Her commercials with husband Ryan Agoncillo, daughter Yohan and son Lucho show her happy and fulfilled, but Judy Ann Santos admits things weren’t always that rosy.
Judy Ann Santos (Publicity photo)
She felt depressed right after giving birth to now nine-month-old Lucho.
“I grew big,” she recalls. “First time ko lang manganak at hindi ko alam na magiging ganito ang katawan ko. I felt very lousy.”
To her surprise, advertisers like her just the way she is.
Offers to shoot commercials -- alone or with her family -- came left and right. And Judy Ann feels overwhelmed to this day.
“Wow,anong nangyayari?” she wonders aloud. “They don’t seem to care if I gained weight. They really just want to get my services. Sana ang gusto ko magpapayat muna para di sabihin ng tao na pinabayaan ko ang sarili ko. But it’s okay with them.”
But this doesn’t mean Judy Ann will just let those bulges from her pregnancy get the better of her.
'I just need more time'
“I owe it to the people na hindi ko pwedeng pabayaan ang hitsura ko,” explains Judy Ann. “I just need more time. Ayaw ko lang i-pressure ang sarili ko na buong buhay ko nagdi-diet ako.”
Neither does Judy Ann feel the pressure of an all-new routine these days. Instead of late nights at work and early morning bedtimes, Judy Ann now has an early-to-rise, early-to-go-home routine.
It’s a far cry from her single days, but she’s not complaining.
“I wake up at 5 a.m. because Lucho (her nine-month-old son by husband Ryan Agoncillo) is up at around 5:30,” she relates.
Then, she wakes up daughter Yohan, fixes her breakfast, prepares Ryan’s 'baon' for “Eat Bulaga” and “Talentadong Pinoy.” It’s only after Yohan's school bus leaves that Judy Ann gets the chance to take a shower. Then, she's off to work to tape for her ABS-CBN show, “Junior Master Chef,” and to do other things.
At work, Judy Ann has a special request to her bosses.
“Can I finish my work at 6 p.m. so I can be home early and put my kids to sleep?” she asks.
The bosses understand and let her go. Besides, the goodwill she has developed all these years and her track record of giving her work all she’s got make it easier for co-workers to grant Judy Ann’s requests.
“Malaking factor na I became close to those people I have worked with,” Judy Ann explains. “I’ve been honest with them. I don’t want to come up with excuses. So I lay down my cards even before we start working. I tell them, 'Pasensiya po kasi ayaw ko i-cut back ang oras ko sa family ko.'”
And she appreciates how people she works with allow her to spend more time with her growing children.
“Yohan is in school and I’m having a hard time waking her up,” reports Judy Ann. “I have to wait until her school bus picks her up.”
Proud of her daughter
Judy Ann is proud her daughter no longer feels jealous of her little brother. The happy mom reports that Yohan already plays with Lucho and hands over his diapers, cotton balls and water bottle to Judy Ann and Ryan.
“She’s my nurse,” relates Judy Ann. I tell her she’s the 'Ate' and I give her responsibilities.”
As they grow up, Judy Ann plans to tailor fit her parenting style to Yohan and Lucho’s needs. And since a girl’s needs are different from a boy’s, Judy Ann won’t resort to a one-size-fits-all way of raising her children.
“It’s harder to raise a girl. I have my fears,” she admits. “Nakakatakot ang panahon ngayon. Nasa mall ka lang,you see teenagers in short skirts and short shorts. Ano pa kaya kung dalaga na ang anak ko?”
But this doesn’t mean she will be very strict with Yohan.She will allow her to go out, as long as Judy Ann knows who she’s with.
“She has to experience things on her own. She has to learn some of life’s lessons the hard way. We can’t spare her from hurt and pain. Andito lang kami para suportahan siya.”
She can say the same thing for Lucho, except that Judy Ann – and Ryan – will be more bold in letting him out into the world.
Takes two to tango
And since it takes two to tango, Judy Ann credits Ryan for being a good dad and responsible husband.
“Ang tingin ng ibang tao sa kanya, happy-go-lucky siya. But he’s very responsible. He makes it a point to be home with Lucho when Yohan and I are out.”
Mother and daughter sometimes go to the salon to have their nails cleaned or to enjoy a relaxing massage together.
So is theirs a marriage made in heaven? It seems so, but Judy Ann is quick to make a correction.
“Like any other couple, may pag-aaway din. Lahat ng couple dumadaan sa ganoong process. Our marriage is not perfect. May pagsubok din. Sinusubukan kami ng Diyos kung hanggang saan namin kayang i-spelengin ang isa’t isa.”
Sorting out each other’s quirks often calls for a moment of silence.
“Kung ayaw makipag-usap, huwag muna,” Judy Ann reveals.
This process of give and take is not only keeping her marriage strong. It’s also the reason why Judy Ann – and Ryan – remain one of advertisers’ top choices as product endorsers.
Their fans – and showbiz onlookers – hope they remain that way.