Photos: Dion Tang, artistes’ social media, TPG
Video: Charlene Chong
Instead of pulling out all the stops to celebrate Valentine’s Day, Hong Kong actors Grace Chan and Kevin Cheng are one A-list star couple who kept things simple — he made pasta, she cooked bacon-wrapped scallops, and they watched reruns of American Idol on television.
Though it was the first time she prepared that dish, “it was successful,” Grace added. “Well, that’s what he said. I thought it was pretty good too.”
But, wait — American Idol? “Random, right?” the 24-year-old Brother’s Keeper II actress said. “He loves to sing, so when we watch it he’s always so impressed.”
“And I think it’s really cool seeing that side of him, that child-like side, he gets really excited or he’ll sing along if he knows the song.”
At a interview session held yesterday to promote new and upcoming TVB drama series on Starhub TV, Grace and other actors from the Hong Kong network — Natalie Tong, Joel Chan, Kristal Tin and Raymond Wong — gave us insights on what makes them tick when it comes to love.
Grace’s year-old relationship with Kevin frequently makes headlines, not least because of their uncommon 22-year age gap. But the actress unequivocally denied they were planning to tie the knot soon.
“I’m definitely not going to rush into anything,” she said. “As much as we wait for a good relationship to come, we should also wait for a good time for marriage.”
But one step in that direction the couple have taken so far: meeting the parents over Chinese New Year. “His mom is lovely and super easy to talk to,” she said. “When it’s just the two of us, she’s all like, ‘My son is like this and this’ — she’s selling him to me! And I tell her, ‘Aunty, we’re dating, I already like him, don’t worry!’”
“Please marry him!” Natalie interjected.
“In the future!” Grace replied.
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While Grace is open with her love life, Natalie, 34, prefers to keep the details to herself. The Short End of the Stick actress is reportedly seeing fellow TVB actor Tony Hung, 32, who hasn’t made their relationship official.
“I didn’t confirm it either!” Natalie said with a laugh. “I’d rather keep it natural, I’m not used to announcing such things.”
But isn’t she tempted at all, seeing how content Grace is? “That’s fine, I’m happy on the inside!” Natalie said. How much so? “Not telling you!” she replied, laughing again.
Joel, 39, the only unattached actor among the group, holds a mellow approach to love, even though he jokingly said his ideal partner would possess “Grace’s smarts, Natalie’s sexiness, the good looks of both, and that’s enough.”
Speaking of his history — his divorce in 2010 and his subsequent relationship with Macau casino tycoon Stanley Ho’s daughter Florinda — he said he’ll take a different path now.
“If I pick again I think I’ll go for a wife,” he said. “I hope to have my own family, because I see friends around me settle down and have children. And seeing them happy and still working at jobs they love, I hope the heavens will grant me such a chance.”
Kristal Tin and Raymond Wong, who both wed in 2005, may be known for their strong marriages, but they reject being called exemplary couples.
“We’re ordinary couples,” said Kristal, 38. “Not much different from ordinary friends! This is important, because if you’re too close you’ll fight.”
Raymond, 40, now starring in police procedural comedy K9 Cop, elaborated that he and his wife, stylist Kaka Mok, often argue, especially now that they have two sons, Kayden, 4, and Ransley, 2. “Every day we’re tired, and all our energy is spent on the kids, so we have less time to communicate,” he said.
Though the quarrels are often about trivial matters, Raymond said he’s usually the first to yield.
“There’s nothing wrong with apologising,” said Kristal, who’s married to actor Chapman To (his directorial debut, Let’s Eat!, premiered here on February 5). “It’s about clearing the way for a dignified exit for your partner.”
And does Chapman do that?
“Of course!” she said. “Every morning! He rolls out the carpet, and there are flower petals being tossed in from both sides!”
K9 Cop and Short End of the Stick are now airing on Starhub TV; Brother’s Keeper II will debut later this year.