In­ter­view

YES! (Philippines) - - Contents - Catch­ing Up with The muhlachs

Since their fairy-tale wed­ding on May 28, 2001, and sub­se­quently be­com­ing par­ents to fra­ter­nal twins, Aga Muh­lach and Char­lene Gon­za­lez have been hap­pily mar­ried. That, to use so­cial me­dia par­lance, makes for #re­la­tion­ship­goals.

The 48-year-old ac­tor and his beauty queen-turned-TV host/ac­tress wife, who’s five years younger than he is, have main­tained a quiet fam­ily life. They have es­pe­cially kept their son An­dres and daugh­ter Atasha away from the pub­lic eye—ex­cept for the two times that the twins, at four and five years old, ap­peared in a TV com­mer­cial (TVC) for Jol­libee, the fast-food chain that their father has been en­dors­ing for a long time.

When Char­lene set up her In­sta­gram ac­count in 2012 and Aga fol­lowed suit a year later, the cou­ple be­gan to open up about their home life, post­ing per­sonal pho­tos of their mile­stones and ac­tiv­i­ties. Th­ese days, their on­line fol­low­ers and those who read ar­ti­cles based on the celebrity cou­ple’s In­sta­gram posts get to know more about the Muh­lach fam­ily and are par­tic­u­larly in­ter­ested in how An­dres and Atasha, now 16 years old, have grown up to be as good-look­ing, sport­slov­ing, and ar­tis­ti­cally in­clined as their par­ents.

Then, last Jan­uary, Jol­libee re­leased its new TVC to pro­mote its Chicken Joy prod­uct on TV and on­line. The Muh­lach fam­ily—Aga, Char­lene, An­dres, and Atasha— star in the ad cam­paign, ti­tled Mula Noon, Hang­gang Ngayon. It fo­cuses on how far Aga has come as a brand en­dorser, start­ing from The Muh­lach fam­ily—(L-R) Aga, Char­lene, Atasha, and An­dres—met the press for their launch as Jol­libee celebrity en­dorsers.

In the Muhlachs’ in­ter­view with YES! Mag­a­zine, Aga re­lated how his life changed af­ter he was tapped to en­dorse the proudly Pi­noy fast-food chain 25 years ago.

“Be­cause of Jol­libee, gu­manda ’yong takbo ng buhay ko, be­cause I had to take care of the brand, the name,” he said. “Yes, you got paid big by all th­ese en­dorse­ments, but it’s not easy also. Parang it’s not easy to live, like, a su­per-straight, clean life. But then, be­cause of that, it taught me how to live that kind of life. And it was nice.

“Be­cause of that, I was led to, you know, parang to meet her,” he added, re­fer­ring to Char­lene. “A very nice per­son with good val­ues—’ yon ang nag­ing asawa ko. And then, nagkaanak kami, and Jol­libee was still part of that... I’m proud and I’m grate­ful. Thank you, Lord, na, you know, nakasama pati ang buong fam­ily ko.”

when he was a bach­e­lor 25 years ago to the time he be­came a hus­band and a father, and now that his and Char­lene’s chil­dren are teenagers.

The ad cam­paign gen­er­ated a lot of buzz, es­pe­cially con­cern­ing the twins’ en­try into show­biz. By the time the Muhlachs met the press for a me­dia launch, An­dres and Atasha al­ready had their fair share of ques­tions and photo ops.

Just be­fore the Muhlachs went on­stage for the pro­gram proper, YES! Mag­a­zine had a few min­utes with them in their hold­ing room. They went for the in­ter­view not so much as a for­mal Q&A but as a ca­sual talk. Aga, Char­lene, and Atasha parked them­selves in a comfy red couch, while An­dres chose a wooden makeup ta­ble for a re­lax­ing space to sit on. They gave gen­er­ous an­swers and laughed a lot.

When the ques­tions were ad­dressed to Atasha and An­dres, their par­ents let them speak their minds and lis­tened in­tently. At one point, while An­dres was talk­ing, Aga rose from his seat and walked to where his son was seated. Char­lene ex­plained why they wanted to catch ev­ery word the teenagers were say­ing: “It’s nice to hear them.”

All four fam­ily mem­bers agreed that film­ing their cur­rent Jol­libee TVC was a fun ac­tiv­ity.

Atasha par­tic­u­larly en­joyed the break in be­tween takes, when they were just loung­ing around in their tents, swap­ping jokes and laugh­ing to­gether. For her, the shoot was about “cre­at­ing new mem­o­ries and ex­pe­ri­ences.”

