Apr 18
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Ariel would rather be faithful and true

Author: Maridol Rañoa-bismark

If only his ex-girlfriends can see him now. After four kids and 25 years of marriage, Ariel Ureta is still happily attached to wife Boot (nee Roa, Boots Anson-Roa's niece) and their children, aged 23, 21, 11 and six.

He still gives women a second look, but not up to the point of asking them out just to prove that he's still got what it takes to win one girl after the other the way he did at the height of his popularity in the '70s. On weekends when he's free from his work as host of DZMM's Todo Todo Walang Preno with Winnie Cordero, Ariel is home, whipping up meals with Boot or driving his family around time.

Yes, the former man-about-town has mellowed. Instead of party after party, which he went to as the most popular TV show host during the Martial Law years, he bonds with his children at home. Instead of escorting a stunning girl in places where he's sure to be seen, Ariel is waiting outside a house where his daughter is having a meeting with classmates for a school project.

So in love he is with his wife Ariel even makes side references to her in his radio show. He talks about her food preferences, the way she wants the house to be run, etc.

Why the 180-degree change?

"Love," Ariel says without batting an eyelash. Boot has tamed him, and he's not ashamed to shout it to the whole world. The object of his affection is seated a few chairs across Ariel at the presscon of his new movie, Star Cinema's Sakal, Sakali, Saklolo. And she returns the compliment.

"He's a nice guy. We have yet to fight in all those 25 years we've been married," the pretty Boot reveals.

This revelation may raise eyebrows, even from couples celebrating their golden wedding anniversary. But Ariel himself confirms it.

"To this day, I look at my wife as my own child. When you have a child, you accept him or her, warts and all. She can do no wrong," explains Ariel.

To her innocent questions, Ariel has ready answers. He delights in molding her, introducing her to the world of he knows. It may consist of things foreign to her, like the music of Mozart and the masters of classical music. But Boot is all ears. And she's a fast learner. She easily catches up.

Neither is she averse to talking to Ariel's former girlfriends when they re-connect with her husband after years of not seeing him. And these are not ordinary-looking women, mind you. These are lookers, whom Ariel the former ladies' man loved to hang around with.

"Back then, my idea of a girlfriend was someone who was Vogue cover girl material, someone who was a dead-ringer for Angelina Jolie," recalls Ariel. Then, all of a sudden, he stopped. Ariel realized he's not happy showing off a trophy girlfriend.

So when he saw this Maryknoller in the audience of a show he was hosting in her school, Ariel wasted no time. He asked someone to introduce her to him. Then, Ariel told her he wanted to take her picture. So can she give him her address? Boot did, and off our Lothario went to her house. Was he surprised when the house turned out to be that of Boots, his friend. She's the girl's aunt, after all.

Sensing the purpose of his visit, Boots quickly warned Ariel: Don't mess around with my niece. He gave his word. Boot (the "s" was purposely dropped so as not confuse her with her aunt), after all, is 18 years Ariel's junior. He won her over as a friend first. Then, for fear that another man will beat him to the draw, Ariel proposed marriage.

Boot was still in school. But since the man she loves was in a hurry, she quit her studies. She has never looked back since. Judging from her worry-free, refreshing face, Boot has no reason to. She doesn't look like the frumpy housewife women some women turn out to be.

"I never give her problems," explains Ariel.

And when he mentions Boot's name in Todo Todo Walang Preno, Ariel has a subtle message to husbands like him: Think of your wife, and stick to her, come what may. That's better than going to the pulpit and reminding husbands of their marriage vows.

In a way, Ariel the real-life husband and Ariel, Gloria Diaz's reel-life better half in Sakal, Sakali, Saklolo, are similar. Both are happily married and doing their best to be good parents.

But while Ariel and Gloria's characters are focused on their son, Ryan Agoncillo (married to Judy Ann Santos in the movie), Ariel the real-life father has his hand full with more than one child. He has little children to take care of. And contrary to his strict upbringing as a boy, Ariel allows his children to explore, never mind if it means breaking a piece of furniture now and then.

"That's just money. You can always earn it back," he tells them. His only no-no -- understandably -- involves matters that will endanger their lives. That's when Ariel and Boot put their foot down and say, "No, you don't!"

Yes, if only his former girlfriends can see Ariel Ureta now. They will look at Boot and turn green with envy. But then, who would have ever known?

Source: The Philippine Star