Back in the 90s, Suniel Shetty and Sonali Bendre worked together in many films like 'Rakshak', 'Takkar', 'Sapoot' amongst others and were one of the most loved on-screen pairs. In real life, there were strong whispers about Sonali being in a relationship with Suniel who was married to Mana Shetty.
In one of her throwback interviews with Stardust magazine, Sonali had blasted the gossipmongers and opened up about how her friendship with Suniel came under a strain because of their link-up.
'It Started Affecting Our Personal Lives'
"Yes, tension has creeped in between Suniel and me. Initially, we both laughed off the rumours. It was really funny... But after a while, it stopped being funny. It started affecting our personal lives and suddenly, it didn't seem funny anymore.
I don't know how it has affected Suniel's personal life because I have not talked about it with him. But I can talk about my personal life and how it has affected me.
And mind you, I am single and not answerable to anyone. So I can just imagine how much it must have affected Suniel's personal life, him being a married man," admitted Sonali.
A Stranger Asked Me, "Are You Really Having An Affair With Suniel Shetty'
"You know, people don't understand that it is not funny when you get a call at two in the night and some idiot on the line says, ‘This is Sunil Shetty speaking. Come, run away with me, elope with me.'
It's not funny when any person you meet, even a stranger, gets up and asks you, ‘Are you really having an affair with Sunil Shetty?' It's not funny what people come and ask my sister in college, ‘Is your sister involved with Sunil?"
'I Hate It When People Talk Like This'
She further spoke, "Some relatives come and tell my parents, ‘Now that you are getting the money you want, you wouldn't mind if your daughter is doing anything with any hero.' Talk like this affects me. I hate it when people talk like this. I really get upset."
'Suddenly, I Am The B*tch Who Is Wrecking This Married Actor's House"
"Everytime I utter the word, ‘Mischief', everybody's eyebrows shoot up. As if the word mischief does not exist in the dictionary. It is just something connected to Sunil Shetty.
When I'm shooting and if I get a call, everybody assumes that Sunil Shetty is calling. If I am talking to a production man whose name is Sunil, everybody looks amused. Do you people realise how it affects me?" she quizzed me, with a questioning look.
"I would be lying if I said that these rumours didn't affect Sunil and me. I just hope it doesn't come to a stage where the working relationship gets spoiled.
Nobody even bothers to ask me if the rumours about me and Sunil are true. Everybody just assumes that it is true. Suddenly, I am the b*tch who is wrecking this married actor's home. It hurts."
The Awkward Photo-shoot
"Once Sunil and I were doing this photo-session and everybody was ‘Oh, they are so comfortable with each other'. Why can't it be that we are two good models doing what we are supposed to do? At one point, we even started getting conscious about it.
Recently, when we were shooting, the shot required us to hug each other. And I kept pulling away and Sunil refused to touch me. There was a one feet distance between us. And that is when we both realised how much we had been affected by these rumours. And we seriously talked what we should do."
'I Don't Believe In Casual S*x'
"Maybe if the rumours were true, it wouldn't have affected me too much. To be very honest I don't know what love is. I have never been in love. Maybe when the right guy comes along, I'll know. I think I have not fallen in love because I haven't found a guy who can make me fall in love with him."
"I don't believe in casual sex. That is one reason why I don't believe in one-night-stands. I don't like the idea of a no-strings attached relationship. I want a relationship with all the strings, actually make that chains, attached
Cut to present, Sonali is happily married to Goldie Behl. The actress was recently diagnosed with high-grade cancer. She took off to New York for medical treatment. Now, she's back in India.