Aga ad­mit­ted to serv­ing as act­ing coach to Atasha and An­dres both in their old and new com­mer­cials. “Even now, they had a hard time act­ing,” he said. “I had to be be­hind the cam­era and just act it out…” Char­lene teased him: “Stage father!” Grin­ning, Aga—whom di­rec­tor Mel Chion­glo calls the most nat­u­ral-born ac­tor he has ever seen—went on to re­late how he coached his chil­dren: “Sabi ko, ‘Just fol­low, ha?’ Parang sa ba­hay pa lang, I al­ways tell them to just re­lax. But I can only say so much, re­ally. Be­cause I never talked about act­ing in the house. You know, it was never about artista… I was ner­vous be­cause parang when I saw the sto­ry­board, what’s the line? Atasha’s, okay, one line. An­dres, his line is ‘Na-miss mo, ’no?’ E, hindi pa nagta-Ta­ga­log ’tong mga ’to!”

The award-win­ning ac­tor then ex­plained how he had helped his new­bie son by trans­lat­ing the line into English. He told An­dres to say the line “Na-miss

mo, ’no?” as if he was say­ing “You missed it, right?”

“Gano’n!” he said. “It’s hard for him.” He turned to the teenage boy and asked, “How was it?”

An­dres sheep­ishly replied: “There was, like, how many takes? Like, eas­ily more than twenty takes.” And ev­ery­one in the room laughed with him. Aga added: “With that one line!” “With that one line,” An­dres agreed. “And I had, like, one seg­ment where I just had, like, rapid burst of say­ing it, like, two min­utes long. I wasn’t used to that.”

Through it all, Aga and Char­lene were on the edge of their seats.

“I think, as par­ents, mas mahi­rap in a way,” Char­lene said. “Kasi you get anx­ious, di ba? Parang you for­get about your­self. Ang ini­isip mo, ’yong mga bata.”

So, no, the Jol­libee TVC is not a sig­nal for the twins to join show­biz.

“Even if I’m busy again do­ing movies, I don’t see them be­ing part of that, the in­dus­try,” said Aga, who had taken five years off from show­biz be­fore star­ring in the 2017 fam­ily drama Seven Sun­days. “Af­ter they fin­ish col­lege, then it’s re­ally up to them.”

Aga, who shot to fame at barely 15 via the teen flick Bagets, ex­pressed re­luc­tance in hav­ing Atasha and An­dres fol­low in his foot­steps.

“As much as pos­si­ble, parang I wanted them to be nor­mal lang muna,” he pointed out. “Parang I don’t want them to be judged. I don’t want my chil­dren out there, you know. I want them to be nor­mal, mean­ing, if in col­lege, they wanna work, they wanna ex­pe­ri­ence, let’s say, be­ing a waiter, a gas boy… Nor­mal life, I want them to ex­pe­ri­ence that. Parang kun­wari, kailan­gan nila ng week­end money, di ba, it’s not gonna come from us. They’ll have to do mga part-time jobs.”

Ap­par­ently shar­ing her hus­band’s sen­ti­ments, Char­lene added: “And now that they’re six­teen, I think we learned how to let go of it as par­ents, you know, so they can have their own in­di­vid­u­al­ity and, at a young age, also have their own ex­pe­ri­ences.”

me­dia launch with the muh­lach fam­ily the green lounge or­ti­gas av­enue, san juan fe­bru­ary 18, 2018

Aga and Char­lene, who met and fell in love on the set of his old sit­com Oki Doki Doc more than 16 years ago, are con­sid­ered an en­vi­able cou­ple in show­biz. They’ve proved to be good part­ners in build­ing a fam­ily and rais­ing their two chil­dren as in­de­pen­dent-minded in­di­vid­u­als.

“He started kasi life very young, parang thir­teen,” she said of her hus­band, who learned to fend for him­self early on. “So he doesn’t try to shel­ter the kids. He wants them to grow and ex­pe­ri­ence life be­cause he ex­pe­ri­enced life at such a young age.”

In the same breath, Char­lene teased Aga that he’s still not ready to let go of their chil­dren if and when An­dres and Atasha de­cide to study abroad. “Pag nandiyan na, time na, nando’n na siya, nakabun­tot,” she said, laugh­ing.

Aga couldn’t agree more. “There was one time, wala sila sa ba­hay,” he re­called, shak­ing his head. “I’m like, oh my God! Parang sabi ko, ‘I’m not used to this.’”

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