90s stars Romnick Sarmenta and Harlene Bautista reveal the secret to their lasting marriage

"We married for the right reason."

They met on the set of the iconic youth show That’s Entertainment. Romnick was a child star turned heartthrob paired with another fan favorite, Sheryl Cruz.

Harlene Bautista was the child star in the 80s who grew up to be part of the same show.

Though Romnick and Sheryl were the love team fans were fawning over, it was Romnick and Harlene who fell in love in real life. They tied the knot in the late 90s–at the height of their popularity–and are now still happily married 18 years later with five lovely kids.

screengrab: Youtube

screengrab: Youtube

Currently, Harlene is keeping herself busy as an entreprenuer and public servant, coming from a long line of politicians.

As for Romnick, he’s recently made his much awaited showbiz comeback, appearing on two of the hottest fantasy series on TV, GMA’s Mulawin vs. Ravena and ABS-CBN’s La Luna Sangre. He’s also become an avid cyclist and missionary. Harlene says he has no current plans of entering the political arena. But he doesn’t need the position and title to be able to help others.

screengrab: Sarap Diva GMA-7

screengrab: Sarap Diva GMA-7

“We married for the right reason.”

When asked why their marriage has endured the test of time, Harlene told PEP, “Siguro dahil we married for the right reason—na gusto namin na kami yung magkasama habang buhay, hanggang pagtanda.”

(“Maybe because we married for the right reason. We wanted to be together for life, until we grow old.”)

She also shared that she knows their kids will grow up to have lives of their own one day. So, it’s important for couples to realize that the spark or kilig will fade. But despite this, there’s still a willingness to share your life with one another. Accepting this inevitability—that attraction won’t always last—is crucial to the foundation of their marriage.

Though they’ve chosen to be with one another through their life’s journey, it’s not always smooth sailing.

They’ve had their share of fights but the one thing that keeps them close is that they do not let the sun go down with reconciling. But they don’t really have big fights; the most is that they raise their voices at one another.

Another great thing about their relationship is that neither of them are the jealous type. In fact, Harlene even said in jest that she’s the one who teases Romnick whenever his paired with his former ka-love team Sheryl Cruz.

More on their different parenting styles on the next page 

In a previous interview on GMA-7’s Sarap Diva Romnick shared that their parenting styles vary, depending on the situation.

“May mga parts na very strict kami, may mga parts naman na very maluwag,” shared the dad of five.

But Harlene was quick to add that, between the two of them, Romnick was more of a disciplinarian.

Their kids are the main reason why they rarely accept TV and film projects; they both chose to focus on them.

Screengrab: Youtube

Screengrab: Youtube

“Ayoko kasing ma-miss ‘yung paglaki ng mga anak ko,” shared the dad of five. “Parang hindi mo ‘yun mahahabol e. Iba ‘yung experience na nakikita mo na first time tumayo [ang anak mo], first time maglakad, first time magsalita, first time nangulit. Plus, hindi ako makakabawi sa kanila if ever wala ako nung childhood nila. Hindi ko mababawi ‘yung relationship ‘pag tanda nila.”

(I don’t want to miss seeing my kids grow up. It’s something you can’t get back. There’s nothing like seeing your baby stand, walk, talk, and joke for the first time. Plus, I won’t be able to make it up to them one day if I miss their childhood. I can’t get establish a good relationship with them once they’re older.)

screengrab: Youtube

screengrab: Youtube

Harlene wasn’t also interested in making showbiz a priority even if it would mean a better future for their kids. They valued the present and being present for their kids, balancing preparing for the future with focusing on the here and now.

Throughout all the changes and transitions in their life and career, faith has played a large part in their family life as well as their relationship. “(We decided) to live by faith,” shared Harlene. “Trusting in the Lord, hindi tayo pababayaan ni Lord (He won’t forsake us). Magiging maayos ang future natin (Our future will be great).”

READ: 5 things we can learn from Doug and Chesca Kramer for a lasting marriage

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