Is it February all over again? Nearly eight months since they announced that they had ended their long-term relationship to the public, former sweethearts Catriona Gray and Clint Bondad are once again the talk of the town. 

Why? We might have to thank a basketball player from De La Salle University for that. Recently, a photo of the reigning Miss Universe with athlete Jordan Bartlett sparked rumors that she’s back into the dating scene.

It all began when Bartlett shared a snapshot of him sitting on a couch next to Catriona on his Instagram page. The photo, according to the Green Archer in a caption, was taken after a dinner with the Filipina-Australian beauty queen and a few other friends. 

Photo from Filipino Times

“It was an honor to meet you, Catriona Gray,” he said in the post, which has since been deleted. “And thank you for listening to my lava walk story.”

In the comments section, netizens were quick to observe that Catriona was “too close” to Jordan, and not surprisingly, were just as quick to speculate whether or not the two are dating. 

However, stylist Ton Lao eventually made it clear that Bartlett just so happened to be at the dinner he hosted for Catriona that evening.

“I hosted a dinner that night and it just so happened that Jordan is there to borrow clothes from me,” he clarified in a statement on Instagram. “And he asked for a photo with Cat. That’s it.”

Photo from Fashion Pulis

Bartlett also clarified to “all those asking” that he “just asked her for a picture. That’s all”.

Here’s how Clint was involved: many fans claimed that the Filipino-German actor liked the post before it was taken down by Bartlett. What’s more, shortly after the photo was uploaded, he took to his Instagram page to give advice to ladies to be more clear and realistic about wanting a break from their partners—something that others could only assume as an allusion to Catriona.

Photo from Clint Bondad (@clintbondad)

“Don’t expect us to do nothing! Unless we discussed some ground rules,” he began. “No rules equals no boundaries. Baby, please! If you don’t open your mouth and say something or give us a timeline or something, then it’s automatically counted as indefinitely.”

Clint went on: “Be clear! This is not one of those ‘I expect you to read my mind’ moments! We guys don’t function that way! This process is very mechanical for us. We refuse to try and understand you without words. Especially if it’s you who asks for it ‘cause life currently seems a bit confusing for you and your cute little head. It’s against our pride to play gorgeous broom in the broom chamber.”

Nevertheless, Clint was quick to deny that his post had something to do with his former girlfriend.

“There are rumors,” he told one commenter. “Don’t read into everything too much.”

In response to another fan who told him that he “doesn’t need her”, the model said: “No idea who you’re talking about, but we never truly need anyone ever.”

Given all the buzz surrounding Catriona and Clint, here’s a look back at their six-year relationship—from when they first met to the day they announced their shocking split to the public. 


FATEFUL MEETING IN BAGUIO

Catriona and Clint first met during a shooting for a television commercial in Baguio City back in 2012. 

 
 
 
View this post on Instagram

My queen and biggest support @catriona_gray . The person that keeps me sane but at the same time drives me insane with how much I love her and how special she is to me... Funny how we met considering that we both grew up on different sides of the world... Even funnier thing is, we actually met before our commercial in 2012. It was in Bagio in a tiny hotel elevator... as I was extending my hand to introduce myself and was about to say my name with a low and slow voice, she suddenly took my hand I shook it with such surprising confidence and a smile that I totally lost my game in that moment... I giggled a little right after she left the elevator before me because she didn't give me that extra attention that I was expecting and desperately trying to get from her... My agent who was with me in the elevator just rolled his eyes noticing my attempt hahaha Well, later on we met again of course at a casting... and we both got the job! :) #love #hugs #smartcommercial #support #girlfriend #bestfriend #bestfriends #heart #together #manila #feelings #team #laughing #catrionagray #peace #eyes #smile #manilabay #bay #sofitel

A post shared by Clint Bondad (@clintbondad) on

 

INSTA-OFFICIAL

The two went Instagram official in January 2015, when Clint shared his special message for Catriona as she celebrated her 21st birthday. 

 

“SHE IS MY LIFE PARTNER”

For the first time, Clint opened up about his “life partner” in an Instagram post addressing the rumors surrounding their four-year relationship.

