Marian Rivera and Dingdong Dantes: On Top of the World

Celebrity power couple Marian Rivera and Dingdong Dantes spill the tea about how they manage to have a lasting marriage while embracing parenthood and owning the spotlight.

This story appeared in the Modern Parenting Mother’s Day and Father’s Day May 2024 issue.

Whatever it is that separates mere mortals from movie stars, the power couple that is Marian Rivera and Dingdong Dantes has it in spades. A combination of striking good looks — hers that of a classic beauty, and his those of a dashing leading man — coupled with acting talent, mass appeal, and genuine likability, have made them undisputed primetime television and box office royalty.

The undeniable success of their first onscreen tandem though led to a slew of projects, from the romance and fantasy of Dyesebel, to the suspense of Ang Babaeng Hinugot Sa Aking Tadyang, and much more. It likewise led the two actors, who had been so adept at playing lovers on screen, to fall for each other in real life.

Fast forward to today, and the couple has two children, Letizia (or Zia) and Sixto, and is
set to celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary later this year. They’re also fresh off the heels
of yet another phenomenal success, that being their blockbuster movie Rewind.

Surrendering to love

From reel to real life couple, we asked our cover stars how their working dynamic is, specifically in their most recent project. To wit, both Marian and Dingdong agree that being married inevitably made it easier to play a husband and wife on the big screen.

“Better of course ngayon na mag-asawa kami. Kasi parang kahit sinong magka-partner on screen, at least sa context ng trabaho namin, malaking bagay yung familiarity. So mas kampante ka, mas relaxed ka, mas familiar ka sa katrabaho mo. So I think you are able to carry on the job better,” Dingdong tells Modern Parenting.

Marian wholeheartedly agrees, sharing how her husband’s generosity as a scene partner has now been amplified even more. “Ako mas easy. Kasi ever since naman si Dong madali siyang katrabaho. Siya yung tipong artista na kapag ka-eksena mo siya, ay mapagbigay siya sa ka-eksena niya. So what more ngayon na mag-asawa kami,” Marian conveys.

Given both the critical and commercial acclaim of Rewind, it is clear that the film has had a resonance with its audiences, including the Gen Z audience. Inexorably, it has also become a vehicle to convey complex themes about life and family.

To Marian, it was about learning to surrender and accepting the will of the Lord. “Well, lahat talaga ay utang lang natin sa Kanya. So Siya talaga ang masusunod, and Siya ang magmamando kung ano ang mangyayari sa mga buhay natin,” she says.

With its rollercoaster of emotions, Rewind to Dingdong is a humbling reminder that despite success, acclaim, or accolades, we are never fully in control of our destinies. Nonetheless, he embraces this with mindfulness and purpose. “Mahalaga ay we are always prepared. And we make sure the ones around us, the people we love…maayos ang relationship natin sa kanila,” he says.

All in the family

On top of being award-winning actors and entrepreneurs, Marian and Dingdong are also loving parents to 8-year-old Zia and 5-year-old Sixto, who both have seemingly inherited their parents’ good looks and charm.

With them being “mini-mes” of the country’s power couple, it’s no wonder brands have been lining up, and eager to work with all the members of the Dantes family. Whether or not these plans come to fruition, according to Marian, is highly dependent on Zia herself.

Tinatanong namin siya, kasi yung time na nag-shoo-shoot siya, at least alam nya na ginusto niya yun. May commitment siya doon at sa mga tao doon,” Marian explains. “Kumbaga, may free will siya na gawin or hindi, yung mga ayaw at gusto niyang gawin.”

Dingdong qualifies this by saying that there will come a time, especially as Zia gets older, wherein as parents they may have to impose more boundaries. The 43-year-old actor and father likewise emphasizes the importance of choosing the right people to work with. “You really have to believe in what we or what she is promoting or endorsing. Not just to her, but to us as a family.”

Quality time in their dream home

When the Dantes family isn’t busy at work and with school, they are always eager to travel. Marian shares that Dingdong loves planning their trips, always excitedly thinking about where they could go next.

