FAST FACTS: Barbie Forteza and Jak Roberto
MANILA, Philippines – The off-screen showbiz couple Barbie Forteza and Jak Roberto, both Kapuso stars, have been the talk of GMA's media town online. Articles on the couple's choice of simply "not having exchange gifts this Christmas" was reported on, much to many netizens' amusement.
However, there's no denying their popularity – with currently 1.5 million Instagram followers to Barbie's name, and 1 million to Jak's, many who aren't familiar with them may wonder: who actually are these two talked-about young stars?
The 21-year-old commercial model and actress born on July 31, 1997 made a TV debut during GMA Network’s remake of Korean TV drama Stairway to Heaven as the young Jodi in 2009.
The young Barbie also appeared in the 2010 TV drama romance First Time. In 2011, she then co-starred with Elmo Magalona, Louise delos Reyes, and Bea Binene in the film Tween Academy: Class of 2012.
She proceeded with her movie career with The Road, a psychological horror film in 2011.
She also acted as Rosy in 2013's My Little Bossings, starring Vic Sotto, Ryzza Mae Dizon, and Bimby Aquino.
In April 2013, she ventured into music, releasing a self-titled dance pop studio album under MCA Records. Her single "Meron Ba" was even used for GMA Koreanovela Big's theme song.
In 2014, she took a lead role in the TV drama, The Half Sisters.
Barbie has also garnered both local and international recognition for her acting, bagging the New Movie Actress of The Year award for her role in the indie film Puntod at the 26th PMPC Star Awards in 2010, and the 2016 Fantasporto International Best Actress award in Portugal for indie film Laut.
She was also awarded the Cinemalaya Best Supporting Actress for film Mariquina in 2014.
According to Barbie's Instagram bio, she is also the 9th Ani ng Dangal awardee (Harvest of Honors), which is recognition given by the National Commission of Culture and the Arts (NCCA).
She is also an endorser for retail brand BNY.
Off-screen, Barbie enjoys sharing her personal passions with her followers, like her love for makeup, food, and traveling.
25-year-old Jak Roberto, who is the brother of fellow GMA artist Sanya Lopez, is a singer, actor, and model who started his career in showbiz as co-host in the 2011 show, Walang Tulugan with the Master Showman.
In 2014, he was also part of Barbie's show, The Half Sisters, where he played Ambo.
A year later, he joined pop-acoustic trio 3LOGY with members Jeric Gonzalez and Abel Estanislao. The pop-acoustic band released a self-titled album under GMA Records. Their single “Maybe It’s You” was the theme song used by GMA's My Name is Kim Sam Soon koreanovela.
In 2017, he played Andoy in Meant To Be, a GMA romantic comedy that also starred Barbie Forteza.
He also played Jong in Contessa, a 2018 TV series starring Glaiza de Castro and Geoff Eigenmann.
His next project for 2019 is the upcoming February TV series Kara Mia, where he co-stars with off-screen girlfriend Barbie.
Jak, who was born on December 2, 1993, also has his own personal interests that he shares on Instagram – motorbikes, dogs, running, and fitness.
He is also a brand endorser for local bag brand Michaela and fashion brand Folded and Hung.
Rumors of the Meant To Be co-stars Barbie and Jak erupted in 2017 when Barbie posted a mysterious teaser post on Instagram about a coffee date.
It was only weeks after that they confirmed their off-screen relationship.
"Kasi 'pag maraming nakakaalam, andaming ine-expect sa inyo... Ayaw namin ng gano'n," Jak told Pep.ph when asked why he kept their relationship under wraps. (When a lot of people know about it, a lot is expected from you. We don't want that.)
"Parang gusto namin, chill lang. Parang kahit nasa showbiz kami, parang relax lang." (We want to be chill. Even if we're in showbiz, we just want things to be relaxed.)
The pair even flew to Hong Kong together for a couple vacation early 2018.