Photos: Teo Sijia, Julie Tan via Instagram
Julie Tan may be young — the actress turns 24 this September — but she’s got a clear idea of what she wants. The artiste, whose next role is in the longform drama series Peace and Prosperity, casually let on that she has been seeing a local entrepreneur 11 years her senior for a month now.
“As I mature, I just want stability, I don’t need a whirlwind romance,” Julie said. She describes her new beau as thoughtful though not a romantic. “Sometimes when I get tired filming or I skip meals, he’ll bring food over for me and remind me to eat,” she said. “Though it’s not a grand gesture, it’s more practical than giving me flowers.”
Did her preference for mature and steady guys, which she talked about when she appeared on the Toggle Talk series last year, influence her choice?
“It’s tricky when artistes date, and it’s tough to find someone who can accept the work you do,” she said. “So you need a person who’s mature and understanding. I’m very independent, but when it comes to love I need to be looked after, and my partner must accept that.”
The couple met through mutual friends about four or five months ago and are still at the stage of getting to know each other better. Julie emphasised that the 11-year age difference isn’t causing any generation gap.
But those curious about who the lucky guy is won’t be finding out his identity soon. The actress said she won’t make that detail public until their relationship is stable or if they’re about to marry.
Her past relationships were comparatively in the open and had names attached: She dated local model Ng Yuze for more than a year until 2013, and last year she was romantically linked with Taiwanese model Allen Chen.
But this time, Julie is making a change. She said her previous romance ended because both parties minded too much the comments of others and built their relationship on the expectations of other people. And though she confirmed names then out of respect for her other half, unintentionally it gave him pressure.
“Perhaps I could say I’m doing so to protect myself?” Julie said. “I used to be open about my love life, but it left me to clean up the mess myself.”
“Relationships drain mental energy as it is, and having to deal with the media (after a split) is exhausting.”
Julie will be testing her limits with her role in the 170-part Peace and Prosperity, playing the fifth granddaughter of a traditional Chinese medicine practice’s founder.
Last seen on screen in The Dream Makers 2 as the scheming antagonist Dong Zihuai, Julie is nervous about taking part in a longform drama for the first time.
“To portray a character from episode 1 to 100 isn’t as easy as it seems,” she said. “You need to grasp the flow of the character well, and you have to do your prep work.”
Taking on the extended project means a six-month shoot at the very least, which is to say Julie won’t be able to take on other gigs at the same time.
“I did want to accept Mercurial Men (a 20-part drama that’s slated to begin telecast in August), but I decided I should focus on this drama so I let that one go,” she said.
“I’m not thinking so much about it — to me, having work to do is a good thing.”
Peace and Prosperity debuts April 4, 7.30 pm on Channel 8.
This story is translated by Zara Zhuang.