Donna Cruz (MNS photo)

Donna Cruz (MNS photo)

Donna Cruz was only 21 years old and at the peak of her career when she surprised everyone by marrying Dr. Yong Larrazabal and settling down for good in his native Cebu.

Now 39, Donna is making a comeback after 18 long years with a Star Music album, “Now and Forever”. Any regrets that she left showbiz so early?

“None,” she says at her album launch. “Sobrang blessed ako sa husband ko. Actually, whirlwind romance ‘yung amin. One month after we met, he proposed marriage to me na and in 9 months, we had our wedding. Ganun kabilis. I’m so happy with our three kids: Bel, who’s now 16; Sean, 13 and Gio, 8. But sobrang na-miss ko ang singing kasi it’s my first love, my passion. Alam nila sa bahay how much I miss singing kasi naririnig nila ako sa buong bahay, kanta ako ng kanta. Tapos, I did a recording sa bahay ng ‘Let It Go’, sabi nila, desperada na. It was posted sa internet and naging viral. Napanood nila sa Star Music and asked my manager, Shirley Kwan, if I’d be interested to do a new album. The offer came at a time when I was really ready to record again. I asked my husband’s permission and he not only agreed but also co-produced it kaya ang saya-saya ko.”

Her album has six revivals (“Ikaw Lang ang Mamahalin”, “Friends”, “Dapat Ka Bang Mahalin”, “Nag-iisang Ikaw”, “Hanggang” and “Ika’y Mahal Pa Rin”) plus two originals (“A Love to Last” and “Langit ang Pag-ibig”.) Star Music audio content head Jonathan Manalo says: “Mas gumanda pa ang boses ni Donna, mas kumapal, hindi na bata. And her singing, nag-improve din. Mas may puso na.”

Does this mean she’ll also go back into acting since her last movie, “Isang Tanong, Isang Sagot” with Jason Everly, was almost 20 years ago? “Ever since, hindi naman nawawalan ng offers. But it’s my choice to focus on our family. As of now, I just want to focus on singing. Seloso husband ko, di puwede may romantic scenes. At pati kids namin. Noong una, excited pa sila na babalik ako. But now, nagrereklamo na. Ma, you’re always in Manila. So I explain na I’m busy recording and promoting my album. Di lalo na kung gagawa ako ng movie o TV show, mas malalayo ako sa kanila, pwera na lang siguro kung doon gagawin sa Cebu.”

Will she allow any of her kids to join showbiz? “They all sing, but ang nakikita ko lang na pang-showbiz is the youngest, Gio. He just had a music recital in school and we sang together. Grabe ang confidence niya. He said, I want to be famous. But I doubt kung papayagan siya ng dad niya kasi first honor siya. Studies pa rin ang priority.”

She’s almost 40 but she still looks like someone in her 20s. What’s her secret? “We eat healthy food and I’m into running. Nakasali na ako sa three marathons at nakumpleto ko ‘yung 42 kilometers kaya hindi ako tumataba.” (MNS)