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The fights, fears and frights of Xiang Yun, Edmund Chen

IN BED WITH: We track the milestones of the local celebrity couple’s love life

In Bed With: Xiang Yun, Edmund Chen

Photos: Lee Lay Na

First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby, then comes… early retirement from showbiz?

For Xiang Yun and Edmund Chen, that’s basically how their relationship timeline pans out. The local celebrity couple made headlines over two decades ago when they said “I do” just three months after meeting on the set of SBC (Singapore Broadcasting Corporation) drama Patrol – back then, such high-profile flash marriages were practically unheard of, and their union stirred up a media frenzy.

That was in 1989. It is now 2016, and any naysayers who might have tsked at their reckless whirlwind romance, or even condemned it to be a short-lived one, have long been silenced.

For our In Bed With session, the couple was kind enough to share with us a large scrapbook filled with photographs, letters and miscellaneous precious memorabilia from as far back as their courtship days. Unsurprisingly, their favourite pictures are those with their two kids, 25-year-old son Yi Xi and 16-year-old daughter Yi Xin.

“Having children just completely changes your life,” said Edmund, 55, as his 54-year-old wife agreed, “Children are a wonderful thing to have.”

However, not everything was a bed of roses. Edmund was candid about the challenges and uncertainties they faced as not just a young married couple, but the first young married celebrity couple of their generation in the local scene. “We didn’t know if we would have the strength to carry on, so the only thing we could do was take each day one step at a time,” he said.

It looks like that simple method has worked wonders for them – last June, they celebrated their 27th wedding anniversary and are still going strong, if the sweet interactions we personally witnessed during the shoot are any indication.

Ahead, we take a look at some of the major milestones and stages of Xiang Yun and Edmund’s love life:

Before marriage: how Edmund charmed Xiang Yun

It was a scene straight out of a squeal-inducing, heart-fluttering romance drama: a cold, wet and shivering Xiang Yun was struggling after filming in the rain for Patrol, when Edmund gallantly appeared and draped a large towel around her (cue the slow motion replay and love ballad background music).

“Girls can easily be fooled (into falling in love) like that – they must take things slowly!” Xiang Yun quipped. “But you really were a gentleman, and someone with your demeanour was quite rare back in that day.”

Another aspect about Edmund that attracted Xiang Yun was his liveliness and similarity to a certain Hollywood star. “That era was all about men who are either studious or rebellious, but you were like John Travolta from a time when people would suddenly break out in dance in the middle of walking – it made you stand out.”

Before they set out to seal the deal, Xiang Yun and Edmund consulted a fortune teller. In addition to confirming their compatibility as husband and wife, they were also told that they would have four kids, all boys. “I was so scared – I preferred daughters!” said Xiang Yun.

Well, as we all know now, she had nothing to be worried about.

In Bed With: Xiang Yun, Edmund Chen

Married life: The good, the bad, and what ended their onscreen collaborations

The honeymoon period of their marriage was as sweet as sugar. In fact, Xiang Yun and Edmund remembered waking up with their limbs intertwined, having cuddled themselves into a complicated embrace in their sleep.

Not quite as enjoyable were the occasional red-faced rows and pet peeves, such as Edmund’s snoring, Xiang Yun’s teeth-grinding, and how they would clash over the proper way to squeeze toothpaste or put the toilet roll on. There was even a time when Edmund, dreaming that he was battling a dinosaur, suddenly woke up and strangled poor Xiang Yun in the middle of the night.

Perhaps one of their most extreme squabbles happened on the set of 2004’s Double Happiness: while preparing to film a scene at a government building, Xiang Yun and Edmund, who were already wearing their microphones, got into a war of words that was so intense, the crew quietly left the area. “After that day I told myself that I can no longer work with you!” laughed Xiang Yun.

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