MANILA, Philippines - They won't be spending their first Valentine's Day together but actor Richard Gutierrez plans to make up for it by flying to and staying "for about 10 days" in Switzerland where his girlfriend Sarah Lahbati flew early this week amid controversy.
Richard told Bulletin Entertainment that much as he wants to be with Sarah earlier, he has pressing commitments here, particularly promotions for his upcoming movie with her and Solenn Heussaff titled "Seduction;" as well as shooting another movie co-starring Marian Rivera.
His feelings for Sarah haven't changed despite the distance and that they use technology to stay in touch with each other. He claims that her decision to go to Switzerland to take a break and study was planned way before her controversy with GMA Network exploded and hogged headlines. He recalled asking Sarah to delay her plans but "stressed na stressed na siya."
"Nami-miss ko nga siya. Sana andito siya kasi first movie niya itong 'Seduction,' so sana sabay kami nagpro-promote para enjoy kaming dalawa," he said of the Regal Entertainment movie that will be shown on Jan. 30.
Richard admits feeling torn between his mother network and his girlfriend both of whom, he said, he loves dearly. Though he wishes that things didn't end up on a sour note, he resignedly says that sometimes in life "ganon talaga." Still, when prompted by media, he vouched for Sarah's professionalism which was one of the issues raised against her.
"I am very proud of her as an artist, as a professional. Nakita ko kung paano siya magtrabaho and, I'm sure, a lot of people can attest to that. She arrives on time, prepared, and I saw that," he said.
Asked for the most recent career advice he gave Sarah, he said that any artist who has talent and loves his craft can return to showbiz anytime.
"Magaling ka, talented ka. Just don't lose that passion," he recalled telling her.
In "Seduction," Richard plays his most daring role yet; a fireman who develops feelings for women whom the actor describes as "extremes - one fire, one water." The role is so challenging and different from what he has done before that the actor didn't have qualms doing steamy scenes and baring skin on cam.
"Nakatulong din 'yung pagkakaron namin ng relasyon ni Sarah. Hindi kasi siya comfortable sa kissing at love scenes dahil bago para sa kanya ito. Hesitant sya nung una but when I talked to her, naintindihan naman niya. Our relationship helped upang maging realistic ang mga eksena namin," he was quoted to have said in a release.
As for Solenn, the actor said that they go way back as good friends and this also translates to their chemistry seen in "Seduction."
Richard noted that it has been awhile since he has starred in a movie, the most previous one being "My Valentine Girls" released in 2011.