Confessions of a celebrity mum and former neurotic: Quan Yi Fong

Toggle Talk’s first celebrity guest, Quan Yi Fong lets in on her friendship with her ex-husband, struggles with depression, and her daughter’s rising fame

Quan Yi Fong's interview with Toggle at The St. Regis Singapore

Photos: Lee Lay Na

Quan Yi Fong has made tabloid headlines – on more than one occasion – for her public meltdowns, brawls and high-profile divorce with former actor husband Peter Yu in 2009. Her name serves as a topic of contention and is almost synonymous with the word “trouble”. But today, we prefer to associate it with a buzzword that’s been making rounds on the internet: zheng neng liang (正能量), as they call it in Mandarin, or positive energy.

Life hasn’t always been a bed of roses for Yi Fong, who spent 10 years getting out of a “torturous phase” with the help of medication and religion. At her worst, while being under the influence of antidepressants, she was sleeping all the time at work and recalled being a walking zombie who’d snap in and out of a sedative “trance-like state” in between takes on her hosting jobs.

Her darkest days are well behind her now, thankfully, and life can’t get any better for the award-winning host, who just picked up her very first Best Info-Ed Programme Host award two weekends ago. Her mental health is back on track, her relationship with her teenage daughter - now a breakout star after filming an Apple commercial in China - is stronger than ever, and she has come to terms with her turbulent past and found peace with herself and in religion.

Surprisingly, in a brand new interview series with Toggle Talk, she admits to be no longer rattled by her ex-husband too and even considers him a “friend” today – a candid confession we thought we’d never hear from the famed host whose 11-year-long marriage ended on an acrimonious note.

No longer young, foolish and looking for love, read on for 8 things, including never-before-heard confessions, we learned about the happier and healthier Yi Fong in Toggle Talk, and watch the videos for a blow-by-blow account of her interview.

WATCH: Yi Fong explains why Eleanor gifted her with an Hermès bag


1. She’s thankful for her ex-husband and even sees him as a friend.
In 2013 when Peter first appeared on Channel 8 documentary Tuesday Report and sought her forgiveness on national television, Yi Fong simply wished him well in a Facebook post. Contrary to her detached response two years ago, the straightforward host showed a softened stance towards her ex and expressed no bitterness – only appreciation to him, in her interview with Toggle.

“I’d definitely say hi [to Peter if I see him again]. I’m really thankful for him – if not for him, how can I have such a beautiful child? If not for his misdoings and irresponsible acts, I wouldn’t have established such a strong relationship with my daughter and gotten my (mental) health back on track for her sake,” she stated.

Letting bygones be bygones and bearing no grudges against him, Yi Fong even boldly promised to help him in his times of need. “I used to think we cannot be friends even though we are not enemies, but today I want to tell him he will always be my friend.”

2. Been there, done that: Yi Fong says she’s destined to stay single forever.
Having loved and lost before, Yi Fong no longer seeks romance and instead sees herself as a “torture” to be with. “Maybe I have no fate with love in this lifetime (…) I’m not easy to get along with,” Yi Fong wisecracked, when asked if she still craves attention and company after being divorced for six years. The self-deprecating host then mockingly lamented, “I pity any guy who has to get along with me. Why does he have to tolerate me? Why does he have to accommodate me? Are men that silly today? (laughs)”

3. Her daughter plays a huge role in her love life.
Should fate send a Mr Right bumbling down her direction someday, he needs to accept that her daughter would always be her number one priority. But chances of that prospect becoming a reality is close to zilch, even if she jokes about the meeting the right one – and it’s not because she’s “too used” to being single.

“I know she enjoys what we have (in our lives) today,” said the 41-year-old who wishes to maintain the status quo. Chortling at her daughter’s disinterest in her love life – or the lack thereof -- Yi Fong jokingly added, “She’s super selfish (about sharing her mother with someone else)! And resembles my ex-husband in that aspect.”

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