By Henrylito D. Tacio
In the beginning, God created man, and his name was Adam. But the Creator observed that he was alone and lonely. And so, He allowed the first man to fall asleep and took one of his ribs and formed into a woman (“because she was taken out of man”).
When Adam saw Eve for the first time, he was struck with her beauty. The Bible was silent about what happened next, but we’re sure Adam courted Eve relentlessly. At the end of the day, he won her heart, and so God initiated the first wedding ever recorded. “For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24).
That was love started. These days, love is all over the place, anywhere, everywhere. “Love is such a powerful force,” said Coretta Scott King. “It’s there for everyone to embrace – that kind of unconditional love for all of humankind. That is the kind of love that impels people to go into the community and try to change conditions for others, to take risks for what they believe in.”
True, love has a colossal force. The Hanging Garden of Babylon, for instance, came to be because of – yes, you’re right! – love. The Taj Mahal in Agra, India, was another wonder wrought by love. In fact, it is known as “the world’s greatest monument to love.”
In like manner, love has served as the inspiration which has given artists the reach to touch genius. The great Italian Petrarch indicated lines to unrequited love (for his beloved Laura) and, in the process, gave the world the sonnet. Two disappointments in love drove the post-impressionist painter Vincent van Gogh to devote all his time to his painting, in the process creating eloquent portrayals of the tragedy of modern man.
The tender love story of Romeo and Juliet lingers to titillate the imagination of many. The undying and unselfish love of Cyrano de Bergerac for Roxanne makes people, particularly the ladies, misty-eyed. Jane Eyre finding fulfillment at last in the love of brooding Edward Rochester sends tingles up and down our spines. In all these stories, which have been brought to the movie screen, love conquers all.
While replete with happiness, love can also be tragic indeed. Just how many crimes have been committed in the name of love? There was that case of a woman who abandoned her mansion and sailed away when she failed to convince her boyfriend to settle down in peace and quiet as a plain and ordinary citizen. She died on a desert rocky isle in the Caribbean Sea.
Police blotters are cluttered with cases of unrequited, ill-fated loves. Perhaps Oscar Wilde was right when he wrote: “Every man kills the thing he loves; the coward does it with a kiss, the brave with a sword.”
In Hollywood, we often hear most marriages end up in divorce. But there are also marriages that were made in heaven, too. Charles Bronson married English actress Jill Ireland on October 5, 1968 – and they remained a couple until her death in 1990.
The two met in 1962 when she was still married to Scottish actor David McCallum. The two actors were doing a movie entitled The Great Escape. He told David, “I’m going to marry your wife.”
In 1953, Paul Newman met Joanne Woodward. Five years later, he married her. They remained married for fifty years until his death in 2008. Although one of the most sought-after actors, he was very faithful to his wife. In fact, they starred together in several movies.
At one time, Newman was asked about infidelity, he famously replied, “Why go out for a hamburger when you have steak at home?”
If fifty years is a record, wait till you know the marriage of Charlton Heston (yes, the actor who appeared in Ten Commandments and earned an Oscar for Ben-Hur). When he died on April 5, 2008, he was married to Lydia for 64 years.
In the Philippines, perhaps the long-lasting marriage was between the late Fernando Poe, Jr. and Susan Roces. They tied the nuptial knot on Christmas Day in 1968 when he was 31, and she was 27.
“As far as I was concerned, we were able to adjust easily. I belong to a generation where wives were submissive to their husbands,” Roces told Greggy V. Vera Cruz of People Asia. “Since I had already achieved what I wanted in the career before I got married, I was willing to take one step behind him. FPJ ruled the family. He was the King, but the rules of the Queen must stay and must be followed.”
Roces knew that her husband had other flings. “I love and admire him; and, apparently, there were many of us who did so. But I remain his one and only wife,” said the actress who is still appearing in some movies and television series.
Today’s generation may never hear of Barbara Perez and Robert Arevalo, but old-timers sure do. Their love story started in the 1960s, the time when Hollywood was casting Filipino actors in the movies. Perez was one of those being cast in Man is an Island (1962) which starred Jeffrey Hunter.
Perez was invited to go to Los Angeles for publicity shots to promote the movie. One of those she met while there was the famous Hollywood actor, Cary Grant. “He had a gray suit and a yellow shirt,” she recalled. “I was tongue-tied and could not answer questions except with a yes or a no. He concluded by saying that he hoped I would sign up with the studio for a five-year contract.”
Yes, Perez was offered a five-year contract with Universal Studios. Arevalo learned about it, and so he did the unthinkable: he proposed to hear by sending a telegram. “I didn’t want to call her long-distance because overseas calls were expensive even at that time,” he was quoted as saying. “We were both young and selfish and very much in love.”
Perez rejected the Hollywood contract and instead signed the marriage contract. When she arrived at the airport, Arevalo asked her, “Will you marry me?” To which Perez answered affirmatively. Less than two weeks after that, the two were married in Baguio at the St. Joseph Church.