McCoy de Leon credited his girlfriend Elisse Joson as instrumental in his fight against depression and anxiety, saying the actress was there for him even they weren't exactly on good terms at the time.
In a heart-to-heart conversation in Elisse's most recent vlog, the couple, who confirmed having rekindled their romance in June, shared how they reconnected after their headline-making breakup in 2018.
According to the actress, it all started when the actor let her borrow his jacket after she felt cold at an event.
"Basta may event na andoon lahat ng artists, tapos sabay tayong umakyat. Pareho tayo ng handler and RM (road manager) that time. Hindi pa tayo nag-uusap pa din nun. Ito 'yung time na break tayo," Elisse began.
Referring to a certain Ezra, she said: "Tapos sabi ko kay ate Ezra, kami na kasing dalawa 'yung magkasama, sabi ko, 'Ang lamig, nilalamig ako.' Tapos si ate Ezra, 'Ay girl, sige, teka lang, hahanap ako ng ano.' Umalis siya, tapos pagbalik niya maya maya, after five minutes, meron siyang dalang jacket. Pinasuot niya sa akin. Siyempre ako naman, tinanggap ko kasi ang lamig nga. Tapos naamoy ko 'yung jacket! Sabi ko, 'Alam ko 'yung amoy na 'to ate Ez.' Tapos ngumingiti-ngiti lang si ate Ezra. Sabi niya, 'Ba't mo alam? 'Di ba ang tagal na?’"
McCoy said it was the first time that he felt things were much better for him and Elisse since their painful split.
"'Yun 'yung unang time na okay," he said, to which the actress added: "Na naging magaan. Yeah, that's true."
The couple said their second encounter happened at a coffee shop inside the ABS-CBN compound.
"Basta 'yung handler namin, that time, nasa Starbucks kaming dalawa. Meron kaming meeting nun. Casual meeting lang. And then biglang...merong dumungaw. May pumapasok. Siya 'yung pumapasok. Tapos parang hesitant ka pa kung tutuloy ka o hindi," recalled Elisse.
"Kasi sabi ko, 'yung susunod na ma-meet ko siya ulit, sign 'yun na may something," said McCoy. "[Sign na]... hindi ko alam, kung lalapit ba or mag-reach out."
And the actor did take that one as a sign, and decided the next day to send Elisse a message through Viber.
"After nung Starbucks moment na 'yun, nag-Viber na si McCoy. Ngayon gets ko na, kasi 'yung mga signs mo pala pinaniniwalaan mo," she said.
"[Sabi niya sa Viber], 'Masaya ako na magaan ka na. [Ngumingiti ka na].' Okay naman na 'yung reply ko rin [sa 'yo] nun eh 'no? Kasi that time, 'yung feeling ko din magaan na eh, wala na 'yung grudge," she continued. "[Tapos tumawag ka sa 'kin.] Sabi ko, 'Grabe naman 'to, tumatawag agad! Kakaayos lang na medyo okay okay, tatawag agad?' And then pagtawag mo, parang a couple of rings, sinagot ko 'di ba? Ang bungad pa niya, parang walang nangyari ng isang taon, kasi ang sabi niya, 'Saan ka?' Tapos nung sinabi kong nagda-drive, sabi mo, 'Ah, sige, mamaya na, baka mapaano ka.' Tapos naisip ko nun, ang presko naman ng kausap ko kasi parang walang nangyari."
When they finally got to talk, McCoy told Elisse that he wanted someone to talk to. Apparently, the actor was going through depression and anxiety at the time, and he decided to reach out to Elisse to ask her how she got through her own struggles with her mental health years prior.
"Kasi naalala ko nung magka-love team tayo na dinaan mo 'yun," said McCoy. "Tapos 'yun nga, eh hindi naman tayo din 'yung 24 hours magkausap. So sabi ko, paano mo nalagpasan? Tapos 'yun, after nun, nag-seek tayo ng doctor, tinulungan mo ako."
Elisse said that despite their situation, she decided to help McCoy, as she knew how secretive he could be from other people about his emotions.
"'Kaya rin ako parang pumayag na magka-usap tayo kasi naalala ko, kilala kita na hindi ka nga ma-share sa ibang tao. So parang na-feel ko that time, parang ang sama ko naman kung hindi ko kakausapin 'yung taong may pinagdadaanan tapos alam ko rin na hindi ka magsasabi sa iba," she said.
McCoy, 26, and Elisse, 25, met during their stint as housemates in the reality show Pinoy Big Brother: Lucky Season 7. Their pairing, dubbed "McLisse," spawned a following for their sweet on-cam moments.
They eventually became an official couple, but broke hearts in 2018, when they confirmed that they had parted ways. At the time, neither of the two talked about the details of their split, but both did admit that they were hurt by what happened.
During their conversation, the two also discussed their painful breakup, with McCoy admitting that it was he who walked away from their relationship despite believing it was worth fighting for.
"'Yun 'yung 'di ko in-expect eh, [na mapapagod ako]," he said. "Kasi alam kong worth it. Ganun ako, eh. 'Worth it 'to, worth it 'to,' kahit 'yung nasa paligid mo, 'Hindi, hindi na 'yan. Tama na, lumayo ka na.' 'Hindi, worth it 'to kasi alam kong meron siyang reason.' Pero siyempre alam mo masakit naman."
For her part, Elisse confessed that she resented McCoy for giving up on her, saying she felt betrayed and left behind by what he did.
"Kasi nga nag-expect ako na hindi ka bibitaw or hindi ka maggi-give up or magpapaubaya. 'Yun, siguro 'yun. And then, dinaan ko na lang nga sa galit 'yung feeling ko na betrayal. Parang ganun 'yung feeling ko that time, parang I got left behind," said the actress.
Nevertheless, the two have since moved on from their painful past, and are in fact grateful for the experience as it only strengthened their relationship as a couple.
"Ngayon masasabi ko talaga na iba. Iba compared sa kung paano kami nung beginning," said Elisse. "Especially tayo, dumating sa point na 'yun nga, nag-break, na we hated each other, nagalit tayo sa isa't isa."
"Mas naging iba the second time around kasi nagkaroon ng ganun...Ngayon it feels more real," she added.
Watch the full video below:
* If you or a loved one is in need of help, the National Center for Mental Health (NCMH) has trained respondents to properly deal with those in need. Contact the hotline at 0917-899-USAP (8727) / 0917-989-8727. You can also contact Hopeline Philippines at (02) 804-HOPE (4673), 0917 558 HOPE (4673), 2919 (Toll free for Globe, TM)