Chynna and kean max and pancho
“It’s nice to marry your childhood crush,” Kean Cipriano declares in the middle of YES! Magazine’s interview with him and his wife Chynna Ortaleza in a Makati City restaurant.
The couple, who were married in civil rites on November 7, 2015, are taking a trip down memory lane on a Friday afternoon, just four days before tying the knot in a Catholic church ceremony on November 7, 2017, two years after the civil wedding but on exactly the same month and day.
“Bata pa lang ako, napapanood ko na ’yan,” the 30-year-old actor and musician teasingly says of the 35-yearold actress and TV host.
Chynna was a reporter in the kiddie news magazine program 5 and Up in the late 1990s, before she starred in a popular TV ad for Sprite soft drink, and eventually bagged one of the lead roles in the GMA youth-oriented drama series Click in the early 2000s. Coincidentally, the teenaged Kean had a cousin, Carlo, who worked as a fashion stylist at the Kapuso network and knew the stars there, including Chynna. So when Kean had his graduation ball at an all-boys high school, Carlo offered to set his cousin up for a date with Chynna.
Kean recalls with amusement what happened next: “Hindi pumayag. Siyempre, busy siguro. Pakialam niya sa ’kin. Hindi naman niya ako kilala. Ending, nagbigay sa ’kin ng picture na ’yong pang-artista na wallet size, [with dedication:] ‘Dear Kean, blah, blah, blah…’ Ako naman, ‘Oh, okay, fine.’”
Chynna reveals what she knows about the photo that she had given Kean: “’Nilagay niya sa wallet niya for a time.”
Fast forward to 2008. Kean finally met Chynna in Boracay. At that time, he was already known as the lead vocalist and songwriter of the rock band Callalily, whose hit debut album, Destination XYZ, had been released two years earlier. Just like Chynna, he was invited to participate in a celebrity event patterned after the American reality-TV competition show Amazing Race.
“Kami ang mag-partners,” Kean says. “Wala, kuwentuhan lang kami.”
“Easy flowing conversation,” Chynna adds.
He hesitates. “Ano lang kami… Pero wala naman, like, ano siyempre, I mean ako…” She concludes: “No sparks.” But he admits: “Cute, e! Siyempre, crush ko kasi siya no’ng bata ako, sa totoo lang.”
They then went on with their lives and their respective romantic relationships—until they crossed paths again in early 2013 to star in an episode of the GMA drama anthology Wagas. By that time, Kean had crossed over to acting in both mainstream and indie projects, such as Ang Babae sa Septic Tank and Praybeyt Benjamin.
“Do’n na ’yong talagang, teka lang,
parang, ‘Okey ’tong taong ’to, ha!’” he exclaims. “I mean, we get along…”
“Very well,” she adds, finishing his sentence with a smile.
They soon became good friends who shared a passion for the arts, particularly music, film, and photography. They also found a confidant in each other, whom they could easily open up to and seriously discuss matters with.
Chynna turned to Kean for “a male perspective” when her nine-year relationship with her boyfriend hit the rocks and eventually ended in late 2013. Her turn to give him “a female perspective” came when his own romantic relationship fizzled out the following year.
In early 2015, Kean asked for Chynna’s help in the music video that he was directing then, because he knew that she was interested to work behind the camera. She gladly took the job as his assistant director. Working together brought them even closer to each other, but they were conscious about crossing the line.
“Kasi I really didn’t want to pursue anything romantic during that time,” Chynna explains. “Sinasabi ko ’yon sa friends ko, kasi sobrang happy ko na sa sarili ko, e. Sabi ko nga sa nanay ko, okey na ako’ng single forever.”
So when she felt that things with Kean were moving in the direction of love, she asked for divine guidance. Her prayer went something like this: “I wanna be a good friend to this guy, but
Lord, please, ano, ha, You have to guard my heart, kasi hindi ko talaga alam… Baka mamaya, magkamali na naman ako, e, ang tagal-tagal kong ni-restore ’tong being ko na ’to. Sana huwag masira.”
Kean was likewise enjoying his single life. “Nakita niya ’yon,” he says, gesturing to Chynna. “Nakita niya na I’ve been, you know…” She supplies the word: “Dating.” He issues a correction: “Hanging around with other girls.” She adds, grinning: “All sorts of girls.” He concedes: “Basta, all sorts of girls.” One day, one of Kean’s friends posed this question: “Pa’no kung si Chynna nagka-boyfriend, ano’ng gagawin mo?” He was stunned, and he soon realized one thing: “Ang ikli-ikli ng buhay, di ba, para patagalin mo pa?”
On March 24, 2015, Kean and Chynna heard Mass at the St. Paul of the Cross Parish Church, which is near his family’s place in Marikina City. Then, after the Mass, he burst out into a rambling speech: “If we decided to jump into a relationship, tayong dalawa, that’s it! I can’t mess that up… Game over, game over na ’yon sa akin.”
Chynna took everything as a joke at first. “Hindi ko tine-take seriously,” she says, laughing. “Kasi siyempre, weird. Bigla-bigla na lang nag-speech.”
Kean explains: “Wife material si Chynna, e, alam mo ’yon? So parang I really can’t, like, mess it up, di ba?”
He didn’t, and so they became boyfriend and girlfriend that day in church. They were so serious with each other and about their relationship that, two weeks later, they opened a joint bank account and started talking marriage.
