That one time Zhang Zhen Huan told his girlfriend to stay away

While in Bintan, the actor asked his girlfriend to video-call him so he could make sure she was still in Singapore

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Photos: Tammi Tan, Zhang Zhen Huan/Instagram, Sally Pan/Instagram

Our chat with Zhang Zhen Huan may have taken place in a cosy, luxurious villa overlooking a private pool and landscaped lawn in laidback Bintan, but there was nothing relaxed about the 34-year-old actor – or us, if we’re being honest – during those 10 short but strained minutes.

Blame the topic of our conversation: his relationship with 23-year-old former makeup student (she has already graduated) Sally Pan, which was made Instagram-official on April 30 this year. For some reason, Zhen Huan seemed far less forthcoming compared to when things were still ambiguous between them, refraining from divulging info such as when exactly they got together and how he asked her to be his girlfriend.

Still, he was a lot more generous with other bits of info, especially compared to more fiercely private couples we’ve tried to pry quotes out of in the past (we won’t name names). For instance, his guarded demeanour made way for a gushing “I’m such a lucky guy” grin when he spoke about how good she is at planning surprises.

So good, in fact, that he admitted that he had a nagging suspicion that she would suddenly show up right there at any time on the Indonesian island, where he and other cast and crew members spent four days filming scenes for long-form drama Reach for the Skies two weeks ago. His wariness stemmed from Sally’s tendency to pop up in Singapore from China (where, like him, she hails from) a day earlier than she said she would.

But instead of anticipating a potential arrival with open arms, Zhen Huan pretty much told her to stay away, primarily due to the safety issues that may arise from a young woman travelling alone, the language barrier, and well, he is there for work, not play, after all.

“On my first night here, I asked her to video-call me so I could make sure she was still in Singapore,” he said. “I kept telling her not to come here, and assured her that we can always go for our own beach vacation next time.”

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Continued on next page: When is Zhen Huan planning to get married?

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