 
 
 
View this post on Instagram

Rumors, Rumors, Rumors... Who cares as long as you know whats true and are eating ice cream together like kids in kindergarden. Fun fact: We NEVER had a fight in all the 4 years that we have been dating. We always were honest to each other with our feelings. Told our secrets to each other and kept it that way even with ALL the new secrets that had to be shared. The same with ideas, dreams, fears, plans and other simple stuff. Its a little like a software update for your computer. It keeps you updated & connected. And protected from a virus. We tend to do it on our first dates and then say the "fire" has dimmed down, but that is only because we stopped sharing with our partner and have stopped "updating". When that happens your system has a virus and it slowing down all processes. We both care for each other more then we care for ourself. I don't believe in fighting in a relationship. It is a waste of energy and shouldn't be used as an output of someones build up stress. It would make me sad thinking of a fight. She is my life partner, making her happy makes me a thausand times happier... and the other way around. I am sending love out to everybody out there and if you like the article then tag someone you think should read it. Thank you, my beautiful reader and the best to you in life! #love #peace #relationship #happy #rumors #icecream #food #life #lifestyle #together #story #real #kiss #kisses

A post shared by Clint Bondad (@clintbondad) on

 

MISS WORLD PHILIPPINES 2016

In a show of support, Clint took to his Instagram page to congratulate Catriona, moments after she was crowned Miss World Philippines 2016.

 

 

A PERFECT GIRLFRIEND

One of the many things that Clint admires about his “perfect girlfriend”, as he would often refer to Catriona, is her love for her parents—her Filipina mother Normita Magnayon and Scottish-born father Ian Gray. 

 

VALENTINE’S DAY 

In February 2018, Clint and Catriona celebrated their fifth—and what would turn out to be their last—Valentine’s Day together. 

 

SIXTH ANNIVERSARY

The two celebrated their sixth anniversary as a couple in June 2018, in time for the observance of the 120th Philippine Independence Day. 

 

MISS UNIVERSE 2018

Within the same year, Catriona made history as the first Filipina to win the coveted title of Miss World Philippines and Miss Universe Philippines. 

Because of this, Clint couldn’t be any prouder of his “queen”.

 
 
 
View this post on Instagram

You ABSOLUTELY stood out and literally made history by being the first filipina EVER to hold Miss World Philippines (2016) and now Miss Universe Philippines (2018) title and on top of that even won the most major special awards ever in the later. I always said you are extremely smart and sharp! Now everyone literally knows that I wasn't exaggerating. I swear you are the most intelligent and amazing woman I have ever met. You are like a diamond. You don't crack under pressure because it was part of your creation. I LOVE YOU ?? MISS UNIVERSE PHILIPPINES 2018 CONGRATSSS @catriona_gray PH: @migotilyomanila ST: @ton_lao @thesamanthatidalgo MU: @jellyeugenio H: @hairbybrentsales #teamCatriona #bbp #bbpilipinas2018 #missuniversephilippines - #regrann

A post shared by Clint Bondad (@clintbondad) on

Proving his unwavering support for Catriona, Clint later flew to Bangkok, Thailand with his brother, fellow model Kirk Bondad, to watch the 2018 Miss Universe pageant and witness his girlfriend’s winning moment as the new reigning queen.

 
 
 
View this post on Instagram

@catriona_gray you have the whole arena behind you ?? Go get it! Since the very day I met you in Baguio in that tiny elevator when we merly were just kids I knew that you are different. You felt untouchable. Like I met someone specific but couldn't figure out who it was. Never met a more intelligent woman in my life. You seem to capture the stars and are simply a creator by heart. You are a specialist made to move the world. A rocket breaking through the atmosphere bringing back a piece of heaven. Words will never be enough to capture who you are... I know this is a huge day but this will literally just be the beginning. Special thanks to @jhay.layson for the amazing outfit ??????

A post shared by Clint Bondad (@clintbondad) on

 

POST-WIN

Rumors started to swirl that the two were having relationship woes when Clint, in an interview with ABS-CBN News, admitted that he wasn’t able to meet with Catriona after the Miss Universe pageant in Thailand.

“It's still sinking in. Of course lahat tayo proud sa Miss Universe win and of course aantayin ko lang si Catriona dito sa Pilipinas kasi... medyo tight 'yung security talaga," shared Clint, adding that he and Catriona still communicate via private text messages nonetheless. 

In a separate interview on Magandang Buhay, Clint stated that he would have no problem being in a long distance relationship with Catriona, who was expected to stay in New York for a year during her reign as the Miss Universe 2018. 