Three months into their romance, Kean noticed that Chynna was always sleepy and sensitive to certain scents. She took the home pregnancy test. The result was positive, and they took it as a welcome surprise.
Kean recalls that long before they became a couple, when they were just friends, he had already told Chynna that he would like to have a child with her. Chynna, then in her early 30s, was amused because she felt very old and thought she’d have a hard time conceiving.
So when the pregnancy happened, they were excited. “Hindi siya ’yong usual na parang, ‘Oh, no, ano’ng gagawin natin? How are we gonna hide this to the public? Blah, blah, blah…’ Hindi siya gano’n. Parang, ‘Okey ’to!’”
Chynna points out: “Kasi we really wanted it.”
And much to their relief, their parents were similarly receptive to Kean and Chynna’s having their first child. But the sudden turn of events made Kean and Chynna themselves rethink their marriage plans. They decided to get married in civil rites first and then in church later.
Kean turns to Chynna—his childhood crush and now wife—and muses: “Ang galing, ’no? Nagkaroon tayo ng chance na magkaro’n ng dalawang wedding.”
“Chynna’s idea for her wedding was one of the most challenging concepts that we had,” says florist Teddy Manuel, the owner of the Flowers and Events styling company, who was also the event stylist. “Because we have to come up with something fresh from using old and dried materials.”
Teddy elaborates on the table arrangement: “This is where we incorporated dried leaves and flowers, used black accents on the table like candelabras, laces, vases and lamps. It doesn’t give just a feel of goth but also an artsy side on every angle. Flowers and decor are artistically arranged in a way that speaks of the couple. The arrangements and every bit of detail describe their personality and how they envision their wedding will be. Truly unique.”
The couple shared a few laughs during their preceremony photo shoot. Chynna is happy to have found a creative partner in Kean. “We can be quiet together or we can create together—’ yong things na we want to express in the world,” she beams. “It’s nice to be able to write songs with him. Eventually, I hope we’ll have more time to create stories together because datipanamin
’yong dream na we get to write together scripts, a book.”
Kean and Chynna collaborated on the writing and singing of the song “Walk on Water,” which was used for their prenup photo and video shoot. With the help of record producer Jay Durias, Kean also wrote the wedding song, “Nandito Ka Na,” which he performed in the same-day edit of the wedding video.
“We’re two different people,” Kean acknowledges. “Pero meron lang akong life partner. More than a lover—a wife, I have a friend for life. Definitely, when we get older, our daughter’s gonna get married. Kami na lang ang magkasama sa bahay. Kumbaga, may life partner ako na mawala man ang lahat ng tao sa mundo e at least kasama ko ang asawa ko.”
Chynna sums up how marriage with Kean is so far: “’Yong sinasabi nila talagang statement na lumagay ka sa tahimik, totoo ’yon. There’s a certain kind of feeling of you can go home and just have peace… It kind of sets you on a path na makikita mo kung ano talaga ang importante sa buhay. So, siguro ’yon ’yong pinakagusto ko na nangyari after I got married. Nawala na rin ’yong marami kong masyadong kuwestiyon. Minsan kasi, di ba, ang dami mong questions in life. Minsan, pagpapadeep ka pa, pa-emo ka pa. E, simple lang ang buhay, huwag mo nang pakumplikaduhin.”
The bride and groom cut a slice from the 12-inch-tall cake, which was provided by Wadough’s coffeehouse and bakeshop. Through Facebook Messenger, Wadough’s co-owner Mel Jervy describes the baked treat to YES!: “It’s a chocolate cake with 72 percent...
A sketch from the couple’s friend provided an additional artistic touch to the wedding setup.
The bride rested her head on her groom’s shoulder as they walked arm in arm into the reception venue, Pio’s Kitchen. They also had the reception here for their civil wedding two years ago.
In a text message to YES!, Chynna remembers the speech of Glaiza de Castro (center) with fondness: “Akala niya nung ginagawa namin yung kanta na ‘Beautiful Contradiction’ e i jam namin siya na kami lang. Nagulat na lang siya na may dala akong ‘friend’...
The wedding couple entertained guests from in and out of showbiz: (L-R) Emem Carreon, Kayla Polinag, Keno Cipriano, Carlo Mariano, Ryza Cenon, Ryza’s actorboyfriend Cholo Barretto, and LJ Reyes.
Kean and Chynna shared a hearty laugh with LJ Reyes (center), who gave a few words at the reception program. “She was teasing us,” Chynna recalls to YES! in a text message. “LJ was one of the first people who noticed that I was laughing a lot more...
The couple were stunning in their wedding ensemble, which were both made by fashion designer Edwin Tan. For Chynna’s gray gown, though, Edwin only executed and updated the design that his late business partner and fellow designer Pepsi Herrera had...
Chynna is not a fan of fresh flowers, but she couldn’t resist the bouquet of blooms that florist Teddy Manuel arranged for her. Teddy tells YES! via email: “Instead of using dried flowers for her, I thought of using black and dark colored flowers such...
The Ciprianos’ wedding bands, and the engagement ring that Kean had given to Chynna, had the customary shot (photo below). Chynna hand-painted the flat stones that were given away as souvenirs to the wedding guests (bottom photo).
The couple— who fondly call themselves by their wedding hashtag #TheCips—did away with the traditional bridal march. Instead, they arrived together in church and walked down the aisle hand in hand. Chynna says she and her husband wanted a “really...