MANILA -- Vhong Navarro said the controversy surrounding his mauling, which left him with serious injuries, has strengthened his relationship with long-time girlfriend, Tanya Bautista.

The "Da Possessed" star was asked where he currently stands with Bautista in a live interview on "Aquino & Abunda Tonight," almost three months after his encounter with the group of businessman Cedric Lee.

"Sobrang saya namin lalo ngayon," Navarro said. "Noong una kasi, sobrang hirap. Kasi nababalik sa kanya 'yung ginawa ko, e, 'di ba? Iyon talaga, nag-mi-mixed emotions siya. Meron okay kami, tapos hindi na siya okay."

In the weeks following the mauling, an emotional Navarro apologized repeatedly to Bautista for agreeing to meet model Deniece Cornejo, who posted bail on Wednesday for grave coercion in connection the January 22 incident.

Cornejo's rape complaint against Navarro, where she claimed the attack on the actor was provoked by the alleged sexual assault, has since been junked by the Department of Justice.

"Ngayon kasi, ang sarap, e," Navarro said of his relationship with Bautista. "Parang, sabi ko nga, best friend ko rin pala siya. Kasi before, parang ang lagi ko lang focus doon sa mga kaibigan ko talaga."

"Kumbaga, this time mas nakita ko, mas naramdaman ko, na hindi lang pala talaga siya girlfriend ko lang. Hindi lang siya 'yung makakasama ko habang-buhay. Siya rin pala 'yung best friend ko," he said.

Navarro, whose previous marriage with Bianca Lapus was annulled in 2010, added that he has made a conscious effort to assure Bautista of his being a faithful partner, after the controversy involving Cornejo.

Read more from the source: ABS-CBN

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