In 2015, Alden Richards became a household name thanks to a serendipitous moment on the longest-running variety show in the Philippines, Eat Bulaga. The love team that was born from that episode, AlDub, became a nationwide phenomenon. Taking lyrics from Eat Bulaga’s famous jingle, the AlDub phenomenon reached all corners of the Philippines–mula Batanes hanggang Jolo.
This brought him a plethora of endorsements, shows, movies, and earned him millions of fans around the world. This in itself is overwhelming for anyone, but one thing most people don’t know about this 29-year-old who graces their TV screens on a daily basis is that his faith is bigger than him. And what’s even more outstanding is that Alden’s profession of his beliefs is by all means louder than the cheers of his fans all over the world. (Read: Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at Alden Richards’ religious collection!)
After the sudden rise in fame of the actor, GMA Network offered Alden starring roles in several highly rated shows such as Victor Magtanggol and The Gift. The network also gave him lead roles in a handful of Pinoy movies—including what is now the highest-grossing box office film of all time, Hello, Love, Goodbye, where he was partnered with the equally successful actress, Kathryn Bernardo.
These big projects allowed Alden to explore his talents further and has opened more doors for the actor. He released several albums and starred in some drama anthologies. He was even dubbed as Asia’s Multimedia Star at the Seoul International Drama Awards in South Korea.
But despite it all, Alden is no stranger to life’s tragedies.
Just like his character Sep in the 2019 teleserye The Gift—who loses his sense of sight due to a shooting incident—Alden has had his fair share of life’s trials. The death of his mom, Rosario, in 2008 was one of the many that he considers a major challenge. When Rosario passed away due to pneumonia, Alden’s family struggled to give her a proper burial. In an interview in 2019, Alden admitted that his dad had to quit his job in order to get separation pay—which they needed to cover funeral expenses. They were also forced to cremate her, as they didn’t have the means to purchase a memorial lot to bury her in. (Read: How does one cope with loss and grief while in isolation?)
Another challenge for Alden was the overwhelming nature of the showbiz industry. In his testimony at the 2017 Philippine Conference on New Evangelization (PCNE), he shared that the fast-paced nature of show business—you get famous quickly but you also fade away quickly—pushed him to find something constant he can hold on to while starting out as an actor. This “constant,” as it turned out, was his faith. “At the end of the day, it’s really prayer and faith that saved me to get by those circumstances,” the 29-year-old shares with My Pope Philippines.
Alden’s faith has not only helped him sail through challenges, it also helped him stay humble despite his immense success.
Grounded in Faith
Keeping himself grounded was not a difficult task for the actor. His secret? He keeps close to those who have been with him through thick and thin. These people, along with prayers, help Alden see fame for what it really is—a blessing and a privilege. His daily mantra, he says, is, “My faith keeps me sane.”
This level of faith has been with Alden since childhood. He grew up in a household where faith in the Lord and Blessed Virgin Mary were deep and powerful. In fact, the Virgin Mary image that’s displayed in his room today has been with his family for almost 30 years now. Alden says he prays to the image every day, and also brings a rosary with him wherever he goes. “My mom has always been a devotee of the Blessed Virgin Mary ever since I was a child; I’ve been a devotee even before I entered showbiz,” he shares. (Read: 4 Books to Make You Love, Appreciate Mama Mary)
The plethora of projects Alden has done in the past years has gained him millions of followers from all corners of the world—and he’s using this influence for the greater good. Alden openly shares on the internet what he has been through early in life and how his faith helped him through these tough times.
Through this, the actor hopes to encourage the youth to never lose their faith and keep their passion burning. “Since we’re already in the millennial era, a lot of people are very distracted with earthly things,” he says, “I think we’re forgetting the main essence of faith, which is prayer.” Alden adds that we should always remind ourselves that we are Catholics who would be nothing without the Lord’s ultimate sacrifice.
Undeniably, Alden has received an abundance of blessings in the six years of his mind-blowing popularity. He believes these are all from the Lord. “We’re just vessels of goodness and kindness so we should pay it forward to those in need,” he says. “That’s why I have to share [my blessings] with everybody,” Alden adds. (Read: 3 Prayers for Blessings and Gratitude)
He shares that he aspires to have a church built someday. “It would be one of the greatest legacies you can leave in your lifetime.” And just like in every superhero story, he doesn’t want people to know that it was him behind its building—a stark contrast to his job that relies on fame. “Kung magkakaroon man ako ng church, I would not be gratified by it; it is for the Lord.”