What’s a childhood without a childhood crush?
You know how people say that first love never dies? Some people agree with this and some people don’t want to (ahem, denial), but there is one thing that we believe reigns true for us all: First crushes never die.
There’s just something about a childhood innocence being awakened to a different sort of sense. These first crushes taught us what kilig actually means and opened the door to deeper feelings. Besides, you always won A+ points with friends if you had a poster of them hanging on your wall (or ceiling—we don’t judge).
Chad Michael Murray
One Tree Hill
A lot us fell in love with I-read-classic-literature-but-can-also-play-sports Lucas Scott in One Tree Hill, played by none other than Chad Michael Murray. His brooding eyes, chiseled features and I-woke-up-like-this hair was enough to get us going. Whether you were #TeamBrooke or #TeamPeyton, the only real important thing is that you were #TeamLucas. Sorry, Nathan.
Those writer-dreams of Lucas came to life when Murray published Everlast in 2011 and followed it up with a co-authored novel in American Drifter: An Exhilarating Tale of Love and Murder. Now, Murray is a loving father of two and husband to Sarah Roemer.
A Walk To Remember
Ah, Landon Carter AKA Shane West AKA the boy who to which every boyfriend is forever compared to. Seriously, building your girlfriend a telescope while she’s in the hospital? Standing up to her dad and proving you can be the man he’s prayed for his daughter? Gifting a star? Google romantic and you’ll find a photo of Landon Carter (okay, not literally, but you get it).
After losing the love of his life in A Walk To Remember, Shane went on to play major roles on ER and Nikita, with a recent role in Salem.
If you say you’ve forgotten the words to Beautiful Soul and the beautiful blonde-haired boy that sang it, you’d be a liar. This song was played almost non-stop the weeks after it was released, with many of us risking a teacher’s note by playing it on loud every chance we got in school. Jesse, we didn’t need time to think it over; we’d move forward with you any day.
After singing his way into our hearts, Jesse seemingly disappeared from the face of the music world. Instead, he voiced Theodore in Alvin and the Chipmunks and stared alongside Lori Loughlin in Summerland. But fear not, girls of early 00’s, our man has gone on the record to say he’s still working on some music.
Who doesn’t love a bad boy, huh? For us that grew up in the age of Gilmore Girls, no one embodied the bad boy trope quite like Milo Ventimiglia as he starred as Jess Mariano. He read, he knew cars, he was too intelligent and he wormed his way into Rory’s life in a way that had us wishing he could worm his way into ours.
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Thank god we can still get our Milo fix care of This Is Us.
Got 2 Believe
Might be a little cruel to include gone-too-soon Rico Yan, but he defined crush ng bayan in the late 90’s and early 00’s. His on and off screen chemistry with Claudine Barretto was almost palpable and his good-guy image had us praying for a next door neighbor that resembled him. So really, the crime would be to not include this pretty boy on the list.
We bid a tearful farewell to Rico in 2002, but at least we still have his films to look back on and remember him by. Right?
If there was Jess Mariano, there was Rory Gilmore. And while our mature brains might feel differently about Gilmore Girls as a whole—and Rory’s character, to be more specific—there is no denying that she was the girl we wanted to be and the girl the boys wanted to bring home.
She was sweet, intelligent, usually respectful and her baby doll eyes were just the cherry on top of an already sweet sundae.
After playing Lena Kaligaris in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Alexis took on the more serious role of Ofglen in Handmaid’s Tale.
When it first aired, many of us weren’t even allowed to watch American Pie. But for those of us with lax parents or the guts to see it in private, Mena Suvari was a goddess that had to be talked (and dreamt) about.
Many now wonder what happened to Mena, but the truth is this beauty has been and still keeps working. Becks and American Woman are just two of her projects over the years. But our favorite thing about her now? She doesn’t care about her sex-symbol image anymore. In her words, “Whether you want to call it age or whatever—I just didn’t give a shit anymore.”
Jennifer Love Hewitt
On the day that God showered the world with good looks, attitude and the ability to look bomb in a skin-tight dress, Jennifer Love Hewitt was dancing in the rain. Fortunately for us, all these things came together in one hate-to-love-it movie, Heartbreakers.
There’s less time in front of the camera now for Love Hewitt, who is a mother of two, but she wouldn’t have it any other way. “I have to say that, by nature, I'm like a 90-year-old woman,” she confessed.
The Prince & Me
She got our attention in 10 Things I Hate About You, but we fell completely in love with her in The Prince & Me. This underrated rom-com of the early 00’s wad a godsend and made fall head over heels, dreaming of the day we’d unknowingly meet and fall for a prince.
Right now, Styles is less-Hollywood and more mother-and-wife. She did, however, lend her talent to a 10-part miniseries called Riviera, about a woman who mysteriously loses her husband in a yacht explosion.
When Love Begins
Anne Curtis Smith is still at the forefront of Philippine entertainment, but once upon a time she was an unassuming girl trying to make it into showbiz. And when she landed a role opposite one Aga Muhlach in When Love Begins, it was us—the Filipino public—knocking on her door instead.
Now Anne is still kicking ass—in life and in work—and we wouldn’t have it any other way. I mean, at least her face isn’t everywhere anymore, right?
Our childhoods would not have been the same without these hunks and muses. Who would we have looked at up to, otherwise? Who would have opened the windows to feelings we still experience to this day? It’s great to think what if once in a while, but leave us out of this particular one—please.
Art Alexandra Lara