They also love cocooning in their new home, a modern space designed by the couple with architect Milo Vasquez. It is here in this dream house that on typical day, Marian and the kids would wake up to a breakfast prepared by Dingdong. “We value yung breakfast moments, especially pag walang trabaho,” he shares.

They’re also keen on keeping Zia and Sixto’s childhood as normal as possible. Marian attests to the kids enjoying tons of play dates, going to school, and finding enjoyment in the simple things without all the novelty and fluff.

Additionally, it is important for the couple to keep the kids grounded. “Hindi kami nagkukulang sa pagturo sa kanila, na hindi lahat ng gusto mo ay makukuha mo,” declares Dingdong. “Kasi ganoon kami dati. Hindi naman kami nagsimula sa lahat ng gusto namin, nakukuha namin. Pinagtrabahuhan talaga namin, so yun pinapaliwanag talaga namin sa kanila.”

Marian Rivera and Dingdong Dantes: a true partnership

For Marian and Dingdong, it is also crucial to always present a united front especially when dealing with their kids. “No matter what happens, kapag may commotion, or kahit anong nangyayari, palagi kaming magkakampi,” declares Marian.

That said, they are proud of how their kids are growing up, knowing their limitations, and being able to discern right from wrong. “Meron kaming palaging heart-to-heart talk para makapag process kami ng mga bagay,” she also says.

Setting a good example, or modeling, is another way the couple parents their kids. “Yung rule lang namin sa bahay, basta kung ano yung ginagawa namin, kailangan mindful kami because gagayahin ng mga bata iyon. If we say one thing and they see us doing the opposite, they will emulate our actions,” Dingdong declares.

How they make it work

Amidst a cacophony of responsibilities, Marian refuses to be frazzled, instead focusing on deftly managing her time and being very clear about what her priorities are. “Kung alam mo kung ano yung priority mo, hindi magkakagulo lahat eh. Like for example ako, priority ko talaga is my family, and everything else follows.”

She also believes that no matter how busy she may be with her career or with being a mom to her kids,
it is crucial to never forget her role as a wife. “Kasi diba nga, sinasabi nga nila na ang una sa listahan mo dapat si Lord. The second one is your husband, and then your kids,” she explains. “Para sa akin, kahit anong pagod ko, kahit anong ginagawa ko, I’ll make sure na naibibigay ko yung 100 percent ko sa kanya, na naiintindi ko siya.

Marian Rivera and Dingdong Dantes

They also believe that making time for each other and truly wanting to spend time together is another secret to their long-lasting relationship. Dingdong shares how much they enjoy long drives, recalling the time they would drive to the set of Rewind after dropping off their kids at school. “Na-eenjoy namin yung mga ganoong bagay. Those simple moments na kaming dalawa lang, malaking bagay yun,” he reveals.

Family goals

As Marian Rivera and Dingdong Dantes pose together playfully on set, it’s evident that despite being married for a decade, they’re just as in love with each other. The chemistry was undeniable especially in front of the camera.

These days, the actress shares that she is busy with her ongoing teleserye, My Guardian Alien,
and was set to commence filming on Balota, which is their entry to Cinemalaya. They continue to banter on set, like newlyweds, laughing at questions like who had said “I love you” first, or who gets jealous
more easily.

Eventually, the questions end and the couple say their thank yous and warm goodbyes, as they gracefully exit the venue. Like most parents, they are purposeful and swift, as there is much to do. And we hear Zia, and most likely Sixto, is waiting for mom and dad to pick them up from school.


Photography ANDREA BELDUA assisted by MARIO PEPITO and JR BAYLON




Shoot Coordination ANTHONY MENDOZA

Art Director MARC YELLOW


Shot on Location at ASCOTT MAKATI

More about celebrity power couples!

Ice and Liza Diño Seguerra: Love Knows No Boundaries

Kristine Hermosa-Sotto and Oyo Boy Sotto: Love is a Choice Worth Making

Luis Manzano and Jessy Mendiola: Parenting in Full Bloom

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