MANILA - Jasmine Curtis-Smith on Monday finally broke her silence on a so-called "audio scandal" that has triggered speculation about her ties with Daniel Padilla, with whom she admittedly exchanged text messages recently.
Speaking exclusively with ABS-CBN News' Gretchen Fullido, the 20-year-old actress explained that she and Padilla are co-stars in the upcoming biopic "Bonifacio Ang Unang Pangulo," which will compete in this year's Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF).
She said they got to know each other during the filming of the movie.
"During that time, I was going through a bit of a down moment, because I was scared something would happen to my dad. He was hospitalized," said Curtis-Smith, referring to her father James Ernest.
The Australian lawyer underwent surgery last September 15. Although Curtis-Smith and her older sister, Anne, did not detail the reason for the operation, both actresses asked their supporters to pray that their father will have a "healthier heart."
"The people who were there saw how affected I was and how sad I was," Curtis-Smith said of the time her father was set to undergo operation.
According to the actress, Padilla sent her a text message expressing his support and asking about the health of her father on the day of his surgery. They had just wrapped up shooting for "Bonifacio" the day prior.
"He (Padilla) texted me to ask about my dad. All our conversations revolved around how my father was doing, kumusta 'yung operation niya. Iyon, that's where it ended," she said.
"Really, everything revolved as if we were friends. I thought nothing else of it. Nothing was meant from the texts, aside from concern, because they saw how fragile I was regarding my dad and his health."
Nearly a week later, the audio clip supposedly of Padilla's conversation with a number of friends went viral online. In the covertly recorded clip, a voice tagged as Padilla's seemed to express excitement about receiving a text message.
In the latter part of the 90-second clip, a voice is heard saying: "Wala na si Patrick. Wala nang mangugulo sa 'kin. Wala na 'yung tropa ni Sam."
This triggered speculation that the "Sam" being referred to in the supposed "scandal" was singer-actor Sam Concepcion, the current boyfriend of Curtis-Smith.
"Well, when I heard the audio, I didn't assume it was me," Curtis-Smith said. "I didn't hear it properly, it was very muffled. So ano na lang... Parang, okay, 'People are thinking it's me.' Sige, kayo nalang bahala kasi ayoko din naman mag-assume bilang I saw everything as friendship lang naman ang na-insinuate ko."
"I mean, everyone has their own opinions," she added.
In the days following the uploading of the audio clip online, Curtis-Smith's sister Anne had to defend the younger actress against netizens claiming to be fans of Padilla and his onscreen partner Kathryn Bernardo.
"You know nothing sweety," Anne told an Instagram user who criticized Jasmine. "My sister is not a slut… Such harsh words from someone who doesn't know her or probably has never met her."
Not out to ruin 'Kathniel'
Asked for her reaction to "haters" following the circulation of the audio clip, Curtis-Smith said she is more concerned that one of Padilla's companions may have secretly recorded their conversation to upload online.
"First and foremost, I guess the only way I'm affected is that I feel for both Kathryn and Daniel, because I understand how strong their love team is," she said.
"Of course, for Daniel, whoever he was opening up to or talking to, I'm sure it was someone that he trusted, so it kind of hurts, that this would come about," Curtis-Smith added.
The Cinemalaya award-winner also assured fans of Bernardo and Padilla that she has no intentions of getting in between the teen stars, who are rumored to be a couple.
"I don't want to interfere with his relationship with Kathryn, and I don't want to be labeled as anything else but a friend to both of them," she said. "I respect their relationship and I would never try to get in the way of it."
Curtis-Smith also thanked those who, despite being fans of "Kathniel," still come to her defense amid harsh criticisms in connection with her ties to Padilla.
The actress said: "I think it's good also because even their own supporters, the Kathniel fans, are also understanding my situation na, you know, wala naman talaga akong ginawa or I didn't show any signs that I provoked anything."
"Some of them are there also to take care of me and my name and they know where to stand. I understand that they're also hurt because, of course, their very protective of their idols. But, you know, majority of them naman talaga know how to act upon such a controversy."
Facing intrigues head-on
When it comes to those who continue to make personal attacks against her online, Curtis-Smith said she is taking a page from her sister's book. Herself embroiled in numerous controversies over the years, Anne has said she has learned to pick her battles, especially in the age of social media.
Referring to her sister, Curtis-Smith said: "Well, her motto in this industry is, 'Learn the art of deadma,' and that's what I'm trying to do. Kumbaga, just let it be. Wala naman akong mapapala kung papatulan ko sila. Ano'ng mapapala ko, 'di ba?"
"Okay lang, sige lang, comment lang kayo diyan. Basta, ako, I'm focusing on my life, I'm focusing on my dad's recovery and catching up with my sisters. I try to just put everything aside, whatever negativity, and focus on what needs to be attended to," she said.
For one, Curtis-Smith said she and her siblings are taking turns attending to their father, who had his first cardio workout on Monday -- a first of many steps towards his full recovery.
"I'm so glad to see him walking around," Curtis-Smith said. "We're seeing progress. It's kind of slow, but better than nothing. I'm happy that people are also supportive and giving their prayers to us and showing love for my dad."
Asked why she has become more open in addressing intrigues hurled at her, such as being romantically linked with Padilla, Curtis-Smith explained that she now understands how showbiz works when personal life gets its share of the limelight.
"You just have to know how to be true. In this industry, there are so many people who hide behind walls, with the craft that they work with. You kind of have to know also what you have to own up to when it comes to your public life and what people know about you. Pag tinago mo pa kasi 'yan, eventually it will come out and you will look really bad. So might as well face it head-on and just tell the truth."
"Kung wala ka namang itatago, ba't ka pa magtatago?"