I would be a teacher,” declares Derek Ramsay when asked what he would be doing if he wasn’t an actor. “I really love kids. I’d love to be a grade school teacher, History, Math, that sort of thing.” With his chiseled features, rugged good looks and leading man roles, it’s easy to stereotype Ramsay in the typical bachelor persona with a devil-may-care attitude. This could not be further from the truth. Derek Ramsay does care. And he cares a lot.
His natural love for children was palpable during the shoot at The Farm in San Benito, where after a gruelling day photographing under the hot summer sun, Ramsay lit up when Elias teetered on set. The three-year-old son of his fiancée, Ellen Adarna, walked straight into his arms as he called out affectionately, “Babi guleng!”
“Ellen and I definitely want more children, but not yet,” Ramsay shares. “We really want to enjoy this time together first and Elias is still a baby. I’m also very focused on Austin, as I really only got him at the age of 14.” While fatherhood comes naturally to him, it did not come easily. Austin, his son with his previous girlfriend, Christine Marie Jolly, was only presented to him at the age of ten. Then almost immediately his mother took the boy to Dubai.
“It was a battle,” Ramsay declares. “But also, an answered prayer. Until Ellen came into my life, I never wanted to get married, but I always wanted to be a father.” Derek continued to support his son from afar and tried as much as possible to be an active presence in his life, fighting vicious court cases and navigating lewd press scandals. “My father always said that your life is based on all the decisions that you make, so you better make the right ones. And when you fail, you should learn and never regret them. My dad is my best friend. I wanted that with my son.”
Then, at the age of 14, his son came to live with him in Manila. “Having a relationship with Austin is the most important thing to me. When he moved in with me my prayers were answered, but it was difficult. How do you start from scratch? How do you repair the years apart? Only now, at the age of 18, does he call me dad,” expresses an emotional Ramsay.
“When it happened, I broke down like a baby. I ran to him and started crying. And ever since this happened, everything seems to be falling into place. I took baby steps with Austin and he really is a good kid,” Ramsay shares. “Kids are smart and despite the things his mother told him about me, he had the chance to live with me and make his own opinion. He sat me down one day and said, ‘I see why you were trying to discipline me and made it tough for me sometimes. It was so that I could become a better person.’”
The turning point for him and his son was when Ramsay decided to settle down with Adarna. “Austin then expressed to me, ‘The reason why I’m calling you dad is because I made a promise to myself that when I see you engaged, I’m going to call you dad.’ Then I said to myself—I think it’s time to love.”
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