ASSUNTA: SO WHAT'S WRONG WITH JULES?

Manila, September 2, 2003  (STAR) By Leah Salterio  - Assunta de Rossi does not mince words when it comes to the detractors of her husband, Negros Occidental Rep. Jules Ledesma, who is said to be over-protective and very possessive of her.

Jules reportedly visits Assunta on the set of her movies and taping for ABS-CBNís weekly dramedy, Buttercup. The young actress is now promoting her latest film for Star Cinema, Pinay Pie where she stars with Joyce Jimenez and Ai-Ai delas Alas.

"Whatís wrong if Jules is like that? Assunta rues. "Heís my husband. Doesnít he have the right to do that? I donít find him over-protective or possessive. He just knows how to take care of me. He visits me in the studio and even if Iím shooting in Tagaytay, he stays on the set. He brings me to my appointments and also picks me up. He just wants to be with me constantly. I donít see anything wrong with that."

Since she and Jules tied the knot in a civil ceremony in December last year in Bacolod, Assunta has not ceased to be controversial, especially since Jules is a widower with two children and is several years her senior. Her marriage with the politician also caused the rift with her family Ė mom Nenita Schiavone and sister Alessandra de Rossi.

After seven years in the business, Assunta attests she has learned to live with the perennial intrigues that go with her showbiz career. However, when itís Jules who gets the negative write-ups, Assunta admits she really gets hurt. She will obviously take the extra mile to defend Jules and their relationship.

"I did not commit a sin when I married Jules," Assunta explains. "I did not commit adultery. I did not sell myself. I did not become a prostitute. I did not grab him from anybody. My only fault is I fell in love."

The 20-year-old Assunta insists that Jules has never meddled in her career, contrary to what is being said of him. In fact, he has been lenient with her. She is apparently happy in her married life despite the intrigues.

"Jules allow me to do what I want," Assunta says. "Iím lucky because he allows me to continue my showbiz career when, in fact, he can very well support me. If I want to go shopping alone, Jules allows me to go to the mall. The maid is with me not as a bodyguard to report to him afterwards, but somebody who will just help me carry the shopping bags after Iím through with buying things.

"Yes, Jules and I have petty quarrels, but nothing has turned serious. He is always the one who patches things up. I donít have any problem in my life right now. My main concern is my career and Jules supports me in everything I do."

Assuntaís eyes light up when she talks about her church wedding with Jules, set on March 14, 2004. She will walk down the aisle of Santuario de San Jose in Forbes Park, Makati in a gown made by designer Frederick Peralta, who also created her gown during her civil wedding in Bacolod last year.

The wedding entourage will have a coral motif. Reception for a thousand guests will be held at Makati Shangri-La.

Assunta wants to see her family during the most important day in her life, so the past few months, she has been trying to bridge the gap and reach out to them. Alessandra, she says, will be the maid of honor, although her younger sister has not agreed yet to be part of her wedding entourage.

"If Alex will say no, I will not get any replacement," Assunta maintains. "Itís just her or no one else."

During Alessandraís birthday last July 19, Assunta went all the way to Tagaytay to surprise her sister during the small party held in the house of Alessandraís boyfriend Oyo Boy Sotto. Before that, they also talked briefly when they saw each other during the Urian Awards night.

Assunta says she will also invite her Italian father who is based in Southern Italy with her other younger sisters. At present, Assuntaís mom, Nenita Schiavone, is vacationing there. During her momís birthday last Aug. 23, Assunta gave her a long distance call to greet her.

"I greeted her a day later on Aug. 24," Assunta discloses."We had a very casual phone conversation and I could sense hindi naman siya galit while we were talking. Walang mabigat na pakiramdam."

Jules for his part, has been hoping for Assuntaís reconciliation with her family. Meanwhile, when it comes to his family, Jules says Assunta does not have any problem. In a recent TV interview, Jules said, "On our side of the fence, masaya naman kami. We even had dinner with my mom before she left for Vancouver for her medical checkup. I donít think nagkukulang ako with Sam in any aspect of our relationship. Iíll always be here for her."

Assunta expresses her desire to get pregnant and have kids with Jules. Unfortunately, her contract with ABS-CBN reportedly bears a clause that she is not supposed to get pregnant until 2005.

"Iím not in a hurry naman," Assunta admits. "If I do get pregnant after our wedding, I want twins right away. I want a girl, while Jules wants a boy. Pero sabay na sana para isang hirap na lang. I believe pwedeng mangyari that Iíll have twins because may lahi sina Jules. His mom has a twin sister based in the US."

At present, Assunta is focused on her career. In Pinay Pie directed by Joey Reyes, she plays an aspiring beauty queen who doesnít get tired of joining beauty pageants. She finds the movie a breather, since she gets to do sexy comedy, for a change. She also enjoyed working with her co-stars Joyce Jimenez and Ai-Ai delas Alas.

Meanwhile, TVís Buttercup has given Assunta more fans, who get to see her every week with a star-studded cast, composed of Claudine Baretto, Piolo Pascual, Diether Ocampo, Ciara Sotto, Onemig Bondoc, Carlos Agassi and Miko Palanca. At the helm of the dramedy is Wenn Deramas.

"I enjoy doing Buttercup every week because may bonding na kami ng members of the cast even behind the cameras," Assunta shares. "In between taping, we joke around and we swap stories. Masaya kami talaga sa set."


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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