A Love That Conquers Death - Rudy & Lorna

A Love That Conquers Death - Rudy & Lorna
Life Story: Lorna Tolentino & Rudy Fernandez (from Isze)

“My mom and dad’s love story is made in heaven,” said Renz Marion Fernandez, the youngest son of actress Lorna Tolentino and the late actor Rudy Fernandez. “It’s like they were really meant for each other no matter what. They didn’t know [early on] that they would end up as husband and wife, although they knew each other from the start.” Renz is very proud he’s the product of the love affair.

Rudy and Lorna met very early in their careers. During the early 1970s, Rudy had just been re-launched as a matinee idol; before that, he was a child performer earlier in the 1960s and then a young star in his teens, along with such teeny-boppers as Nora Aunor, Tirso Cruz III, Vilma Santos, Edgar Mortiz, Eddie Peregrina, Millie Mercado, Esperanza Fabon and others. Lorna, on the other hand, had just been launched obligingly in a solo semi-mature role in an independently produced movie called “Lagot Ka…Leap Year Ngayon, Pipikutin Kita”. She was also a child actress previously, and she was cast in such weepy fares as “Mga Anghel Na Walang Langit” and “Divina Gracia” where she played the young Susan Roces. Both Rudy and Lorna were cast in “Lagot Ka” but he was then paired with Edna Diaz as love team.

Lorna managed to catch Rudy’s eye—although she was 10 years younger—with her signature mole dotted just above her upper lip, thick curly hair, smiling eyes, milky skin, and bedimpled smile. He found Lorna’s naivete and youth to appealing to resist. “Hihintayin kong lumaki ka, ha (I will wait for you till you’re all grow up, okay),” Rudy said. Was he just teasing his young co-star? Still, the path that would bring Rudy and Lorna together was a circuitous one. “Lagot Ka” was finally released in theaters but the two stars’ paths did not cross again for a long time.

Rudy was living well as a bachelor and, after a series of flings, he found his first reel and real serious relationship in Alma Moreno. They lived together back when living-in was still just catching on as a social arrangement among lovers. Eventually, a child was born out of the five-year relationship between Rudy and Alma. That child, named Mark Anthony Fernandez, is now a film and television actor as well. Her relationship with Rudy ended, Alma and Mark left their Derby digs in White Plains in Quezon City, and stayed temporarily in an apartment in Ortigas, adjacent to Avalon condominium.

Eventually, Alma would end up with comedy king Dolphy. They lived together in Greenhills. She would bear Dolphy a son, Vandolph. Rudy and Alma continued to shar custody of Mark Anthony. The former couple never re-kindled their lost romance, but father and son would spend bonding time together.

It would be in 1979 when Rudy and Lorna would be cast together in a film. According to veteran movie writer Chito P. Alcid, that movie, “Star” for Agrix Films, kindled something between the two actors. In that same year, Rudy and Alma ended their relationship. In 1980,

Rudy and Lorna were paired together in an adult horror-drama film called “Sa Init ng Apoy”. Eventually, Rudy began sending flowers, love notes and chocolates to Lorna, much to the excitement of the production people on the set. Director Romy Suzara was even a bridge to the impending closeness of his lead stars. Alcid said that Rudy frequently visited Lorna whenever she was at the Beauty Express Salon in Haig Street in Mandaluyong City which was where the actress had her hair and face done.

The two went to Hong Kong by themselves secretively, said Alcid. The story of the romance between Rudy and Lorna eventually made it to the tabloids. The entertainment press pounced on the story with much gusto: the pairing between Rudy and Lorna was too juicy and too controversial—especially because Lorna and Alma by then were rivals in the sexy film genre (called “bold films” in local parlance).

Soon after filming, Lorna and Rudy came out officially as true-to-life sweethearts. Naturally, this beefed up the promotions of their first film as partners. In the course of their work, Rudy and Lorna kept their relationship private and they were paired with other stars. “Somewhere” They did a movie together again, “Somewhere” in 1983, which galvanized their commitment to each other. Although the tone of the project was dramatic, it was an action caper first and foremost. Eventually, “Somewhere” became Rudy’s and Lorna’s personal theme song, to comemorate not only their relationship but their successful screen team-up as well. Like any other couple, Rudy and Lorna went through trials and difficulties in their relationship. Lorna’s circle of close friends included actresses Amy Austria, Beth Bautista, Deborah Sun, Gina Alajar and Sandy Andolong.

