On Janella Salvador and Elmo Magalona, and the pitfalls of romantic loveteams

Janella Salvador, ABS-CBN actress and one-half of loveteam ElNella, has spoken out on rumours circulating physical abuse by her frequent onscreen partner Elmo Magalona.

Rumours began surrounding the couple a month ago, according to reports by the Philippine Star, to which the actress detailed the incidents that led to her sporting bruises on her arm and leg, allegedly brought on by Magalona.

In the interview, Salvador said that the physical harm was brought on by Magalona’s inebriated state, stating that he had had “one too many to drink” at a party, and that she initially defended herself, feeling disrespected by his conduct. She also further detailed that the incident was not a lone one, but a repeated occasion, explaining that the first instance happened months before, in which Elmo had promised that “he wouldn’t do it again”.

In the aftermath, Janella has stated that both she and Elmo are currently seeing psychiatrists for their mental health, and has no intentions of bringing him down, but rather spoke to let the truth out. She cited online victim-blaming through social media as another factor in her struggle.

In the meantime, she is focusing on herself, and is working on bridging the gap with her mother, singer and actress Jenine Desiderio.

Janella and Elmo, jointly known as ElNella, are only one of the several loveteams that populate prominent Filipino media. Although a concept that has garnered great success since time immemorial in the Philippine landscape, attracting hordes of hardcore fans to the loveteam in question’s movies, concerts, and the like, the very concept itself has its own pitfalls and complications.

There is a strange allure in the very concept of a loveteam, in the dreamy, romantic fantasy of romance tiptoeing – blurring –  the lines between fiction and reality, reel and real. This is the very allure that has drawn widespread popularity in the nation’s famous loveteams, namely JaDine, LizQuen, and now, the newly undone ElNella, among many others. It is the magnetism, the enchanting promise of romance, that turns casual fans into fanatic followers, in many cases enforcing the staged, scripted romance portrayed in media into the real personal lives of the celebrities involved.

And when that loveteam breaks up, which in most cases it inevitably will, followers will mourn the romance, or at least the shattering of the romantic fantasy they have believed in so wholeheartedly. In many cases, particularly with the convenience of the internet to connect fans with celebrities, their mourning can turn to anger directed towards those involved, as with the case of Janella and Elmo, who now have to deal with reparations. And in the ending of this tragic fairytale, everyone loses: the romantic loveteam is broken, and those involved in it struggle with the consequences.

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