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Thu, Dec 12, 2013
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Keep your love secret
by Jocelyn Lee

Coming clean about secret significant others seems to be the trend among Asian showbiz hunks of late.

Every other week, it seems a new star's eligibility bites the dust.

Taiwan-based singer-actor Wu Chun, 34, set the ball rolling in October by making the shocking public announcement that he is married with two kids.

Last month, Taiwanese actor Nicky Wu, 43, disclosed his romance with Chinese actress Liu Shishi, 26.

As if finding courage from his peers, Taiwanese-American singer-actor Wang Lee-hom, 37, sent shock waves through the industry two weeks ago when he announced online that he had a doctoral student girlfriend named Li Jinglei.

Before fans could catch their breath, Wang dropped a second bombshell, saying they were officially married.

Hold on a minute.

Why are these heart-throbs suddenly rushing to come clean?

And have popular Taiwanese stars like Jay Chou, who have consistently denied their relationships, missed out on the memo?

Mandopop king Chou, 34, has vehemently denied his relationship with model Hannah Quinlivan, 19, even though they have been spotted together countless times.

Or perhaps he is planning for the best time to tell all. Because timing is indeed everything.

Revealing that they have girlfriends or wives publicly may seem like a wise decision - they no longer have to carry the burden of keeping their love lives hidden from their fans or "deceive" the relentless media with repeated denials.

But it works only if they already have an established fanbase, as in the cases of Wang and Wu Chun. Their fans mostly reacted positively and sent congratulatory messages.

In conservative Asia where these idols' livelihoods depend (almost) entirely on their largely female fans, coming clean can make or break their careers as jealous fans might abandon them faster than you can say "sorry".

Take popular K-pop boy band Infinite's member L for example.

After his relationship with pretty online Korean personality Kim Do Yeon was exposed, his agency released a statement last month admitting to the romance and apologising to his fans for denying the rumours.

The news saw the 21-year-old star's popularity nosedive, with fans closing down at least seven of his online fan sites overnight.

Choosing to be open about their love lives also places the idols' girlfriends and wives under the unforgiving glare of the nosy public, something they might not be able to handle.


After Kim's identity as L's girlfriend was revealed, she was attacked by fans who threw rocks at her, scratched her car and emptied rubbish outside her office.

Kim lashed out at her attackers online and subsequently hinted that she and L have broken up as a result of the negative publicity. This was later confirmed by L's agency.

And although some of Wang's fans are elated that he has found his "Forever Love", it sparked a flurry of gossip online and his wife's supposedly "wild past" came under intense scrutiny, leading him to threaten legal action against the rumour mongers.

So unless wedding bells are expected soon, these idols should be wary of revealing their relationships.

A premature announcement may place both the relationship and the idol's career in jeopardy.

Coming clean may look like a no-win situation, especially for Asian celebrities who have to choose between telling a lie to protect their privacy or opting for a tell-all and then hoping for the best.

Perhaps, fans should cut their idols some slack and let them love freely, something their Hollywood counterparts seem to enjoy.

In the words of Wang, who was recently asked to describe himself in five words during an interview: "I am a human being!"

Question is, are we ready to allow him and his peers to truly be human?

Share your views with Jocelyn at [email protected]


Who's that girl? She is a graduate student at Columbia University in the US and is of mixed Japanese and Taiwanese parentage. How they met: They were introduced to each other by Wang's family. They have known each other for 12 years.

Wang's comments (on Facebook): "I'm lucky to have met a girl to hold hands with and share my future. She's not in the entertainment business so you don't know her... (My parents) Wangbaba and Mama love her and I hope you will too."


Let's ignore the rumours that Wang swings the other way and focus on the fact that he is indeed married.

Despite the 10-year age gap, Li's pretty, fresh-faced looks match his handsome mug perfectly, never mind that she reminds one of Wang's rumoured ex-girlfriend, Taiwanese pop queen A*mei.

Given her academic background, they are well-suited as Wang hails from a well-educated family.


Who's that girl? Chinese actress

How they met: The pair acted as a couple in popular Chinese drama Scarlet Heart that aired in September 2011.

Wu's comments (on Chinese microblogging site Weibo): "Thank you for all the care and concern. We cherish our relationship as it didn't come easy, and I hope that everyone will give us the space and time we need to lead our private lives."


Even though Wu looks like he has not aged one bit over the decades, the 17-year age gap between the pair is hard to ignore, although their supporters have accepted it with nary a protest.

But viewers will be seeing more of the duo as they bring their real-life romance onto the small screen. They play a couple in Scarlet Heart's sequel and another period drama series produced by Wu.


Who's that girl? MediaCorp actress from Taiwan who is based here.

How they met: On the set of Channel 8 drama Joys Of Life last year.

Chen's comments (on Facebook): "When we first started dating, we decided that keeping a low profile is the healthiest method in maintaining a relationship in this somewhat insane industry.

"About six months ago, it dawned on us that we are indeed each other's soulmate, and this love is worth a lifetime of effort."


As both come from the local showbiz industry, Chen and Pang seem to understand each other's jobs and have the same thoughts when it comes to marriage and family.

They got married recently and she is about three months pregnant

The irony? One is a Taiwanese based in Singapore and the other is a Singaporean based in Taiwan. May their baby bridge the distance between them.


Who's that girl? Internet shopping mall CEO and popular online Korean personality

How they met: Unknown

Agency's statement: "L had been in a relationship for about four months with the girl.

"At that time, L had brought it up with the agency. To protect him, the company had to conceal the matter.

"We would like to sincerely apologise about this...

"We would like it if L, his girlfriend, and his fans were no longer hurt by this issue."


Given that L is at his peak now, revealing his relationship with Kim was a bad move.

The couple's liaison was exposed when Kim started tweeting, hinting at it. L's agency had to admit to it after online comments escalated.

The public backlash was overwhelming and the couple have broken up. L should just focus on being the fantasy guy of teen girls and enjoy his popularity while it lasts.

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