"Actually simple lang kasi may WhatsApp na nowadays. Dati pa umalis siya [papuntang] Australia for four months. Nagte-text lang araw-araw, voice mails, picture sending, stuff like that. Ako rin, noong nasa Germany. So all-in-all, all of those six years, baka one of those years was all-in-all also already long-distance," he said.

 

BREAKUP 

Following months-long speculation over their real score, Catriona finally set the record straight by admitting that she is now single during her visit to the ABS-CBN headquarters in late February. 

She made the revelation during the Kapamilya Confessions online segment where she was asked about how she manages to balance her love life and career as a Miss Universe titleholder. 

As quoted by the entertainment website Push, she replied: “Well, it’s about balance, whatever works for your personal life. But for me, wala akong love life ngayon.”

It was later revealed that the couple’s relationship problems did not begin after Catriona won Miss Universe, but even before she competed in it. In her interview on late night talk show Tonight With Boy Abunda, the beauty queen confessed that she and Clint were actually not in talking terms during that time, even with the passionate show of support from Clint while she was aiming for the crown in Thailand. 

“It was really tough going through the competition with that happening at the same time but I had to keep reminding myself that this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," she said.

Asked about the reason for their split, Catriona said that she and Clint simply outgrew each other.

“When you're together for so long and you start off from a very young age, you grow. Whether that be in your personal or in your career—sometimes you just outgrow each other,” she shares.

"If we're meant to be together, maybe it'd happen in the future,” she added.

For his part, Clint wished Catriona “the very best on your path” following the end of their six-year relationship. 

"You are still the most beautiful woman that I have ever met. I wish you the very best on your path, wherever it will carry you...Truly," he wrote on Instagram. "This is certainly not what we both wanted, but most certainly what we both need at this point of our life."

The former ASAP coverboy eventually unfollowed Catriona on Instagram. Prior to and after the pageant, hers was the single account Clint used to follow on the popular image sharing app. 

He later turned to social media to assure their fans that there is “no drama” between him and Catriona, even following their breakup. In a series of Instagram Stories updates, the actor-model stated that “the feeling is very mutual and comes from a caring side for each other.”

“Gosh guys, just chillax! I am supposed to be on vacation. Don’t make me work till next week!” he said in jest in response to the flood of sympathetic messages he has been getting online. “Read everything in an uplifting voice! It really is no biggy. We are ahead of you guys in time so we are all cool.

Photos from ABS-CBN

He even defended Catriona from those who had negative things to say regarding her decision to choose the crown over her love life. 

“The career of a beauty queen is so different in many ways to that of other career paths and even more extreme (than) that of an actor or (public) figure. Incomparable,”  he said in a statement on Instagram. “It’s a winner takes all situation and it kick-starts everything into motion with an explosion, but on top of it all it's compressed into a single year of reign.”

“[Winning the Miss Universe crown is the] equivalent of sitting in a burning house and someone asking you, ‘Finish your chamomile tea or get your sweet ass out of here ASAP?!’ It's not a question about personal preference but urgent priority!” 

Admitted Clint: “I was massively depressed for a long time and I literally blamed anything and everyone except our relationship... I wouldn't even allow it in the realm of possibilities. But my protective personality and shielding of the relationship made me unable to see things clear and rational. It became counterproductive.”

Photo from Clint Bondad (@clintbondad)

“Love truly can make you blind sometimes and make you do dumb stuff... No matter how smart you think you are. I felt like I had to do things that Cat never asked me to do and stopped things that I loved doing and pursuing and even started feeling guilty for simply enjoying life. I ended up completely draining myself and became so exhausted that at the end there was little left of who I once was.”

Clint went on to state that he takes responsibility for everything, adding that he failed, “because the control was always with me all along. I just realized it too late. She knew I would rather go through complete death of my own persona than accept failure.”

But if there’s one thing that would truly break his heart, it would be if Cat did not reach her dreams and become the Miss Universe she is today.

Photo from Catriona Gray (@catriona_gray)

“I am glad things happened the way they did,” he continued. 

“Sure, maybe things could have been a bit different if the outcome would have been different too. But it's like the weather. If it rains, you simply remind yourself that water is life, then you take the umbrella and go out anyway.”