When he asked whether it was because of money problems, the mom looked conflicted, but still chose to stay silent. Instead, she asked the public to pray for her and her kids, "Tulungan ninyo po kami na makapagsimula ulit ng tahimik," she says.
Watch the full interview here.
Read a timeline of LJ and Paolo's relationship here.
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