Both that friendship as well as the relationship between Rudy and Lorna were tested when rumors started about Beth Bautista. According to the rumor, Rudy was getting attracted to Beth Bautista. This resulted in a “faithfulness check” amongst Lorna’s friends. On June 1, 1983 Rudy and Lorna entered a civil marriage. Ten years later, they renewed those vows a church wedding at Villa Escudero in Tiaong, Quezon Province.

Other trials began, particularly nasty intrigues spreading through the entertainment press. Rudy was linked to various othe women, including a GRO and even sexy actress Rosanna Roces, who was his co-star in a short lived TV sitcom. Even then young actress Donita Rose was dragged into the controversy. Another nasty rumor began spreading: that Lorna was really gay and that she was involved with another woman. And yet, Rudy and Lorna’s marriage survived all these.

Until the fatal ailment struck Rudy and then the couple proved to everyone, once and for all, how strong their love for one another was—as Rudy struggled with his illness, the only person who was always there for him, practically very minute of the day, even as he sought treatments here and abroad, was Lorna.

After Rudy’s death on June 7, people who saw Lorna in person and on television admired her courage and composure amid her greatest tragedy. And yet, Lorna also shared her grief and her last moments with Rudy in an interview with The Buzz on Sunday—less than 48 hours after he died. Moving on Lorna knows that eventually, she would have to get over her denial and truly accept the fact of Rudy’s death. She has decided to immediately go back to her family home, instead of staying at a hotel first after Rudy’s burial, as some friends suggested.

“Pause na muna ako for a while pero dito lang,” Lorna told actress-host Kris Aquino during a live special episode of ABS-CBN’s morning show “Boy & Kris” entitled “Paalam Daboy” held at Heritage Park Hotel in Taguig, June 12, Thursday morning. In the interview Lorna thanked God for giving her the time to be husband Rudy. “Pinahiram lang siya sa akin, ang may-ari talaga sa kanya ang Panginoon. Pinahiram siya sa akin so, nagpapasalamat ako doon,” she said.

“Ang mga anak, ang pamilya ko, ang mga kaibigan na hindi tumigil sumabay sa paglalakbay namin. Even if it was really a tough journey nandiyan sila,” the actress added. Though Lorna is struggling to accept that her husband is now with God, she said that in heart there still remained a small hope that God would reverse everything that happened and giver her back Rudy who was the love of her life. “Minsan iniisip ko parang can I take it back, kumbaga ‘Lord sinabi kong okay na pero pwede bang baguhin alam mo,’ yon, ang dami, mix emotions talaga,” she said.

She also thanked all the Filipino fans who prayed for Rudy, saying that Filipinos of all religious faiths and affiliations came together in prayer for his sake. Truly, Lorna embodies the supreme sacrifice a wife could possibly endure for her husband—staying by his side in sickness and in health, right unto their parting at his death. However, Lorna said something in her eulogy to Rudy, which she delivered the night before his burial; it was a statement full of love, longing and devotion. Lorna had looked at Rudy in his coffin and said, “Please wait for me. I know we will be together.” If the dead ever cried tears in heaven, then Rudy must have wept for joy among the angels..


Glampinoy said...

A great love affair indeed!

Life Moto said...

Glampinoy- OO nga bro, I admire their love and life story.

The Pope said...

Sorry, di ko napuna kanina ung comment box, well I could easily relate to this great Rudy-Lorna love story kasi kapanahon ko sila hehehe besides I am a fan of Daboy mula ng makilala sya sa pelikulang Baby Ama.

Their relationship has brought inspiration to countless Filipinos and his early death has brought tears to all the Filipinos and Lorna's courage in facing the untimely separation have touched the hearts of Filipina women.

Life Moto said...

Pope- wag ka masyadong pahalata may edad na. di naman ako fanatics ni rudy but i like his acting career.
sana nga marami ang sumunod sa footsteps nila. they are lovely couples.


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